May 10, 2020
The Many Roles of Mom
Jaimie Appel grew up on her family’s farm in Endicott, Washington, where she helped her father from the day her feet could reach the pedals.
“It turns out old phone books and lunch boxes can be used as seat extenders, and you can start learning to drive, at, well, I better not give you a number since my mother will most likely be reading this,” Jaimie said.
After years of working alongside her father, he gave her some advice that led her to meeting her husband Mark.
“My grandfather told my dad that he couldn't just work for him his whole life,” Jaimie said. “He needed to work for someone else so he could learn different things and for that reason, I began driving the combine for my brother one summer. It just so happened to be the summer my now husband and I started hanging out. And that may have been the reason we were working seven days a week, long hours, for 31 days straight.”
Becoming a Mother
Today, Jaimie still helps feed cows and swatch hay every now and then, but she’s taken up some new roles.
“I am currently a stay-at-home mom raising our two young children,” Jaimie said. “I also work as a chronic care case manager for the local clinics.
Her two children, 3-year-old Raegan Mae and 1.5-year-old Harlan James are the light of her world, but motherhood did not come as easily as she expected.
“Becoming a mom for the first time was unlike anything I've ever experienced before. I read all the books, I was even working as a medical assistant for an OB provider and I thought I may have an idea,” Jaimie said. “I was wrong.
“There are so many things people don't tell you. I'm not sure if it’s because they don't want to scare or overwhelm you, or because they forget,” Jaimie said. “Having my daughter almost killed us both, literally. It was not a birth experience people dream about. I know it was very hard on my husband and mom to watch as well. Luckily, we made it and my life hasn't been the same since. Our children are our whole world and make us proud in so many ways.”
Lessons of a Farm Kid
“Growing up as a farm kid there are things, traits that can’t be replaced that are instilled into you from a very young age,” Jaimie said. “They shape us into who we are, and make us unlike those who were not a farm kid.
“I am so thankful for this and that my kids get to be a part of this as well,” Jaimie said. “Farming teaches you that hard work and determination can lead to growth and prosperity. You can't give up if things get hard, and things will get hard. If you don't know how something works, you will figure it out. You won’t get a textbook with line-by-line instructions. You'll get told by your dad, ‘You'll figure it out honey, I'll meet you at the other field,’ and you'll do just that. And you'll be stronger because of it.”
A Balancing Act
When it comes to balancing family life, working and raising her children, Jaimie manages to do it all.
“I often wonder how I can balance everything,” Jaimie said. “It all seems like so much sometimes, yet somehow we just make it happen. I guess it goes back to what you learn as a farm kid growing up. Hard work and determination will get you a long way and there isn’t really a choice of ‘Oh, I just won’t do this today.’ You have to do it, and that's that. Kids and cows both need to be fed, every single day. Just remember it will all work out, and you can accomplish anything you put your mind to.”
The Challenges and Unknowns of Motherhood
“My biggest challenge is wanting to provide one-on-one engagement and time to both of my kids, while still doing a great job at work, and getting all the other things done that come with being at home on a farm,” Jaimie said. “People hear that you work from home, and they think it’s somehow easier, but it’s not. I've done both.
“There's just a lot to get done when you are home. I think a lot more people are realizing this with the current COVID-19 situation. Working from home is not as easy as it sounds. Things are hard for everyone right now. I am a social person and extremely close to my family. I miss seeing the people I love. Easter may have been the hardest day for me. I haven't not been with my family for Easter since I've been alive. It’s times like those that are difficult to handle.
“Otherwise, our day to day has not changed much. No, we don't get to go to the park, the local coffee shop or library for story time, but living on a farm you learn to be creative. We still have lots of room to roam. The kids have been practicing their hay hauling skills, and there may have been a couple driving lessons here and there. ‘Social distancing’ is pretty normal to farm kids. The tractors are still in the field and Daddy is still going to work. We are so thankful he is ‘farm exempt’ and still able to work.”
“The biggest reward in becoming a mom is watching your kids grow, learn and become these incredible little human beings,” Jaimie said. “Watching them learn and listen from the things you teach them. Hearing our daughter when she was 2.5 say every night after supper, ‘Please, may I be excused,’ after she has finished her meal. Hearing both kids say please and thank you. For truly being appreciative of the things they have. Lighting up when they see loved ones, and seeing how much they love their family. That is the biggest reward to me.”
Best Advice for Other Moms
“The days can seem like they last forever sometimes, but the years pass by so quick, you want to make sure you don't blink and miss anything. We will not get this time back,” Jaimie said. “Try to keep that in mind at every moment. When you have 10 things going at once and your child asks you how to do something. Drop those 10 things and show them. They will remember you being there for them, teaching them and loving them. It will also show them that they are more important to you than those 10 other things.
“When you haven't heard from your mom or dad in a couple days, call them. Always take the time to call them and see how they are doing. Always go visit your grandma or grandpa or call them if you're living in a global pandemic and can't go visit them. You’ll one day realize those little visits or calls is what makes them the happiest in the world.
“Make sure to provide yourself with some sort of self-care. Even if that means a hot shower and a few minutes alone at the end of the day. Or perhaps, a beer or two. If you haven't yet, try out that wheat beer, it’s pretty tasty! You only live once, right?