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Saturday, December 8, 2012

Mom of the Month - Heather Steinback

  •  I've had this idea for a little while now to honor a Mom of the Month in the Mommy Stories Facebook group, as a way to get to know one another better and mostly to recognize all the great things we are doing as moms in our day-to-day lives. I think we can all learn from one another and deserve some recognition for what we do. We don't get to hear thanks often enough for all the cool things we do, so I'm hoping by recognizing a mom a month we can start to feel super cool about the great moms that we are to our kids! You can nominate a mom by emailing me at 

    The first Mom of the Month is my dear friend from high school, Heather Steinback!

    She is the reason I started this blog, as a gift for her when she was pregnant I decided to start writing some advice in the form of a blog. I'm so pleased she found some time to answer my questions. She's one of the most inspiring, honest, real, hard working, determined and dedicated mothers I know. Her daughter, Selah, turns a year old this weekend, and their family has been through it all this year- starting with some major health issues for Selah. Heather is one of those moms who had expectations for how the first year would be (like we ALL do) and who was thrown a major curve ball of health issues in her daughter. She had to change up her point of view and ideas for how to be a good mom. I know she struggles now a year later to even realize all the good things she's done for her daughter, but I see them every time I'm with them, see a picture of pretty smiley Selah, or hear in my friend's voice how much she adores her daughter and would sacrifice anything for her.

    It's fitting to post this now, on the eve of her daughter's first birthday!

    The one thing I hope you learn from this momma, Heather, is that we need to recognize what we DO for our babies more than what we feel we have left out, disappointed, or been unable to do for whatever reason. We do a LOT. It's OK to let the other things go and just acknowledge how great we really are!

    Heather is one incredibly strong momma! Check out her answers below:

    Describe your child in 3-5 words Selah is:

    When was your child born and where?
    Indianapolis, In
    How would you describe your pregnancy?
    After hearing what some have gone through, my pregnancy was relatively easy. The typical nausea (throughout all 9 mo however), wicked tired all the time! My craziest craving was Philly cheesesteaks, seeing I don't eat steak! Ever! My baby was very active always doing flips and kicking from the earliest point you could feel her. The worst for me was the heartburn and leg cramps. I had leg cramps and hip pain from very early on (1st trimester)...ended up putting two featherbeds and numerous blankets on top of each other on my side of bed with pillows propped everywhere - literally like half a foot higher than my husband! I woke up constantly with Charlie horses and hip pain. And seeing we are all moms...the other horrible aspect was constipation. Let's be honest, it's not pretty. I wish I was that cute preggo lady who was all belly and looked perfect, no I was the one always constipated, hot sweats and always carrying an extra pair if underwear in my purse due to lack of bladder control. Just sayin...

    Describe yourself as a mom in 3-5 words
    And if I was to be completely honest...most of the time I feel anxious, stressed, worried and fearful! However, I pray everyday my daughter oversees all of that and only takes the unconditional love I strive so hard to put forth! 

    What type of mom do you hope your child thinks you were someday when she's old enough to tell you?
    That she recognizes every single decision I made for her was out of love and with her best interest in mind. That regardless of the panic and pandemonium this world and parents are surrounded by, I kept a level of stability and peace for her, exemplifying faith, hope, and love. 

    What things have you done as a mom that you're most proud of?
    The month I had gotten pregnant, I had just moved to a new state, leaving my life and friends of ten years, still far from my own family, had just bought our first home, settled down for the first time and started new job. By the time my daughter turns one this upcoming week, I had encountered her birth, my husband had been out of work for over a year, my daughter was born with a kidney disorder, one surgery for my husband, one surgery for my daughter (and one upcoming), numerous hospital stays and testing, scared of the unknowns, a second job change in the midst if it all, being the sole breadwinner for the family and neverending medical bills all without the physical support of living near my own family.

    I will be honest and say I wish I would have handled it better, as there was not a single day where I didn't kick and scream and cry myself to sleep because it was just so much at once, especially during my daughter's first year of life and my first year of motherhood. And, the whole time I kept thinking "I've failed as a mom because I'm always so stressed each minute I spend with my daughter due to the big picture of our lives..." but as I look back on her first year I realize 1) my husband and I are still married (and happily and stronger for that matter) 2) we still have our home and precious belongings we've worked so hard for 3) most importantly, although a long hard road my daughter's health will be okay.

    In all, I survived this first year and came out on top. Whether, I believe I could have done it better or not, I did it. I made it through her first year despite all the overwhelming life circumstances thrown at us...and I still have my family at the end if the day. That is my greatest accomplishment as a mother. 

    What have been the most difficult parts to being a mom?
     Everything I've faced in my first year of motherhood has been in some way difficult (not to say that my daughter has not been my greatest blessings and we've had health miracles and amazing joy as well). But by far the hardest has been seeing my daughter go through her health battle. As moms, we all know how hard it is to see our babies in pain. Not only to see her go through all the testing, poking and prodding but just the scares we initially had, the constant pressure of never knowing of landing in the hospital Etc...for me the other most difficult aspect was having to leave her in the midst of it to go to work. There were times in the hospital when I had to leave my precious baby in the arms of other family or my husband. Yes, that is a better situation than the options some have but we all know, no one comforts like your mother does. Any other time, I would have quit my job to be with her, but that was not a choice for us with my husbands employment situation. Most recently, leaving her during her last hospital stay to start a new job, where I had to put a face on and forget it was happening just to get through the day and somehow perform flawlessly.

    I can look back and see reasons for it all but I will say I still can look back and see her face as I had to leave and how gut wrenching hard it was. But, it's the reason I went to work that she could and continues to have top rated healthcare and treatment. And though it's the hardest thing I've ever done as a mother, it's one of the greatest things I could have ever done for her... 

    What is your favorite baby product(s) that makes your mom job easier?
    Snap and Go (so convenient in the early months)
    City Mini stroller (I really think its the best stroller ever esp for those that travel...the TSA were even impressed this last time I flew with how easy it was!)
    Tommy tippie bibs for reflux babies a must
    Video monitor
    Thinkbaby sippy cups
    Sleep apnea mat (a huge stress reliever for us as parents with a baby with reflux and then health issues) - do whatever makes your life easier and stress free! 

    Advice for a new mom?
    Be prepared for the unexpected and most importantly roll with it (sounds total cliche I know...). Going into this, I had years of experience with children and was at one time a full-time nanny. I had no fears of parenting starting out. I just really felt confident heading into it. But once you are a parent and they are yours, you consider life more valuable because you have more invested in it. This makes you view things in such a new light. If you worry about each and every little thing along the way you will slowly lose sight of what it's all about (again cliche but true). Take it one day at a time and don't worry about the little things (do this or do that, bottle or boob, formula or breast milk, cosleep or not, etc) just thank God for the gift of life and enjoy every minute of it...and the rest of it will fall into place... 

    What is a typical day like for you? 
    Typical day for me goes one of two ways. If a work day, I get up and get ready at 5:30, then get up my little one and feed her and get her ready. I pack the final baby items /diaper bag, food, meds, etc...My husband takes her to my sister in law's, I head to work by 8am (45 min commute and coffee in hand), work, work, work ...45 min commute and home by 6pm. Throw a quick dinner together and feed the little one while we eat. Play for half hour, bath and bedtime routine for half hour (meds, books, teeth brush, etc) Clean, pack diaper bag, food prep, laundry, iron work clothes etc...then hopefully for an hour or two sit and watch TV, blog, Facebook...etc. Days I am off - lounge in our PJs, coffee and big family breakfast, playtime, snuggles, errands, family time. And you know, somewhere in there all that other stuff, bill paying, grocery shopping, dr appts, family events and outings, and just you know other life details....

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