It’s my favorite time of the week again! I get to introduce you to one of my favorite Mommy Extraordinaires! I met Susan M Heim, just like I met Kathy Buckworth, via Twitter. (If you aren’t on Twitter let me just say it is a great way to connect with people like you, no matter what your interests are.) Susan is a writer, editor and mother to FOUR sons- two teenagers, and 6-year-old twins. She is the editor of multiple Chicken Soup for the Soul books and author of over seven books, including three about twins. (Are you tired yet? Because I’m exhausted just thinking about a day in her life!)
Let me introduce Susan Heim!
Do you full-time or part-time? From home or do you go in to an office?
I work full-time from home. My office is in my bedroom! I have a desk, computer, and file cabinet set up in the corner of the room. I’m “on the job” from 8 AM to 1:30 PM, when I leave to get my twins from kindergarten. And then I get back to work again from 8:00-10:30 PM when the kids go to bed. But I’m constantly answering emails throughout the day. When you work from home, you’re never “out of the office.”
What is the biggest difference in raising toddlers and teenagers?
I actually addressed that issue in one of my books, It’s Twins! Surprisingly, there are a lot of similarities between toddlers and teens. They’re stubborn and like to get their way! They don’t like to pick up after themselves. They don’t like to listen. But teens and toddlers are also delightful. Teens are more independent, which helps, and better able to communicate. I can run to the store and not have to worry about getting a babysitter, which you can’t do with little ones.
I imagine all the things I would do differently if I had to “do it all over again”. Did you do anything radically different with your toddlers after raising your teenagers?
The dynamics are different with twins because they’re the same age. They’re in different classes at school, but they compete to see who has more fun, has more homework, etc. I’m probably a little more relaxed with my twins than I was with my older sons because I have more confidence that the twins will turn okay now that I see I didn’t entirely ruin my older ones! They’ve grown up into intelligent, great kids. But, at the same time, I’m older now. My two oldest boys were 11 and 14 when the twins were born. Even though I consider myself a “young” 40-something mom, I still don’t have quite the same energy and patience as I did when oldest two were little, which can be especially challenging with twin boys!
As a mother of three girls, I am clueless about the world of “Boy Mommas”, what is the most challenging thing about raising boys in today’s society?
Education is a big issue. It’s been proven that boys and girls just don’t think or learn the same. I really believe that’s true. If you look at the kids who are getting into the most trouble at school or having the most difficulties, it’s almost always the boys. I don’t think, for the most part, that they’re trying to be difficult. They’re just not taught in a way that encourages their natural curiosity and exuberance.
What’s the hardest thing about being the only woman in a house with FIVE males?
Everything! Nobody understands me…I love having “my guys,” but it can be lonely, too, not having anyone to shop with, decorate with, watch chick flicks with, etc. But, then, there’s no guarantee that if I had a daughter, she’d want to do that either! But boys are very protective of their moms, which I love.
When did you start blogging and why?
I started blogging in September 2006. I had started writing parenting books, and I wanted to have a way to impart information to parents in a more timely manner than I could do with books. I’m just amazed at how quickly my blog, Susan Heim on Parenting, has grown! Besides parenting advice, I also share family-friendly product reviews and giveaways, which are so much fun to do.
What are your “comfort reads”? (Books you go back to over and over again.)
“The Power of Positive Thinking” by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale and “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen- I’m a big Jane Austen fan. I even named one of my children Austen!
What type of writing would you most like to see emerge or gain strength in the Christian marketplace?
I love that Christian books are crossing over into the mainstream. Books like “The Purpose Driven Life” and “The Shack” show that people are really interested in learning about faith and applying it to their everyday lives. Christian books need to be relevant to the way that people live today and the issues they face.
What do you wish you had known before you had kids?
I wish I had known that my kids will never be a “mini me.” Before I had children, I assumed that my future offspring would be just like me, with the same preferences, personality, etc. Now I know that kids really do come from another planet! Despite sharing my genes, they have their own temperaments, quirks, behavior, and intelligence. It’s sometimes a challenge to co-exist with these “aliens”!
Can you describe your writing process? (I make notes on anything – including diapers and maxi pad wrappers – that doesn’t move, then make an outline before I start writing, if that gives you an idea of what I’m asking.)
Like you, I’m a note-taker. I keep a notepad in my purse, and I jot down notes on everything that comes to mind because I’m paranoid that I’ll forget something. Strangely, I find that some of my best ideas come to me in the shower. But with four sons in the house, I can’t exactly run out of the bathroom at any time to write something down! So, I bought a dive pad and pencil that you can use in the water. It works great! (I LOVE this idea…thinking about stealing it!)
Tell us a little bit about what drew you to writing and publishing in the first place.
Reading! When I was a kid, I loved to read. Books took me on great adventures. Nothing made me happier than curling up with a good book. I read the Little House on the Prairie and Narnia series over and over again. So, I wanted to be part of that whole process of writing books that could change people’s lives and make them happy.
Last year, Susan published three Chicken Soup for the Soul books. Look for her two latest books in October of this year Chicken Soup for The Soul: Family Matters and Chicken Soup for The Soul: Devotional Stories for Mothers. You can learn more about Susan on the following sites:
Author site: http://www.susanheim.com
Susan Heim on Parenting (blog): http://susanheim.blogspot.com