I’ve lost and gained an identity through motherhood

June 24, 2013

A professional photographer recently came to my work and took head shots of some of us.

Rewind nearly 15 years ago and you’ll see a vastly different work photo that a younger me posed for when I was bright and shiny and straight out of college.

The difference in those two pictures is striking.

1999 Heidi

I’m fresh and fluffy as a 20-some year old. Apparently, color photography had not been invented yet in the late 90s.

2013 Heidi

Note to self: I don’t care how early the photo session is scheduled…Do your hair. This mugshot proves it’s possible to look old and like a small boy simultaneously.

My life has changed dramatically as I evolved from a newly married full-time worker with more free time than I knew what to do with into a full-time professional who co-manages the schedules of three incredibly active children, who freelance writes on the side, blogs for fun, and battles with guilt that I’m not fully meeting anyone’s expectations.

The me of 1999 had time to do my hair, wore a nicely tailored suit (likely the only one I owned), and donned a genuinely relaxed smile. Don’t get me wrong…I still looked ridiculous, but the final product took hours upon hours of prep work.

The me of 2013 looks like I’ve given up on sleep, my hair, and my femininity in general. I take every chance I get to talk about my glory years of playing softball back in college. Boy do I look the part in this snapshot.

And don’t misinterpret that last statement as a slam on female athletes. It’s meant to be funny. My former teammates are laughing their butts off right now shaking their heads in agreement because they know I could probably snag a coaching job right now based on that mugshot alone.

The me “then” yearned to make her mark in corporate America. She thought she’d travel to far-away places with her husband. She hung out with her friends and stayed in shape without thinking about it. She wasn’t sure what she wanted to be when she grew up.

The me “now” is focused on cranking out her daily work with no egotistical expectations involved. She chooses sleep over vanity, considers staying at the Holiday Inn a vacation, and apologizes to friends for never having time to hang out. She still has no idea what she wants to be when she grows up.

I fully recognize this is just a busy time in our lives as a family. This beautifully written post reminds me to cherish these years as they will be gone far too soon.

The me “now,” although different than the type of person I thought I would be when I was young and naive, is fabulously frazzled — slicked back pony tail and all.

Some events from my life that have made me stop and reflect recently:

  • My daughter has a dress that she knows is my favorite. I told her I would never give it away. We talked about how someday, if she’s lucky, she might have a daughter who can wear that same dress.
  • My middle child, who has struggled throughout the summer at hitting a baseball, smacked a line drive into right center field to help his team secure a come-from-behind victory. He got to feel what it’s like to rise up to a challenge.
  • A night out with my oldest. I love that he’s turning into a young man who’s interested in sharing his opinions with me…even if they’re the polar opposite of mine.
  • I got to read a handwritten thank you card from one of my son’s teammates to my husband, thanking him for being an awesome coach.
perfect little dress

The perfect little dress.

Created by Heidi Woodard

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8 responses to I’ve lost and gained an identity through motherhood

  1. 

    “they know I could probably snag a coaching job right now based on that mugshot alone”. I was unfortunate enough to be taking a drink when I read this line. Luckily I’m skillful enough to have just choked on my lifewater instead of spitting it out on my keyboard. Good one Heidi!

  2. 
    Jodi Bruegman June 24, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    You made me laugh & cry on this one! Great stuff Heidi!!!!

    • 

      I think you summed up what it feels like to be a mom sometimes you laugh and sometimes you cry – And it’s not uncommon for this to happen in the same day, is it?

  3. 

    Beautifully written, Heidi! However, you look great in both pictures!

  4. 

    Perhaps I’m looking at two different pictures, but the you I see on the bottom is the very picture of success. She projects beauty, with wisdom. She exudes maturity, without compromising youth. She radiates responsibility, but makes it work, in a wake up, pull back the curtains, and sing Oh What A Beautiful Morning kind of way — if only on the inside…

  5. 

    I should print out your comment and hang it on my mirror, Roy. Thanks! It’s no wonder people literally pay to hang out with you.