Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 14
By Diego Flammini
With Mother’s Day this weekend (don’t forget!), Farms.com connected with two moms in the U.S. ag industry to participate in a Q&A about motherhood, its challenges and advice for new moms.
Katy Schultz (KS) runs a dairy and cash crop farm in Fox Lake, Wis. She has a nine-year-old daughter named Londyn.
“She is wildly independent and so compassionate,” Schultz said of her daughter. “She’s an animal lover. Anything she can pour her love into that’s living and breathing and furry, she’s going to.”
In Glenwood, Minn., dairy and crop farmers Suzanne Vold (SV) and her husband Brad have three children: 23-year-old Anna, 19-year-old Erik, and Katy, who is 16.
“Anna is and always has been a perfectionist,” Vold said. “She’s a broadband analyst and has used her farm background in a unique way to say she understands what happens in rural communities.
“Erik, even when he was young, negotiated everything so I thought he was going to be a lawyer. He’s probably going to be a political science major. He follows current events with very detailed information and believes in equality for everyone.
“And Katy is into tennis, dance and choir. She is very energetic, and fiercely loyal and protective of family and friends.”
Farms.com: Describe where you were when you found out you were pregnant for the first time. How did it make you feel?
KS: It was Black Friday, so I’d just spent Thanksgiving with my family. My sister-in-law and I would go shopping the morning of Black Friday, but I just wasn’t feeling that well. I was shocked because we’d only just decided to start trying to have a family, and it happened very quickly. I ended up calling one of my real good friends who worked at a doctor’s office and grew up on a farm, to find out what I could and could not do on the farm now that I was pregnant.
SV: I can’t remember where I was. But I can tell you I was relieved. As soon as Brad and I got married, both sets of parents were ready to begin their next phases of lives as grandparents, though we weren’t ready to begin ours as parents. So now I didn’t have to worry about people asking me why we weren’t having children.
Farms.com: Describe the feeling of holding your newborn for the first time.
KS: I don’t think there’s a better feeling in the entire world. I just felt so connected to her for the entire pregnancy. I was able to take a deep breath and say here you are.
Katy Schultz and her daughter, Londyn.
SV: I was exhausted. I had 27-hours of labor and an emergency C-section with Anna. So, when I did ger to hold her, I was thankful she was alive and healthy. Erik and Katy were born via C-section as well.
Farms.com: What’s the best part about being a farm mom?
KS: I would say the flexibility. Family always comes first at our farm, and that includes our employees’ families too. So having the flexibility to make sure you don’t miss big events, or to just be there for your child if they’re having a bad day, is priceless.
SV: Working together as a family. And from a values perspective, they learned about life and death much sooner than I did. They learned that if we have a sick animal, we do everything we possibly can to save it, but there are times we have to let them go.
Farms.com: What’s the hardest part about motherhood?
KS: Mom guilt. It’s a real thing.
SV: Not living up to expectations about what a typical farm mom is. I don’t like to cook and I’m not a particularly good housekeeper.
Farms.com: What’s a misconception people have about motherhood?
KS: That asking for help is a sign of weakness. It’s actually such a sign of strength and maturity.
SV: That I will like the things that farm moms like.
Farms.com: What’s your mom’s name? What are some special memories you have with her?
KS: My mom’s name is Cheryl. Looking back, there was nothing she couldn’t do. She’s a real-life superhero.
SV: My mom’s name is Kay. She’s a retired librarian and she instilled a love of reading in me. She always taught me to read what I like.
Farms.com: What’s one lesson you learned from your mom you try to teach your kids?
KS: There’s nothing you can’t do, no matter your gender, where you came from or how old you are. As long as you set your mind to it, you can do it. And that gives kids the confidence to go after whatever they want.
SV: She taught me that life is mostly grey, it’s not always black and white.
Farms.com: How has motherhood changed you?
KS: Motherhood has made me very intentional with my time. Now that she’s in school, I have about four hours a day with her. I made a real effort to put my phone down, stop doing chores and to talk to her about her day and making the most out of every moment.
SV: It’s not just about me anymore. There are small humans that I’m responsible for in a way that is completely different than anything I’ve ever experienced.
The Vold family (Back: Katy, Brad and Anna. Front: Suzanne and Erik.)
Farms.com: What’s one thing all moms have in common no matter where they are in the world?
KS: We’re all a little crazy. Some of us just hide it better than others.
SV: We are expected to take care of others. We’re expected to be caregivers.
Farms.com: What’s one piece of advice you have for new moms?
KS: Have grace for yourself and for your kids. This is your very first time being a mom, and this is the very first time for the kid to be a kid. Neither of you have ever done this before.
SV: Don’t lose who you are in the wife/mother aura. You’re still an adult woman, and even though you have these kids to care for, you have to do things for yourself.
Farms.com wants to wish all moms a Happy Mother’s Day!