#GathreGood with Alice Hauser, mother to Co-Founder Jessica
To me you are Mom, my greatest hero. Would you mind describing yourself for those who haven’t met you?
I’m an introvert. I love people, but I really love being home in my own creative spaces. I’m a mother to 6 wonderful children with a growing number of grands who light up my world.
Our Mother's Day campaign theme this year is #FindMomInTheMess. What does that mean to you?
An example of this to me…is the minute I would vacuum the rug or clear a space when the kids were little, Jessica would immediately see a white canvas…a clean slate to create! Out came the glitter and the pipe cleaners and the glue and scissors. She always made a bigger mess than the one I just cleaned up.
Another thought is me in the garden weeding by myself because I gave the kids the option on Saturday mornings to pull weeds…or clean the house and they ALWAYS chose to clean the house. Little did they know that I was having the most quiet lovely morning to myself and getting the house cleaned at the same time.
What is one mess your mom helped you through?
When I was 6 months pregnant with my fifth, I was hospitalized for what they thought was an infection with the lining of my heart. We were in the midst of moving and it was a nightmare. My mother came and while I was in the hospital for an entire week, watched the kids and cleaned the whole house after my husband and church friends moved our things to another town. When I came home to our new house, I was very weak and anemic and she took charge, feeding me red meat and not letting me lift a finger. I look back on that and realize that she was my age and that was no small task.
Brene Brown said, “The middle is messy but it’s also where the magic happens.” Do you believe that is true of motherhood? Why or why not?
I remember one night my husband came home from work and I had Jessica and her sister up on chairs in the kitchen making dinner. They must have been ages three and four. We were making their favorite meal, chicken and broccoli and the kitchen was a disaster. My husband was taken back by the mess they were making, but I didn’t see it. I just saw two little girls having the time of their life and feeling so important.
When you were in the thick of mothering little kiddos, in what ways did you ‘find the mom’ you wanted to be?
I was in a second hand shop one day when the kids were little and came upon an old 1950’s cookbook. I thought I kept it, but it has gone missing. Oddly, in the beginning of the book it gave some advice on mothering little children. It suggested that when you thought you just couldn’t be patient with them for another minute, to put them in the bath, because surely as you washed their flaxen hair and soft little bodies, that you would instantly fall in love with them all over again and that both the children and you would feel clean and fresh and calm. It’s funny, but that was always my favorite time of night…listening to older kids doing the dinner dishes, while I took the little ones up to the bath. Not only did I wash them all clean, but I took a few minutes with a great book while I sat on the bathroom floor, while they played. It always gave me just that little break to get through the rest of the evening.
Sometimes mothering can be lonely, and we’re all feeling that right now. What did you do then or even now to ‘find other moms’ who you could both rely upon and be lifted by?
We had five of our children while my husband was in undergrad, medical school and then residency. My youngest was the only one born when we finally had our own home and a real Job! I was alone most of the time. I had a friend who also had a husband in medical school. Every single morning for 4 years, we called each other. It enabled us to connect, laugh and boost each other up during those long days of motherhood.
Both of your beloved mothers are no longer with us. Do you still ‘find your mom’ near, in moments or memories around you? What does that feel like?
I feel my mom around me when I sew and quilt. It is something we did together since I was four years old, so it always reminds me of her and I am always thinking of her then. There was a moment when I was making a baby quilt for our newest granddaughter. I had designed the pattern, little dresses and pinwheels, and I needed a 3.5 inch triangle for the pinwheels I was making. I looked online, and in every local store, but I couldn’t find one anywhere. I was working full time in the NICU then and on my day off, I was at my wits end, in tears, thinking I would have to scrap the whole pattern and start again. I was angry, wondering why my mother had Alzheimers, because surely she would have been able to help me. It was then that I instantly remembered a little zippered bag that I had brought home the last time I visited her in Idaho. I had gathered her knitting and sewing tools because to me, those were her most precious things. I found the bag and pulled everything out and there among her thimbles was an assortment of metal quilting triangles from days gone by and one was exactly 3.5 inches. As I fingered the triangle, the tears flowed. She was right by me then. I didn’t see her. But she was there.
The two of you are artists. How has art shaped your life?
Painting has taught me to see. It has made me appreciate every cloud, every sunset, every season. I find trees more magical and the figure more beautiful. I’ve learned that painting is putting together composition, value, line, color and edges in a way that explains what you see and feel. A recording of a moment. It’s helped me be still enough to find those moments everywhere I look.
Could you share with us any advice you might give to a mom with young children?
Just love them. You are their everything. I have always liked order, I’m a little type A, but my mom used to always tell me to leave the mess and enjoy the moments.
On a lighter note, do you have any funny or embarrassing stories on me, (Jessica)?
Jess never had just one friend, she had masses of them. It wasn’t unusual for her to call on a Friday night after cross country practice to see if there was food in the house and if she could bring a few girls over for the night. Which usually meant, me going to the store quickly for “healthy snacks” and a confetti cake mix. She would bring a group of girls home, but throughout the evening, friends would keep trickling in. They would eat all of this healthy food and then make and devour an entire confetti cake. More than one morning we woke up to the entire cross country team sleeping all over our house. Every sleeping bag was out and the linen closet was empty.
And another one we had to ask :) What is your favorite Gathre product and why?
Well my favorite is my printed yoga mat that Jess got me for Christmas. It has just the right padding for my aging body and it’s beautiful! But I must add that the highchair mats have been a lifesaver when the grandkids visit. We had 4 one year olds here just over a year ago and thankfully Jess brought me mats for the highchairs!!!
If you could go back and do it all over again, what would you do differently?
I would have been more kind to myself and allowed more space for dreams.
Would you tell us some of the greatest lessons your mother has taught you?
My mom taught me to serve, solely through example. I have never known anyone who served others more than she. She told me that the way I talked to my brothers would be the way I would speak to my children. She told me that I could do anything and fueled me in every endeavor with her amazing cheerleading…whether it was on the sidelines of a track meet, mothering a newborn, or drawing. She taught me to love God and to worry more about what He thinks of me than what anyone else does. She taught me to be kind.
What kind of legacy do you hope to leave your family?
Love. To love each other and to always be there for a sibling. I hope they will learn to know and love their ancestors and the great sacrifices they have made so that we could live such beautiful lives. I hope as parents, we have left the desire to create for them…whether they sing, play an instrument, write or paint…teach, design…tie flies or fish…
Do you have a wish for me, your daughter?
I just want you to find joy in the everyday. I want you to be kind to yourself and understand how much God loves you. I hope you will feel the heritage and the strength of the women that have forged a path for you. I hope you will always listen less to the world and more to the things that really matter.
And a wish for our kids, your grandchildren?
Health, joy and a safe world to live in…and the desire and confidence to pursue what they love.