I asked Heather Lenox to be my June real life superhero because she always amazes me with her calm demeanor, positive poise, and general positivity no matter what life throws at her. If you look up the phrase “laugh or you’ll go crazy”, you’ll find a picture of Heather. As a mother of SIX children, a community leader, a local thespian, a good friend, and a woman of faith, this woman has a FULL plate.
Though you will usually find her with a smile on her face, she’s also willing to show her true self. Sometimes it’s due to her humility that lets her ask for help. Other times, she admits her imperfections to let you know it’s okay to own your blemishes. When the world can be such an ugly place, its so comforting to be friends with a truly nice, honest person.
Here are a few questions to help you get to know my friend Heather.
1. Why do you think I nominated you to be on my superhero list?
I’m not really sure. Quite honestly my first thought was “oh, she must have sent this to all of her ‘Real Good Life’ subscribers.” Oops! Sooooo… I’m not sure, but I can tell you I’m honored and humbled.
2. Who do you want to be when you grow up? Are you this person yet?
Gosh, that’s a loaded question. Career-wise, I got my degree in counseling and am midway through my master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. So ideally I would love to do something with that. I love being a part of anything that helps people see who they were created to be and direct them to become the best version of that person. I could see that in any number of careers. My dream once upon a time was to work in a home for troubled girls, and somewhere in the back of my mind I’d like to do something like that. The vision of “what I want to be when I grow up” is much more fluid now that what it used to be though and I’m pretty okay with that. I’d like to be open to whatever God has for me.
I guess that, in a sense, that’s kind of what being a mom is too, right? Raising kids to be the best version of themselves? Amidst the tantrums, meltdowns, and mopping up bodily fluids, I would like to think I’m doing that with my kiddos. So I guess you could say I’m living the dream.
Is it too cliche to say “my kids?” Seriously, though, they are amazing. I was told in my late teens/early twenties I could never have children, so I never had them in mind as part of any “dream.” But in every sense of the word, they are a dream come true. They make me laugh and challenge me in ways I never knew I needed to be challenged. They are hysterical and sweet and fabulous human beings. It’s a good thing my husband is super practical or I would probably have about thirty of them.
4. What’s missing from your life?
That’s tough. I think I struggle from time to time to know where I “fit.” I have a lot of really amazing friends, but I miss the days when I had a solid “tribe” or group of friends who I would get together with consistently. I think that becomes more difficult to find when you are married or have kids, but I have friends who have that so I know it’s possible. Then again, I’ve always kind of been the kid who had one really good friend at each lunch table in the cafeteria, so maybe I’m not made to fit in any certain “group.”
5. What is the biggest secret to your success?
I have three secret weapons. My hope, my sense of humor, and my husband (I love me some alliteration).
My hope is based in my faith. I wrestled for much of my life with clinical depression and a severe eating disorder, and it was finding a relationship with God and everything that encompasses it that rescued me from that downward spiral. My faith gives me purpose and joy and it also helps me to get through the day-to-day doldrums.
My dad has always had an amazing sense of humor as well as the ability to look at life and laugh about it, no matter how stressful the situation. I’m so SO thankful to have grown up under that influence. I’d like to think I’ve inherited at least bits and pieces of his fabulous sense of humor. I deal with just about everything in life by finding a reason to laugh. It’s not really a conscious choice – it’s just who I am. I think that’s really helped me to cope with some of the toughest things in life. However, I’m also one of those weirdos who laughs at funerals, so if that’s not your thing, you may not want to sit next to me. I’m not being disrespectful, I’m just coping.
My husband is another secret weapon. I seriously don’t know what I did to earn his love and affection, but he is my biggest fan and cheerleader. He sees and appreciates all the things that are challenging about being a stay at home mama and he does EVERYTHING he can and supports any choices to make that easier for me. Beyond that, he sees me as more than a mom. Whether that’s making sure I get to the gym most days, agreeing to pizza delivery more times than I’d care to admit, or even encouraging me to participate in some extracurriculars that put a ton more work on HIS shoulders, he knows what is life-giving to me, so he sacrifices to make this possible. He’s pretty great.
6. What was harder for you to accomplish than you expected?
Time management is hard. Getting things done while simultaneously letting go of my agenda each day is difficult. But when you have four kids ages four and under, you might as well throw ANY checklists of what you want to get done out the window every day. It’s hard to let go of expectations of myself, but I’m learning.
7. What comes easiest to you? Does this help or hinder your awesomeness?
I don’t know if this answers the question, but I work best under pressure. This worked GREAT in college… Not so much in this season of life. Because of the nature of motherhood and having so many littles with SO many needs all the time, I HAVE to plan ahead if I have deadlines or else nothing ever gets done. So right now, that completely hinders my awesomeness. Maybe someday it will exhibit itself as a strength again.
8. Have you had the same goal(s) your whole life or do they change?
They’ve definitely changed over time. When I was a kid, I wanted to be a meteorologist, but I hated math and science, soooo…. For a long time after that, I wanted to b a music teacher. My first several years of college were spent in piano labs and music theory classes and I just didn’t enjoy it. Then through my own journey of healing, I became passionate about sharing the healing journey with others. I don’t think that’s a goal I’ll ever outgrow, though what it looks like may change with phases of life.
9. “Superheroes… They are just like us.” Tell me something you do just like everyone else.
Dude. You wanna come see the disaster that is my home and hear my children scream in the supermarket? I mean, we’re pretty normal around here. And, kid chaos aside, I’ve always been that girl who constantly has to “ping” her phone using the “where’s my iPhone” website because I can’t find it and who forgets her Costco card every dang time I go.
10. Who are your superheroes?
My husband, as mentioned above.
I have several close “mom friends” who are several steps ahead of me on this motherhood journey and have raised some INCREDIBLE kids. They are an inspiration to me and have also been such a HUGE help to our family during this chaotic time. You know, the ones who show up on your doorstep with a cup of coffee randomly and don’t judge your mess? Yeah, they’re pretty awesome. You ladies know who you are (Michele, Aimee, Sarah, Jo, Kristina, Heidi, Shannon, Cathy, Jennie… I could probably keep going for awhile on this….).
The ladies over at Moms Mental Health Initiative are a current inspiration to me. I love the way they’ve taken the hard parts of their own story and turned it into something incredible that is helping hundreds of women in the Milwaukee area who are struggling with postpartum depression and related disorders. Their drive, passion, and initiative are so incredible. They are REAL superheroes.
Many thanks to Heather for taking the time to respond to these questions. As a thank you, The Real Good Life will donate $30 to the Hunger Task Force in her honor. I hope Heather is as much an inspiration to you as she is to me.
If you have a superhero in your life that you would like to recognize, please let me know! I would love to feature them on the blog.