Evolution: Heiddi 2.0

Evolution?

I should say so. After a year-long hiatus preceded by a two year hiatus, you figure why do I keep doing this to myself? Haven’t I figured out what I’ve wanted to do yet?

Frankly, no. Here I am a college graduate and bilingual licensed mental health counselor working with low-income families in New York City. As of 2011, when I received my licensure, I also accomplished my goals. Which is an amazing feeling and a proud moment for me.

Turning Point

But, with all my accomplishments and achieved goals as of 2011, comes what next? For the past few years, I’ve been trying to find out. I’ve reduced a lot of my extra-curricular activities such as playing guitar at my local church (12 years), paid blogging (6 years) and writing in general (too many years to count).

Self-Evaluation

I’ve been spending more time in self-evaluation mode while also prepping for the arrival of my second son, Benjamin who arrived on June 21, 2014. Yes, Andy’s a big brother now and I’m still the single mom of now two amazing boys. I’m a very happy mom.

While being a proud mom is great, I still have goals simmering within me waiting to be unleashed in the world. I’ve found that I need to set new goals and discover new passions.

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What I hope to share on this website is positivity and wellness – whether I’m writing about mental health or the simple things that bring me joy. I’d like to keep writing and sharing these with you.

The Heiddi 2.0 Evolution is here – will you join me?

Parenting: Credit Where Credit is Due

Parenting is a very tough job. Parenting while in a relationship and feeling alone as a parent is even tougher. Everyone knows that, right? Nope. There are people out there who have no idea what it is like. There are some men out there who don’t acknowledge everything a mother does for her child. One man who used to be that way is Austin Blood.

In his post about the chaos of fatherhood, Austin had the courage to admit that he used to be one of those men (like my son’s father) who left parenting to the mom (more like ran away screaming) and continued on his merry way. Austin scored bigger points with me by acknowledging how amazing his ex-wife was (and is) as a mother. His words had a profound affect on me as I read his post during my lunch yesterday.

As I sit here writing while kiddo sleeps, my eyes tearing, I feel Austin’s appreciation. For roughly 10 years, I felt alone as a parent – running around doing everything to make sure kiddo had everything he needed. Sure, kiddo’s father pitched in sometimes, but I held the reins (had to or things wouldn’t get done). After 10 years of feeling like a single mom, I made myself one by breaking up with kiddo’s father.

For the last 3 years, kiddo’s father has been like Austin – having to figure things out on his own without “the blissful days of yore” of having me around to do everything. When he’s on kiddo time, my ex has to figure out pick-ups (we’re affected by the school bus strike here), meals, homework…EVERYTHING. And after 3 years, kiddo’s father isn’t willing to say how amazing I am as a mother to his son. I hear it from my family, friends and co-workers. But, not from kiddo’s father. In fact, I had to tell him a few weeks ago (via text because sometimes we just don’t talk ) that he should be thankful for the mother kiddo has because I’m a damned good mom! But, Austin said it for him.

Thank you Austin, for being man enough, adult enough to give us moms the thanks we deserve. I thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Featured on MamaDramaNY

Well, don’t I feel special? I sure do after being featured on MamaDramaNY. Yesterday, MamaDramaNY had ME (can’t believe it – thanks for the honor) as a featured network member. I was so excited when I received  the invitation, so please check me out! 🙂
Thanks MamaDramaNY.

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Proud Mommy Moments

Just had to share that my son ROCKS! This year has been full of challenges, but also many amazing moments. As mother to a child with ADHD and a smartypants to boot, I’ve been challenged to step up and be a better mom. And while I’ve felt like the world’s worst mom sometimes, my son shows me how amazing he is and how truly blessed I am just to be his mom.

For the first time he received second honors in school with a 90 average.  He earned a ribbon also for “Most Improvement.” See how proud he is? I’m so very proud of him.

Even more awesome is his generous heart. Last Thursday, he won his class spelling bee and won two tickets to tonight’s Yankee game. And what did he do with them? He took his father to the game for a Father’s Day gift. And no, I’m not jealous that he didn’t take me. It’d be nice to go to a game with him someday, but I’m happy with knowing my son is a sweet, persevering kid who just doesn’t quit.

Mommy loves you kiddo!

3 Single Mom Lessons from the Avengers

A few days ago, kiddo and I took in a matinee of The Avengers (check out my review). And we loved every minute of it! Watching it though left me feeling like a superhero and I noticed three things that could help single moms.

Avenger Lesson #1 – Know your worth. Each character had a specific and useful skill set. The Black Widow kicked butt. Hawk shot his bow and arrow with amazing accuracy. Hulk smashed. Dr. Banner calculated. Captain America was strong and tough with his shield. Thor knocked the wind out of his enemies. And Iron Man was techno savvy and inventive. Each superhero had their gifts and weren’t coy about being confident in themselves. Single moms, know that you ARE worthy and you are a blessing. Period.

Avenger Lesson #2 – Life is tough. The Avengers dealt with a tough situation. Being a single parent is tough. No doubt about it. Everyday will have its challenges and every day there will be something to deal with. This isn’t just a single parent issue, but life as it is. And know that while life is tough, you are tough also.

Avenger Lesson #3 – Get with your crew. The Avengers were brought together to fight a common enemy. Enemies that single parents can face are depression, isolation or loneliness.  You can fight back by having a support system in place. Build up your crew of people who back you up no matter what. I’ve got my team of fellow single moms (some not) and friends who love and cherish me. They remind me of how strong I really am and call me on my crap when I need it. They are my blindspot; that place in my life that I just can’t see because of my own hangups. The Avengers worked together to make things work and your crew can do the same for you.

I was reminded of these things throughout the course of the movie. It gave me such great energy and I was so inspired. Guess that’s why I’m going to get The Avengers on dvd as soon as it comes out. Hope these lessons help you single moms out there to remember your greatness!

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Yes, I AM Mom Enough!

Yesterday’s release of the Time magazine article incited outrage and comments from moms all over. Some moms were upset because of picture itself of a mom breastfeeding a toddler (who is standing on a chair to reach his mother’s breast). Others were upset because it showed a woman breastfeeding in public. It was all over my Twitter feed. Neither of those things upset me.

What DID upset me? The title. “Are you Mom Enough?” I could care less about what other moms do – breastfeeding in public (or not), breastfeeding a toddler (or not) or attachment parenting. I know what works for me doesn’t have to work for anyone else. Or vice versa.

But, the idea that I’m NOT mom enough because I’m not breastfeeding a toddler did spark my outrage. The title of this article is yet ANOTHER way that words have hurt the community of moms. Stay-at-home, Work-at-home or Work-outside-home, breastfeeding, bottle-feeding – these are all words that have caused divisiveness in the Mom community.

Rather than helping moms unite as a force to be reckoned with, this choice of words for the cover article title only serves as a way for us to pick at one another for our parenting styles. This mom wants to breastfeed her toddler? So what? She wants the world to know about it? Fine by me. Her choices do not mean that she is “more mom” than I am. Not at all.

I’m a single mom living in New York City. Not many women would freely choose to be a single mom. I got out of a relationship and am co-parenting my son with his father. Yes, a single mom I am, but it doesn’t make me any “more mom” than the moms featured in the article. This is just my experience. It does not make me braver than anyone else. It doesn’t make me stronger than anyone else. It just makes me – me.

So yes, I AM mom enough! Next!

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Country Guy in the City

Last week, I had the chance to meet a true country gentleman in the form of Clint Black starring in Flicka: Country Pride now available on dvd. “I’m a bit under the weather, so please understand if I don’t shake hands. I don’t want anyone getting sick.” My city girl heart melted at the country gentleman’s kindness on the spot.

Appearing reserved, Black lit up when asked about his family. He shared his thoughts on parenting (one pre-teen), working (filming) and how to balance both.

When asked about his family, Black shared how he chose to work on this project as it allowed him to work not only with his wife, Lisa, but also with his daughter (first acting job). He explained that working with family is a unique challenge (especially with his daughter) because he couldn’t threaten to take away her candy if she didn’t listen. Sprinkled throughout his interview were several anecdotes about his family life. Black was candid about his parenting style and how he and his wife work to ensure that their daughter is safe and happy.

His biggest concern?  “Will other people’s views of my daughter change her view of herself?” Black wants his little girl have a sense of self that isn’t elevated by other peoples. He stated that she needed to be prepared not to change in a changeable world.

And just like us regular (and unfamous) parents, Black experiences parenting struggles. His biggest? It’s hard to say no. Black has a difficult time to stop his daughter’s pestering.

Black also shared some parenting tips:

1. Help Kids stay grounded. He and his wife make a team effort to help their daughter be a human being before getting an image. Teaching her responsibility and giving her a sense of normalcy despite Black’s celebrity.

2. Help kids adopt an accurate self-image. Black talks to his daughter about privileges and why they (as a family) get them. He’s also talked with her about being a nice adult.

3. Look to the past. Black shared how his parents’ example gave him a great example on parenting and how to say no.  For him, it is hard to stop the pestering. Black was reminded of his pestering days with his parents and shared how he often pestered his mother until she gave in. Laughing, he explained how she did it to shut him up. Black also shared how his father’s one-two “NO” punch that usually stopped pestering in its tracks (and how it doesn’t work well with his daughter).

And after sharing his NYC adventures with his daughter (and his parenting stories), Clint spoke of his newest movie Flicka: Country Pride. The film is about – zany mayor Toby helps out a teen in need as well as an injured cowboy who needs a place close to town for therapy and to stable his horse. Mr. Black  stated that the teen falls in love with Flicka and with Flicka’s help (and love) heals.

I just wanted to thank TheMoms for inviting me to meet and chat with Clint Black as well as Coffee Bean NY for hosting such an awesome event! Be sure to look for Flicka: Country Pride out on dvd at Walmart now.

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Discovery’s Last Flight (and the remaking of a dream)

Today’s flyover of the world’s most traveled space shuttle marked the end of an era. And has brought me a measure of sadness. Not for the end of the space program as I (and many others) know it, but also an end to something my son hoped for.

When Atlantis flew for the last time, kiddo and I were both very sad. I recalled all of my memories of the space program. Shuttle launches were routine for me. The flights happened regularly and I didn’t think it would come to an end. I remember the Challenger and Columbia tragedies clearly. But, even in the face of these two disasters, I felt it was important for the space program to continue.

Kiddo has said for a very long time how he wants to go to outer space. I’ve long encouraged this goal, especially as he’s shown a great aptitude for science and math. I’ve told him that he can do anything and be anyone he wanted to be –  including an astronaut.

Since the last space mission in July 2011, kiddo and I have been rethinking his goals. He wanted to be an astronaut and physicist. He’s been very consistent on this idea for over a year. What I’ve suggested is that he include his love of space and become an astrophysicist. He’s slowly warming to the idea and I’ve been thinking of ways to keep encouraging his love of space.

So, while shuttle flights have ended, the closing door has allowed us to feel the breeze from the open window. I do believe that kiddo will get to space one day and I will be one very proud mom.