Happy Mother’s Day and welcome to all the new listeners and a shout out to all of the veteran homestead-loving regulars who stop by the FarmCast every week. I appreciate you all so much. There is a ton of stuff going on at the homestead right now and I’m so excited to share it with you. As Mother’s Day is quickly approaching that’s what I’m going to focus on this week. It’s a particularly important topic for me and I’m going to get a little more personal this week and share the mistakes I made regarding motherhood that changed my life forever. I hope that it helps someone else out there make easier life choices.
- Homestead Life Updates
- The Tradition of Mothering
- Mom’s Chocolate Pie Recipe
Homestead Life Updates
Animals and creamery
I’m going to make this short because I have a lot to say and share about motherhood for the FarmCast. The creamery is steadily progressing. Lambert, the bottle-fed lamb, appears to be doing very well and will live to a ripe age.
This weekend we start the summer season. You will find me at the Wytheville Farmer’s Market every Saturday from 8am to 12pm. In addition to our grass-fed meats, I am offering celery starts. I have quite a few more, but they went fast last week. It’s a unique vegetable start that you don’t often find at a farmer’s market.
My herdshare program is finally defined. I just need to get the paperwork done. I’ll be offering yogurt samples at the market. Stop by and taste the tradition of yogurt made from grass-fed cow’s milk.
We’ve added to our cow herd. A jersey heifer made her way to our farm in the last few days. She will be giving birth soon and provide us with lots of yogurt and certified A2A2 milk for our herdshare participants during milking season. During winter market the herdshare will provide aged cheese and butter. Catch up with me at the market and I’ll give you the details. If you’re coming from south of us, you will probably want to stop by the farm instead. Our farm store hours are Tuesday’s from 10am to 12noon and Saturday afternoons from 3pm to 5pm.
The Tradition of Mothering
Since the beginning of time, Motherhood has been the bedrock of human existence and survival. Without mothers of children, the next generation simply would not have existed.
- History of Mother’s Day including traditions observed around the world
- The Mothering Mistakes That Altered My Life Forever
- Why are Mothers So Important there is a Day Set Aside Just for Them?
- How has Mothering Evolved – What Has It Evolved into?
- How Can We Bring Back the Value of Being a Mother to Generations Convinced it is Not What They Want?
History of Mother’s Day
While the Mother’s Day that we celebrate on the second Sunday in May is a fairly recent development, the basic idea of honoring women as mothers goes back as far as ancient mythology and the Greco-Roman civilizations.
The Greeks paid annual homage to Cybele (pronounced sibilee, the mother figure of their gods, and the Romans dedicated an annual spring festival to the mother of their gods.
Traditions Around the World
India: 10-Day Festival
Each October, Hindus honor Durga, the goddess of mothers, during the 10-day festival known as Durga Puja. The celebration is thought to date back to the sixteenth century and is considered both a religious ceremony and a time for family reunions. One story tells of Durga returning to her parents’ home to show off her own children. Families spend weeks preparing food, gathering gifts, and decorating their homes for the festival.
Japan: The Right Flowers
Following World War II, a version of Mother’s Day grew popular as a way of comforting mothers who had lost sons to the war. You’ll see carnations presented during this holiday. The carnations symbolize the sweetness and endurance of motherhood in Japanese culture.
Ethiopia: Sing Along!
The Antrosht festival, which comes after the rains stop in early fall, is dedicated to moms. After the weather clears for good, family members from all over flock to their homes for a large meal and celebration. Daughters traditionally bring vegetables and cheese, while sons supply meat. Together, they prepare a meat hash and sing and perform dances that tell stories of family heroes.
United Kingdom: Mothering Sunday
England and Ireland observed the mid-Lent holiday and honored and decorated their “Mother Church,” the church where they were baptized. The church eventually extended the observation to honor all mothers. The English called this Mothering Sunday and, in the 1700’s they observed it by taking a break from the fasting and penitence of Lent and having a family feast.
France: Medals For Mom
In 1920, the government of France began awarding medals to mothers of large families in gratitude for helping rebuild the population after so many lives were lost in World War I. After the second World War, the government declared the last Sunday in May to be the Day of Mothers. The traditional gift is now a flower-shaped cake.
USA: Mother’s Day
The idea of celebrating Mother’s Day in the US was first conceptualized by Julia Ward Howe (famous lyricist of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”). In 1870, Julia Ward Howe wrote the “Mother’s Day Proclamation”. Julia Howe was distressed over what she saw as the unnecessary deaths of young men during the Civil War. She called upon mothers to come together and protest the senselessness of “sons killing the sons of other Mothers”, and to unite and celebrate an international Mother’s Day that would celebrate both peace and motherhood. She originally proposed converting July 4th into Mother’s Day as a way to dedicate the nation’s anniversary to peace. By 1873, eighteen North American cities observed the new Mother’s Day holiday. However, Howe was the principal financier of these celebrations, and as she stopped contributing, many cities and states ceased observing the holiday. The idea for a day set aside to honor Mother’s lost momentum until the early 1900s.
When Anna Reeves Jarvis died on May 5, 1905, her daughter Anna Jarvis was determined to honor her. She asked the minister at her church in West Virginia to give a sermon in her mother’s memory. She began writing to congressmen, asking them to set aside a day to honor mothers. In 1910, the governor of West Virginia proclaimed the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day and in 1914 the bill passed in Congress. President Woodrow Wilson signed the bill, declaring the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day – forever establishing Mother’s Day as an official holiday in the U.S.
These are only a few. There are many other celebrations around the world all honoring motherhood and the glorious gift of mothering.
The Mistakes That Altered My Life Forever
When I was a child, all I wanted was to be a wife and mother when I grew up. I wanted to have a wonderful loving and attentive husband and lots of children. This was my dream life.
I was raised by a good Catholic turned Episcopalian mother. She instilled in me the virtues of loving one man, raising children with purpose and serving the community at large via volunteering. She grew much of our food. She made our clothes. She insisted all six of us were at least exposed to the sophistication and culture of music and dance. We were required to take one year of music and dance. I had two brothers that continued with music. I continued with both music and dance for many, many years.
My point here is that my mother took her job seriously. She educated herself in whatever she needed to in order to develop our character. Her basis for determination was based on her understanding of what a citizen contributing to society would need. I vividly remember her dedication to us. Often, we did not like what she required of us. But there was no doubt why she did it as she was repeating her reasons often. The vision she had of her role as our mother was crystal clear. Unfortunately, mine was never sharply defined.
As I described earlier, I wanted this great husband and lots of kids. That’s it. That was the extent of my vision. I do remember her telling me what I needed to do in order to ensure those things happened, but for whatever reason, they did not stick. And she was unaware that they did not stick or I believe she would have done something about it. She followed her playbook and expected a good result.
She constantly encouraged me to go to college. I was very good in school and loved learning. Shoving me toward college was one of her biggest mistakes, though I do not think I could have ever convinced her of that. I certainly had the brain for it and might have done well had I stayed on the straight and narrow path for which I was shaped.
It was the modern mantra. Your kids had to go to college. This was back when a college education meant something. It was a mark of your intelligence and potential for success beyond the middle class. My first 4 years would have been dedicated to expanding on what she began with a broad base of knowledge in English literature, foreign languages, world history, art appreciation and culture and so on. And then I would move on to focusing on a particular area of expertise where I could have a career if I chose. This was her vision. But the 60’s arrived.
I grew up in the 60’s as the 2nd wave of feminism took off. It was all about free love and peace and women burning their bras and getting out of the prison of housewifery and childrearing. We would use our brains for more than those simple tasks. Well, I still wanted to be a wife and mother even in the midst of all that. I was still following my ideal script. Then I became a teenager.
In the late 60’s things began to change more dramatically. There was civil unrest all over. After 12 years of a stable household in the same town, we moved a few miles away, then we moved from Michigan to Florida, then we moved to Georgia. My parents were going through some trials in their relationship and this was very bad timing for me. And I think for my older brothers as well. The foundation we were raised on was shaken and we all found out how weak and fragile it was. I still can’t put my finger on why it was weak. My memories of my childhood upbringing tell me I was secure and safe. And then all of a sudden things changed and I did not adapt well to that change.
I’m getting too far off the beaten path here. The bottom line is that I made choices that were in direct opposition to what I was taught as a Christian. No sex before marriage. Choose a “good man” who would support me and with whom I would live forever. Divorce was not an option. And then the little aside that my mother threw in there was “go to college because you never know what will happen”. And then “No Fault Divorce” came around.
My dream life was forever altered because I got pregnant at 17, had my first child 10 days before I turned 18 and my second a month before I turned 19. I had married a man with no concept of hard work and determination and building a better life for his family. He had no real concept of the responsibility of being a father. Well, that being said, I had only vague concepts of what it really meant to be a wife and mother. I could see that my mother was doing it very well but I did not really understand what I needed to do. And after my superb fall from grace with my mother and especially my father by becoming pregnant out of wedlock, I was too ashamed to asked for their advice. Would I have taken it? I certainly hadn’t taken it so far. Who knows? This is all so far in the past.
The “no fault divorce” option made it easy for me to make yet another life-altering decision that put my vision and dream of what it would be like to be a wife and mother even farther from my fingertips. It slipped away in the space of 3 years. By the time I was 20, that dream was dead. I was a divorced mother of two. The idyllic dream of living happily ever after with the man of my dreams and a dozen children surrounding us with their gales of laughter was dead. My life became one of simply surviving.
I know that popular rhetoric is that divorce is not an issue, but I beg to differ. Not only was my deepest heart-felt dream shattered, but the lives of my children were irreparably altered because of my poor choices. No child ever wants their parents to be divorced. Every child wants safety and stability. They want the original bond with their mother and father to be there forever – not simply on weekends and two weeks in the summer.
I can see your comments flowing into this post already. But Melanie, everyone makes bad choices sometimes. And I agree with that. But the choice of a mate and the choice to have children are the two most important decisions a woman can make. You mess either one of those up and your life will never be what you imagined. And with the focus today on women having careers, they are even less likely than I to make informed, educated, carefully thought-out decisions regarding their choice of a life partner. Their idea of building a family revolves around their own ability to make money rather than finding the man dedicated to providing the resources necessary.
And before everyone jumps in there and says that it requires two incomes, let me just jump ahead of you and say that is a myth. It depends on what physical circumstances you require. How large will your house be? How many cars will you have? How attached are you to designer labels? And are you willing to be the principal provider of food from a garden or must it be purchased? There are many choices that can be made. Unfortunately, so many of our choices today are based on what everybody else is doing rather than what our heart is telling us. I get it. It’s hard to go against the current and swim upstream. But I contend that the rewards are worth the effort.
Being a dedicated mother to the next generation is the most important job in the world. It requires your full attention. It requires much more than an hour in the morning while rushing your children off to the school bus and a couple of hours in the evening having let God knows who have charge of their precious minds for the other 9 or 10 hours of daylight. In order to be the best mother, you need to choose a mate that will provide financial security for you and your children. It means making your career “household manager in chief”. You are a partner in a small business where you manage and someone else brings the required finances. You are dependent on someone else to bring you the resources you need to make that happen for your children. That takes a great deal of self-respect and trust in yourself. Those just may be the most important missing pieces of character that led me down the wrong fork in the road.
Mothers So Important there is a Day Set Aside Just for Them
Mothers hold the future of civilization in their hands – or should I say in their wombs. Since the dawn of time, it is mothers who have born the children, cared for them, fed them, nurtured them, educated them and ensured that the genetic line would continue. Those that had the most children, did the best job of protecting them, and were able to provide sufficient nourishment, clothing and shelter ensured the continuation of the human species.
Until the 20th century, the odds of living to a ripe old age were dicey. Many women died in childbirth. Children died of exposure, pneumonia, and any number of infections often before the age of 1 or 2. If they made it to 5 or 6, things began to look better. Last week I talked about traditional healing wisdom and how it was the educated mother and community healer that helped the human race get to where we are today. And while that is true, perhaps I did not stress enough the value of modern emergency rooms. Technology has brought us light years into the future of survivability. Emergencies are things that a traditional herbalist cannot address. The merging of the traditional and the modern is the ultimate combination. The world is fraught with danger for a child – well adults as well. But today we are speaking of motherhood and children. Broken bones, deep cuts and wounds, burns, head injuries – you know the kind of things that we still have today with our children of all ages – these were often fatal before our modern medical emergency rooms were established.
Even as adults an infection could kill. Even with the care of a truly great and wise herbalist, infection could kill – and kill quickly. Today, we can get quick transportation and immediate medical care when a life-threatening condition arises. Sure, leave the common cold, mild fever, and mild diarrhea to a local healer. But the big stuff that keeps us alive in an emergency is modern medicine. They go hand in hand. Keep the small stuff close to home and keep those ER rooms free for true emergencies.
In the end, it is most often the mother that is making that decision. It is the mother that employs here best healing skill, or calls the local healer when it is beyond her knowledge. And ultimately it is usually the mother that makes the decision to rush to the hospital. She makes sure her child gets the best care available according to his or her needs at the time.
How has Mothering Evolved – What Has It Evolved into?
So often today, being a mother takes second place to a so-called career. I say so-called because this is a fallacy that our daughters are fed from a very early age. They are going to have a career. They need to have a career because this is how they will define themselves. But most don’t have careers. Many do have these great careers, but most have jobs. And those that do have these so-called great careers, have little time for children. They either forego children altogether of someone else raises them. A true career is very demanding of a person’s time. Long hours. Evenings and weekends along with the daily grind. Lots of stress. Lots of mental resources being used in the process. Is there anything left for kids?
It is up to the mother to educate herself in nutrition, exercise, cleanliness, education and so on. I know, I know. You are saying that the man should be there to help. You know why you say that? Usually it’s because you are working and need that help. So you take away from your husband’s work hours and ability to provide a greater sense of financial security because you chose to work. You ask him to do more so you can work outside the home. Truly, you wouldn’t need or demand that help if only the traditional value of motherhood and your responsibility to your children had not been usurped by the few so-called modern women of the 60s bashing you for wanting to be the best wife and mother possible. As a gender, we abdicated our inner urge for the mothering role because we were shamed by the 2nd wave feminists. We were fooled by popular media into believing that we were the minority if we only desired to be a wife and mother. If all we wanted was to manage our household, our children and our loving spouses with passion and expertise, we were ridiculed by those that would tell us we were not living up to our full potential. This from women who did not have a husband and children. This from women who literally had no knowledge of what they professed to have expertise. And, in the end, it has evolved into women working even harder because now they try to do both and end up doing neither as well as they are done individually.
I realize that some of my bitterness for my own mistakes in listening to the drivel of these childish females pretending to be adult women is coming through. There is still a part of me that wants to blame them for advising me incorrectly. But in the end, my choices are my own. And I live with them. I adapted to them and did the best I would with what I created for myself and my children. It was a wonderful journey – just not the one I had originally planned.
How Can We Bring Back the Value of Being a Full Time Mother?
Is there a way to bring back the tradition of motherhood? And I mean in every sense of the word. Dedicating your life to educating yourself every day in the care and education of our children. I can’t put my finger on how it happened that while we were bombarded with the idea that being a full-time wife and mother was beneath us, the first thing I often hear from those not comfortable with homeschooling their children is “I don’t know enough to teach my children”. So, does that mean we are too dumb to learn how to teach our children. But by the same token we are too smart for the task and we must have a career. Which is it? Until we recognize these diametrically opposed thoughts, we will continue to make the same mistakes over and over. And yet not.
Have you noticed the jobs that most women choose? A publication called ThoughtCo.com published an article titled, “Top 10 Occupations That Employ the Largest Percentage of Women”. Here’s what they are, along with my comments on why women choose these jobs. And please don’t misunderstand. These are all very valuable occupations in the whole scheme of the world. Someone needs to do them.
Here they are:
- Registered Nurses – 92% are women. Caring for others. These 2.5 million women in the US are caring for others. What if that desire was spent on their children? Obviously they are able to learn a lot about healthcare. That desire and ability would serve the family very well.
- Meeting and Convention Planner – 83.3% are women. Well, I can certainly see that. If you are genetically wired to be a woman you would need excellent planning skills. But apparently those are only valuable if you make a lot of money doing it. You know, it’s about the money. It not about the nurturing, education, health and security of your own children and figuring out how to make all that happen. It’s so much better to do it for others so you can get money.
- Elementary and Middle School Teachers – 81.9% are women. Are we beginning to see a pattern here? Women are dedicating their lives to the children of other women who are dedicating their lives to the children of other women. Someone else is educating their children while they educate the children of others. Does it sound craze to you? It sure does to me.
- Tax Examiners, Collectors, and Revenue Agents – 73.8% are women. I love this one. Before women began filling these jobs and were still lowly homemakers, a primary responsibility was to choose a husband who was fiscally responsible. One who provided the resources to be collected and spent appropriately and responsibly for the household.
- Medical and Health Services Manager – 69.5% are women. I won’t belabor this one as it is the same industry as nursing which is, again, the number one employer of women.
- Social and Community Service Managers – 69.4% are women. This is an interesting one. Again, before women ventured out into the world for a better life that was more suited to their needs, they were the social and community managers in the volunteer industry. Women literally abdicated this responsibility to government agencies that now perform these functions so they could go and do the same thing for money. But does anyone believe the government agencies are doing the same level of service that volunteers used to provide? Perhaps, they are mostly women after all.
- Psychologist – 68.8% are women. This one makes a great deal of sense. Any mother knows that some level of psychology is necessary to raise their children. I consulted one several times when I ran into issues with my children. These people are invaluable in that regard. However, with today’s technology, instead of spending so much time in school I think on line education and support groups would provide most of what we need as mothers. There will be exceptions of course.
- Business Operations Specialists (other) – 68.4% are women. Other, really? That’s the category many of you mothers out there will recognize as doing whatever it takes to manage the family. Administrative analyst (making everybody and everything is where it is supposed to be), claim agent (mediating disagreements between siblings), labor contract analyst (clean your room and your get X), energy control officer (please turn off the light in the bathroom when you are done), import/export specialist (what should we buy and sell), lease buyer (you know it’s the mom that makes the decision about which house to rent or buy), police inspector (is everyone following the household rules) and tariff publishing agent (this trade will get you that new bicycle but will cost you a trip to the lake).
- Human Resources Manager – 66.8% are women. I don’t know if I even need to explain this one. How are household responsibilities divided? Mom decides who is responsible for what and when to keep the household in order.
- Financial Specialists (other) – 66.6% are women. Oh yeah, mom manages all the money. I think we talked about this one earlier. You learn how to stretch a dollar, save a dollar and make dollars grow.
There you have it. All of the things that women were too oppressed by their husbands to abide are exactly what they are doing outside the home. The downside is you are working on someone else’s schedule. You march to someone else’s tune when you could be the top banana in your fiefdom.
With a valiant effort to listen to our hearts we can bring back respect to the greatest office in the world. The office of wife and mother. And occupation where you decide how your children are nourished, how they are educated, how they are brought forth as morally, upright citizens as they enter their adult lives. You can have the greatest responsibility in the world as a mother. All it takes is recognizing the internal beating of your heart leading you forevermore into that blissful existence as chief nurturer of your clan.
Happy Mother’s Day. Make it a good one.
Mom’s Chocolate Pie Recipe
It’s a basic custard. The recipe is over 100 years old – well sort of. I altered it a little for my own tastes. 😊
What you Need
- 9″ deep dish pie shell
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup cream
- 3 tablespoons powdered cocoa
- 1 cup Sugar
- 6 tablespoons flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 4 egg yolks (save whites for meringue)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
What to Do
- Brown the pie shell per instructions on the package or in the recipe you used to make yours from scratch. (Congrats to you on that accomplishment!!)
- In a cast iron skillet (or sauce pan) mix dry ingredients and milk until steaming.
- Beat egg yolks, add a small amount of milk and whisk it in. This is called tempering. You want to bring the temperature up a little without cooking the yolks.
- Add tempered egg yolks to hot mixture.
- Add vanilla and butter and stir in. Continue stirring and allow to thicken.
- Pour into pie shell.
What you Need
- 4 egg whites
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
What to Do
- In chilled mixing bowl, mix egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy.
- Slowly add sugar and beat until stiff (but not dry) peaks form.
- Top pie with meringue, bake until just slightly browned.
- Cool before serving
I did the best I could with the choices I made. My children are doing well, though they too were infected with divorce. I love them dearly and have never regretted my decision to give them birth. In my older age, I now have part of the life I dreamed of. I have the best mate that anyone could ask for. I love him with all my heart. It took me many years to understand how to be a good wife. He stood by me through all of it. And I’m still a work in progress. We love our farm life. We love it when the kids and grandkids come to visit. Who could ask for more?
Give that chocolate pie a try. And while you are savoring the lovely texture and flavor of your creation, you might contemplate the awesome power of motherhood from a new perspective.
I hope you have a wonderful Mother’s Day.
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Thank you so much for stopping by the homestead and until next time, may God fill your life with grace and peace.
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