Mom in Action

Kat Hills is a career woman, a mom and an advocate. She does the balancing act each day of raising her three kids—Nate, 8, Nora, 5, and Niko, 6 months—with her husband, Karl, and maintaining her public relations job, which she does part time so she can be there to take the kids to school and pick them up every day.

By Amy Gordy 

 

Kat Hills was 27 when she had her first child, and learned the lesson that life doesn’t wait for your plans. The couple had planned for a hospital birth with a midwife to be present for labor support, but Nate decided he was ready to enter the world with little warning.

“The time came and I felt like I was in labor, so my husband called the midwife, who told us to try and wait a little bit before heading to the hospital—two hours later we had a baby at home. My husband was on the phone with the midwife telling her ‘There’s no time!’ I was standing up trying to get in the shower in our tiny bathroom and he just came out. The midwife got there five minutes later and he was breathing and everything was great. I never even went to the hospital,” Hills said.

The Hillses planned to have their second child at home, and, much to their surprise, ended up delivering Nora on their own as well. “Nora was super rapid fire. The midwife missed that one, too. For Niko, our youngest, we decided to get some support and have him in the hospital, and it was wonderful.”

Hills has worked to find the balance in her life between keeping her career and being there for her kids. “What I struggle with most is never feeling like I can ever give 100 percent to kids or work. It’s my day-in-day-out struggle,” she said.

Before kids, Hills worked full time at Arkansas Business Publishing Group. After her first child, she went back full time for a year and had to take off again due to a family health situation. She then began work part time at a public relations firm, where she’s still employed, and also works as a freelance web designer and content creator.

“I’ve been working with this firm for seven years and it’s really great. I planned to go back to work full time when my daughter went to kindergarten, but then we had Niko and had to readjust those plans. It was my choice and one I don’t regret at all, to have both a career and be able to get them to school every day and be here when they get home,” she said.

Hills balances home and work while still making time to advocate for gun safety with the organization, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. For the past three years she’s been a part of the local chapter of this national organization that started in the wake of Sandy Hook.

Hills discovered her passion for the issue during a book club meeting with a group of her friends. “A friend of mine brought up guns in our meeting, and I just didn’t realize the varying degrees of opinions there would be. I assumed that we were a group of 30-something-year-old moms, so of course we would all agree on gun issues. It was a really heated, taboo topic, and I decided then that I really wanted to make a difference,” she said.

“It’s not an anti-gun organization, it’s a gun violence prevention organization. We work to take the stigma out of talking about gun safety, and work to support common sense gun safety laws to help keep our kids safe. I’ve met a whole other community of moms through it, and that’s really cool, too.”

photo by matthew martin

photo by matthew martin

THE INSIDE SCOOP WITH KAT

IF YOU HAD A DAY FREE FROM ALL OBLIGATIONS, WHAT WOULD YOU DO? (Insert laughter) At this point in my life, an obligation-free day seems unimaginable, but if all the stars aligned I would spend the day curled in bed with coffee and a good book.

WHICH QUALITY DO YOU MOST HOPE TO INSTILL IN YOUR CHILDREN? Self-sufficiency. My highest hope for all of my children is that they will be hardworking, kind and functional adults!

WHAT DO YOU WORRY ABOUT MOST? I spend the most time worrying that I am spreading myself too thin and not giving enough attention to any one thing. When I’m volunteering or working, I worry about the things I need to do at home, and vice versa. It can feel like a struggle to remain present at any or all of these places.

WHAT DO YOU DO TO STAY BALANCED? I have to give credit for all feelings of balance to the team approach my husband and I take. On Sunday nights we sit down with our shared phone calendar and go over our week. Since our schedules are so hectic, keeping track of who does what, when and where is an integral part of keeping me feeling calm and balanced.

WHAT IS YOUR GO-TO MEAL TO PREPARE THAT MAKES EVERYONE HAPPY? Take-out pizza. WHAT’S YOUR IDEAL GIRLS NIGHT? My ideal girls night would be similar to the ones I have right now with my book club. We have a core group of about 10-12 ladies that have been meeting monthly since 2009. I’m pretty sure we could solve all the world’s problems.

WHAT’S YOUR IDEAL DATE NIGHT? My ideal date night is pretty simple—dinner and drinks somewhere local. Generally, we geek out and talk about technology, apps we could build or ideas to use technology to solve existing problems.

WHAT’S THE HARDEST THING ABOUT PARENTING? Parenting is not for the weak! My children teach me patience day in and day out over the smallest of things. I’m constantly trying to slow down more and not rush them so much.

WHAT IS THE ONE THING YOU NEVER HAD THAT YOU WANT FOR YOUR KIDS? I want my kids to experience adventures through traveling. I had wonderful family vacations growing up, but I’d really love for my kids to experience cultures far and wide.

WHICH OF YOUR OWN QUALITIES DO YOU SEE IN YOUR CHILDREN? Not always the ones I want to see! My oldest and I are both stubborn and competitive, and that sometimes causes tension between us. Positively, I see them picking up on my passion for reading as well as being a good friend.

WHAT MAKES YOU MOST PROUD OF YOUR CHILDREN? It makes me proud to see them work hard and realize the hard work they are putting in is a part of their successes.