Welcome to Illinois. Welcome to the weather, it’s fickle and untrustworthy.
A rush of change (Hey, it was 90 degrees with sky-so-blue! Where did this rain come from?) can be purifying and meaningful and I guess that’s the start of the story I share today. My family and I are on the settled side of a move from suburban Chicago (you’ve heard of the White Sox, the big lake and the big tower) to a small town in Central Illinois. My path is a circle, I suppose, because I am from this area originally, but my husband is from Chicago. While a state-spanning move might not seem like a big deal, it is for our family because we’ve made a lot of changes, most of them very refreshing (though we miss our family and friends in Chicagoland). I’m a Midwesterner, part and parcel.
What language(s) do you speak?
English. I’ve got French and some Spanish in my database too. Many of my fiction characters are French, so they are more fluent than I am!
When did you first become a mother?
Eight years ago. Light, new-winter snow was on the ground and my husband swept the steps again and again before it was time to take off for the hospital. Chicago was decorated for Christmas and the drive was lovely. Not rushed, not panicked.
That little baby is now big brother to two. All brilliant and creative. If you want to talk of blessings, I’ve been graced with three.
Are you a stay-at-home-mom or do you work?
I’m at home, these days. Before our move I worked in downtown Chicago (19th floor, overlooking the river). Now, I’m home with my family and my words and some meaningful work.
Why do you write/blog?
I’ve always written fiction, and over the last couple of years I took to blogging. I created my blog (jillbarth.wordpress.com) to house my fiction “resume” and to be a creative outlet. I also began blogging for Elephant Journal because I have a crush on the content and their message of mindful living. Blogging connects writer and reader much more quickly than traditional fiction, and it fills an almost immediate urge to write and publish. Fiction, God-love-it, isn’t like that. My characters sit in my head and worry their worries and love their loves and drink their wine and wait. But, that’s why I write, to give walking-legs to the folks that spin like dervishes in my brain.
How would you say you are different from other mothers?
Oh man. I’m not sure I like this question. Trying to come up with an answer I found myself slumped over the keyboard with my head in my hands. Thinking. Computing. Different? The same? What does that mean? I’m on a search for my Zen (no, not the kind found in a bottle of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, though I’ve indulged and found a measure of Zen there) of parenthood. I’m on a hunt for ways to lead my kids through life and help them make solid decisions, remain calm and avoid monkey mind. I want my kids to be creative and distinct and proud. I try to have a sense of humor when dealing with mishaps and a sense of calm when dealing with everything else. I love my kids very much, which is the basis for nearly all of my choices. I love my husband, too, and hope this seeps and slides into our family time. This family is a safe, loving and fun place for my little folks; I won’t have it any other way.
What do you view as the challenges of raising a child in today’s world?
Americans in particular have done an excellent job providing for our children, but in that effort we’ve found indulgence and excess. It is tempting to feel that if we aren’t capturing or promoting the biggest and best for our kids, we’ve failed. Ok, so there isn’t a biggest. Isn’t a best. I’ve found it to be challenging, for sure. I’ve got three kids that are very different, and I’m finding that it’s also key to recognize each child’s roots and blooms rather than trying to grow them all the same way. Again, there is no best.
Maybe the biggest challenge for me, however, is letting them stand on their own feet. Packing one’s own lunch and making one’s own little bed isn’t only helpful to the family, but it builds those roots and blooms so kids know how to work it in the big world. There is beauty and wisdom to be gained when things aren’t fair or aren’t easy. It’s a challenge to allow my children to uncover that wisdom through their own journey without trying to pad the way.
How did you find World Mom’s Blog?
World Mom Blog’s very own Third Eye Mom posted on her own blog a piece on Mt. Fitz Roy. The topic interests me, Nicole’s writing grabbed me, and I poked around on her blog which led me to her work with World Mom’s Blog.
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Jill Barth.
The photograph associated with this post is credited to the author.
Jill Barth lives in Illinois with her husband and three kids. She reminds you to breathe. She is a freelance writer and consultant. Also, she is the green content Team Leader and columnist at elephantjournal.com and reads fiction for Delmarva Review. Jill's writing can be found on her blog, Small Things Honored.