Jan is a mom of 2, living the (hobby) farm life in Virginia! She homeschools her 13 year old daughter and her 11 year old son, and she works part-time outside the home. She has more recently worked as a concrete finisher in a shop setting, but now her husband is "starting up his own business (again) and I'm his helper. That's been consuming more of my time lately and I'm still learning to juggle it all! I also have a part time business selling homemade soap. (Mostly though, that one just helps pay for the hobby and is more of a trial run than anything.)"
Jan was a self-described shy, unpopular, nerdy kid in school, and claims that she hasn't really progressed much over the years. "I'm scattered and random and have a hard time keeping up with the laundry and dishes just like everyone else. I'm still waiting on the whole 'with age comes wisdom' thing to kick in, because I still do some seriously dumb things. In short, I am very imperfect and sometimes people get the impression from my blog that I am always creative and have things together. I'm not and I don't, so please don't think that!"
While Jan has been blogging at The Nerdy Farm Wife for only a few months, she tells me that, years ago, she had "a tiny homeschool blog that about five people read. Two of those were my sisters and one was my mom!" Currently, she blogs a lot about how she creates things with various herbs and flowers growing around her and recipes that she's tried and like. Every so often, she shares a homeschool project. Aside form her blog, you can check out some of the awesome things she makes, and even purchase some in her etsy shop. You can also keep updated through her Facebook page, where she recently posted a picture of all of the wonderful pies and preserves that she made from her recent harvest. (I know, because I follow her and I was a tad bit jealous!)
Here are a few questions for Jan before we get to the 10 Super Questions:
What's your parenting style? I'm a pretty laid back parent. I try not to get worked up over little things and I pick my battles. I think a lot of grownups automatically tell a child no, or order a kid to do something without even stopping to think... why? (or why not?) I try to remember WAY back when I was kid and the little things that stuck with me. Kids have feelings too and I think we should remember and respect that.
Who has been the biggest influence on your life? What lessons did that person teach you? Probably my mom. She never yelled, she always tried to make each one of us feel special, she took us on nature walks just like her dad did for her when she was a child, and she read our favorite books to us over and over and over.
What do you wish you knew before you became a parent? How much the money changes once you have kids. I never blinked at paying full price for things or eating out at steakhouses several times a week or buying stacks of brand new books. I should have saved more and frittered less!
What is your most proud moment as a parent? I love how my son rushes ahead to open the door for other people without me even telling him to. I love how my daughter does little things like tries to sneak her money in my wallet or leaves "mystery packages" with paint or markers and paper at the front door for my son when he is especially bored.
10 Super Questions
1. How is your family traditional? How is it untraditional? We have the traditional one man, one woman, two kids kind of deal going on, but otherwise: we live on a hobby farm, my kids are homeschooled, they stay up late and sleep in late so we can have more family time together, and we're not on this endless hamster wheel of running from one activity to another. I think we have a more relaxed way of life than most and I'm very thankful for that.
2. Does your actual parenting style differ from what you thought it would be before you had children? If so, how? Definitely. I was a preschool teacher before I had children and was going to have my children in preschool starting at age two! They were also going to be involved in ballet and piano and karate and art classes and French lessons...... then I fell into the whole attachment parenting thing and realized that I just couldn't bear the thought of sending my little people off for part of the day. It just gradually fell into homeschooling (though they did attend a year or two of traditional schooling.)
3. What was the best mothering advice you ever received and who gave it to you? My mom told me that she wished she would have done less ironing and more hanging out with us when we were young. I still think of her as an amazing mother, but try to remember that advice. It's also a great excuse as to why I never iron. ;)
4. What was the most surprising thing you learned in the first year? How much breastfed babies poop. (I can say "poop" here, right?)
5. Has your view of the world changed since you became a parent? If so, how? Absolutely. It's a scarier place. The people seem crazier and I am very conscious wherever I am of my surroundings and who is interacting with my kids. There are only about five people I trust enough to leave my kids with for any length of time. I'm probably over-suspicious, I know, but better that than later regret is my theory.
6. What is something that you have learned about yourself since becoming a parent? That I have a higher tolerance for dirt & poo than I did pre-kids.
7. What about your child(ren) reminds you of yourself? My son has my optimism; my daughter has my streak of selective contrariness. They're both way cooler than me though.
10. What annoys you most about other mothers? I think we all have our quirks and our failures as a mother - I know I sure do! But, since you asked.... if I had to say one thing, it'd be the kinds of moms that are excited when school starts back up or when summer camp starts or the ones that are constantly dumping their kids on other people so they can go off and do their own thing. Becoming a mom means putting your desires on the back burner for a while and giving up most of your personal time. It means taking your kids with you to the grocery store and the doctor and all sorts of places, even if it's inconvenient. It means that when they're sick, you have to drop your plans and take care of them. If you can't handle that responsibility, then don't have children in the first place.
Thank you so much, Jan, for your insightful and honest answers!I really enjoyed this interview and I learned that we have a lot in common!