I had a work colleague recently ask me how it was possible to keep everything balanced when it comes to work and family. Her parenting phase is a difficult one right now and I did the best I could to remind her to always keep perspective, that none of us are perfect, and to find one thing she really enjoys and make a point to do it.

One day later, I was hiding in the restroom of my middle child’s basketball game wiping away tears of frustration. After having already been on the road for 50 minutes because I accidentally drove to the wrong gym on my first attempt, my actions caused my boy to miss his warm-up time (which, frankly, didn’t bother him half as much as seeing his mom so stressed out did).

I had been away from my family for three days the week prior for work. I had forgotten to RSVP for a little one’s birthday party that we wouldn’t be able to make. I’ve been neglecting a side project that I want to unveil by the holidays. And then there’s Christmas shopping and my hatred of it. Have I mentioned how much I equally love and detest this time of year?

I had my recurring dream that I only experience when I’m on edge, the one where I’m at the wheel of an automobile knowing I have to stop before I collide into something else and, no matter how hard I press my foot onto the brake pedal, I can’t stop moving forward.

I’ve reflected on my mini meltdown and came to this conclusion: I need to always keep perspective, remind myself that none of us are perfect, and find one thing I really enjoy and just do it. Or, better stated: Practice what I preach.

I saw a woman who I assume was a player’s mom approach a referee at the conclusion of my eldest son’s basketball game today. She spoke to him for no more than 30 seconds and I’m fairly confident hers weren’t words of praise directed at him. I saw another grown woman with tears welling up as I was getting ready to leave, and my gut told me her emotions had little to do with what happened on the court but maybe had more to do with stuff on the sidelines.

Then I redirected my attention on the collective group of youth athletes. My son, in particular, didn’t have his best game but his team came out on top. He wasn’t ready to throw in the towel, but instead shifted focus to what he wanted to consume to replenish the absurd amount of calories his growing body needs these days. The losing team, who has been victorious in the past, seemed to hold their heads high for the most part.

They recognized today was not their defining moment. It was but one chapter in their journey.

We adults could learn a few things from a group of preteens.

Today I won’t feel guilty for missed appointments or cancelled plans. Instead I will be grateful for all that I’ve done with the hours I’m given.

Today I won’t beat myself up for never being everything to everyone. Instead I will remember I am deeply loved by the important ones.

Today I won’t feel ashamed for taking on yet another project in my overly jammed life. Instead I will remind myself that I can’t give up on something I believe is good.

Today I won’t feel like screaming out the frustration I’ve bottled up inside. Instead I will feel like singing the passion I refuse to suppress.

Today I won’t toss my hands into the air and say “Finally, I wrote something.” Instead I will quietly close my laptop and say “Thank you for reading and relating.”

Written by Heidi Woodard

First there was a sick husband.

Followed by a sicker son.

Not to be outdone by a delusional daughter.

My boy came down with strep throat. Hard.

Bad enough that he couldn’t muster up enough energy to laugh. That’s the worst kind of sick for a 10-year old boy.

Bad enough that his mom had a heart-to-heart with the after hours nurse, begging her to convince the on-call doctor to not make us return for the dreaded repeat office visit, but instead phone in a second antibiotic to replace the first one that wasn’t working.

Bad enough that there was more white than pink in the back of his swollen throat.

Bad enough that his 6-year old sister noticed the extra attention he was getting from mom and dad.

Watching Goosebumps episodes in between fever episodes.

Watching Goosebumps episodes in between fever episodes.

It was only a matter of time before that girl thought her throat might be hurting too. She begged to have her temperature taken and her tummy rubbed.

She felt the word her brother used, lightheaded. She didn’t need to know entirely what the word meant. She was convinced she had it…whatever it meant.

After 24 hours of listening to little sister complain of having the very real symptoms that were making him miserable, big brother looked at her and said, “Hey Jaycee. I have an app on my phone that I can use to scan your body to see if you’re really sick. Do you want me to try it out on you?”

With a poker face that Kenny Rogers himself would be proud of, she looked straight in his eyes and said, “Sure.”

She wasn’t ready to fold em.

Below is the patient photo he took before scanning her entire body.

She is sssiiiiccckkk.

She is sssiiiiccckkk.

Much to little sister’s shock and disbelief, this was the reading that came back on big brother’s phone.

IMG_0205

After having cried fever so many times and convincing herself that she was, in fact, as ill and miserable as he was, she reacted the way any sensible 6-year old would. By flipping out.

Her brother decided to scan her body one final time and this second reading (a culture, if you will) finally revealed what she knew to be true.

IMG_0201

She was a little sick after all.

I ask that you continue to keep us in your thoughts.

Written by Heidi Woodard

The ultimate denial

October 29, 2014 — 1 Comment

I’ve been suffering big time, people. As those of you who listen to me on the Pat&JT Show know, my husband of 15 glorious years came down with a nasty bug.

A few sniffles turned into a round of sneezes, which turned into coughing, then inconsolable moans and groans, and finally a fever spike.

Before I knew it, Ryan morphed into Roz from Monster’s Inc.

sssiiiiccckkk

He is sssiiiiccckkk.

To his credit, Ryan’s pretty much weathering out this storm on his own…asking for nothing, grateful for everything.

He’s shouted spoken very little compared to normal, but the words he did utter spoke volumes.

Less than 24 hours after falling victim to this debilitating illness, he looked me square in the eyes and broke the news:

“I don’t think we’ll be able to make out tonight.”

Now, I don’t know how many of you can relate to the gravity of this particular predicament. Having known this man for half my life, I wasn’t sure if I could go a day without making out with him…in all his phlegm-filled glory.

It was hard for me to hide my disappointment.

“You mean to tell me I’ll have to just curl up in my pajamas under my warm blankets and prepare for uninterrupted sleep with ZERO chance you’ll attempt to grope a feel? Oh man, I’m not sure how I am going to deal with that.” I responded.

In between nasal clearings, he level set all expectations.

“It’s just not going to happen,” he said sadly.

I’ve been dealing with this new reality ever since. Keep me in your thoughts.

Written by Heidi Woodard

I am parenting three pretty great people at the moment. My boys are ages 12 and 10, and their little sister is 6 years old. I think I’m in a phase where I might be so physically exhausted most days from running around, however, that I’m not exactly giving them my A game. So I decided to write them a letter to explain my current inadequacies and beg for their forgiveness while promising better days to come.

 

Forgive me for my lack of hustle, kids.

Forgive me for my lack of hustle, kids.

October, 2014

Dear Mr. Know-It-All, Mr. Mind Wanderer, and Miss Thang,

Do you remember what it was like when you were young and naive and didn’t put 2-and-2 together that not EVERY mom was as clueless as yours is in the kitchen? The days when frozen snacks like chicken nuggets, pizza rolls, and toaster strudels didn’t seem like a total cop out?

I made a fatal mistake in letting you sleep over at your friends’ houses. I recognize that now. Hindsight is always 20/20. I see that look in your eyes when you return home and try to mask your disappointment, fully cognizant of the fact you will not experience that level of culinary fulfillment until the next invitation is extended.

Cooking frustrates me. Why spend more than one hour on something that A. no one will like, or B. people will like so much that it disappears in 8 minutes flat? It’s like the precious artwork you bring home that you later find in the recycling bin. You pickin up what I’m putting down?

I also feel the need to address your nonstop extracurricular activities. I see the moms of your teammates stand outside in the bitter cold, as daylight is smothered by dusk, watching every practice drill. Me? I often find myself getting lost in cyberspace, taking multiple hits of Vine videos from the comfort of my van. Just like an addict, I sulk a little lower with every passing onlooker. DON’T JUDGE ME.

 

The mom who unplugged, while I watched Vine videos.

The mom who unplugged, while I watched Vine videos.

 

Plus I work a full-time job in insurance. I can’t even begin to explain to you what that means other than by saying it’s like standing in line waiting for the chance to eat your favorite cafeteria food (pizza, french toast sticks, nachos, you get the picture) but the line is 8 hours long. When I get home at the end of my shift, the couch is my favorite cafeteria food. And I am ready to consume it.

I figure I’ve got six to eight years ahead of me before you’re in college and I become the mom of all moms.

My care packages are going to blow your mind. I will have worn dad down by then about all financial matters. After all, he will have put up with me for nearly A QUARTER CENTURY by the time you’re in college.

Since I will no longer have to drive you to anything and can just show up before tip-off, the first pitch, whatever (assuming you’re still playing), I’m going to be that chill mom you always wished for. Balancing a drink in one hand and a hot dog in the other, you won’t even know I’m there.

I’m going to remember what it’s like to hang out with your dad again. You’re going to turn around one day to introduce us to your advisor, and we’ll be pinching each other in awkward places that will make you cringe.

Just you wait. Bonfires will still involve s’mores, but there will be stories that you’ve never heard us tell you before. I will tell you about dad giving me my first wine cooler in his parent’s basement. He will tell you about the book he always wanted to write detailing all of the dumb things I’ve said in total seriousness.

My tears of laughter will morph into tears of sorrow knowing that you are running a pace that I can’t keep up with, yet I am so proud of you for maintaining.

You may strip me of all my energy now, but there is no other way I’d want to spend it.

Love, Mom

Written by Heidi Woodard