Real Mama: Heidi Cullen

Tell us a little bit about yourself…

Well I grew up in a suburb of Minneapolis, Minn. I was always the athletic one; a competitive gymnast since age six. But a surgery in high school forced me to quit, so I started diving and cheerleading competitively. YES — Cheerleading! They needed a tumbler to throw into the air. I loved it, actually! I ended up in college with a Division 1 diving scholarship and I majored in broadcast journalism and video production.

Image by Legacy Photography

I currently have my own video production company, Flashback Productions, that specializes in wedding videography and I work three days a week at a TV station in Minnesota where I produce all the local commercials. My husband and I just built a house in Alexandria and are loving life with our 13-month-old son.

Where is home?

I always call Lakeville my home, it’s where I grew up. But I currently live in a small town in northern Minnesota called Alexandria.

What are your secrets to balancing your life as a mama, loving wife, your day job AND running your videography business?

Secrets? HA! I don’t think I have any secrets, but I just try to do the best I can. With shooting weddings I am gone a lot of weekends, but it’s fun when you are doing something you enjoy. I work hard, but play harder and I love every minute I get to spend with my son and try to always make it count!

Who has been your biggest inspiration?

Probably my parents! My mom and dad did such an excellent job in raising us that I hope I can do the same with my kids. My dad has always worked so hard and I just love how when we (my sister, my brother and I) were growing up, my mom decided to move her office home so she could be at home with us. I never had to go to daycare and my mom was always there when I got off the school bus. It was just nice because I know a lot of kids didn’t have that luxury. That’s part of the reason why I have taken off with my videography business, so eventually I can just work from home full-time.

Image by Lane Studio

What has been the best advice you’ve received as a mama? What do you feel is the best advice, if any, you’ve given as a mama?

This has nothing to do with being a mama, but I will say the best advice I received when I was pregnant was to NOT find out the sex of the baby! I never in a million years thought I would be the one to not find out what the baby was, but it was so important to my husband. He says, “It’s one of the few true surprises in life” and now, I agree. It was definitely worth waiting. For the first one, at least.

Are you the kind of mama you thought you’d be?

Hmmm… that’s a good question. I don’t think I pictured the kind of mama I’d be. I’ve just always pictured myself with two or three kids and all the positive things that come along with them. I never thought about discipline or what would happen when they are crabby or are teething. Those things have just been a learn-as-you-go experience for me. But being a mama just feels so natural!

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

Ten years? I can’t even think about next week, let alone next year! But I guess I see myself with two more kids (God-willing) and since my husband’s family has a business in town, we will probably be in the same location! And I am definitely fine with that. It’s a great town to live in!

If you could have any super power, what would it be?

I am going to have to go with flying! Maybe it’s the gymnast in me, but I would love to be able to soar through the air and flip and turn and twist whenever I darn well please. Jumping on the trampoline just isn’t the same! Plus – people think it’s weird when old ladies jump on a trampoline and, apparently, that’s what I am now!

Was the birth experience for your baby all that you hoped it would be?  If you could go back and change anything, what would it be? 

HA! This question makes me laugh! NO – it was NOT how I hoped it would be, but I am sure not many births are! The outcome was obviously amazing and I had a great pregnancy. I just wish I would’ve had the doctor double check, with an ultrasound, the position of my baby BEFORE I went into labor, instead of finding out eight hours in, when I am ready to push, that my baby was butt first. But that’s another story for another post. Doctors make mistakes and life goes on. The important thing is my baby was perfect and healthy, except for a bruised butt.

 

How has your mothering evolved since those early newborn days? Is there anything, thus far, in your approach to mothering that you swore “I’d never do…” and you are?

Oh geez, I was so clueless at first!  You can babysit for a million years and still not be prepared for when you have your own. So yeah, those first couple months were just a learning experience. I am sure when number two comes along, there will be even more learning to do too!

And yes —I probably made a million promises to myself that I would never do that or never do this.  I said I would never let my child be one of those snotty nosed kids running around. “Wipe your kid’s nose for Pete’s sake!” But now I get it! It’s a constant struggle to keep my kid’s nose clean and drip-free. It’s like a faucet, I can’t help it! Sorry mamas who I judged before, I completely understand now!

 

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