Shawnda Foster - #AgMoms
We're celebrating the moms in agriculture.
We interviewed 10 #AGMOMS. Each were asked 5 questions. Our goal? To inspire long-time mothers, new mothers, and aspiring mothers who feel overwhelmed, over worked, or moms who just need a little encouragement.
Mom #5: Shawnda Foster
Grandma, mom, farmer’s wife, cattleman’s wife, gin co-owner and operator, you wear a lot of hats. How do you manage your time?
Well, only by the grace of God have I been able to wear all these hats and somehow make it work. I always thought I would have little boys, since I was such a tom boy growing up with two older brothers, but God knew what He was doing in giving me girls to help with all I do. And their Dad, Jody, is the kindest hearted most patient man I know, and he is the perfect fit for raising our three daughter’s. I was trained well from my Mom and Dad, Byron and Charlotte Brock, who instilled in me a wonderful work ethic. In farm families a good work ethic is a must to wear all the hats we all must wear.
All three of your girls grew up in agriculture and now your grandkids are exposed to cattle and farming. Why did you find it important to teach your children about raising livestock and what was the best way for you to teach them?
For Jody and I farming and raising livestock is all we know, and we both knew we wanted our girls to be raised in that same environment we were raised in. It does take a lot of patience, persistence and consistency to raise your children working on the farm. The girls were like all other kids and sometimes didn’t want to go work out in the barn or go pick up bones on Christmas Eve on a new farm we had just purchased. Let me just tell you the story about picking up bones. Jody’s brother and sister in law, David & Dar Lee, and I had purchased a farm when the girls were around 11, 9 and 7, and one of the farms had a lot of cow bones on the place. Jody needed help getting them all cleaned up, so he took the girls to help him get that done early on Christmas Eve. I’m sure his original intention was to just work until lunch, but our little stubborn, strong willed Segayle kept arguing with Jody about wanting to quit and go home so they could get ready for the Christmas Eve festivities. Well, the more she hounded Jody about quitting, the longer he made them stay and keep working. Her sisters, Senee’ and SyAnn, kept telling her just to be quiet, so Dad would let them come home, but she kept on pleading her case. Needless to say, they stayed and worked right up until the time we needed to be somewhere that evening. I’m sure we were late, but the lesson learned was the work would continue until it was done or at least until you figured out to quiet arguing with Dad. The girls also at a very young age worked with their cattle in the barn. I have learned a lot since the girls have gotten older the little sneaky things they would do to get out of work and come in the house and watch TV, but for the most part those lessons learned from working with those cattle have taught them respect, loyalty, commitment, humility, gratitude, and I could go on and on and on. Being consistent and being out there with them while they work is the best way to teach them how to work. If they see you investing your time and energy into the same thing you are asking them to invest their time and energy in, it seems to make things work a little easier. The best compliment Jody and I can get from our girls is to listen to them talk about raising their own children the same way they were raised which is on the farm and in the barn. I just love that!!!!
What have been some of your favorite memories with your kids and/or grandkids on the farm, in the gin, or in the cow pastures?
Well I mentioned the bone story already which is a favorite memory, but another one that comes to mind was when Jody had us go pull weeds out of a corner of milo one Saturday morning. SyAnn had her friend, Tylee over to spend the night, so she got to enjoy this lovely work with us. This was in the summer, so it was already warm even in the morning. We all got out there and Jody told us we had to pull the weeds from the root so they wouldn’t grow back. By the time we finished I think all the girls we a little irritable with their Dad, even their Mom was a little irritable. But with all the irritability we got the job done and that’s what farm life teaches you. No matter what you always finish the job. Another memorable story was when Jody put Segayle on a tractor plowing when she broke her foot at church camp diving off the diving board. Senee’ and SyAnn had to continue working in the barn with the cattle, but Segayle couldn’t get her foot wet. She originally thought it would work out great, and she would be able to stay in the house and watch all her favorite TV shows. Well, Jody had a different plan for her. She was plowing with a big plow behind the tractor, and Jody had just checked on her. She got too close to a pivot pad and when she turned the plow, she pulled the pivot electrical box off completely. With sparks flying, we were just thankful she didn’t get electrocuted. She got on the radio immediately and called Jody and told him she had a little problem. He could see her from where he was, so he already knew he had a problem. But when he got to her, he was just thankful she was okay. He told her the box could be fixed. He put her right back on the plow and she once again finished the job. The most memorable moments for our family have been participating in stock shows and livestock judging through the years. Driving all over the country hauling cattle and our kids will be priceless memories for Jody and I. Breaking down in the middle of nowhere and having to ride in the back of a semi dragging our pickup and trailer behind us will be memories for a lifetime for both the girls and Jody and I. The friends my girls and us have made all over the country showing cattle and livestock judging is also another lifetime achievement you could never put a price tag on. Engraved in my mind forever will be Jody and I watching the girls showing ring side and the feelings that overcome you as you watch a girl and a heifer or steer become one. Pure love at its finest! Another fun job my girls had growing up was cleaning the gin office for a few years. My Mom was wanting to make some extra money and the girls wanted to help her, so they decided to clean the gin once a week. They each had their own jobs, but they always let my Mom clean the toilets. I paid my Mom then she would pay them a little for helping. They made a lot of fun memories cleaning the office with their Mamo.
What do you think your family would be doing if y'all didn't farm, raise cattle, or run the gin?
Easy answer for this one. I HAVE NO IDEA!!!
Can you share some advice for #AgMomsto better manage their time and make the most of everything on their plates?
Only do what you can handle. God gives us all talents in this life and some Moms can manage and handle more on their plates than others. Never compare yourself to anyone else and do the things that make a difference in your own family’s lives. If it’s worth your time then God will somehow open the doors and give you the time to make it all happen. The best advice is to savor all the moments and don’t sweat the small stuff.
Stay tuned for the next #AGMOM interview!