The Nouveau Appalachia Parent


When you visit the Virginia mountains with your children, you are likely to encounter a specific type of mother.

She doesn’t vaccinate her children. She’s likely to call them “Moon Pie”. And she will allow them a healthy serving of dirt – as only a snack, of course.

True story.

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Proposing Motherhood

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“Well, open it.”

I looked from my boyfriend to my parents. Frankly, I felt framed.

It was Christmas 2007. I wasn’t ready to be married. But there my boyfriend sat expectantly. I had just unwrapped a cherry jewelry box.

No, really, I don’t want to look inside. Please don’t make me look inside.

“Okay,” I resigned. I feigned a smile with the understanding that – if a ring was inside – I would have a choice to make. A public choice. An immediate choice. A forced choice. 

The writing on the wall, however, had been revealed to me approximately nine months prior – during my first international service trip.

Nicaragua. Orphans. And a promise to give up sweets for Lent.  Continue reading “Proposing Motherhood”

The Last Menagerie

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Breastfeeding. Is there an experience as bittersweet? I have devoted almost three years of my life to nursing. No bottles. No pumps. And – to the great shock of many – I still have a career outside of the home. Some would call this an accomplishment…or insanity.

Lately, however, something has been coming between my daughter and I. Two things actually. Ivy the Otter and Elton the Elephant – they must be held while my little girl nurses.

It’s a transition that has emerged slowly, but now my youngest’s message is clear: Mom, I am learning to find security outside of you.

But this isn’t my first circus – I know what comes next.

And every day I am left to wonder: Will today produce the last menagerie?

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Preschool vs. Teenager Mom

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Few things bring anxiety like sitting down to Google “preschool crafts”. Really, I love creativity. I love artistic expression. But my brain just isn’t wired to seek out toddler activities when mental space opens.

Which leads me to consider advice I gained from a mommy mentor of mine just last year. I had recently shared my personal struggle in falling short of my own dreams for mothering two small children.

“Don’t beat yourself up. There are preschool moms and there are teenager moms.”

The relief, I must admit, was instant. But lately, that very idea has come to haunt me.

Am I okay with being one or the other?

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Morning Cup of Job

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My struggles weren’t too different from Job’s, but my questions were not existential. I simply wanted to know the secret to feeling good. Lately, the kids had been driving me into the ground.

While Job may have reached out to questionable friends, my choice – like every toxic relationship – was one I swore I would avoid forever.

And so began my caffeinated month of craziness.

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