Mother: A picture of dedication, respect and courage

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 11, 2002

Janet Oman always wanted to be a mother. She met her husband, Mower County city attorney Pat Oman, when she was going to school in Wisconsin during the late 1970s. They were both in college in the theater program. When Pat went to law school at William Mitchell in St. Paul, Oman transferred to the University of Minnesota, where she got her teaching degree.

"We were married in 1981, following college. Our first child Nikolas was born after we were married six years. Nikolas seemed like a miracle to us. Having a family was very important to me. I am from Dubuque, Iowa and was raised Catholic. Dubuque is almost 80 percent Catholic. The family I grew up in had four children and I was the baby," said Oman.

After Nikolas was born, the family moved to Austin where Oman’s husband took the job of assistant county attorney. Their daughter, Katrina was born in Austin, followed three years later by their son, Malachi.

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Before Malachi was born, Oman got a job working weekends at the Holiday Inn as a waitress and she worked at weddings and banquets. She worked there for just over 12 years. Oman liked the job of being a waitress for special celebrations.

"I have always taught besides working at the Holiday Inn. With my first child, I didn’t teach for a couple years. I was pregnant with Katrina and I babysat another couple’s children at their house. I did this for a while after Katrina was born, too. I thought this was a pretty low key job after handling classrooms of children as a teacher," said Oman.

Oman’s husband has always helped with the children. Food is not a main preoccupation for Oman, so, her husband does most of the cooking and laundry. He is good at cleaning bathrooms when they really need it and he takes his turn hauling the children to their many activities.

"I have always worked. That is what is really different from my life compared to my mother’s life. My mother played bridge and she spent her afternoons getting together with other women. She worked before she had children. I do think her life was easier than mine," said Oman.

Oman’ s day begins at 6 a.m. She doesn't eat breakfast, though she likes her cup of coffee. Her children are old enough to get their own breakfast. They usually eat cold cereal, toast or bagels.

Oman is a math teacher for grades seven through 11 at Blooming Prairie High School. She is usually in her classroom at 7:30 a.m. Some mornings she gives voice lessons, or French horn lessons and she also tutors students in math. She has a preparation hour from 9:15 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. Oman is busy with classes all day and she works through her lunch hour.

"I do snack a little during the day. I have a stash of chocolate and pretzels to nibble on. I get home around 4:20 p.m. and the youngest, Malachi, is already home," said Oman.

Evenings are the time for the many activities of this busy family. Oman’s husband teaches a class at Riverland Community College one night a week. Their oldest son, Nikolas, has a job delivering newspapers and is on the tennis team. Katrina was in figure skating and dance over the winter and she plays violin. Malachi plays piano, is in cub scouts, plays basketball and just started soccer. He will be playing baseball this summer.

Oman is just as busy with activities as her children are. She plays French horn with the Austin Symphony and the Community Band and was in the Northwest Singers this past winter.

She is a choreographer having recently choreographed a dance for the Momsters -- several mothers of the 'Just for Kix' dancers. Besides all that, Oman got her Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Southwest State in 2001.

"I had to sit and do so many papers when I was getting my Master’s Degree. I got out of shape so I joined Curves for Women last August. I go there three times a week. My evenings are really spent coordinating where my children will be going. I am lucky that on Thursdays, the piano teacher comes to our house so I don’t have to haul Malachi to that lesson," said Oman.

With three children going to different activities, Oman and her husband sometimes cannot make it to everything they do. Recently Nikolas had a tennis match and Oman didn't make it to the match becauses she was delivering Nikolas’ Shopper newspapers to 120 of his 240 customers. She walked the route and it took her an hour to complete.

"With so much going on, we do attempt to eat dinner together at least four nights a week. Pat and I do the clean up. Each of the kids has a job they are assigned to once week. We are not real good at getting them to help out. One takes out the garbage, another one takes care of the dishes in the dishwasher. Katrina is good at folding the clothes neatly. I get them to vacuum once in a while. Nikolas has been very good at taking care of the lawn," said Oman.

Oman says she does take time for herself with her music. She rents a video now and then to watch but rarely sits and watches it all at once. She reads the newspaper at night and invariable falls asleep while doing that. She gets by on four to five hours asleep a night but she does like to sleep in on the weekends. The family takes time off together by renting a cabin up north each summer for a week, and they spend time on their boat.

For the future of her children Oman hopes that their lives are happy and that her children can share their lives with someone they love. Her advice to new mothers is to enjoy your children and give them love so they are secure.

"Enjoy your time with your children. My youngest son, Malachi turned 10 and I thought 'my baby is a two digit age.' It seems I never have enough time in the day. I have multiple tasks to do. Enjoy each child for themselves," said Oman.

Call Sheila Donnelly at 434-2233 or e-mail her at