Consider this my first mobile post published on Maternal Media. I’m reporting live from a sports field in middle America, but I imagine this same scene is unfolding across the country.

Sunday youth football league.

Here are a few top-of-mind reminders for everyone out there who knows and loves youth athletes.

1. Some of these kids will leave their sports careers behind by the time they exit grade school. If you, as a parent or coach, could predetermine whether or not a kid’s love of the game would end this year/this game/this play, would you behave any differently?

2. Yes, your job is to teach kids the game. But the truly great mentors teach kids so much more about sports that can be applied off the field.

3. It feels AMAZING when your kid makes the big play. Big plays come and go. Character continues on. So celebrate the little things – helping an opposing player up, constantly hustling, being a leader when times are tough – as much as the big, obvious accomplishments.

4. Don’t let a game make or break your mood. How you react to wins and losses is how your kid will react to triumphs and adversities throughout their formative years.

5. Don’t let a referee’s action or inaction be the excuse for flipping your sh*t. Do you have a clue as to what those guys get paid? Trust me, they don’t take on this role for the money or prestige. They are human and, as such, will make mistakes.

6. No matter what mom or dad yells from the sidelines, kids will only play as hard as their hearts are into it. No amount of yelling or chest thumping will motivate them. Quite the contrary, your huge smile and a simple thumbs up will mean more to him than you know…because…amazingly…

7. Your kid only wants to make you and his coach happy. While you worry about mortgage payments and getting through your work week, your son’s list of priorities is much simpler…but no less important.

8. When the last whistle is blown, hug your child and tell him how extremely proud you are of his effort. Do this no matter if he scores the game-winning touchdown or does something that costs his team the game. Believe me, he knows if he screwed up. You don’t need to belabor the point.

9. If your child looks like he’s not having any fun, remind him that life is more than touchdowns and tackles. If your child looks like he’s having a blast, never forget to remind him to be thankful for this special time in his life.

10. Watch the movie Rudy. Keep perspective.

Written by Heidi Woodard

Sorta sweet (if you squint) 6

September 11, 2014 — 7 Comments

I assume the majority of you have seen My Super Sweet 16 on MTV? It’s a reality show that documents the coming-of-age parties for spoiled rich kids that are paid for by their delusional parents and attended by their fake friends.

Here’s a clip from The Soup to catch you up.

Alas, my five-year old daughter will soon be turning another year older so I’ve officially started planning for her big celebration.

I’m referring to the shindig as her “Sorta sweet (if you squint) 6″ because momma needs to stay within budget and also…well…she’s only six freaking years old. At this age, I should be able to stick her in a room with a helium-filled Mylar balloon and let her discover the joys of voice manipulation and unexplained dizziness.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

I’ve asked an extremely talented friend of mine to create her birthday “dress cake” out of cupcakes similar to the princess style shown below.

 

This is what my friend is capable of doing.

This is what my friend is capable of doing.

 

This is what I am capable of doing. #NailedIt

This is what I am capable of doing. #NailedIt

 

I’ve picked the date and venue and am crossing my fingers that five of her closest friends like to bowl. See what I did there?

“Honey, you can pick five friends to attend to make a total of six people (counting you) at the party – one for every year you’ve grown bigger!” It just so happens that six is also the number of allowable bowlers per lane included in the party package.

Instead of taking out a second mortgage to pay for goodie bags, I’m going to order some awesome jean tattoos from Peaceable Kingdom. Their company’s Marketing Manager sent me free samples to try out on my daughter’s jeans and we absolutely loved them. I think the kids will go nuts over these easy-to-wear tattoos.

 

My daughter modeling her new favorite accessory, jean tattoos! (they easily wash off in normal wash cycle)

My daughter modeling her new favorite accessory, jean tattoos! (they easily wash off in a normal wash cycle)

 

Wish me luck as I attempt to pull off this party without breaking the bank.

Let me know if you’ve pulled off a killer party for your son or daughter without incurring too much expense!

Written by Heidi Woodard

I cried at work

September 5, 2014 — 16 Comments

Aside from major life tragedies (sickness, loss, prejudice, poverty, war, death), is there anything worse than crying in front of coworkers?

That moment when you feel your cheeks turning red, are unable to blink fast enough to stave off tears, and lose all control in an environment where self-composure and confidence hail supreme?

Usually there’s not a worse feeling. But not this time, my friends.

This time, I felt a mixture of silly embarrassment and glorious pride as I blotted the corners of my eyes. I didn’t mind in the least bit that the instructor’s gaze landed directly on mine or that my coworkers heard my sniffling.

I was taking part in a Community Health Worker training class and we were discussing cultural intelligence; in particular, how gender roles are established and reinforced.

The instructor casually dropped a bomb on me when I was least expecting it. It came in the form of a YouTube clip about a campaign I had read about months ago, but had never taken the time to actually watch: Always #LikeAGirl

This 3-minute video gives a glimpse into how fragile the identity of a female is as she transitions from a little girl into an adolescent and beyond. How seemingly innocent words that are directed at her, about her, with little to no regard of her internal drive or ability, but rather solely focused on her external anatomy, can have lasting consequences.

The athlete in me wanted to scream out DON’T EVER DOUBT YOURSELF! to 10-year old Dakota, the feisty brunette dressed in the rainbow-striped tank top.

The mother in me wanted to throw my arms around the boy in yellow who came to the realization, with a wee bit of nudging from Director Lauren Greenfield, that he will think before he judges girls – including his sister – in the future.

The writer in me wanted to capture all the thoughts spinning round and round in my head…

One of those being how fascinated I am in seeing the reverse side of the coin: What is means to do things #LikeABoy.

Another being how grateful I am that a feminine hygiene product company finally got it right with their customer messaging.

And, lastly, I wondered why I was so deeply affected watching it considering I’ve always considered myself to be a confident person. I guess it just reminded me of times in my life when I doubted myself.

This video tugged on my heart because it gave a voice to those who have felt wrongly judged.

Everyone has a burden to carry, a hurdle to clear, a story to tell. You have the right to write your story.

Here’s another fun video just because. GO GIRLS!

Written by Heidi Woodard

The Road to Kelley

September 2, 2014 — 1 Comment

Stuff I love to do: Talk, laugh, and play softball. I’m still able to accomplish two out of three without needing built-in recuperation days.

Over four months ago, I agreed to play on a slow pitch softball team with radio personalities “JT” from the Pat&JT Show and Damon Benning from Sharp and Benning in the Morning. I thought I’d be doing them a favor considering I used to be pretty good back in the day.

We branded our journey as the “Road to Kelley” because Kelley Softball Complex is pretty much the mecca of slow pitch around these parts…sort of like the “Road to Omaha” is the dream of every NCAA baseball player looking to advance to the College World Series.

If I had to sum up my contribution to the season in a series of tags, I would use these words: Overconfidence, Glory Days, Wild Arm Woodard, Kadoosh, Broken Ring, Cut Leg, Swollen Finger, Bruised Heel, Bruised Pride, Sub Needed, and Indefinite DL.

Lucky for us, Kady and Rachel – the brilliant duo representing Warrior Television at Westside High School – captured our journey from beginning to end.

Enjoy!

 

Written by Heidi Woodard