Today I am going to discuss the mom of young children part of my role as a rural pastor's wife.
Most wives that I know here work. There are some, but not a lot of moms with young children in this area. There is no play group or mom's Bible study group. Since I have lived here since I've had children, I'm not even sure what else bigger cities have that I don't have offered here. I have a college friend that just could not imagine my life here and how she would have survived being a new mother without the moms that she met at play group. I have several areas to discuss about being a mom of young children when I live rural. I don't know about being a mom of older children when I live rural yet. Perhaps some of you with older children can comment about that.
1. When I was pregnant with Lamb 1, I called La Leche League and the closest chapter or leader was 2 hours away. There was no way that was going to work to attend meetings or meet a leader when it was a 4 hour round trip and especially not when my baby was born with MSPI. I read a lot of books, made some phone calls to a friend who was a LLLI leader, and just continued nursing Lamb 1 until we both figured it out. Do I think my way was the best way? NO! I would have loved to be in a bigger city with a lactation consultant and easier ways to get help. Lamb 1 survived (and that is very true with him having MSPI) and I figured out nursing. Nursing got easier with Lamb 2 and 3. One of my friends suggested once that I get help from LLLI and was shocked that I lived in a place that was not available. I post this to encourage you to keep breastfeeding even if your situation in a rural place is not the ideal way. Most of the ladies that I have met in this area did not breastfeed. When they had problems there weren't the resources here to help them. It doesn't have to be that way, you can breastfeed even if you don't have all the resources that bigger cities have.
2. When we moved here the town park had two very old rusty slides and very old swings and that was it. I told the city council that we would personally pay for new swings and they should remove the old slides as they weren't safe. Around the same time some moms in town decided to do a fundraiser to get a new slide. The people in town were shocked that it took $3000 to get ONE slide. One of the dads built and painted a couple of see saws. The town paid for new swings. The big fundraiser weekend raised enough money to get the slide. So now our park in town has swings, see saw, and one slide. It's not a lot, but it's better than it was when we moved here. When we get to a bigger town the Lambs love to go to the park because it is a lot better than our small park. We have not purchased a swing set for the Lambs because they can walk across the street to the town park. I post this because even if your town park is small, it may be enough to save getting a swing set for your yard. We also try to make the time to take the Lambs to a park in a bigger town when we go shopping because this is not offered in our town.
3. Winter is the worst when we are stuck in a small town and can't get outside. It really does get better in the spring when we can at least take walks around town. I keep reminding myself that all winter when they are driving me crazy with cabin fever. I try to forget about the times of year that are too muddy for walks, about the mosquitoes in the summer, and the dogs that every one in town owns and Lamb 1 is afraid of. Even just going outside in our yard is better than being stuck in the house.
4. We were given a big discounted pass to go to the Children's Museum in the Twin Cities. On the way home from Ram's appointment at Mayo in January we took the chance to use that pass. I was so excited to have a chance to take the Lambs to a museum as they had only been to one small museum before. I thought it would be great to give them an opportunity to do what the big city kids do. Wow, was I surprised when we actually went. The Lambs hated the crowds which made them hate most of the museum. I wasn't that impressed with the Children's Museum as I compared it to the museums in Fort Wayne that I had taken my students to before. We did have a good time that day, but it wasn't what I had expected-to have a great time. There was a little educational for the Lambs, but not that much. I couldn't imagine that big city parents regularly take their children there. This was an eye opening experience for me-perhaps my Lambs are better off just playing at home and outside in our back yard than doing what the big city kids do.
5. I would encourage you to look what there is to do in your area for children. Some of the things that the Lambs have done here: In February and March different towns in the area have sports/leisure shows. I'm surprised how much there really is for the Lambs to do and learn at these. They enjoy walking around and getting candy, bookmarks, stickers, other small treats. Sometimes the zoo 1 1/2 hours away brings animals for a small petting zoo. PBS brings educational treats. DNR brings animal furs and other educational things to touch.
One of the towns has a big Easter egg hunt the day before Easter. They get candy in eggs and there are also drawings for bigger prizes.
In the summer there are a couple of youth fishing days. The Lambs have been given fishing poles, tackle boxes with supplies, etc. Lunch is provided and also bait. The Lambs are pretty little so they haven't caught very many fish yet, but they have the supplies.
We go to a couple of county fairs. We walk around and get the free stuff, see the exhibits, and the Lambs that are old enough try the tractor pull.
We have done some of the community education programs offered too. Recently Lamb 2 took a cooking class and we're hoping that enough kids sign up for Lamb 1 to take a cooking class too. In the past Lamb 1 and 2 have taken Spanish lessons.
Last summer Lamb 1 and 2 took swim lessons.
In the fall different towns have a town festival. We don't go to all the events they have scheduled, but we usually try to go to the parades.
There aren't the activities offered through the library or park board or church or other places that a big city would have, but there are some things to do here. I had to live here for awhile to find out what was offered. Sometimes we tried going to activities that we didn't really know what they were until we tried them. If we move from here I would be very sad for the Lambs to miss the youth fishing day and some of the other activities that we try to attend each year. I learned that instead of complaining about what I don't have in this rural area, to be thankful for what we do have.
I have more to post about being a mom with young kids in a rural area, so I will continue this post tomorrow.