Let me introduce Ruth. She is the mother of four adult children, grandmother to 16 children and great-grandmother to 24 children. She became a mother in the 1950’s (what I like to call the ‘golden era’ of stay-at-home mothers) and raised teenagers through the 1960’s and 70’s – in a period when for most mothers their workplace was their home, and a good housewife’s motto was ‘Make do and mend’. She complimented her husband who worked hard as a salesman and later co-owned a stationary business with his brother-in-law. She used her thriftiness and skill as a seamstress to creatively fashion a home where love and faith blossomed. Her love of God and her love of family are her hallmarks and ones which have inspired me in my own journey as a mother. I am proud to call her Grandma.
How old were you when you became a Mum? I was 25 years old when my first was born and she fulfilled all my dreams. I went on to have 3 more children; all within five years, and so family was my life.
Has anyone inspired you as a Mother? I would have to say my own mother. In my growing years she was everything to me in teaching me the ways of God and setting an example of Godly living; where he came first in her life. She was always supporting us in our family life. Then my husband Joe. I looked up to him and he too set an example of Godly living for our family. God was first in his life, and I thank God for Joe’s influence on all the children. We were very blessed as a family.
What is one of your favourite memories of raising children? I loved everything to do with the baby years (even though I never dreamt I could get so tired). As they grew I loved the times I would spend reading to them. They loved story telling and would sit as long as I would read to them. We had Egermeirs complete Bible Story Book and we would read it together every night and pray together.
I loved the times we went on camping holidays with our friends. At Easter we camped at Binna Burra and other times we went to Carnarvon Gorge. I also loved Christmas time with the family.
When grandchildren came along, I loved the times Joe would set up his movie projector under the house, and we’d watch movies with the grandkids.
Can you share a story of a particular challenge you faced in parenting? There were many challenges in raising a family, but this one stands out to me as special. My eldest boy was in high school at Brisbane State High, and each afternoon he would have to cross Victoria Bridge to catch the train home. One afternoon he came home very distressed. He shared that he was being bullied by a boy (much bigger than him) on the bridge; the boy was not letting him cross the bridge. He has been doing this for a while, and was making life difficult for him. When I discovered what was troubling him, I first suggested that he catch the bus over the bridge, but I knew this wasn’t the best solution, and so I said we would pray about it. So as a family we prayed about it and put it into God’s hands. I suggested he read 2 Kings 6:8-18, where Elisha was in Dothan and God showed his fearful servant the host of angles that surrounded them. We prayed that God would be in control. The following morning, as he went to cross the bridge, the bully came up to him and apologised. God convicted him as we had prayed. This was a wonderful lesson for us all.
Were you able to make time for yourself, and if so what did you do and how did you do this? I was a stay-at-home mother. I sewed all their clothes. I knitted and smocked and I enjoyed doing this because they always looked lovely.
If you were to meet yourself as a young Mum, what advice or encouragement would you have given her? I would say, “Love and enjoy your children and let them know how special they are to you. Always spend the main meal together as a family and take time to read the bible and pray together; surround them in prayer and pray about everything. Spend quality time with each of them and tread gently with them.”
What’s been a treasured Bible verse that has encouraged you throughout the years? James 1: 5-6 “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.”
Proverbs 3: 5-6 ” Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.”