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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

I don’t have a good memory. I couldn’t tell you the names of half the people I attended college with or even what my last course was.

My recollections of early childhood are scattered at best. I’m sure my parents sacrificed much to take me and my sister on family vacations and I honestly don’t remember where we went or what we saw.

But here is what I do remember…

I remember my dad pulling our car into a parking lot when I was quite young because he witnessed a man getting aggressive with a woman. He told me to stay put, proceeded to get out of the car, and intervened in a situation that many would ignore.

I remember my mom always being more concerned about others’ happiness over her own. She cleaned countless houses to earn enough money to pay for the prom dress of my dreams. Same for my wedding dress. Yet I cannot recall her ever buying something pricey for herself.

Now that I’m a mom, I often wonder if I’m concentrating on the right areas of emphasis when it comes to parenting…especially when it comes to my two boys.

(My daughter is a whole different ball-o-wax and I’m simply trying to survive her overly dramatic phase. And, yes, I realize the chances are pretty strong that she will NEVER grow out of it.)

Last week, I took my boys with me to help stuff school supplies for a backpack giveaway event. They didn’t know what to expect in terms of time commitment. And I was anxious to see how they would respond to a grown-up volunteer opportunity. I knew what my expectations were in terms of their behavior and, fortunately, they met them.

I had a woman pull me aside at one point and tell me, “You have some very nice boys.”

How do I articulate to them the pride I felt upon hearing this feedback? They know I love it when they excel in the classroom and on the athletic field. But the act of being a compassionate individual trumps all.

May they always remember how it feels to help others and never lose sight of what’s important.

We also used some quiet time in the car to talk about goal setting. I personally got a late start when it comes to documenting and working on goals, but I believe this practice is one of the best lessons I can instill in my boys.

I may ask their permission to share a few of their goals in a future post and I will do the same. Stay tuned.