Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Meet a M.O.M. Tuesday: Laura Vosika

Today's interview features Laura Vosika, a musician, author, and mother of nine.  I've known her since I was pregnant with my twins and I'm grateful for the chance to introduce her to you.  In addition to being a mother of nine, she is also a musician and author.  You can learn more about her on her website -- www.bluebellstrilogy.com  or her facebook author page, www.facebook.com/laura.vosika.author
So tell us about your kids -- what are their ages and gender? 
I have 7 boys and 2 girls, from ages 23 down to 7.  The girls are among the oldest four, being 21 and 17.

You have kids who are entering adulthood. For many of us, that's foreign territory. What do you hope that you've taught your kids as they leave your home?
I hope I've taught them to be kind to others and the value of following their faith, of having something larger than themselves in their lives, of thinking about and giving to others.

Many mothers of large families get asked, "So are you Mormon or Catholic?" In your case and mine, the answer is "yes." How does your faith as a Catholic influence your mothering? What part did your faith play in deciding to have a large family?
Yes, I'd love to defy the stereotype, but, in this case, the shoe fits.  I'm Catholic.  I decided to live by the teaching of my faith, which by the way, is to be open to children, not to 'have as many children as you can,' as I've heard some people express.  Voila!  Nine children.  It's not what I'd planned, but I've often told my children I'm glad things went according to God's plan, not mine, as I am very happy with my children and feel God's plan was far better than what I'd imagined.  I'm humbled and grateful for my younger children, who would not exist had my dear friend Micki not talked to me about living the faith I claimed to follow.
How does my faith influence my mothering?  Partly in trust.  Faith grows when you trust, and see the results over and over.  There have been times I had no idea how I'd get through something...and an answer always sprang up. 
I'd also say in that I see each child, not as 'mine,' but as a child of God, entrusted to my care.  I stress the word 'entrusted.'  This is God's child, whom He loves dearly.  It is easy, as a parent, to fall into wanting our children to reflect well on us.  Let's face it, when they do great things, people praise us.  When they act up, people criticize us and talk behind our backs.  It makes it easy to fall into the trap of being critical and angry, rather than teaching with love, rather than seeing the whole life of this child instead of just this one frustrating moment.  It makes it easy to forget that our words can be deeply cutting to a young child and impact them, sometimes, long past when we ourselves remember even saying them.  

What are your favorite parts about having a large family?
Just about everything, really.  I like the laughter; I like seeing how the kids interact, how they form friendships, how the older ones take the younger ones under their wing and the younger ones blossom in the love of the older ones.  I like the energy.  I love seeing how different each child is--even the 'identical' twins.  I get a kick out of people's reactions when they learn about my family, not only how many there are, but how many boys.  I like seeing them grow up and fly out on their own with confidence.  I really like the fact that, having experienced how fast the older ones grew up, I'm able to appreciate and savor the sometimes difficult moments of the younger years, with my younger children, in a way I don't believe would otherwise have been possible.

What are your least favorite things about having a large family?
It's hard to stay on top of cleaning and organization.

In addition to mothering your family, you are an accomplished musician, music teacher, and author. How have you fit in the time for your own pursuits? How do you balance your own needs with those of your family?
I think my answer is much like your own, on your website: we make time for what really matters.  But to do that, I multi-task--for instance, I get a lot of picking up done while I'm on the phone.  I listen to language CDs while I drive.  I use the small pieces of time throughout the day, meaning I'll use the three minutes my coffee is heating in the microwave to wash some dishes or throw in a load of laundry.  I use the few minutes my laptop is booting up in the morning to run through scales on piano.  While water is boiling for dinner, I help the kids with homework or go back and forth between the stove and harp (which is in the dining room right next to the kitchen), running through a hard passage a few times, stirring, and back to running through the passage.
The kids help out with chores, and I've learned that it's okay to let some things slide.  The house won't be perfect while it's full of young children.  That's okay.  As a mother, I think we need to remember our children come first, but there's also that idea of putting on our own oxygen mask first.  If we're worn out and miserable with serving everyone hand and foot for years on end...how will our children remember their childhood?  Have we really served them if all they remember is unhappiness?

 If you could go back ten to twenty years and whisper encouragement to yourself at a younger age and different stage of life, what would you say to that young mom?

I'd probably say, Enjoy them while they're young, and This, too, shall pass.  It's hard to know, as a young mother, that you really will get to sleep through the night again...some day.  It feels like it'll never happen.  I'd tell myself to write down more of the stories.  I love it now when my kids tell me things they remember, things they did that got me angry--yes, they're usually laughing about it!  Things they did that make us laugh now.  Funny things they said.  But I wonder how many wonderful moments I've forgotten.  Write the stories down.


An Ordinary Mom said...

Very wise words! Thanks for taking the time to share what you have learned from mothering nine. (I grew up in a family of 9 kids, 7 girls and 2 boys!)

Dina said...

I met Laura when I visited MN quite a few years ago. It was fun to read her perspective now that her children are getting older.

Amy said...

I have faith that I will sleep through the night again... some year. :)

Thanks for your remarks on allowing your life to follow God's plan. I love what you said about His plan being far better than what you'd imagined.

Greg "n" Laura said...

Love your thoughts and comments! We just had our 8th, so I can relate to quite a few of your comments. I would LOVE to be a musician and author. I'm in awe that you can do all that needs to be done to run a household with 9 kids and find the time to work on your own amazing hobbies. I plink around on the piano and sometimes give ideas to my little sis (who is an aspiring author), but would love to someday excel. Kudos to you for all you do and your wonderful example! I wish I could know you in person.

Julie said...

So glad I read this today! I love how you fit things in as you mulit-task throughout your day. Your words:
"God's plan was far better than what I'd imagined" touched my heart, and I completely agree!

jenifer said...

Great post! Great family! I get that all the time-- are you catholic or mormon?... And, really? Really do you really get a time where you're not tired? Or does it just turn into late nights talking with teens?

Shawna said...

Great post! And, I love that this mom is a Catholic mom, as am I (of 5 little ones 6 and under). I love reading this blog, Christina, but I have to admit that I always feel a little out of place because I'm not Mormom, like I'm lurking where I shouldn't be ;) But, the truth is, Catholics and Mormoms (and all Christians for that matter!) share the same core family values, and it's great to hear from another faith on this blog :)

Christina, I hope your health situation evens itself out! I truly gain so much from this blog and your wisdom on large families. You have a way with words and seem to always have a message that resonates with me. So, thanks always sharing both your struggles and your triumphs with the lurking public, like me ;)

The World of the Blue Bells Trilogy said...

Hello, Christina, and all who stopped by to leave comments--

First, I'm sorry it took so long to get back. It seems it's a season of emergencies lately, be that appliances or children or cars or home repairs that need immediate attention.

Dina, it's great to hear from you! I enjoyed that visit so much, and I think my youngest wasn't even born. We will never forget the wonderful taco soup your parents brought when he was. We still make it for ourselves.

Jenifer, I get bursts of energy and then I get bursts of...must...take...nap!

Thank you all for your kind words!

The World of the Blue Bells Trilogy said...

And Christina...thanks for having me!


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