This is the sixth in a series of interviews with moms who inspire. If you or someone you know would like to participate in this project please contact me.
Florida mom, Heather Fox, talks about the importance of family as a support system as she raises her girls in her home town, and how she’s learned to appreciate the joys of being a stay at home mom.
Name: Heather Fox
City: Winter Springs, FL
How many children do you have and what are their ages and names?
Two beautiful daughters; Michal Anna, 10 and Olivia, 5.
Tell me about their names, and why you picked them.
Michal is my middle name. Always loved boys names for girls since the character Jo in Little Women. She goes by Michal Anna probably because my sister's name is Mary Margaret and that is what we call her. Olivia's name was one on a list of many. My husband, Matt, wanted it to be the same number if consonants as Michal Anna's. Olivia's middle name is Heather. I figured there would be enough issues to blame on me in therapy when they are 25. I did not want one of them to have my middle name and the other to not have any. So Olivia Heather is what we have!
Are you married or have you ever been?
Yes, married to a wonderful partner.
Do you work outside the home?
What is your position?
Are you doing what you want to be doing, or is it a stepping stone to something else?
Absolutely doing what I want. I am lucky that I can work or not work.
Did you go to school? When and for what?
Yes. I went to a wonderful liberal arts school Flagler College located in St. Augustine, FL. It is right on the Atlantic Ocean and in the nation's oldest city. I graduated in 1999 with a degree in English Lit.
How did you end up in the city you reside in?
I grew up right near here as did Matt. Most of our family is around here and, to us, that is more important than location.
Where else have you lived?
Only St. Augustine!
Where have you traveled?
Ooo, we just went on a fabulous Mediterranean cruise last May, I had never been to Europe and we got to see so many places in 10 days. Barcelona, Malta, Tunisia (North Africa), Rome, Vatican City, Naples, Florence, Niece, and Corsica. It was amazing! But one of my favorite spots in the world is my grandma's house in the beautiful hills of West Virginia.
What was a typical day for you when you were 20?
That was right before I went to Flagler. I was dating a guy who was AWFUL for me. I was a heavy smoker, and had a pretty unhealthy lifestyle. I was going to a local community college that I loved.
Describe a typical day now.
I wake at 6:45, start the coffee and the kids' breakfasts. My husband rolls out of bed to help me wake our not so nice children in the morning. (Luckily they get nicer after they grumble about for a few minutes.)
I make their lunches and pack their bags. I make sure everyone looks presentable, brush all the tangles out of Olivia's hair, and give them their allergy medicines. I help with their helmets and off they ride to school.
During the rest of the day until 2 pm when they get home, I clean the house, exercise, food shop, do laundry, shower, and walk the dog.
I get other things done as needed, check my email, maybe go to lunch with a friend or meet my husband for a child free meal. I usually give myself about an hour of relaxation before the kids get home.
2 pm kids arrive home, snacks are made, lunches are started for the next day, homework is done and checked. Some days we get to go to dance and gymnastics. The kids love that!
I make dinner, wait for Matt to get home at about 5:30 when we hopefully can eat as a family. We spend some family time together. If the weather is nice, we head outside and ride bikes or play with neighbors. Sometimes we go for ice cream.
The girls shower, get in jammies and stories are read. 8 pm lights out for Olivia. 9 pm lights out for Michal Anna.
I would love to say that the rest of the evening is spent reading wonderful books or with in depth discourse between Matt and me, but the truth is that we fall into bed, put on the boob tube and watch some shows for a couple of hours. If any energy is left, the my husband gets lucky. Heehee (hey you asked for details!)
What do you like to do with your kids for fun?
We love to play outside. I like to play school with Olivia and watch her imagination at work. Olivia also likes to cook with me. I like asking Michal Anna questions about her friends and life at school. She tells me everything. I also like to play board games with her, but we usually can only do that when Olivia is not home.
What do you like to do for yourself?
Exercise. And I have finally given myself permission to not feel guilty for not working. That took some work.
How do you make new friends, and how do you keep in touch with old ones?
I am the kind of person who can talk to anyone. I am very curious about people, so I ask lots of questions. People usually open up to me, so I am fortunate that I make friends easily. i have a girls night group that I see sometimes once a week. These are women who many of them I have known since elementary school. One woman hosts and makes dinner. The others bring wine. We say our highs and lows for the week and usually laugh a lot. Also, Facebook rocks. I love catching up with people I always wondered about.
What sacrifices have you made for your children?
Um sleep comes to mind.
Did you ever consider not having children?
What has been the hardest period in your life?
When Michal Anna was first born and my first husband was suicidal. I had a newborn baby, a husband that I thought was going to kill himself, no money and was 23. Fun.
How did you get through it?
My family. If it weren't for them, I am not sure what I would have done
What has been the most hopeful period?
Right now. Life just keeps getting better
What worries do you have for yourself?
I worry that I will die young. My dad died at 59 unexpectedly of a heart attack. He was not an unhealthy person. He exercised all the time. I do not want to leave my girls or my husband.
I do not regret anything. I would not be where I am if I made different choices.
Are you spiritual? Religious?
I live by the Golden Rule. Not really spiritual or religious. I try to be as good of a human as I can that day.
If so, have you ever questioned your faith?
I was raised Christian and felt I was until I lived near the ocean. That changed everything. I felt so minute. I felt that my existence was and is so tiny on such a large scale. Who am I to say that my beliefs were the right ones over those of people who lived thousands of miles away? I admire people who have blind faith because I think religion can be a beautiful part of life. But it is just not me, I have struggled with that for a long time.
What’s your personal philosophy; why do you think we are here?
I have no idea. I just try to be as good as I can to myself, my children and to others. Some days I am really good at it. Some days I suck.
What is your nationality/ ethnicity and what are your children’s?
Uh, total white girl. I don't even have a booty. It is a sad sight, really,., Heritage is German and British mostly. Michal Anna has a lot of Irish in her. And Olivia is mostly German.
Is this something you identify with strongly?
Not really. My grandmother was born and raised in London. My mother was born there. I have yet to visit. I look very German and I would love to visit there someday and see people who look like me.
How has the economy affected you and your family in the last few years?
Luckily we are still doing well. I do not want to say it out loud though.
What’s an important dream you have which you work towards almost every day?
That my girls grow up with self confidence and are happy when they are adults. I hope I do not totally mess them up.
What do you imagine for your children in the future?
Happiness. God, I hope so. I do not care what they do for a living. I want them to be happy every morning when they go to work and to be able to pay their own bills.
Do you have a mantra (something you tell yourself to help you get through the tough spots)?
“This too shall end.”
How many tattoos do you have and of what?
So happy I never did that. I tell my girls to never get tattoos or those big holes in their ears. I gave up wine for 40 weeks for them to come out perfectly, don't go messin’ it up.
What inanimate object would you hate to live without?
My stove and oven.
Recommend three bands, films or books, and tell me why:
The Red Tent. As a woman, it is provocative and entertaining.
Pearl Jam: I am in love with Eddie Vedder and always will be. It is a one-sided love affair that has been going on for 16 years. My husband knows and accepts it, God love him.
Film: Harold and Maude: really makes you question aging.
What and who inspires you?
Marathon runners. My Grandma Lanham, my husband.