Hi, my name is Andrea Hipfner. I am a 31 year old married mother of 2 fun children under the age of 4. I'm fairly new to Saint Louis. I grew up in Tulsa, OK and at 24 moved to Raleigh, NC to be closer to my boyfriend (now husband) at the time while he finished up school at NC State. In 2007 we got married, had Henry in 2009, moved to STL in 2010 and had Lucy in 2011. So, I'll say we were a little busy.
Growing up working was very important. I grew up with a very hardworking father, mother, aunt and a very special Grandad who all remain very important and part of my story and faith. My work ethic and responsible nature are something I take pride in and my family members are to thank for that.
I was brought up Free Will Baptist and was saved and baptized when I was 8. I have renewed my faith in God and asked the Lord to be with me in the early summer of 2012. It was a magnificent day! I'm continuing that journey and hope to learn more about The Father, Son and Holy Spirit as I continue this journey.
I had worked since age 12 (cleaning houses, babysitting) then started working a “real” job at age 16 . I took great pride in my work ethic. Every job I have ever had I have been promoted and I've never been fired in the 11 years I've worked. Working hard and always giving 100% was a HUGE part of me and still is. So, when my husband and I decided that I would be a stay at home Mom a huge part of my identity was abandoned in a way (and that was the way I chose to look at it at the time).
Then, one day I had this bright idea that THIS, being a SAHM, was my job. My full time job. 100%. I was going to wake up every morning at the same time, shower, get dressed, put on a little makeup, brush my hair, put my shoes on, all that jazz. I was very hard and strict on myself. Since it was my new full time job I was also going to do it perfect, as I had always demanded of myself. I was going to be THE MOM. It was all going to run smooth because I HAD IT UNDER CONTROL.
Wellllll....as you can imagine that all went well for a whole year and a half. Then I got pregnant with Lucy. I had major hip/pelvic problems. Suddenly I could not play the perfect Mum anymore. There were some days I couldn't even really walk. You can see how hard that would be with a 1.5 year old, yes? I gave up a lot of control and about that time, I started chatting with my good friend, Jesus. He was still there, oh yes he was. He never forgot me, and he always listened to me, of course. He helped me through my pregnancy and taking care of my sweet little boy. I leaned on him, a lot.
I had Lucy on 7/11/11 via c-section and of course, we brought our sweet Little Lucky Lovely Lucy home. I was blessed to have a huge amount of help at home as I recovered from surgery and all that fun, special hormonal stuff. Then, after everyone had gone home I had 2 babies under 2 years it became very apparent that if I was going to make this work I had to buck up again. be Wonder Woman. Therefore, I again needed to to be THE MOM. Are you starting to see a theme here? So, there we went again. I woke up the same time every morning, took a shower, got dressed, did my hair and makeup, put my shoes on and went to work for the day. And then, only then, like a smack in the face, or perhaps it was a smack in the face with some spaghetti via Henry, I really don't recall, you know, details... I REALIZED THIS ISN'T GOING TO WORK. THIS ISN'T A JOB. This is called Motherhood and I am MOTHER Monday-Sunday, 24 hours a day and guess what, BONUS, I'm on call! Just a little bit of self imposed pressure there, you think?
My personal motto had always been, “Look it, act it, feel it, be it”. I was doing those things. I was living my own silly little motto. Therefore I was STUNNED when a year and a half ago I lost it. Those things that I had taken such pride in? Gone. Keeping a clean house, cooking a perfect dinner, making sure my children were meeting all their milestones going on field trips, etc. All that ambition had completely left me and in strut a woman I didn't even know. A woman who was still in her pajamas and hadn't bothered to bathe in 3 days. And it was Thursday afternoon, I'm not talking about a laid back long weekend. No. I was depressed, completely overwhelmed, lonely and 2 steps away from being in the loony bin.
I had been praying a lot that week. Just calling out to God, “God, please help me! Let me know you are here, help me! I cant do this anymore! I am a horrible mother and I hate myself and I'm useless, just useless!” Oh yes, I'm sure it was ALL very dramatic and Jesus and God were enjoying the front seat show and I say all that in jest. They knew, they KNEW that I just needed to ask Jesus back into my life to know that the Holy Spirit was there. I needed to do that. It's like our last speaker said, “God is a gentleman. He will wait, and he will let you go first. He'll open the door, but you must walk in first".
Psalm 46:10. “Be still and know that I am God”. My favorite Bible verse. It was as if that tiny, yet magnificent verse I repeated all those years finally came alive. Now that I think about it, I know. The prayer, the thought, it wasn't alive. What was alive was the Holy Spirit, and HE was calling me home. He had been there all along, and unfortunately, I hadn't been listening. I did not have the sense to acknowledge or invite him back into my heart. Well, let me tell you, that day I heard him! Loud and clear. I invited him back in, and it was a wonderful, magnificent day. I was so happy! I called my Mom, Mini Aunt Rose Ann, Grand Dad, my Daddy, Mother in law, brother, sisters in laws, cousin, all to tell them. I was so blown away, so thankful.
I do still use the job analogy, but in a much more relaxed way. After all, I am at least the supervisor, right? As my mother said “give up control of being in control”. Great Mom advice given by MY Momma. I don't beat myself up if I'm not able to do all of the “perfect” things I used to do. Silly things like you know, bathe and dress for the day. I mean, lets get real. Those days happen. It's called LIFE.
I don't think that anyone prepares us as mothers the intensity of loneliness that can fall upon us if we are not careful and don't acknowledge the infinite love of God.
And I myself thought, “this is stupid. How can I be lonely? I have 2 little friends around me all day.”. Well, no, you have your children around you. You are their everything, they love you unconditionally and you love them the same. When your partner gets home from working an 8-10 hour day you're both lucky to speak 5 sentences to each other before falling asleep at 8pm. So yes, you DO get lonely. That is why I am so lucky, fortunate, blessed to be part of this MOPS group. It's simply amazing to meet up with a group of stunning women who are ALL in the same boat, the boat of Motherhood. Or the Motherhood cruise ship on the fun days. We all have our ups and downs. We laugh, we cry, well, maybe only I cry. I remember my first MOPS meeting where I went through a whole box of Kleenex and also made others cry along? I'll never forget that kindness I was shown that day.
The point is, we are all friends. We all all here to support each other. We are sisters. Take advantage of this group. Get involved. Consider volunteering a portion of your time if you are able. Learn about your table mates. Invite them over for lunch, dinner or a play date. Call them out of the blue! They may need a friend. Women need women. And we ALL need friends.