The Rocket City is full of incredible people and organizations that help make it the best place to live in America! Of course that can’t happen with a single organization or single individual, BUT we here at Rocket City Mom think that Jennifer Lapidus is a big part of that. Whether she’s celebrating the hard work and efforts of health care workers at Huntsville Hospital, educating the community about Judaism, or sharing her talents with various non-profits in the Rocket City, Jennifer absolutely earns the title of an Awesome Mom of Huntsville!
In addition to her philanthropic impact, Jennifer’s story is one of hope and perseverance. She is a beautiful example of breaking cycles and rising from the ashes. Read below to learn more about Jennifer and what makes her an Awesome Mom.
My family and my community are my passions. Professionally, I work for the Huntsville Hospital Health System in marketing and public relations and it is the best job in the world because I get to share the true and amazing stories of our health care heroes every day. Our North Alabama community is incredibly lucky to have the highest level of medical care available provided by clinicians who truly care. We are nationally recognized in heart, stroke and several surgical programs and have a Level 1 trauma center, a Level 3 NICU and a St. Jude Affiliate Clinic. To remain at home and receive the care you need is a tremendous blessing unrealized until you need it. I was in that position back in 2020 when my carotid artery ruptured suddenly. Fortunately, I live just down the street from Huntsville Hospital which has one of the most capable emergency rooms in the state of Alabama. They were able to quickly assess my medical condition and arrange air transport to Birmingham, where I received further care.
Personally, I am passionate about diversity and inclusion. As a proud member of Huntsville’s historic downtown Jewish synagogue, Temple B’nai Sholom, I love the Jewish faith and am excited to share and educate the community about Judaism. Huntsville’s international population makes it rich with cultural diversity and I have been fortunate to make lifelong friendships with people from every religion, from all lifestyles and from all over the world. In Hebrew, “tikkum olam” means “repair of the world” and calls us all to make the world more just, peaceful, tolerant and equal, through acts of charity, kindness, and political action. Ultimately, we are all better together and education leads to understanding and acceptance. Currently, I serve on Huntsville’s Interfaith Mission Service committee and am participating in the City of Huntsville’s Civic Engagement Academy hosted by the Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion.
Her Motherhood Journey (So far!)
I had my first daughter, Madison, when I was 29 and my second daughter, Margot, when I was 34 and they are my heart. While the baby years were challenging for me with sleepless nights, breastfeeding troubles, colic and virtually no support, I wouldn’t change anything for the relationship I have with them today. They make my life worth living and I am beyond proud of the people they have become. They are intelligent, independent, self-assured and genuinely beautiful inside and out.
When my youngest started kindergarten, I went back to work and divorced my physically and mentally abusive husband. Those first divorced years were especially difficult but I built a support system around us which included therapy. Today, my resilient daughters use their voice to speak out for the truth, what is right, for justice and against the oppression of women. Having been a single mother, I have an unbelievably close relationship with them and I sleep well at night knowing the abuse stopped with me and they are safe. I encourage anyone in an abusive relationship to seek help. Crisis Services of North Alabama and the Madison County Volunteer Lawyers Program (MCVLP) offered me support when I had no idea where to turn.
My motherhood journey expanded when I married my best friend and the love of my life, Michael. I was blessed to add a son, Matthew, and an oldest daughter, Emily, to my family; they were 15 and 18 at the time, respectively. The ease at which families blend varies but I believe love always wins. Blending families is not necessarily intuitive and change is rarely easy. It can be a difficult adjustment for some but ultimately, the children gain more people to love and support them. I try to do everything in my power to let my step-children know I love them and they are equal to my own biological children in our family. The bonds between the 6 of us have strengthened over time and I especially love my son’s humor, compassionate heart and confidence and my oldest daughter’s strength, dedication, wit and intelligence. My family is the greatest gift of my life.
Her Quest for Balance
Life, as well as parenting, goes through different seasons. I grew up watching Martha Stewart and while I found her incredibly inspirational, I had to adjust my expectations of myself to match the season of my life. There was no way I was going to be able to cook a Thanksgiving meal for 12 using the eggs from my own coop, vegetables from my own garden, or make my own preserves and homemade bread when I had babies and very little help and could barely manage to get a shower every day. The dog’s water bowl was not going to have a slice of lemon floating in it, my trash cans weren’t going to be lined with doilies and I was not going to make my own table centerpieces, door wreaths, or sachets of potpourri. My children needed me to spend my time with them. While I did find moments to feed my creative spirit through cooking, reading, playing, walking, drawing, learning, and exploring, the priority for me was spending time with my girls. It may seem like the baby years will never end but then you will blink and they will be in college. By that time, you won’t care about making potpourri anymore. You will be in a different season in life with them and with yourself.
Her Ideal Rocket City Weekend
My favorite family activity in Huntsville is by far to attend the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra (HSO) which is celebrating its 67th season this year. My children have grown up loving music. Music is a universal language with the power to connect all people even when words can fail. As an art form, the human interaction of music has the power to transcend geography and time and transfer hope, happiness, and even sadness from one soul to the next. Under the leadership of Symphony President Dan Halcomb and Conductor Gregory Vadja from Budapest, Hungary, our community can enjoy contemporary world-class performances, free family concerts, summer music camps, a symphony school, educational programs, lessons, master classes, and amateur ensembles for music lovers of all ages. My mother-in-law and I are members of the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra Guild (HSOG) which promotes the orchestra’s health, growth and community engagement through advocacy and fundraising initiatives and I currently serve on the HSOG Guild Board. My husband is the previous past-chairman of the HSO Foundation Board and his late father was Chairman of the HSO Board.
Funniest Parenting Moment
I remember a specific time when my daughter was a toddler and I was stressed about something and she patted my back with her tiny hand and said “e-lax momma, e-lax.” I carry those words with me today whenever I feel hurried or under pressure and I also say them back to her. Sometimes we all just need to e-lax.
Jennifer’s Top Parenting Tips
My top parenting tip is to raise your children with respect – respect for themselves and for others. A quote by Maya Angelou perfectly embodies this thought: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Childhood memories are foundational and impact the people we become. My parents raised me with the old school mentality that I was to do as they say because they told me to do it, without question. Parents are not perfect, do not always know what is right and best or have all of the information. Children know when they are being treated unfairly and without basic human respect. To perpetuate oppressive parenting tactics dooms us to generational dysfunction, anxiety, depression, and a host of other behavioral health issues. I have raised my daughters in a nurturing environment where they feel listened to, heard, understood and most of all, respected.
The Super Power She Wishes She Had
The one super power I wish I had is teleportation. If I could instantaneously travel between two locations without crossing the intervening space, I could see everything I’ve always wanted to see in the world. I would teleport my family with me to see the spring flowers bloom around the Eiffel Tower and the Cherry Blossom Festival in Kyoto. We’d celebrate Yom Kippur in Jerusalem, the Chinese New Year in Shanghai, St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin, Oktoberfest in Munich, Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Diwali in Mumbai and the Elephant Festival in Jaipur to name a few. I would want to see all the significant international cultural events of the world.
Jennifer’s Parenting Book Recommendation
“Step-Mom Magazine” for all divorced parents. It is available online and excellent.
Name the song you think of when you need to:
Get your Game face on – “Happy” by Pharrell Williams
Recover from heartbreak – “When the Stars Go Blue” by Ryan Adams
Energize yourself – “Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynyrd Skynyrd
Let loose and have fun with your friends – “Dancing Queen” by ABBA or “Got to Give it Up” by Marvin Gaye
Do you know a local mom you think we should feature as an Amazing Rocket City Mom? We want to hear from you about her – send us your ideas and we’ll get in touch!
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Rocket City Mom is a website about raising children in and around Huntsville, Alabama. Started in late 2010 by a local mom and newcomer to Huntsville, Rocket City Mom has grown into a thriving community of local parents and now boasts a staff of four, thirteen regular contributors, and tens of thousands of Tennessee Valley readers making it the #1 Parenting Resource in North Alabama.