Heater, Mother of Lance

So far, so good

I’ve recently made friends with a lovely woman up the street who kindly took pity on me when she noticed that I spend my entire day with my husband. Not that Jon is difficult to live or work with. He is my soul mate and best friend. But, come on. Space in a marriage is vital to its long term survival. Almost as vital as sex. I said ALMOST. Nothing is more important than sex. Except maybe Radiohead.

Her name is Kate, and she has a gorgeous sixteen-month-old son. She’s been inviting me to play dates with her friends who have similarly-aged children, and if Marlo’s awake I’ll bring her with me. If she’s not, I’ll go anyway to sip some wine. Oh wait, did I just admit that we drink during play dates?! At least I didn’t mention the hookers! Close call!

Earlier this week they were meeting at a local park, and since they were holding the play date at the time we normally pick up Leta from school I decided to bring her instead of Marlo. It’d be some quality time between the two of us, and when I mentioned it to her before school it was like handing a habitual gambler your American Express Card.

A PARK? AFTER SCHOOL? WHERE SHE COULD PLAY?!!! I’m not gonna lie. Utah winters are good for at least one thing: giving me ample opportunity to play superhero.

I didn’t grow up in a climate where it snows this much, but I can imagine that hearing someone say, “Not until the snow melts,” every day for seven months could make you want to register for a gun.

I didn’t know if there were going to be any other kids her age at the park, but I assumed that since she’s so careful and sweet with Marlo that if pressed she’d be the same way with the younger kids. And you guys! I assumed right! THAT DOESN’T EVER HAPPEN. Hurry, Jon! While I’m on a winning streak head toward the kitchen! And then in ten minutes the dishwasher will be unloaded!

In fact, I was blown away by my kid, and it was one of those very rare moments when you take a look at yourself as a parent and can see the evidence that you’re performing this task successfully. Most of the time you just hope that you’re handling everything in a way that doesn’t produce an eventual sociopath, and you don’t ever get to see that, oh. You mean throwing that glass of water in his face when he was three caused him to stalk people when he was 30? OOPS!

She was so gentle and soft with those kids, and when we sent her running after Kate’s son who was headed toward the street she gleefully took up the challenge. She shared their soccer balls, showed them how to take turns, and always handed it back to them if one started to feel cheated. And the entire time she smiled and laughed effortlessly. I wanted to call Jon right then and go, the Internet is wrong about us! WE’RE DOING IT RIGHT! WE’RE DOING IT RIGHT!

  • c_kidman69

    2010/03/05 at 8:49 am

    Dont you love those moments? They are the moments that make it worth being a parent. Enjoy and revel in it cause when it gets harder you will want to remember it.

  • ameliaknapp

    2010/03/05 at 8:50 am

    Wonderful story about your oldest. Makes me want babies.

  • evertonterrace

    2010/03/05 at 8:53 am

    It’s really important to see those moments once in a while. Look at that sweet face, looks like butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth. I remember watching my daughter let everyone go in front of her in the drinking fountain line when she was very young. She was so polite – good job mama I thought. Cut to 15 years later…I’m in a hurry waiting for her to get a coffee and she was doing the SAME thing. I wanted to kill her.

  • Trish has 3 girls

    2010/03/05 at 8:54 am

    There is no better feeling than knowing you are doing something right in the parenting department! I’m not even talking about pride in your child’s behavior. But the relief that they really aren’t as bad as I sometimes fear they are.

  • GatorJen

    2010/03/05 at 8:56 am

    I always love that line about needing space in a marriage: For better or worse, but not for lunch!

  • austinmomof7

    2010/03/05 at 9:03 am

    Good job Momma! I love when others get to see the side of your kid that you see and love.

  • mydogwontbite

    2010/03/05 at 9:07 am

    out of all your stories about motherhood, this one makes me actually consider having children.

    what a beautiful post!

    also: have you heard about thom’s shows? atoms for peace tix go on sale sunday for the sf bay area shows (2 nights) in april!

  • kayakgrrl

    2010/03/05 at 9:07 am

    Love it. (And that picture is amazing.)

  • Daddy Scratches

    2010/03/05 at 9:08 am

    I’m totally with you. When you spend 99 percent of the time feeling like you don’t have a clue, and you’re sure you’re DOING IT WRONG, it is truly huge when the rare moment comes along that gives you a sign you’re not raising a future schizophrenic after all.

  • HeckYes

    2010/03/05 at 9:08 am

    Of course you’re doing it right! Look at your beautiful, happy daughters. No one is perfect, but you are great parents doing the best you can. The internet can suck it!

  • arishell

    2010/03/05 at 9:10 am

    When a moment like that happens, I think back to the morning after I brought Sabine home from the hospital. I called my mom and cried “I don’t know what I am doing”! She hurried right over (no lipstick!!). Twelve years later at a parent teacher conference you get the validation that you did know what you were doing somehow.

  • MammaJill

    2010/03/05 at 9:13 am

    I love those moments…It makes all the hard stuff so worth it

  • Calichef

    2010/03/05 at 9:14 am

    For the most part, don’t listen to the Internet. It’s wrong about SO many things. Particularly parenting. You and Jon, and the wonderful extended family you are so very lucky to have, are doing a fabulous job with Leta and Marlo. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

  • Figtron

    2010/03/05 at 9:18 am


    You have so totally given me a ray of hope right now.

    My normally docile, polite and well-behaved little angel of 2.5 years is going through another rebellious phase. She frequently whacks me and develops selective hearing at her will. Egad.

    We are all groping our way through this parenthood thing. So glad you have Jon to help out (single mom here) even though he sometimes makes you want to throw yourself under an eighteen wheeler.

    Well done! *clapping with enthusiasm*

  • Mays45

    2010/03/05 at 9:18 am

    Future teacher on your hands? Or maybe just a really good babysitter.

  • ddicorcia

    2010/03/05 at 9:21 am

    Those are the best moments as a parent.When your child shows evidence that she does listen to what you are trying to teach her. My daughter gave me a glimpse of that not too long ago. I was so happy!

  • Wombat Central

    2010/03/05 at 9:23 am

    Who knew playing well with others would give us such cause for celebration? UR doin’ it rite, mama.

  • sondela

    2010/03/05 at 9:24 am

    That’s fantastic! Both your daughters are growing up to be good people, and that is the point of it all. Those moments are so fulfilling and rewarding!

  • TexasKatie

    2010/03/05 at 9:24 am

    Yes! You are awesome!!!!!!!!! And Leta is a great kid.

  • sarahd2

    2010/03/05 at 9:31 am

    Some of the internet thought you were doing it right all along :).

  • sarahd2

    2010/03/05 at 9:32 am

    Some of the internet thought you were doing it right all along :).

  • Ells

    2010/03/05 at 9:37 am

    It makes me sad how defensively you feel you have to write these days.

    The internet sucks! Haters will be haters! Have confidence! It’s OK to drink wine at playdates!

  • cipsi

    2010/03/05 at 9:42 am

    Of COURSE you’re doing it right! Now stop worrying, o.k.? You have two lovely girls who are going to grow up to be two incredible, intelligent, caring, lovely women. How could they not, with great parents like you and Jon?

    You’ve got lots of parenting fans out here…remember that next time you hit a snag. Happens to the best of us.

    Now I’m off to remove the porn links from my son’s computer! 🙂

  • JenS

    2010/03/05 at 9:54 am


    Now, substitute “the internet” for “my mother” and you’re living my life. And she’s not even due to be born for 2 more weeks. (Or whenever she decides to be born.)

  • stresso

    2010/03/05 at 9:59 am

    Hope to have one of those moments soon.

    Wine at playdates. I thought that was mandatory?!?!

    She said who is president of the mean mommy club

  • Joshua Ambyr and Co.

    2010/03/05 at 10:06 am

    I had that SAME feeling yesterday when I got a call from another parent saying my son had protected hers from a bully…small detail I overlooked was HOW he actually went about that! Oh well, I lived in a blissful state for a small moment at least.

  • Badger

    2010/03/05 at 10:06 am

    Beautiful! Both Leta and your post x

  • Krys72599

    2010/03/05 at 10:09 am

    Loved this post! You’re right. Every once in a while we need some validation…
    If it’s any consolation, I’m convinced you and Jon are awesome parents – just look at those two beautiful girls!!! There’s so much love in their eyes when they look at you – you’re obviously doing it right!!!

  • KellyUtah

    2010/03/05 at 10:15 am

    Sounds like Leta is ready to babysit. I’m new to the area and looking for someone… She can bring Marlo. That way we could all have a night out.


  • Svaha

    2010/03/05 at 10:17 am

    Kudos, golf claps, hosanna-h’s on high, standing Os, no curtsies though (sorry).

    I’ve heard the first 30 years are the hardest, it’s these little moments that help.

  • magwilky

    2010/03/05 at 10:26 am

    Great post! I always think it is a good idea to watch our kids around other kids, so even if they can be complete shits at home, it is nice for me to know that really they are quite good and there are plenty worse out there. It makes me grateful for mine again.

  • zerpdog

    2010/03/05 at 10:56 am

    I love when my kids make me look like the best parent in the world- especially in front of other parents or our family. Makes all those days at home screaming at them worth while!

  • Thrift Store Mama

    2010/03/05 at 11:03 am

    These are the memories where I try to close my eyes and cement them in my mind. I hope to bring them back out when I am old and going senile !

  • MissCaron

    2010/03/05 at 11:13 am

    Of course you are doing it right!!! Don’t ever let anyone tell you different. You have a wonderful thing going on, Heather, keep up the good work!

  • KatieMama

    2010/03/05 at 11:18 am

    These moments are awesome. Like when my 6 year old son took his bowl and spoon to the sink without being asked. It felt amazing and I gasped out loud when he did it and then gave him a big hug! It’s the small things.

  • ElanaE

    2010/03/05 at 11:31 am

    I have a friend who put parenting very succinctly, “I try to raise my kids so they don’t end up on Jerry Springer!” I agree. Set the bar low so you know you will succeed.

    You, on the other hand, have raised a child that plays well with others. Congratulations! You have set the bar higher. You will raise exception women the longer you keep this up.

  • chasethefirefly

    2010/03/05 at 11:38 am

    Of course you are! I love moments when are our kids give us our “gold stars” for parenting. Keep on keepin’ on.

  • Melissa H.

    2010/03/05 at 11:41 am

    I cheered for you when I read this!

    Also, I have been reading your blog for a little over a year now, and I just have to tell you that it has become one of my favorite things 🙂 You totally rock!

  • gamma

    2010/03/05 at 11:51 am

    Maybe this experience will cancel out some of those YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG comments !!

  • Gwenevere

    2010/03/05 at 12:10 pm

    Today I post (I’ve been observing for a while).

    I’m not trying to diminish your joy. These moments are important for a parent to experience and be apart of. However I often reflect on these moments and think, “there is no way, he/she learned that from me? ”

    Evidence of this can be found in siblings. We all grew up in the same house, with the same parents, same rules, yet each of our personalities is completely unique. How is that possible? Sure birth order, parent favorites, psychological babble this and theory that but as a parent I can’t stop myself from asking if it has less to do with me and something more to do with something else.

  • LuckyMama

    2010/03/05 at 12:11 pm

    Reading about Leta made me smile because I am in the exact same boat. My daughter is a few months younger than Leta and basically going through the same stages at the same time.

    I love watching her with her brother. She is so kind and careful with him. She adores him to no end. The other day I had her run something across the street to our neighbor. I happened to look out the window just as she croutched down, hands on her knees, to say Hi to the neighbor’s 16 month old little girl.

    Moments like that are affirmation that you are leading your child in the right direction.

    Score! 1 point for the parents!

  • tanyaself

    2010/03/05 at 12:15 pm

    What a wonderful feeling! Leta is so awesome. Way to go Momma.

  • tanyaself

    2010/03/05 at 12:16 pm

    Well Daddy too!

  • JenMarie

    2010/03/05 at 12:47 pm

    Sounds like having Marlo around has (not surprisingly) been a good influnce on Leta. Be proud because, yes, this is by her parents influence.

  • bambooska

    2010/03/05 at 12:50 pm

    I’ve always thought you were doing just mind blowing work! You know how? Because the love in your family can be felt from here. And hello? It’s a LONG WAY.

  • MelissaJ

    2010/03/05 at 12:52 pm

    she is so sweet…and growing up too much!

    and yes INDEED you are doing it right!

  • Oracabessa

    2010/03/05 at 12:57 pm

    I LOLed at the last line of your post because I remember very well the things “the internets” used to say about Leta and your parenting back when she was just shy of two. I hope you didn’t frequent UrbanBaby back then, cause they were particularly vicious. But hopefully some of those old posters come over here every now and again–if only to see they needn’t have worried about Leta not being plucked out of your care. 🙂

  • Talon

    2010/03/05 at 1:00 pm

    I seriously wanted to jump up and down for you!!

    Only the fact that I’m physically incapable stopped me.

    YAY FOR LETA and YAY for you too!! Leta is SO smart; many kids her age wouldn’t make the connection from her beloved sister to other kids.

    I’ve said it before. You’re totally doing it right. Gawd, I almost killed my husband this morning with his own tongue because he fucked with my quiet time and I have been seething most of the morning even though he’s gone off to work after pissing me off hugely.

    But now I’m smiling. I’m still pissed at him and not speaking to him (he should be so lucky) but you totally made my day with this post.

    . . .

    Wow, I’m pathetic.

  • Bollocks

    2010/03/05 at 1:04 pm

    ahhh…those proud mommy highs!! they come around just often enough, to carry me through the times, of wanting to eat my own young!!!!


  • Ulla Lauridsen

    2010/03/05 at 1:09 pm

    I am not in the least surprised.

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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