Honest Mom Series – Feature #2, Heather

Welcome to the second feature in the Honest Mom series! Click here to view the first and here to read the third.

Kalis family sit

Our next mom is 30 year old Heather, wife to Joe and mom to adorable Emery, 8 mos. Joe & Heather have always been a hardworking, go-getter couple who like to have fun. She loves her mom’s ‘good good chicken’  (She explains, “She had a recipe that we called the good chicken, and then she started making one we liked even better!“), and can’t live without chicken eggrolls. She would like to go back to Australia since her dad was born there, and she has family there, and also travel Europe. The most spontaneous thing she’s ever done is go white-water rafting when they were supposed to be driving home from West Virginia. Heather is a SAHM, but does some work from home.

A little about her: She and Joe both grew up in the Chicago area, but didn’t cross paths until college at Illinois State University in 2003.  They both have bachelor’s degrees: his is in business and hers in Elementary Education.  They had an on and off relationship until they joined Amway in 2005, had a common goal, and found their faith in God.  They’ve been married since June of 2007. Joe is a manager at an internet feedback company, and Heather is a SAHM, after 6 years of nannying.

When asked about her parenting style, Heather explains that as a Christian she’d like to say God is her compass, but that’s not always the case, and that she’s trying to figure it out as she goes. She explains, “Unfortunately I’m not sure.  I ask other moms their thoughts and just try and do what I think is best for her. I definitely pray about big decisions and for strength in certain situations, but probably not as much as I should!” Right now her philosophy is keeping Emery safe, fed, and well rested.

If you had to choose a mission statement for you as a mom, what would it be? To raise my children to love God, respect others, and know that they are loved no matter what they do.

Can you describe a typical day at your house, including bedtime routine? A typical day starts between 7-8am when I hear Emery chattering on the monitor.  I look at the video monitor and see she’s standing up, waiting for me.  We head downstairs for a diaper change, let the dog out, nurse, bottle, feed the dog, pump, then eat breakfast.  By the time all that gets done around 9:30, we play in the basement for an hour or less until it’s time to nurse/bottle and go down for a nap.  I have gotten into the habit of laying in the bed with Emery next to me.  It’s nice because sometimes I read, sometimes I go online, or sometimes I sleep.  I should probably just put her in her crib, but sometimes she wakes up early, crawls over to me and falls asleep on my chest for a little while longer.  She usually naps from 11-12:30 or so.  We get up, nurse/bottle, pump, mom eats lunch, and then it’s play time again.  Around 4 we nurse/bottle feed, and then it’s nap time.  She tries to fight this one even though she’s clearly tired, rubbing her eyes, and crying.  Sometimes I have to rock or nurse her to sleep.  She wakes up around 5:30…nurse/bottle feed, pump, play with daddy.  By 8:30 she’s ready for bed.  So she gets a bath, jammies, bottle, some yogurt, read a book, nurse, and then she is in her crib by 9 or 9:30…then I pump and go to bed. I try to be go with the flow. Obviously if someone is over or we go to someone’s house, she sleeps in the car and then everything gets thrown off…I’ve learned not to stress about it because she still sleeps through the night and it all works out.

What kind of activities do you do with Emery? When the weather was nicer, we would go to story time at the library a few times per week.  With the snow/cold, and sickness going around, we have stayed home.  We still try to meet up with a friend once a week for a playdate, but so many people have been sick, that hasn’t happened lately!  I’m looking forward to going to the park, playing house, and doing art with her when she gets a little older.

Emery2

Do you discipline Emery? I have flicked her on the hand if she gets too grabby and pulling hair…not sure it’s working but I haven’t been consistent.  Other than that, there isn’t much discipline needed…yet. We don’t have house rules yet, other than: 1. Keep the baby alive!

A different kind of discipline, housework: are you fully responsible for those duties? I am extremely blessed to not only have my awesome husband, but my mom lives with us!  She makes dinner every night…bless her heart!  I usually do the dishes.  She does the laundry…I put it away.  Joe is awesome, but doesn’t do the daily chores.  He’s more of the moneymaker/project doer.

What are your nutritional guidelines? Right now we are mostly still breastmilk and formula, but when I do give her solids I try to give her a variety of foods…not too much fruit, things with good fats, etc.  I’m sure as she eats more, I’ll be even more conscious of putting good things in her.  I definitely am more conscious of what she eats than what I eat.

What about time to yourself? I think it’s very important but haven’t figured out how to get this time or what to do with it!

Tell us about your struggles and challenges as a mom. We haven’t had much struggle happen, since she is so young. A turning point for me is when I realized that in every situation, I can only do my best and that is good enough.  Things are not going to be perfect and that’s ok. Having time to myself is my biggest daily struggle…and when I do have a few minutes of time to myself, figuring out what to do with it!  I’m so used to not having any time, that I just busy myself with games on my phone, doing dishes, showering or cleaning up.  It’s like I forgot what other things there are to do, like reading or working out. My biggest worry is making the wrong choices on food, health, play, etc. I realize that I make every decision for her and I just hope that I’m doing the right thing. There are so many different opinions on what is right so no matter what you choose, there are people who say you’re wrong.

What do you think is the biggest challenge for moms in this generation? I think the biggest challenge is knowing who to listen to.  There are so many “experts” with conflicting advice.  We have access to too much information and it’s overwhelming and confusing!  To deal with it, I try to gather opinions from other moms who have been there, done that.  From there, I decide which advice would best fit our situation and family. I think there is also pressure to have “perfect kids”.  You go to the store and your kid is most likely going to act up.  You have so many people judging you on your poor parenting because you “can’t control your kid”.  I think people who either don’t have kids or haven’t been around them in a long time forget that no matter how well you discipline your kids, they are going to act out and sometimes there isn’t much you can do about it.  I haven’t really had to deal with this as a mother, but definitely had times with the girls I nannied for that I had to deal with this.

What are some of your proudest moments? I am always really proud when Emery learns to do something new like crawling, standing, and waving. It’s cool how things happen so quickly and the smallest new thing that they do seems so amazing.

What is your greatest hope for Emery? I just hope and pray that they grow up knowing that they are loved.  I want them to be healthy physically, spiritually, and emotionally…knowing they can do anything they put their mind to!

Emery1

You can read a little more about Heather on her occasionally updated blog: www.heatherkalis.com.

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