Weeks ago, I was starting to think about Mother's Day and what I would do on this blog to celebrate it. I had the wonderful photo shoot with Charliee Presley, which I loved and you can read about here but I knew I wanted to do more. I knew I wanted to hear from a seasoned mothering expert. I knew I didn't want the focus to be me on myself but on the ones who have gone before. Who would I interview for Every Woman Project on such a special occasion? It took longer than I'd like to admit but it eventually clicked - who better than my own mum? Norma Alosi. Wife, mother, self-employed boss lady, pastor and now grandmother. Someone as nurturing as she is strong. Always authentic and never lacking in wisdom and a healthy dose of gumption.
I'll be honest, I thought it would be a hard sell. Not the story of course, but getting mum to agree to being interviewed. You see, as gutsy, loving and energetic as she is, she is not one for the limelight. She doesn't like attention and will always put herself last. I guess that's how she raised four individual, happy and strong children.
You'll be glad to hear she came to the party and agreed to be interviewed, although I couldn't get her to agree to a video interview (did I mention she doesn't like the limelight?). I wish it were recorded though because there were so many bits that you can't capture with words. It was emotional for sure and just nice to glean from the woman who raised me, especially now that I have my own kids. We laughed and we cried. So I guess this is like my ode to her this Mother's Day. One that I get to share with you. The advice in here is golden and so is my mum.
Describe yourself in three words:
Energetic, caring and honest. Can I say one more? Straightforward.
Mum, that means the same thing as honest. (Her friend Irene pipes up in the background - "definitely straightforward!") Haha, ok I'll add that too.
So first question, growing up, did you ever think you would have a big family? (I am one of four - mum had two boys and two girls)
I've often thought about that question because I don't think I gave it much thought growing up. But in saying that, I always loved babies and took care of my dolls. Growing up, I suppose it was always there and I came from a big family (mum is one of six siblings) and loved being a part of that, so, I suppose I always anticipated having a big family.
What was the best part about raising us...raising four children?
The best part? Oh! So many things! But what really stands out was how individual my four little beings were in the one family. I experienced four very different personalities with different interests and different talents. There really was NEVER a dull moment. I used to say to your dad 'we have free entertainment all day, every day.'
I loved watching you all love one another, defend each other, compete with each other, fight with each other. I loved that our house was always full and noisy. As hard as some days were, there was never a day that I regretted having a big family. I always knew that if God had given me a big family, he would give me the ability and the means to raise you.
What is one of the biggest lessons or a piece of advice you can share with young mums:
I learnt so much along the way, made a lot of mistakes along the way as well. There are so many things I could pass on from my past experiences but one that stands out the most is this - babies and children are very resilient. For example, we as parents get things wrong. We say the wrong things, do the wrong things. We can't always get to the soccer game, forget to feed them at the right time etc. But...things will be ok. Relax. They'll forget and they'll still love you. They need to see a strong, loving and nurturing mother who loves them unconditionally.
You were home with us but you also managed to work and were involved in ministry - so, how did you do it?
Each season, I tackled head-on. I've always been that way. I always worked, that was always something I had to do. I'm very organised so I always tried to be extra organised with you all. Made lunches at night, homework in the car some days on the way to training. Do what you need to do in whatever the season throws at you. You need to organise yourself the night before. As a parent, always stay up an hour after they go to bed and wake up an hour before they wake up. It's the best way to get things done when you've got a lot on your plate.
Also, a good friend in your life who is at the same pace as you really helps. What I was facing as a parent was different to what my mum faced and it's the same for you so having friends and family around definitely helps.
What was the hardest season in your motherhood journey:
There were some tough seasons for sure. I almost didn't know how to answer this.
The hardest one was when my own mum was in hospital. I had four kids, we were moving house and I was trying to come to terms with the fact that... it was just such a tough time (she stops here and by this stage, we're both crying. This is the time when my mum lost her own mother).
I found that really hard. Spending so much time at the hospital and then coming home and trying to feed my kids and not let you all know that anything was going on. We tried to keep a stable home but at the same time, being torn between staying at the hospital and being home with my children. It was a really tough season to go through. A tough season to watch my own dad go through - to see him lose his best friend and his life partner. It was tough to see my sisters go through. It was tough but we got through it. As a family, we got through it.
Your dad was wonderful, he would come home from work and take over so I could spend time at the hospital. It was a hard season but God graced me through it. There are some things that I don't even recall. You just get through it. Did you even notice what was going on? (I answer that we had no idea). It was tough losing my mum at such a young age (mum was only 35 and I was 12).
It was just a hard time. Ok enough of that one, next!
Tell us about your best season in life so far:
So many! It's so hard. I'm blessed to have already seen some of my dreams already come to pass. I've travelled to places that I thought I would never get to. I've built my dream home, had beautiful children and I've got three grandchildren. One of the happiest times is when I met my first grandson. That was an amazing feeling.
Describe the feeling of being a grandmother:
Being a grandmother is like no other feeling. I can't liken it to anything else. It's like feeling the love you have when you first become a parent without the added responsibility. I love having grand babies. We're at a different stage in our life so we can indulge in that love a bit more and with your own kids, you have that responsibility as well. It's just the best. You still worry about them of course but it's different.
Hopes and dreams for the future:
I'm not a big visionary person. As things come, I enjoy them. Sometimes I struggle with the fact I don't have visions for what's ahead but I just don't. I'm such a family person so I just want to see all my children established in their own homes, happy in their jobs and then I can relax. That's my concern.
I'd still love to travel a little bit more. That's what my husband and I love to do together.
I'd also love to see church get to where it needs to be. One of the biggest things in our life is to see Living Grace become the church that God intends it to be. We want to see the vision we have for it come to pass.
A few of your favourite things:
Food is definitely one of my favourite things.
Hanging out with good friends. I only have a few close friends but I love to hang with them.
Hanging out with my children and grandchildren and having a crazy life with them.