The Mom Next Door Series: Heather A.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

This week's Mom Next Door interview comes from Heather, a 31 year old working mom to Rowan who only recently had her life take an unexpected turn at a fork in the road that she never anticipated could happen to her.  Heather and I are alike in so many ways; we are plan makers, dogmoms, bloggers, and mums who stay up and worry at night about our kids. Over the last year, I have watched in admiration how Heather has picked up pieces and built a new beautiful, thoughtful life for her and her son after a major life upheaval.  She is a an example of the magic of Moms; the ability to persevere, dream anew, and rebuild.

I first met Heather at college where we shared mutual friends and it was only until we graduated and moved on in our lives and each started writing blogs that we found each other once again in the blog world.  I have enjoyed getting to know Heather again through her witty takes on life, parenting, and love.  Please peel a child or two off of you for a moment this morning and sip your coffee in peace while you read about our Mom Next Door this week; Heather A.


Who are you and who is in your family?  Hi! I’m Heather.  I’m a 31 year old mama of a 19 month old 100% rough and tumble baby boy named Rowan.  Our family structure is a bit different, as I’m recently divorced. In our household it’s just me, Rowan and my grumpy pug, Wiggles. 

Heather and Rowan 
We live in Central PA, in my hometown, but only for the last year and a half. You see, after college, I moved righted away to New Jersey with my then boyfriend (turned husband), worked in Philly then moved to Baltimore. All 8 years, I was at least a two and a half hour drive from my family. However when my husband and I separated, I knew I had to come back. I needed help, not only with raising a tiny newborn (just 5 weeks old at the time), but I also needed loads of emotional support. I moved in with my parents for a year and a half, while I tried to wrap my head around the fact that my husband left me and I was now a single mom. The dark clouds of reality eventually began to lift, thanks to my incredible support network.  Recently, Rowan, Wiggles and I moved into our own cozy apartment that’s quite literally a stone’s throw away from my sister, her husband and my new nephew.

Tractor riding with Pap - Rowan's favorite activity
What do you do for work?  I work full-time doing sales and marketing for a community bank, and I do some freelance writing and social media management on the side. Plus, I have a little 'ole blog as well: Rowan is in daycare full time and he loves it. Like every other working mama, I battle guilt, but I know that I have to work and he’s in a great place. It takes a village, right?

What would your pre-mom self be surprised to know about motherhood?  It’s truly a job where you’re never off the clock. There’s only so many books you can read to prepare yourself and these munchkins certainly don’t come with instructions. Your training is strictly on-the-job. You can throw all preconceived notions about how your child will act/eat/speak out the window. Remember when you judged those moms whose children tantrumed in Target, only ate PB&J and wore mismatched clothes? Remember how you thought your kid would never act like that in public/eat all his veggies/be perfectly dressed and groomed daily? You’ll eat your words, and they taste bitter. 

epic Rowan tantrum:)
Mothering is hard. The hardest, most important job ever. But the indentured servitude is paid for in snuggles, kisses and “uv oos” and that’s enough for me.

tiny Baby Rowan at only 2 months!
What chore is your least favorite?  Are there any fun chores? I mean, really?  For starters, I despise emptying the diaper pail. The smell. Ugh. I can’t even. I also hate, hate, triple hate putting on a fitted sheet. There’s nothing more annoying and awkward to me. Speaking of, does anyone other than my mother and sister know how to fold a fitted sheet?! I've looked up YouTube tutorials and had step-by-step lessons from both of them, and I still can’t do it. It makes much more sense, and takes way less time, to roll it into a ball. Problem solved.

Heather and Wiggles
Who are the moms you look up to?  Like many other women, I look up to my own mother. With my dad being a business owner, there were many times where my mom was going at the whole parenting gig alone. She instilled in my sister and I that kindness matters, nothing replaces hard work, always try our best and most importantly, she loved us no matter what. She’s one of my best friends, mentors and the best Nana to my son.

Baking with Nana

I also look up to my own Nana. Although she passed away four years ago, she was also a single mom, raising SIX kids. She worked all her life, endured domestic violence and ultimately ended up raising six kids alone. She taught me to always have a back up plan. Never count on a man to provide for you. At the time I thought she was jaded, but looking back, that was some of the best advice especially given my current situation. She was one of the strongest women I've ever known and I miss her all the time.

Heather, Rowan, and family participating in the Free To Breathe Lung Cancer 5K as "Team Nana"
Most difficult mom moment?  My most difficult moment was sending Rowan away with his dad for his first full weekend when he was just 6 months old. I sat in the parking lot and cried my eyes out, then called my mom to make sure this wasn't going to ruin his life. I was sure his dad would forget something...not hear him cry, not feed him enough or hold him the way he likes. That weekend was the longest weekend ever.

As time has gone by, it hasn't gotten much easier, but I've built up enough confidence in his dad that I know he’s happy, well cared-for, and most importantly, I know they need their time to bond as father and son. And though he cries “Mommy!” at every drop-off, I know he’ll eventually settle down and have a fun-filled weekend with his dad.

handsome Rowan
What keeps you up at night?  That Rowan’s therapy bill will cost more than my paycheck. Just kidding...Half kidding. But seriously, divorce can emotionally wreck a child and that worries me something fierce. Although Rowan has never known his parents to be together, I dread the day he can talk and ask why daddy isn't here. Or why he only sees him once in a while. I worry that my divorce will become Rowan’s emotional baggage, when it shouldn't be. 

Rowan stopping to smell the flowers
The best I can do is keep lines of communication between him and his father open, make sure he gets to his regular visits and for Rowan’s sake, make sure his dad and I get along the best we can to prevent unneeded stress on all of us.

First trip to the ER
What are your small joys about being a mom?  Far and away, snuggles and toddler smooches are my most favorite. Watching him learn and grow is also just so amazing that it’s difficult to put into words. I remember hearing other moms talk about their kids’ accomplishments and thinking them to be trivial, but when it’s your child learning a new word or skill, it’s the proudest of all moments.

typical mealtime - pudding face :)


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  2. Heather, I enjoyed this post. Of course, I went to your blog page which took me to your first blog. I will tell you that you have indeed brought beauty from ashes. Good luck on your journey. I am cheering you on!!

    Blessings from one Momma to another,

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Melodye! It truly made my day. Thank you for reading!