‘Mother’s Day is a day for many people to show their appreciation towards mothers and mother figures.’ Roberta Smith talked to three St Barnabas mothers: Pamela McKenzie, Christine Fokkens and Tania Wright.

Pamela: Mother of four, has 12 grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren. 

Christine: Christian has four children – 27 (married), 25 (living in Germany), 17 and 15 years. 

Tania: Tania has a baby daughter, Tessa, who is seven months. 

 Joys and Challenges

Pamela: I absolutely loved being a mother. I loved the school holidays when they were home – I’d been a primary school teacher. First two children were little when we were at St James’ parish and it was a busy life as a vicar’s wife as there was no parish office, so the vicarage fulfilled all functions. I was busy answering phones and seeing to callers at the door. I love being a grandmother and great grandmother. They’re all so different. Seeing aspects of different family members in them as they develop is exciting. 

Christine: The joys and the challenges are closely related. The joy is in seeing my children develop their own personality, lives, dreams and independence, and the challenge is in the deep desire to keep them close and safe at the same time. It is a juggle to keep the balance, of wanting them to fly but wanting to keep them close as well, a real conflict of emotion, the push-pull of being a parent. The main thing is to love them. It is important that my children know they can come to me any time. They may not keep in touch that often but know that they can make contact anytime when needed. My children are quite different from each other. They need different things at different times so that has been a huge learning curve.  

Tania: The joy of watching Tessa discover something new every day. Her eyes light up at every little thing and it makes you appreciate how beautiful life is. We tend to lose that appreciation as we get older. You think you know love and then you have a child and realise its full meaning. Now that she’s more aware of the world around her, she’s also becoming more cautious of new people and things, and she finds her comfort and safety in me (which can be challenging in the early hours of the morning!). 

 Practical Support 

Pamela: I’ve always been surrounded with wonderful support. As a vicar’s wife I found people went out of their way to help. Knowing your neighbours is important. We had good neighbours. There was also practical help with meals.  

Christine: It takes a village to raise a child. I am so fortunate that my ‘village’ contained a lot of Christian people who care about me. I am so grateful to have a church home. So many people have been kind and supportive to my family. The biggest thing is being understanding of each other. Parents have different styles of parenting and need that recognised. 

Tania: I was in hospital for a week after Tessa was born, and when we finally got home, the church family via Jo provided some meals which was unexpected but much appreciated. The family environment of St Barnabas is lovely. People always ask about her and show they care.  

Prayer Support 

Pamela: Pray for families – the importance of praise rather than criticism, and for children to know they are loved even when they make a mistake or do something wrong. 

Christine: As a sole parent I need prayer for the energy and the wisdom to do all the things I must do as a parent. 

Tania: Pray that Tessa has hope in her life – to know God is there for her, no matter what life throws at her.