Girl Crush: Heather Walsh
Heather Walsh and I both began our blog endeavors a little over five years ago, and somehow stumbled across one another on Twitter, where we then became fast friends. Watching her blog baby (cool) progeny grow leaps and bounds has been just as entertaining as watching her three real life babies grow over time.
Heather lives in a world of chaos that involves a couple jobs, a few kids, a busy husband, and loads of fun and style. Her caring, patient, honest, no nonsense approach to life is a breath of fresh air in today’s world, and it’s one that this matter-of-fact, logical lady can certainly appreciate!
Give us the deets on your life and career…
The short version: I am a curator of stories, amateur photog, “big picture” architect, master of the conference call mute button, bedtime tickle monster, maker of the world’s best French toast (according to my six-year-old), lovey-wrangler, lullaby lounge singer, cheerleader, dog feeder, homework helper, weeknight chef, social media junkie, $10-bottle-wine connoisseur, weekend edventurer, shop-local-advocate, Facebook analytics nerd who believes that life — like a margarita — is better with a little salt. Grit makes the fruit even sweeter.
The Wikipedia version: I’m the editor of (cool) progeny and an [email protected] strategist at The Weisse Group. I currently live in Timonium with my husband Patrick, six-year-old daughter, two-year-old son, nine-month-old daughter, two dogs, one cat, and two frogs my eldest daughter came home with after spending a week at the beach with her grandmother earlier this summer. My husband and I co-founded Little Lion Challenge, a non-profit that supports the families of children with complex medical issues by providing hospital care and comfort packages to families with children in Baltimore area neonatal and pediatric ICUs.
Who would you say have been your biggest role models?
Biggest role models? That’s a tough one. Of course, every day that I’m a parent, I’m more awed by how my parents parented and the experiences they made possible for my brother, sister, and me — all while pursuing careers and creating the lifestyle they wanted for their family. So of course, they are the first to come to mind.
Really, I’m inspired every day by the people I meet. What I’ve found — and it really has been more profound after becoming a parent to a medically-complex child — is that you don’t have to look very hard to see someone’s faults. But if you ask authentically and really listen for a few minutes, you’ll learn something that surprises you. Taking those bits of inspiration is far better than idolizing someone else. Nobody has it all figured out. We all have something figured out.
What do you love about your job or life?
Every day is different. I’m very lucky — I’ve been able to create a career around the lifestyle my husband and I wanted for our family, even being dealt some extraordinary circumstances. Some days I may only have a few hours ‘in the office,’ other days are long. It’s anything but perfect. But it’s perfectly crazy chaos that I get to control.
I can pop out of my home office at lunch everyday and check in with my kids (who are watched some wonderful caregivers while I’m working). When my two-year-old points to the chair across from him and asks me to sit and have lunch with him, I can (most days). And the days he insists on making lunch for me? As delicious as strawberry jelly bread with sliced pickles is, I can sneak a power bar later during my afternoon conference call.
What has brought or given you the greatest satisfaction or fulfillment?
Watching all three of my kids thrive. Our son spent over 100 days in the NICU, came home with a truckload of medical equipment/supplies and 24-hour nursing care. There were major lifestyle adjustments and obstacles to hurdle. When you’re in the thick of a life crisis like that, you’re constantly in reaction mode — making decisions based on the information you have at the time and hoping like hell no one is going to need more than a few sessions of therapy when they’re older.
We’ve settled into a new normal that works for all five of us most days. While my husband and I may be a bit battered and bruised by the waves that have come at our family the past few years, both of us continue to be amazed by how generous, kind, funny, creative, smart, and devoted our kids are — in their own way — to one another, their friends, and their family. Hopefully, that’s an indication that we’re doing this parenting thing right more than 50% of the time.
One thing most people don’t know about you?
I love live theatre and was your quintessential “gleek” growing up. Pretty sure my eldest daughter has caught the theatre bug, too. She just finished her first play and is already lobbying the director for a role next summer!
I also did public speaking competitions when I was in elementary and middle school (yes, they are a thing). But I was a TERRIBLE planner. So I would compete in the extemporaneous competition. You would walk in and the organizers would hand you a topic. You’d have thirty minutes to write a three-to-five minute speech and then give it in front of an audience and panel of judges.
Ironically, I was much less nervous public speaking that way than rehearsing a speech for days or weeks. Even now, when I give talks professionally, I usually just make notes and run through the narrative in my head a few times. As long as I’m comfortable with the material, I fly better off-the-cuff.
Got anything fun on your bucket list?
My husband, Patrick, and I met while we were both studying abroad in Italy — he was living in Rome and I was living in Florence. We definitely want to take the kids to visit when they’re older and show them around. Ashamed to say I haven’t flexed my Italian language skills further than ordering a latte in over a decade. They’ll just come back, right?
When/where do you get your best ideas?
Seven years ago, I would have said the shower. It was the one place guaranteed to have no interruptions while I was sorting through a problem or brainstorming. But I have three kids under the age of 6, so that’s definitely not the best place to think through anything anymore. I’m lucky if I get the conditioner out of my hair.
I do my best work around 5 a.m., before everyone else is up and it’s just me, a cup of coffee with a splash of chocolate almond milk, and my laptop.
Three things you cannot live without?
My Day Designer planner (old school, I know). A really good reason to laugh until it hurts (kids are great for that). Coffee. High octane variety.
Oddest thing in your purse right now?
A convertible screwdriver.
Current fashion/beauty obsession?
I hate seeing summer end, but LOVE boot season. Bring on the leather + cozy sweaters. After I get back from the beach next week, though…