How I’d Fare as a Pioneer Woman

Touring an old homestead up in the Sierras, the thought came to me, as it often had before, that I don’t know if I’d have survived as a pioneer woman. There are things I love, like indoor plumbing, electric stoves, and minivans that make my life incredibly convenient. And there are things I hate, like being cold and having to build a fire to stay warm, pumping water from a well, having to churn my own butter, and forcing my kids to use homemade toothpaste that lead me to believe the pioneering life isn’t something I would have survived.   

I am in awe of women who held it together in the wilderness, in the dark, in the cold; who raised families through so much work and dedication and fortitude. As I pondered what my fate would have been like as one of these women, the thought occurred to me that, as women, we just do it. 

In simple terms, I would have just done it. There are few times life goes as planned, and there are few days that womanhood or motherhood doesn’t throw something at us that that we weren’t anticipating. Expectations always come and go and reality is always there to confront us, daily, weekly, yearly….

I often have people say, “I don’t know how you work full time with three kids. You must be exhausted.” My reply is always, “You just do it.” That’s what life  has presented me with and its not exactly optional. Life presents each of us with unique challenges and circumstances and we don’t have the choice to say, “Never mind, I’ll choose another life instead.”  There are circumstances that are unavoidable and roads that must be traveled, and so we dig in and do it. The only option is to do it. 

Maybe your challenge isn’t stocking firewood to keep your family warm through a bleak winter. Maybe it’s not scrubbing homemade clothes on a washboard with raw fingers and homemade soap. Maybe your challenge is a sick child, or an exhausting schedule, or a failing marriage or a chronic illness…. But you do it. 

Day after day and step after step, we continue. Because we’re up to the challenge of whatever life throws at us. Because we have a strength to endure, even when faced with what may seem impossible. Because we’re motivated by love and would go to the ends of the earth in a heartbeat for those we care for. 

So there’s a pioneering woman in all of us. A woman who does it. And I know how I’d fare on my homestead. Through the cooking and the cleaning and the washing and the uncertainty and the darkness and the solitude and the quiet, I’d do it. I’d survive in that life. Because we’re strong. There’s the same spirit of dedication and survival in each of us that spurned on these amazing women of the past. It makes me proud to be a woman! 


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World Breastfeeding Week 2015 Focuses on Working Mothers

 Breastfeeding isn’t always easy. Being a working mom is definitely not easy. I’ve been a breastfeeding working mom for many, many years (not all for the same child), so supporting other working moms who breastfeed is an issue that is, quite literally, very close to my heart.  I’m completely overjoyed that WABA has made breastfeeding in the workplace the focus of the 2015 World Breastfeeding Week (August 1 – 7), with their “Let’s Make it Work!” tag line. 
There are many reasons moms return to work while still breastfeeding: some love their careers, some need to support their families, some have flexibility, others don’t. 

In the United States, most working moms return to work 6-12 weeks postpartum. With breastfeeding newly established, and the breastfeeding relationship ever-evolving, it’s no surprise that many moms give up on breastfeeding soon after returning to their jobs. 

We can all agree that breastfeeding moms who return to work should have the support, encouragement and accommodation necessary to continue to breastfeed and express milk for their babies (or toddlers!) if they choose to while working. World Breastfeeding Week exists to support, educate and inform individuals, social organizations, employers, governments and policy-makers about the importance of supporting the rights of breastfeeding mothers everywhere. 

In honor of World Breastfeeding Week 2015, I’ll be publishing a series of posts this week about my own experiences as a working mom while nursing my little ones. It’s at times a trial, often an adventure, frequently exhausting, but ultimately rewarding. 

I’d love to hear other moms’ experiences with going back to work while still nursing too. Encouragement goes a long way! 
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