Heidi Reed: Mom of the Month [June 2023]


The Washington, DC area is full of amazing moms. There are working moms, stay-at-home moms, single moms, moms of multiples, foster moms, adoptive moms, etc. We want to highlight some of those moms like Heidi Reed!

Each month we will feature one special mom as the Mom of the Month. Know a fellow amazing local mom here? Nominate them here!

Meet our June Mom of the Month Heidi Reed Photo Credit: District Cooper Photography

Meet our June Mom of the Month: Heidi Reed

Heidi is a Project Director, at CityBridge Education, a local nonprofit, responsible for their Transforming Teaching Portfolio. CityBridge Education is DC’s trusted partner in designing a public school system worthy of all children. CityBridge incubates the people, ideas, and conversations needed for equity-driven innovation in DC’s public schools.

Heidi works with DC schools to drive forward the planning, piloting, and implementation of new models for teaching aimed at making the teaching profession more successful and sustainable. Previously, she was the Director of Professional Learning at Turnaround for Children where she used her school leadership and teaching background to support schools in whole-child aligned change initiatives.

Heidi got her start in the education field as a first-generation college student at the University of Chicago where she worked for the Neighborhood Schools Program. She moved to DC in 2007 when she joined Teach for America, and has worked in a variety of teaching and leadership roles since. Her favorite was being a science teacher.

She is passionate about creating conditions in which both adults and young people can thrive together in schools. She grew up in Minnesota and remains close to her family there while keeping busy here with her husband, son, two weiner dogs, and volunteer work. 

Here is our Q&A with Heidi Reed

1. What factors influenced your decision to have your husband serve as a stay at home parent? 

The choice started out as a “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade” situation, but the choice ended up being such a gift for our family.

Our son was born in early May 2020, right at the beginning of the pandemic when everything was shut down and there were many unknowns. Before the pandemic, our plan was to have our son start daycare when my maternity leave ended. At the time, my husband had his own business–an online ice and beverage delivery company that primarily worked with large events and busy restaurants. 

In May 2020, restaurants and large events were still closed so my husband was home every day during maternity leave. This was one key to making the transition into stay-at-home-dad life easier because we built care routines together as a family first before anyone had to take on those routines alone.

By the time my leave was ending, my husband’s industry was operating again, but not at the previous level so there was no point in him rushing back to work. By default, my husband continued to care for our son while I returned to work. 

We both assumed it would be temporary, but eventually the choice became intentional when two things happened. First, our son was experiencing some gross motor delays that required physical therapy appointments and more hands-on care.

Second, my husband formally closed his business. Once we saw how our son flourished and saw the weight of the lingering business lifted from my husband’s shoulders, we knew we made the right call for our family and it became official. 

2. What have been the wins and hardships with this new family structure? 

One of the major successes of our family structure is seeing the intensely close bond my husband and son share. It is truly something special! Knowing that my son feels completely at home with my husband as a caregiver gives me such a secure feeling, especially in those moments when I am not around. 

Another success is that, in general, I think a lot of default parenting is put on mothers. Having a stay-at-home-dad family structure helps us examine and deconstruct that default dynamic more than I think we would have otherwise done.

In general, there are still parts of parenting that I feel myself by default taking on (hello preschool applications and potty training research as examples), but the benefit remains—having a stay-at-home dad family structure helps us work to become more intentional about which parenting and household tasks fall on whom and why.  

One of the challenges is finding balance for both of us. For me, I can experience mom guilt about being a working parent. I can also experience guilt about how hard I know it is to be a stay-at-home parent. This means when I am not working, I think first and foremost about how to best show up for my husband and my son. Like many moms I sometimes struggle and put myself at the bottom of the care list.

For my husband, the biggest challenge is that he needs breaks. To do this, we utilize his parents once a week to watch our son for a half day and working from home three days a week can help me be there for things like breakfast. I am so grateful my colleagues understand when my toddler makes me late to a check-in or insists on being part of a call because it helps me more actively support my husband who would otherwise be stuck alone in all of the caregiving tasks.

Finally, my husband also plays in several sports leagues and does tournaments on the weekends. Whereas I volunteer a lot for the Junior League of Washington. It can be a balancing act to make sure we both get adequate “me” time and even more of a balancing act to find time together.

We try to keep open lines of communication about this and know that there will be times during the year when he may be getting more, I may be getting more, we may be getting more, or our son is getting more. We try to keep our eye on the long game of balance. 

3.  You were an educator before you were a Mom, how have those worlds collided?

As an educator, I have always known that relationships are at the center of all teaching, learning, and development. I have loved students deeply and now having my own child, it puts a whole new light on the importance of that secure, trusting relationship that is the base for all learning and development.

I also have always known relationships between schools and caregivers are essential, but now I cannot even imagine what it would look like to send my child to school without a deeply trusting relationship between us and his school. Becoming a parent has helped solidify my beliefs about parents being important voices, partners, and experts in schools. 

Finally, I have always known that each child develops on their own unique pathway. Knowing this professionally and believing this as a parent are two different things. At first, it is easy to buy into all of the talk about milestones and what your child “should” or “should not” be doing at any age or stage. I was so grateful that my professional background has allowed me to drown out some of that noise and to just be here as a witness to my son developing in his own way, at his own time, with me as a careful observer and supporter and teacher where I can be.

I am very grateful my experience as an educator has helped me have that mindset as a parent because I feel less stress and anxiety about his development and just get to enjoy whatever each developmental stage brings with it. 

Heidi Reed and her family Photo Credit: District Cooper Photography

Do you know an amazing mom? Nominate a mom of the month here!