Motherhood by the Threes
There is no doubt there isn’t any job more challenging, difficult and rewarding than being a mother. With three little ones, from ages one and a half to five years old, The Frei Family never skips a beat. The new members have already made such an imprint in the Parish.
Gabriela Frei is currently co-chair of Blessed Little Angels- a ministry at the parish that provides a faith-filled atmosphere for parents and children to meet on Wednesday mornings. You’ll also find her on stage Sunday (tonight) joining Paul Todd for A Concert Under the Stars at the Annual Paul Todd Concert. Lastly, she will be the Guest Speaker and Vocalist at Faith & Wine Lee County on March 26th. Did I mention she’s homeschooling her oldest son, Matthew, too?DOWNLOAD THE BULLETIN
So, how does the mother of three juggle it all? She assures me, it’s by no means perfect, but with God by her side, it’s even better.
Danielle Koleniak: What is motherhood like for you?
Gabriela Frei: I pretty much cater to their every single need. That is one of the biggest challenges- being able to juggle three little people with three different personalities. By the grace of God, my oldest son has learned that sometimes his needs will not be met first. I also have to remember that my needs need to be met. If my needs are met then I am a better person and a better mother. I’m also homeschooling my children, so there are more layers to manage. It’s a big job. God is good. Each day I’m a better mother and they are better kids.
DK: Is being a mom what you expected it to be?
GF: It’s funny- you think you have this plan for your life… thoughts and expectations. Once I had my first born, my heart became so full and even more with my second child. Then the Lord had a better plan for me. That’s how my youngest, Natalie came along. My world was completely rocked when we found out we were expecting our third child. Throughout the whole pregnancy God was telling me, ‘I got this. I got you. You don’t have to worry about the grace or the strength. We will get there.’
Natalie is perfect for our family and watching the boys love her has made me that more excited to be a mom. It’s not perfect by any imagination, but our life is so much more perfect for having each of these kids in it. They are such gifts. The support of husband is amazing.
DK: Even though you have a full house with children, I’m sure it can be lonely sometimes.
GF: There are three humans running around my home, you start to hunger for female companionship. That’s what Blessed Little Angels is about. If you don’t have that community, something in you will die inside. I thirst for conversation and companionship. Even though all the moms who come together are raising their children differently, we support one another. My kids benefit from it from the friends they make and the learning activities we do are great, but also, in return, I’m a better mother because I have friendships with other like-minded women.
DK: How did you get involved with Blessed Little Angels?
GF: We weren’t even parishioners at St. John XXIII at the time. A friend of mine who also didn’t go to St. John XXIII invited me. I was a first-time mom with a 9-month old baby and hungered for fellowship. She said to me, ‘You have to come. This is a vibrant group for young mothers.’
We have about 30-40 kids in the group from every single age group. Every week we do something different. It could be as simple as meeting at a playground or a learning activity like going tomato picking or to the farmers’ market. The kids benefit because they’re with other kids who love Jesus and other moms that love Jesus. You can disagree about a number of things about child rearing, but we have commonality in Christ. We want each mom to feel like she has a place. It’s our job to welcome them. My best friends are from Blessed Little Angels, and I don’t know what I would do without that community.
DK: Some way, somehow, you manage to squeeze time in for singing and performing with Paul Todd.
GF: There is something about music that speaks to our hearts. It gives voice to the things we are feeling and put words to something we have yet identified. I love worshiping as a cantor and I also love performing.
I met Paul Todd about four years ago. Since then, he’s asked me to join him in a number of concerts. I love when we all perform together. People leave with such joy in their hearts. I’m honored to be a part of that. I’m blessed that I am able to juggle both worlds. If it weren’t for that, I think a part of me would have suffered. I think it is important, as a mom, to find things that are fulfilling to you. Not that many people can say they love what they do, and I love what I do. I love being a mom and I love singing.
DK: The second Faith and Wine Lee County is coming up on March 26th, and you are their guest presenter.
GF: I was a guest speaker at the Faith and Wine in Naples last year and it is such an honor to speak and sing to the women in Lee County. I am going to speak about how our Lady guides us to the heart of Jesus. I think about how blessed Catholic women are to look to our Lady as a role-model. She was a woman, she was a mother and she was the perfect follower of Jesus. I’m going to talk about her charism of trustful surrender and how that inspires us. As a mother, a wife, a woman, and somebody who serves … so much of our life is saying, ‘God, I trust you.’
It’s beautiful when we say yes. God opens doors. He knows the desires of your heart and you will better love your kids if you are peaceful and fulfilled.
Our church in particular is so aware of the fact that it’s not just the Mass that makes us Catholic. It’s fellowshiPping, the dinners, concerts, small group ministries. It’s all these things that reinforce that we are community. We don’t just worship together, but we celebrate, we laugh, we rejoice, we comfort each other in hard times. We are a family.