There aren’t many moms left these days who haven’t read What To Expect When You’re Expecting. There are dozens of blockbuster hits that have snuck her book into their scenes, whether covertly, like a “Hidden Mickey” in Disney movies, or more obviously, as in the movie 9 Months with Hugh Grant, or Knocked Up With Katherine Heigl. Heck, the book even has it’s OWN movie, now!! These books were akin to my Bible when it came to needing guidance when I was expecting my first, second AND third little bundles of joy. She also has books to help you along in the toddler and childhood years. Heidi Murkoff is an intelligent, kind, witty, and very accessible Mom ally, who loves her “fans”, but hates to refer to them any other way than “her fellow moms”.
After 7 years of chatting with her off and on through Twitter and Facebook, I was recently lucky
enough to be granted a Q&A with one of my writing and parenting idols, though, as she put it: “Anything for a fellow mommy”. Heidi answered all of my crazy questions, and I will be splitting them up into two posts this month. So, please be vigilant and catch the rest of the Q&A tomorrow and Wednesday!
Ericka: What was your LEAST favorite part of pregnancy?
Heidi: Being so clueless! So worried! So unempowered! Why? Because I didn’t know what to expect – and there weren’t any books around to answer my questions and talk me off the ledge. So instead, I stressed for nine months – and then wrote What to Expect, so no other expectant moms and dads would be able to stress less and enjoy pregnancy more.
Ericka: What was your favorite part of pregnancy?
Heidi: Feeling those kicks and watching those hiccups – best entertainment around. Plus, the bump – I miss that bump to this day (and wish I’d had a chance to dress it up and show it off in today’s cute maternity clothes instead of hiding it under 80’s polyester pup tents).
Ericka: What’s the most asked question you get?
Heidi: “Is it normal?” No matter what the pregnancy symptom, no matter what the behavior, moms want validation that it’s normal…that it comes with the territory…that they’re not alone in the experience….that we’ve all been there, done that (and lived to tell about it!). Sometimes that’s all we need to feel better!
Ericka: If you could give Mommas in Albuquerque ONE piece of advice, what would it be?
Heidi: Don’t blink. Stop and smell the babies. Try to savor the sweetness. Even when times are tough (or colicky, or tantrumy), remember that this too shall pass – and a lot more quickly than we think! You’re probably all too young to remember the Simon & Garfunkle song, but to paraphrase: “Slow down, you move too fast – got to make childhood last.”
Ericka: You’re familiar with the high desert area…what’s your favorite kid-friendly activity in this part of the country?
Heidi: We lived in Santa Fe for 5 years, moving there from NYC when Emma was 8 and Wyatt was 5. We hiked all the time, during every season. The kids loved exploring, looking for lizards, rock collecting – all things nature. And hands-down, highlight was always farolito walks on Christmas eve, getting hot chocolate, smelling the pinon.
Ericka: Grossest thing your two kids ever did?
Heidi: Well, that’s easy: Emma was about 9 months old and had just started crawling. We lived in a tiny NYC apartment at the time and as in most NYC apartments, there were roaches. Emma found one in the closet and proceeded to eat it. I caught her just as she was chomping down. Yes it was a long-dead roach. But it was a roach. Yuck. With Wyatt, he dunked Emma’s retainer in perfume. I tried everything – boiling it, washing it endlessly, tons of mouth wash soaks – but it still smelled. And by the time I was finished, it was also shrunken….so we had to get her a new one.
Ericka: Funniest moment as a parent?
Heidi: Funny now, though not at the time: We were having our first warm Sunday afternoon stroll with our new baby in her new carriage. She was all decked out in her Sunday finest, looking cute as a button, and we were so excited and proud, especially as we noticed everyone passing was smiling at her. When we finally looked, we realized the reason they were all smiling wasn’t how adorable she was, but how covered she was in stinky yellow spit up – all over her face, all over her precious outfit, all over the carriage.
Ericka: If you could tell your 20-30 something self something about parenting, what would it be?
Heidi: There’s no such thing as a perfect parent or a perfect baby – you’re going to make lots and lots of mistakes, and while you’re going to learn from some of them, you’ll also probably make some of the same ones over and over again. Also, being a mother isn’t something you’re born to be – it’s something you learn on the job, one dirty diaper, one sleepless night, one tantrum at a time.
Ericka: One thing you wish you could do over as a parent?
Heidi: I probably wish I could do a lot of it over again – knowing what I know now. Like handling Emma’s tantrums – I wish I’d had the tips I always offer parents now at my fingertips then!
Ericka: Worst mommy mistake you made?
Heidi: Definitely the time I pulled Emma’s arm out of the socket (not intentionally of course!). I was 9 months pregnant, it was August in NYC, we lived in a third floor walk up, I was carrying groceries and Emma was two and a half and refused to walk up. I gave her just a little tug – and all of a sudden, she was screeching in pain. Inconsolable. I took her to the pediatrician, and he quickly popped it back into place. But I will never ever get over the guilt I felt that day!
Ericka: Best mommy decision you made?
Heidi: To exclusively breastfeed both babies – loved, loved, loved breastfeeding (that is, once I got the hang of it, which took a while), and it’s probably the thing I miss most. And though it wasn’t a decision, really more of by default, it turned out to be a great move to skip the bottle altogether and go straight from breast at first birthday to milk in a cup. Never intended it that way, but neither one of them would take a bottle or a paci – so we were able to skip weaning off of those.
I think we can all agree that Heidi is awesome, and much of what she says, her experiences with her kids, resonates with us on many levels. Tomorrow, we see what Heidi says about Celeb moms, the Obamas! Next week, teenagers, adoption and wine!
See you tomorrow!
To see more of Heidi’s work in action, advice, tools and book info, head over to her website and her Facebook page!