Mother’s Day is this Sunday
By Diego Flammini
As Mother’s Day is on Sunday (don’t forget!), Farms.com spoke with two moms from Western Canada’s ag community about motherhood, its hardest parts and how being a mom has changed them.
Jill Verwey (JV), vice president of Keystone Agricultural Producers, and her husband Ray raise crops, beef and dairy cattle near Portage la Prairie, Man. The couple have four children: Rachael (25), Lindsay (23), Brice (21) and Randi (19).
Bev Pirio (BP) and her husband Rich raise their two sons, Brett (30) and Casey (28) on the family’s mixed grain operation south of Regina, Sask.
Farms.com: Describe where you were when you found out you were pregnant for the first time. How did it make you feel?
JV: I was working full-time as a commercial lender at TD Bank and we were very excited to be starting our family.
BP: We saw a fertility doctor who said I’d be pregnant by Christmas and I was. We were on a ski trip in Alberta. I got sick on the trip and that’s how I found out.
Farms.com: Describe the feeling of holding your newborn for the first time.
JV: Our first child was born after about 72 hours of labour, inducing and an emergency C-section, so when I first held Rachael I was probably pretty tired and happy (the delivery) was over with but so excited to have her in my arms.
BP: It was life-affirming. Looking down at my son I realized this is why I’m here and this is my job forever.
Farms.com: What’s the best part about being a farm mom?
JV: Having the farm lifestyle and being able to instill lifelong values in my children.
BP: You get to see your kids succeed at things at a much younger age and see their potential so young.
Ray and Jill Verwey and their children. From left: Lindsay, Randi, Brice and Rachael.
Farms.com: What’s the hardest part about motherhood?
JV: Worrying about your kids’ wellbeing. When they were little you’re up in the middle of the night if they’re unwell. Then as they get older and have the freedom to go out, as a mother you wake up in the middle of the night wondering where they are. When they come home and are under your roof is when you can finally have a good night’s sleep.
BP: Being a mama bear to your kids while having a balance with your husband so you’re a team and can work together while respecting different ways of parenting.
Farms.com: What’s a misconception people have about motherhood?
JV: That looking at a picture of a smiling and happy family means it’s easy.
BP: People believe they’re going to do things a certain way.
Farms.com: What’s your mom’s name? What are some special memories you have with her?
JV: My mom’s name is Bernice and she worked as a registered nurse. I was involved in a lot of sports when I was going through school and she was always there to cheer me on. We also spent a lot of time in the garden together.
BP: My mom’s name is Karen and she instilled in me an absolute love and addiction for baking and gardening.
Farms.com: What’s one lesson you learned from your mom you try to teach your kids?
JV: Respect your elders and peers. I got into a lot of trouble showing my independence and talking back to my mom. She instilled in me to earn the respect of your community and I’ve tried to pass that on to my kids.
BP: Always say ‘I love you.’
Farms.com: How has motherhood changed you?
JV: You learn to step back and make personal sacrifices. I used to take part in curling and some other outside activities on my own but put those on hold while I was raising my kids. Now that they’re all grown, I find I’m doing more of those again.
BP: You rarely think about yourself anymore. Even with my sons as grown adults I always think about how something is going to affect them.
Farms.com: What’s one thing all moms have in common no matter where they are in the world?
JV: The sense of being needed. Whether something is lost in the laundry or it’s a hug at the end of the day, you’re the one they come to.
BP: We are tired. Everybody has to balance work life and home life and it’s a lot of work.
Farms.com: What’s one piece of advice you have for new moms?
JV: Don’t get hung up on perfection and just enjoy your kids. You have to be willing to have a messy house and flexibility in your day because kids throw a wrench into whatever plans you thought you had.
BP: Do it your way.