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shelter article posessions 2022 new1=====May 14, 2006=====

By: TINA BRIDENSTINE & JESSICA CRAWFORD, Southwest Daily Times

The term "working mother" is rather redundant. Whether a mother is stays home and tends to the needs of her family, which are many, or goes out into the workforce everyday, every mother works ­ hard.

This Mothers Day, the Times took a look into the lives of four working mom's throughout Liberal. These four special ladies balance work and home in a way that works for each special family.

Although each woman is different with a unique set of circumstances and challenges, one thing rang true with each mother, their love for their children and their innate desire to love and care for them is what drives them every waking moment.

The quaint little cafe tucked away in the Gateway Inn dubbed "A Family Affair" means all the name implies. At the heart of the family operated business is wife and mother, Peggy Franklin.

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Franklin insists she is just like any other working mom and her children are just like anyone elses' children. However, there is a difference. Franklin and her family have faced hardships that have made them value life and appreciate every moment they have together.

In September of 2004, Franklin and a friend were involved in an accident that would change their lives forever.

"A friend and I were going home one night, and she lost control of the pickup," Franklin explained. "It was about a quarter of a mile from my house. It threw both of us out of the vehicle. I got to spend a couple of months in Wichita and a month in Dodge for rehabilitation. I had a broken pelvis. It broke it in eight places. I had lots of respiratory stuff. It took every bit of a year to get over that stuff."

 

Prior to the accident, Franklin was working full time at a convenience store. She claims she was driven by making a living.

She and her husband, Casey, lived to pay the bills, and although they loved one another and their children, they were caught up in their jobs and making ends meet.

During her long road to recovery, Franklin made the decision to resign from her job of 16 years. After the initial healing process was over, she began to search for a new source of income. She leased the restaurant and opened "A Family Affair" on Oct. 1, 2005.

"When I got to feeling better and started looking for something to do, I found this," she said. "It is a challenge, but I don't have to work for anyone. We do this as a family which is why it is called "A Family Affair." Nobody is left out of anything. We work a lot, but still spend a lot of time together."

When Franklin looks into the eyes of her children, she sees their strength. She is keenly aware of the fact that for a child to see his or her mother in an incapacitated state had to have been extremely difficult.

"Our kids are awesome, they have neat personalities. And strong, they are very strong," she said. "They are the reason I got through it, though. My kids were troopers all the way through.

"They are regular kids, they fight, they are just like everybody else's kids ­ except they are mine," she added as she watched five-year-old Franki Jo and eight-year-old Trevor play at the restaurant.

Franklin said that the wreck was hard on the family, but the new found sense of appreciation they have for life has made everything worth the struggle.

"It was a reality check for my family that we definitely needed," she said. "If I had to do it all again I would go through the same thing and hopefully have the outcome I have now.

"I am very lucky. I have a good business, the business is going well, it gets better everyday," she added. "I have good friends and a wonderful family. I have five brothers and three step-brothers and we all keep in pretty close touch.

"I don't know. I think you just get going along with life and it just kind of gets in the way and you get a big reality check, it just doesn't get in the way anymore," she said.

Trevor and Franki Jo enjoy the days they spend with their mother at "A Family Affair." According to Franklin, Franki Jo is quite a hostess while Trevor has become a rather experienced waiter.

"She loves me and Franki and my dad," Trevor said of his mother as he sat next to her in the corner of the restaurant. "I like to wait on people. I made a nine dollar tip the other day."

Little Franki Jo with her bright eyes and freckles, which she stated were, "angel kisses from my grandpa," didn't speak of her affection of her mother in words as she crawled up in her lap with a loving hug and kiss.

As Casey Franklin walked into the restaurant after a long day at Sublette Feeders, he greeted his wife with a loving smile.

"She is a strong woman," he said. "She has been through a lot, she is very tough."

"My husband was not about to let me be a quitter," Peggy said. "We are just like every other married couple except we don't take things for granted anymore. Life is way too short for that. So, we got a second chance."

Nora Valles is a Liberal resident who has a full agenda between taking care of her children and working.

The mother has four children, ranging from a high school senior to a toddler.

Her oldest daughter, Olivia, is graduating from high school this year, her daughter Cynthia is 13, her daughter Sothia is 11, and her son Fabian, affectionately called "Booger," is 2.

They occupy her time at home, but during the day she works for French Construction and Realty One.

"I'm a secretary, coordinator, gofer. I do everything," she laughed.

On top of all that, she also just finished coaching the Kids Inc. girls soccer team, which won first place.

"I have no time for me," she said.

She outlined her daily routine, saying she usually gets up to go to the gym at 5:30 a.m. After her workout, she goes home to get her kids ready for the day, then goes to work. Once the work day is over, she goes back home to cook and clean.

"And then I go to sleep and it starts all over again the next day," she said.

However, it is a commitment she doesn't regret.

"They (the kids) make it worth your while," she said.

Her husband, Marcos Camacho, does get home about an hour and a half before she does, she said, and he helps "hold down the fort."

"He helps me as much as any man can possibly help," she said, laughing.

However, he also works during the day.

"Lucky, our next door neighbor is an excellent daycare person," she said.

As for Mother's Day, she said she thinks her kids will try to help, but she doesn't expect a lot.

"I've always been so independent, I don't want to accept help. I don't really expect to relax. I think my kids should relax. They'll have their whole lives later," she said.

However, she did want to add in conclusion that she would love to hear from anyone who gives a good massage.

"I could use one."

Being a mother alone has very much prepared Jennifer Hamrick for the service business. As a waitress at the "Branding Iron" located in the Liberal Inn, Hamrick goes to work each evening in hopes of continuing to provide for the needs of the three small children she loves so dearly.

"Being a working mom is a true challenge," Hamrick said. "Of course, as with anything, it has its ups and downs. I love waking up every morning with my kids and spending as much time as I can with them. But, as society has shown us, it is hard to raise kids without an income. You have to work if you want a good future for your children."

According to Hamrick, it is not always easy to leave for work. With three little ones who love their mother just as much as she loves them, they don't like to part from her.

"Some days it gets hard to go to work because one might be sick or just doesn't want Mommy to go," she said. "That makes me a little upset. But knowing when I am done at the end of the day that they get to have a little more financial stability makes everything worth it."

Hamrick's six-year-old daughter, Jazmin, has stated that she wants to be just like her Mommy when she grows up. Hamrick is grateful for her daughter's adoration, but has hopes that her daughter will strive for more in life.

"My six year old daughter Jazmin comes to work with me every so often. She says she wants to be just like me, although I would definitely want more from her," she said with a laugh. "I have two more children, a son, Jaden, who is four and a daughter, Jaylee, who is two.

When the working day is done, Jennifer picks her children up from the baby-sitter, tucks them safely in bed and watches them sleep with the satisfaction that they are hers and God has richly blessed her.

"They truly are a blessing," Hamrick said. "I thank God everyday for giving me the opportunity to be a mother."

Another working mother is Liz Stamper, though she gets to be around her children while she works ­ she provides a daycare.

Stamper has two daughters, Ashlynn, who is 2 1/2 years old, and Emily, who is 11 months old.

She started her daycare business in August of 2005, she said. Before that, she was a teacher in the Liberal school system.

"They're with me all day long," she said of her daughters. "Whereas before, they'd spend 9-10 hours with someone else, five days a week. I taught for three years. I just felt that I was putting time into everybody else's children and I wasn't doing it for my own."

With her husband Mike working in Hooker, Okla., and her working at the school, her daughter was in daycare during the day.

"I think that's probably one of the hardest things ­ and we were fortunate because we had a wonderful person taking care of our child ­ to drop your child off, and they're so helpless. That's hard. That's really hard. And I've learned, if a child walks first here, you just don't say anything, because that's hard," Stamper explained.

So, Stamper said, out of a desire to be near her children, and a belief that the community was in need of a good daycare, she started her own daycare out of her home.

"It was difficult in the sense that being in the business world seems more secure. You have a contract, you know how much you're going to get paid each month," she said.

However, she added that staying home with her daughters has made a big difference.

Her oldest daughter, Ashlynn, had some trouble adjusting to other kids being in her house, and in some respects Stamper said it does keep her from paying full attention to her children, but she said it was worth it.

"I think about me teaching, and I wouldn't have had them around at all. So it's worth the trade off. I know now that my 11 month old, I've seen it all, I haven't missed anything."

However, one of the difficulties of running a daycare, she said, is that many people don't consider it to be work.

"A lot of people view us as not very smart, and we can't do anything else. I've gotten over that. You still consider it work. A lot of people don't consider what I do work," she said. "I have six (daycare children) right now, including my two. I have good parents and good kids. There are worse circumstances than I have."

As for Mothers Day, Stamper said her husband will probably help with the kids, adding that he's good about taking care of them, and she may get flowers, but she doesn't expect any special treatment.