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Nedra Henline: She makes mothering look easy - MessAge Media: Features

Nedra Henline: She makes mothering look easy

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Posted: Sunday, May 12, 2019 5:00 am

Nedra Henline was born and raised in Aitkin to parents Connie and Craig Klingelhofer. She was part of a large family herself, but didn’t necessarily plan for a family of seven children when she married Josh Henline at the age of 21.

Less than a year after they married, two boys came into their family through foster care. Ages three and five, the boys, Jesse and Justin, formed the foundation of their future family, and Nedra and Josh can’t imagine life without them.

Four years later, Nedra gave birth to a daugher, Bella  (now 12) and two years after that a son, Will.  After another four years, daughter Alaina was born. Alaina is now 6 years old. After Alaina’s birth Nedra and Josh had a daughter, Noelle, who was stillborn.  Four-year old Kaylee was born after Noelle, and then Jillian.

The youngest is now just over a year old, and the oldest son is 20 and lives at home.

Nedra babysat as a girl, and always loved babies and children. When she graduated from Aitkin High School, she wanted to be a teacher and went to Central Lakes College for two years before the boys came into their family. She worked part-time for Cathy Hughes for a time, and managed the Curves fitness center in Aitkin until she and Josh decided the children needed her more at home. She has been a stay-at-home mom ever since, although she has a number of part time paid and volunteer jobs.

“I am an extravert,” said Nedra. “Having the opportunity to work in service jobs makes my time staying home with the children easier, because I have that interaction I need with others.” She works occasionally at the Beanery Cafe and Block North Brew Pub, and volunteers at Rippleside Elementary and Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge in Brainerd. Recently Nedra completed her teaching licensure for Early Childhood Education and hopes to teach in Aitkin when her children are all in school.

“I want to teach in Aitkin so that I can be there for the kids’ school activities,” she said.

The older boys are a great help; they are wonderful older siblings and make caring for the little ones much easier. Having the older boys and Josh meant that Nedra never raised a baby alone. Even when they were younger, the boys were always able to fetch a diaper, or help in other little ways that made things go more smoothly. At 38 years old, what is it like being a mother of six? Nedra gives a lot of credit to her husband for his support.

“I would not be the mother I am if I didn’t have Josh at my side,” she said. He is an amazing dad and his job with Anderson Construction has changed over the past few years so that he no longer has to work weekends and can be here more for the kids and their activities.

“Parenting is different now than it was when I was a child,”  Nedra said. “It’s definitely more challenging because of all the technology. Parents have to monitor and be on top of all of that. Social media seems to promote a very judgmental attitude. I don’t remember things being that way when I was growing up.

Nedra’s words of wisdom for young mothers? “Parenting is the most frustrating, and yet the most rewarding job you’ll ever have.”

When asked about her parenting style, Nedra said, “Well, I’m definitely not a helicopter mom. I am direct with them, and my children know what it means to have boundaries. I just try to appreciate each child and love them for the individual they are.”

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