Holly Tomlin takes the word superhero to another level. Not only is she a pediatric cardiology nurse practitioner by day, but she’s also a wife, mom to three (her youngest a former patient at Children’s Health that the Tomlin family adopted) and a stylist with Park Lane Jewelry.
In addition, Tomlin founded the not-for-profit Teal Hearts Foundation, which supports women with ovarian cancer—a disease Tomlin survived. The 40-year-old mom and wife to Cory leans on her faith to get her through, and counts her youngest son, Reid, as the reason she and her family don’t sweat the small stuff.
DFWChild: What’s your superpower as a mother?
Holly Tomlin: Organization and multitasking are my superpowers. Life with three kids, a husband, a dog and a job is hard. It’s chaotic. My priorities have shifted a lot over the last few years; perfection is a long-lost goal of mine.
C: Who’s a superhero mom to you?
HT: My own mom is my superhero. The strength and dignity she has lived out for my own sister and me is how I strive to parent. She worked so hard and loved us so well. She protected us from hurts and encouraged us to be the best versions of ourselves.
C: What’s the best advice that you’ve been given from a mom in your life?
HT: Don’t compare yourself to other moms. There are no trophies. And don’t compare your children to other children. Do your best and trust that the rest will work itself out.
C: What’s the most daring thing you’ve ever done as a parent?
HT: The most daring thing I’ve ever done as a parent is allow my heart to be open to adoption. It’s not for everyone, but it truly changed my life and my family’s life—Reid literally completed our family. There were so many reasons why it was not a good idea, but God provided and led us through the deep waters.
C: Do you have a motto or golden rule, for yourself or for your family?
HT: When I was first diagnosed with cancer, I was devastated. I had no idea what it would look like, and if I would live to see my children grow up. But it deepened my faith to a whole new level. Out of that deep hurt and pain came a deeper trust and stronger faith. My life’s motto became “Jesus, it’s all for you.” I wanted everything that I did with my life to honor God, no matter what.
C: Tell us about some important lessons you have taught or are teaching your kids?
HT: After Reid came into our lives, it changed how I parent my oldest two. We live our lives differently because of him—and in a good way. Reid has had a total of three open heart surgeries, and he still isn’t “fixed”—he never will be. He has taught us to be more intentional, and to enjoy the time we have every day. This helps teach my big kids to not sweat the small stuff.
C: From the moment you became a mother until now, how have you evolved?
HT: When I became a mother for the first time, my anxiety was through the roof. It robbed me of so much joy with my two oldest. Having a background as an ICU nurse, I was so scared they would get sick and die. But then I was diagnosed with cancer and after that, my sweet Reid came. I laugh now because my biggest fear came true—the one I had about my child being sick and my fear of losing them. In 10 years of motherhood, I’ve learned so many important lessons and those prepared me to be Reid’s mommy.
C: How do you make sure each of your kids get what they need from you?
HT: Each of my three children are very different. I think it’s important to know how your kids feel best loved by you—whether it be quality time, words of affirmation or any number of ways.
C: What’s the best lesson you’ve learned along your life’s journey thus far?
HT: I have zero control over my life big-picture-wise. Yes, there are things I can control and choose to do or not to do, but my life has taught me that independence is the exact opposite of how God created me. He created me to be dependent on Him. Living this way has truly brought joy and freedom in my life.
C: What’s the most recent thing you learned about yourself?
HT: I’m learning that it’s OK if people don’t agree with how I choose to live or decisions I make. For so long I have lived seeking approval from others and found my worth in what others thought of me. I was living by unrealistic standards, and that only made me feel worse.
C: What do you want your legacy to be?
HT: I want my life’s legacy to inspire women to live life on purpose every day, and to invest in others and themselves. We each have such a big opportunity to make an impact in this world, and I believe we are created with desires and a heart that is unique to ourselves. It’s recognizing what those passions are and finding a way to use those for the greater good.
Children’s Health, AT&T Discovery District and DFWChild Magazine join forces to celebrate SUPER MOMS leading up to Mother’s Day. From patient mothers and health care heroes to everyday working moms, we’re proud to celebrate the #SuperMoms who help defend and protect kids.
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Photo courtesy of Holly Tomlin.