The following article was posted on the Charlotte Smarty Pants Website.

Smarty Mom: Cat Long

By Krista W

Welcome 1-1-11! And today’s Smarty Mom is numero uno in so many ways. Cat Long inspires you from the first time you meet her. Her outgoing personality ropes you into conversation. She lights up a room. No matter how many wonderful things I could write about Cat, it would never do her true self justice. Cat is a mom of two children under three and two children over 18. Exhausting yes, but Cat is as put together as they come. Always in style, never misses an important date, engaged in our community, and full of personality. Cat isn’t one of those moms who sits and watches life move around her. That isn’t her style. No, she is far too busy making things around her better.

How? One example would be by starting a charity called “Baby Bundles” along with two of her friends with similar walks of life. The goal of this organization is to provide underprivileged mothers with a newborn essentials to help alleviate some of the stresses that comes with new motherhood.

The Cat Stats:
Mom of- Ben 3.5, Charlie 15 months, Austin 18 and Morgan 22
Married to- Darryl Long
Years in Charlotte- 20

Charlotte meet the wonderful Cat Long. Trust me, if you don’t know her now, you will. “Baby Bundles” is about to take Charlotte by storm and give back to our community in the way that only a Smarty Mom can!

Cat Long is the Co-Founder of “Baby Bundles” along with her partners and friends, Emily Harry and Heather Leavitt.

How did you meet Emily and Heather (partners in Baby Bundles)?
I met Emily through mutual friends. Sadly, she too had suffered a stillborn about a year and a half after I did. Several friends of mine asked if I would reach out to her for support as a close friend had done for me after our daughter passed away. Emily introduced me to Heather this past spring. They grew up together in Charlotte. Heather has lost 3 children over the span of 9 years. The loss of our children brought us together.

When did you decide to start Baby Bundles?
In the spring of 2010. Emily, Heather and I were all busy moms raising our families but something was missing. We came together because we wanted to do something that would honor the children we each had lost. Enough time had passed for us to be able to channel the sadness into something positive and meaningful that could help other mothers in less fortunate circumstances.

What is your objective as an organization and how can other Smarties get involved?
The objective for Baby Bundles is to present new and gently used clothing and other baby essentials to underprivileged newborns in the Charlotte area. We have partnered with Presbyterian Hospital and Nurse-Family Partnership to identify mothers in financial need who will receive a “bundle” of newborn clothing, a book and a toy.

You can get involved lots of ways! Volunteer to organize a clothing drive, help us sort and put together our bundles, donate new or gently used baby clothes, ages 0-6 months, make a donation and spread the word!

What was your biggest challenging in starting Baby Bundles?
The biggest challenge for me has been trying to balance the time necessary to start a non profit and being a good mother and wife to my family, who have been very understanding!

You believe life is a serious of chapters. You’ve felt that after the sad ones, happy ones follow. How did you come to trust in those words?
A lot of time and a lot of faith. After my daughter passed away, I honestly didn’t believe I would have another happy chapter. I was so fortunate to have a family that helped me “survive” and get from one day to the next. I also had amazing friends who lifted me up with prayer and support. After my husband finally convinced me to do another IVF, we had Ben. He was my validation and my trust. I learned that sometimes you have to trust without having the ability to see what’s in front of you.

What advice do you have for families suffering the loss of an infant?
To accept the loss, even though you can’t begin to understand the reason. To mourn your baby as long as you need to in order to heal and to surround yourself with people who care about you and who can understand the depth of your loss. The best advice someone gave to me was to stay present, even when it hurt to get up the next day. I also believe that when the time is right, find something meaningful to you that honors your child. It’s a wonderful way to keep their memory alive.

How has your life changed through the pursuit of starting Baby Bundles?
It has helped me realize how blessed I am, given me the awareness of just how many mothers there are in Charlotte that don’t have the resources they need and how many people are willing to step up and help. It’s been amazing to experience the support that we have received from many organizations and individuals as we launch Baby Bundles!

If you could say one thing to a mother in need, what would it be?
What can I do to help you?

Where do you see yourself in ten years?
Chasing my then 11 & 13 year old boys around and overseeing a successful and widespread Baby Bundles!

Favorite “mommy time” activity?
“Dancing” with my boys! We love to crank up the music and shake our booties!!

Favorite girls night out spot?
Vivace or a chick flick!

Best place to eat out with the whole family?
Zoes, Brixx or The Flying Biscuit

Favorite park?
Colonial Park on Providence Road

Mini-van or SUV?
SUV

Best book you’ve read lately?
I am still reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series…I am behind on new books!

I could not live without my . . .
blackberry

Best thing about raising a family in Charlotte?
Small town feeling in a big city and lots of fun things to do with our children

Best kept secret in Charlotte?
The Greenway – a great place to take our boys on a bike ride and it ends at Zoes, who does have the best chocolate chip cookies!


View this article and others on the Charlotte Smarty Pants Website.