Thank you to the Champaign Park District and the Virginia Theatre for sponsoring today’s Mom to Know. Discounted ticket packages are on sale now for three of the Virginia’s popular upcoming attractions: Charlotte’s Web, The Little Mermaid and Jack Hanna. Also be sure to enter a drawing (deadline is 11:59 p.m. Feb. 11) to win tickets to each of these shows!
Once a cognitive psychologist in the field of memory, Mary Widdicks now spends the majority of her mornings trying to remember whether or not she fed all her children. The irony is not lost on her.
Mary is a freelance writer, humorist, novelist, and stay-at-home mother to three children: two boys, 5 and 2, and a 9-month-old baby daughter. Her writing has been featured on The Washington Post, Brain, Child Magazine, and Scary Mommy (though her first published piece outside of her blog was on Chambanamoms!) She also blogs at Outmanned. She currently resides in Champaign with her husband, children, and two very jealous dogs who remember better days when they were her only babies.
See why we think Mary Widdicks is a Chambana Mom to Know
Q: How do you describe what you do at a dinner party?
Have you ever seen one of those circus performers who balances spinning plates on sticks while riding a unicycle and playing the harmonica? It’s a lot like that only I do it while breastfeeding the baby.
Q: What do you like best being at home with your kids, and what do you like least about it?
I love being with my kids through every first: their first word, their first step, and the first time they use the potty by themselves. Of course all those accomplishments come with about a thousand shrill cries, bumped heads, nose bleeds, and accidents (and not-so-accidents) that hurt me more than they hurt my kids.
Q: What would you like to see in Champaign-Urbana that we don’t already have?
We love all the outdoor activities for children in C-U, but I would love to see a few more options for indoor entertainment for young children: museums, an indoor water park, a child-friendly movie theater, anywhere we can go to escape the cold and let my children run off some of their crazy.
Q: How does your background influence your parenting?
One of the most important things I’ve learned as a parent is that while your background, upbringing, and baggage can cloud your judgment, they also guide you to be a better parent. I spent a long time worrying that because my childhood wasn’t ideal that I wouldn’t know how to save my own family from a similar fate, but that fear has driven me to a great deal of introspection. I now feel like my experiences have made me a more thoughtful parent.
Q: What did it mean to you when your writing got picked up and shared in nationally known digital publications?
Writing for some of the bigger publications has given me the confidence to trust my instincts both as a parent and as a writer. Most writers will caution you to “never read the comments” on major news and parenting websites, but even when the comments are negative it awes me that so many people are moved enough by my writing to type anything at all. Even the trolls.
Q: You made your moniker Outmanned, but then you had a daughter. How has having a girl changed your parenting?
Having a girl has proven to be everything I imagined and nothing I could have expected, both at the same time. I love dressing her in pink tutus and sparkling bows, as I always knew I would, but I’m amazed every day by her willingness to completely baffle my gender stereotypes. She hates dolls. Hates them to the point of crying if I even suggest she play with one. She does, however, love cars, trucks, dinosaurs, and pretty much anything her two big brothers don’t want her to have. So I guess, in that way, parenting is pretty much exactly the same as it always was!
Q: What’s your family’s favorite thing to do on the weekend in C-U?
With two active boys 5 and under we are big fans of anything outdoors: parks, swimming pools, nature centers, and the sprinklers in our back yard. Winters are very long in our house!
Q: What is something people don’t know about you?
Most people don’t know that my first son was born in the UK and that the day he was born I drove myself home from the hospital five hours after giving birth … on the wrong side of the road … without wearing any pants.
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