Mother’s Day Q&A with Sheila Hillmer

Mother’s Day Q&A with Sheila Hillmer
May 06, 2024

Hillmer farms in Del Bonita, Alta.

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

With Mother’s Day this Sunday (don’t forget!), is connecting with ag moms for a Q&A about motherhood, the first moments of holding a newborn and more.

The first mom in Western Canada to participate is Sheila Hillmer (SH).

Along with her husband Martin and their two sons, Keeley (27) and Braeden (25), the family raises cattle and grains in Del Bonita, Alta.

“Keeley is easy going, more outgoing, more social and likes to have a lot of fun,” Hillmer said about her eldest son. “Braeden is much more introverted, has a dry sense of humour and is the quiet thinker of the group. Describe where you were when you found out you were pregnant for the first time. How did it make you feel? 

SH: We had been trying and it happened very quickly. We were at home and I basically felt like I was pregnant. I did a quick (home) test and then went to the doctor. In addition to being excited, I was terrified because I’d never really been around kids before. Describe the feeling of holding a newborn for the first time. 

SH: They took Keeley away and put him in an incubator. When they finally brought him to me, I was excited to have a boy, excited to be a mom and equally as terrified because I had no experience with what I was doing. What’s the best part about being a farm mom?

SH: Watching the boys grow up living and breathing everything about the farm. What’s the hardest part about motherhood?

SH: Trying not to be too involved and letting them find their way. When they struggle and you really can’t help the way you’d like to.

Sheila Hillmer and her children
Sheila, Keeley and Braeden Hillmer (Wild M Photos). What’s a misconception people have about motherhood?

SH: There are too many stories about how easy it is. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and nothing can prepare you for the 24/7 challenge of exhaustion and feeling like you’re failing. What’s your mom’s name? What are some special memories you have with her?

SH: My mom’s name is Helen. She helped me and my sisters with our kids as they were growing up. It was really special that the boys had her to lean on. Watching her help out with all of the grandkids is special for us. What’s one lesson you learned from your mom you try to teach your kids? 

SH: Hard work and nothing comes easy but you can get to where you want to be if you put the effort in. How has parenthood changed you? 

SH: I was in my 30s when I had kids, and my life was all about me until then. Once I had the boys, everything changed, and they became the centre of my universe. They’re the loves of my life. What’s one thing all parents have in common no matter where they are in the world? 

SH: Learning as you go, writing the rules as you go and figuring it out on the fly. What’s one piece of advice you have for new moms? 

SH: Reach out and talk to people who have children the same age as you. Raising kids is very hard and it’s okay to lean on people and reach out when you’re struggling. You can get overwhelmed and struggle, but you are not alone.

Be sure to check often this week for more Mother’s Day Q&As with ag moms from across North America.

Like Trish Cook, a pork and grain producer from near Winthrop, Iowa.

One lesson she learned from her mom is to make time for each other away from the farm.

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