My niece, Ashley Parmely married my nephew, Eric Parmely on July 23, 2011. Since then, their happy family has grown to include four children, daughters, Reagan and Hattie were followed by son, Bowen, and most recently, daughter Maeve. These days, having four children is considered a large family, and many people would consider Ashley to be a supermom based solely of the number of children she has. I agree that with larger families, mom’s are supermoms, but coming from a family of five children, I don’t necessarily consider Eric and Ashley’s family to be overly large, and it is not the size of the family that makes me think of Ashley as a supermom.
There are, however, several other things that I think do qualify for supermom status. In years gone by, when people lived on homesteads, mothers juggled things that most of us don’t these days. These days, many mothers work outside the home, and their children spend their days in a daycare facility. Ashley, on the other hand, is stay at home mom, and while that isn’t unheard of either, it is a bit more unusual these days.
That still isn’t what makes me consider Ashley to be a modern day supermom, however. Eric and Ashley have lived in the country almost since they got married. Recently they bought a bigger place, because they wanted to be able to rise more animals. Eric works in the oilfield, and that leaves Ashley and the children they work of taking care of the animals. Don’t get me wrong, she doesn’t do it alone, because when Eric is home, he works very hard too, but Ashley loves her animals and love spending time with them. And this is where her supermom status comes in. It doesn’t matter if her youngest is too little to leave in the house, or to walk alongside “mommy” either, because Ashley has a backpack. The work must go on, and Ashley loves to do it anyway.
The day might find Ashley, baby on her back, moving hay, feeding animals, or mucking stalls. She has done this with all four babies, so she is a expert at working with the extra weight attached. She gives “baby weight” a whole new meaning. One might think that Ashley would be worn out and tired, and I suppose that at the end of the day, she is, but it never causes her to look tired or grouchy. Instead, all these babies…human and animal…put a smile on the supermom’s face, everyday. Today is Ashley’s birthday. Happy birthday Ashley!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My grandnephew, Bowen Parmely is a sweet little boy, who is the youngest of his parents three children, and their only son. That means that Bowen spends most of his days living in a largely female world, at least when his daddy, Eric Parmely isn’t home. Nevertheless, that does not mean anything, because Bowen’s mommy, Ashley Parmely, and his sisters, Reagan and Hattie are farm girls. They do all the things that farm girls do, from mucking the stalls, to feeding the animals, to stacking the hay, and any other things that need done on a farm. There is not much possibility of raising a sissy boy when he is being raised around tough women like his mom, and even his sisters, who are barely past toddler age themselves, and yet they are experienced farm girls.
Bowen’s upbringing has been a bit unusual in that while he couldn’t exactly help out on the farm, he could observe, and learn by doing so. As is typical for kids, work can look like fun…and can even seem like play. Kids like to mimic their parents, and younger siblings like to mimic older siblings, so just as his sisters learned the occupation of farming, so will Bowen. He has watched his sisters work with the animals, feeling somewhat cheated because he didn’t get to “play” too. Then, when his sisters were in school or otherwise occupied, his mommy would put Bowen in a backpack carrier, and they would go and do the work together. As I said, Bowen’s mommy is tough, and while everyone thought I was tough with a baby in a front pack and a baby in a backpack when I went shopping, looking at Ashley, I don’t think I was so tough. Carrying around a baby, who is growing as fast as Bowen has, while doing farm work is beyond tough, if you ask me.
As Bowen has grown, and learned to walk, he is becoming more of a help around the farm. Of course, he may not be as much help as his mommy and daddy would like, and certainly not as much help as he will be as he get older, but every good worker had to start with that first little job, then as they grew, so did their responsibilities. Bowen will become an amazing little farm boy as time goes on, because like his parents, he will learn to love that lifestyle. I have no doubt that Bowen will grow up to be as big a help on the farm as his older sisters have. He can’t help but turn out great with his parents training. Today is Bowen’s first birthday. Happy birthday Bowen!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Since time began, mothers have been trying to find a way to quiet a fussy baby, when there is work that needs to be done. Women have tried just about everything, probably even ear plugs in an effort to get some peace and quiet when they can’t just stop everything to hold the baby. From the need for peace, there came many inventions, such as the baby sling or the back/front pack, which we can credit to the Indians, who made one to hold their baby, or papoose. Yes, they have been modified but no one can claim the actual invention, except the Indians. This way of carrying your baby while you went about your daily chores has worked well for many a mother, myself included. With two daughters, 11 months apart in age, going to the store was hard, but with a front pack for my youngest, and a back pack for my oldest, I could go by myself to the store or anywhere else I wanted to go, and go I did. Those packs saved my days.
Of course, not all of our work can be easily done in a standing position. Scrubbing, making beds, and lots of other housework requires bending over…something that is difficult with a baby strapped to you. Cradles required someone to rock them, meaning that you have to be sitting. That is fine if you are reading or knitting, but doesn’t work very well if you need to be moving around. Something else would have to be done. Years ago, people used baby swings…of the outdoor version in an attempt to entertain and quiet their baby, but while that worked pretty well, and people could safely leave their babies outside for short amounts of time, it still didn’t work very well if the work that needed to be done, happened to be indoors. From the need to have a babysitter that could rock our babies to sleep, indoors, while we went about our work, came the invention of the modern wind up swing. Aw yes, necessity is the mother of invention.
Our favorite hiking destination is Harney Peak in the Black Hills of South Dakota. The first time we hiked up to the peak was in 1995, just a week after our youngest daughter, Amy and her husband, Travis got married. We had been planning the trip for a while, and were looking forward to relaxing and hiking in the hills. We really didn’t know much about where we were headed, except that it was a favorite destination of lots of people in the hills, and we knew where to find the trail head. We really thought that was enough. Little did we know!!
We had planned the hike for the third day of our trip, but found ourselves at the trail head the second day of the trip. We read the information on the sign telling about the trail, and as it said that Sylvan Lake was in the shadow of Harney Peak, we figured that it couldn’t be that far. So we decided not to wait until the next day…oh boy, were we wrong!!
Thankfully, it was September, and not the heat of a July day. We had jackets on and I was wearing a sweater. To make matters worse, I had my purse/planner, which was not light, and we didn’t have any water. We really thought we were going on a little walk. The hike actually took about 2 1/2 hours, each way…not bad considering our inexperience and my purse/planner!! That purse ended up weighing…oh, about 2 tons, by the time we got back down to the car. And, of course, you recall that we had no water. Thankfully there was a little snow on the ground!!
Nevertheless, despite the fact that we were not really in the greatest hiking condition, and all the other ways we simply were not prepared for this hike, we ended really loving the trail. We kept hoping that we would live to reach the end of the trail, and we were stunned at the people who had little kids on the hike…and the little kids didn’t seem to be having any trouble!! Of course, they did have water, so I suppose that helped.
When we reached the top…finally, the view was all we needed to get hooked on that trail. It is amazing up there. Still, we did not dare make that hike again for a number of years, even though we go to the Black Hills every year. I guess we were a little bit overwhelmed. When we finally took that hike again, we were much better prepared for the hike. I don’t take my purse anymore, for one thing. Now we take a backpack with lunch and a couple of 20 ounce bottles of water in it, to eat and drink at the top, because we know that it is 2 hours up and 2 hours down, and we like to spend about an hour at the top. We also have a water pack that holds about a 2 liter bottle of water, for the hike up and down, because we really can’t expect to be able to find snow when we go over the 4th of July week. Basically I guess I’m saying that while we will always love that hike, and we have gone up about 7 times now, we are a lot wiser about how to hike these days. I guess you just have to live and learn.