When you're ROCKING Work but feel like you're FAILING Motherhood

I suppose everyone has ideas of what their lives will be like before becoming parents. I know I sure did. I saw the role of working mom as one that would be symbiotic. I would work all day, manage to semi make a descent meal, spend every night of quality time with my family and sleep at least six hours a night. I also just knew that I would ROCK motherhood.

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Oh Lord, forgive my blind ignorance. You never know what you don’t know. And I knew nothing about being a mother.

After fifteen years, I know a lot of things about practicing law and running a business. The raw, gut checking truth is that almost every day of my existence, I nail every aspect in my life-except motherhood. From business meetings to court appearances, I can do those things. And I can do them well.

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There’s also the other gratification of clients telling you "thank you" for a job well done, seeing sales numbers increase and having a judge agree with my legal reasoning all creates a buzz of “hey-I did that and I did well.” Those moments are fun. They remind me what I’m doing is the right thing.

The office has never been a struggle for me. I like to work. It’s where I am in control and the outcome of a lot of work days.

Home is where I most often lose faith that I have any abilities whatsoever.

It never matters how often I win a case, or successfully complete a sales call, there is another realm of which I am always struggling. You see, home is where most of my insecurities come out to play on a daily basis.

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The moment my briefcase is set down, there is another arena in which I have to perform every day. There is a floor to sweep, dinner to make and no matter how much effort or time is applied, there is always a pile of laundry to tackle. And then there are the other humans living with me, of whom I never have any solid control. Both of my kids are entering or are solidly in their teenage years. They have practice, social schedules and opinions of their own.

I often have to remind myself that just because I control work, home often seems to control me.

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About a year ago, I finally had to give myself permission to be ok if things under our roof are never mastered. The laundry can hang out in the basket longer than I would like. The kids are developing into people and that’s a process where I am needed but cannot micromanage. And there are going to be days that no one cares what I did at the office.

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That has probably been one of the best gifts I’ve ever given myself—the freedom to love what I do and not expect any appreciation. Motherhood and business almost creates two personalities in me. And after nine years of  doing motherhood and business together, I still have so much to learn.

So mamas, if you are feeling like a boss at the office (or behind the computer) and yet feel coming up short at home, take heart.

Your people may never fully appreciate all that you can accomplish except for when you have thrown together dinner of noodles and leftovers and sit around and ask about their days. Believe me that you are not alone and you are rocking both motherhood and biz life like only you can do!

READ MORE ABOUT  LINDSEY  (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO  THE & GALS  SECTION.

READ MORE ABOUT LINDSEY (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO THE & GALS SECTION.

WRITTEN BY LINDSEY W. ANDREWS: LAWYER, ENTREPRENEUR, AUTHOR, AND SPEAKER

You can connect with Lindsey on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or www.lindseyandrewswriter.com

I Survived the Shootings at Columbine HS...what I'd like you to know now that I'm a mom

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Hey friends, Teresa here. Today’s conversation is a bit of a hard one.

With six kids at five schools, I pray each and every morning that they will stay safe within the walls of where they’re educated.

And each and every morning as I kiss them and say goodbye, I wonder if they actually WILL be safe. It shouldn’t be this way, but it’s the reality of today.

Crystal is a survivor of the shootings at at Columbine HS. And by survivor, I mean she witnessed things we pray our children never will.

In honoring Columbine’s 20 year anniversary this week, I wanted this dear friend to share her heart of forgiveness and remind us that when darkness surrounds, we must always let the light back in.

If you’d like to hear more of sweet Crystal’s heart, head over to my personal blog and read her post, Fear, Family, + School Shootings. xo Teresa


Lately, it's impossible to open up your news feed or turn on the TV without seeing a headline about a shooting somewhere in the world, where lives are tragically cut short at the hands of someone bent on mass destruction. It seems no one is safe, whether watching a movie, attending a concert, eating at a restaurant, or going to school, our lives and the lives of our children seem to be in peril. Whether we like it or not, we are faced with a choice, to either shrink back in fear, or to push forward in hope.

For me, that choice came nearly twenty years ago on April 20, 1999. I was a sixteen year old junior at Columbine High School. I had gone to the library with a few of my friends to study for a test I had later that afternoon. After only a few minutes in the library, a teacher ran through the doors screaming that we were in danger, as two boys with guns were shooting students.

beautiful painting of Columbines by  Oana Befort

beautiful painting of Columbines by Oana Befort

Immediately taking cover mere moments before they entered the room, we witnessed what would become the worst school shooting in history at the time. The library was where a majority of the violence happened that day, the same place where I pleaded with God to save my life and the same place where I stared death in the face. Regardless of where any of us were that day, we were all deeply affected. Regardless of whether you were even at the school the day, it has struck fear in the heart of every parent today.

What began twenty years ago at Columbine High School started an epidemic that has become rampant in our world still today. We live in a post-columbine era, where every student knows school is no longer just a place to learn, but also the next place where terror could potentially strike.

Therefore, if we look to the news, to inform our beliefs about others and the world around us, fear will take over and we will certainly loose all hope.

But let me assure you, all hope is not lost.

Hope can be found in the teacher who shields her students from raining bullets.

photo of Columbine memorial, just after shootings. provided by Crystal.

photo of Columbine memorial, just after shootings. provided by Crystal.

Hope can be found in the firefighter who runs into a burning building when everyone else is running away from it. Hope can be found in the hundreds of people who pour into a city or country after a natural disaster to bring aid and offer help. Hope can be found in the family who opens their home and their hearts to a foster child. Hope can be found in the army of people who show up after the loss of a loved one to cook, clean and help. Hope can be found in the nurse who sits at the bedside of a sick patient all night caring for them. Hope can be found in the friend who sits with and listens to you in your darkest despair and depression, refusing to let you be alone.

Hope can always be found in our kindness toward others and in the kindness others show us.

Because kindness reminds us that there is still good in the world and it gives us courage to press forward despite our circumstances. Kindness is the tonic we need for a world torn apart, bruised and battered by war, famine, disease, disasters, injustice, division, hatred, racism and violence. We can never underestimate the power of a kind word, a kind act, or a kind gesture. What the world craves now, maybe more than ever, is to know they are not alone, they matter, they have a place to belong and they are loved.

photo of Columbine memorial, just after shootings. provided by Crystal.

photo of Columbine memorial, just after shootings. provided by Crystal.

Kindness will not solve the worlds problems, but it will make the journey through difficulties much easier to bear.

We need one another, we are made for one another. It’s easy to forget such a simple truth, in this day and age where we run at breakneck speed toward our dreams wishes and desires, and see people as means to an end. It’s easy to forget our need for one another in this day and age where we lead lives dictated by our schedules, and the schedules of our kids, never stopping long enough to enjoy a moment. It’s easy to forget our need for one another in this day and age where social media is king and the number of likes and comments alone give us self-worth. What if we looked up from our phones and our devices more often to remember that we need one another, that we can offer safety, connection and belonging for others to process their pain and grief?

What if we quit getting so angry over each other’s offenses to recognize that we are all more alike than we are different?

And what if we listened, instead of always trying to be heard?

photo of Columbine memorial, just after shootings. provided by Crystal.

photo of Columbine memorial, just after shootings. provided by Crystal.

Is it possible that we can build better neighborhoods, places of work and schools when we look to the needs of others above our own? I believe the answer is yes. I believe so many of our problems today stem from the fact that we have forgotten to care for one another. We have become more concerned about ourselves and what we can gain. Most issues in society could be impacted through the basic understanding of human decency toward our fellow man. I am not sure I understood this truth until I came face to face with humanity at its worst at Columbine on April 20 1999.

Rainbow over what would become the columbine memorial (behind Columbine HS) provided by Crystal

Rainbow over what would become the columbine memorial (behind Columbine HS) provided by Crystal

Sometimes it takes seeing the darkest night, where hopelessness abounds to recognize hope and light and our great need for it.

Change starts with me and it starts with you.

But listen, this is important…

Our children look to us as mothers in how to treat and look out for others. They look to us to lead them into a bright future, a future where they lead the charge, not by force or power, but in humility and kindness. And if you touch the heart, you can make transformation a more true reality. Don’t get me wrong, we must still talk with our children about the real dangers of school violence. It is vital that they are aware of the red flags and trained to have a plan in the event of an attack.

But ultimately as mothers our effort is best spent teaching our children the value of others, by entering into their stories. It is nearly impossible to hate or dislike someone once you know where they came from. Teaching our children to see beyond their snap judgements and get to know people for who they truly are, is of utmost importance. Always being on the lookout for those marginalized and on the fringe of society. As mothers we can teach our kids that kindness has the ability to spread like wildfire and offer hope to a hopeless world. The hope for our future is found within the walls of our homes, and in the mama who never stops teaching them!


READ MORE ABOUT  CRYSTAL  (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO  THE & GALS  SECTION

READ MORE ABOUT CRYSTAL (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO THE & GALS SECTION

Author and Speaker, Crystal is a survivor of the shootings at Columbine High School and has been seen on The Today Show, CNN, Dateline, and featured in Glamour, Marie Claire and Time Magazine, as well as countless other media sources as she advocates for hope after extreme tragedy.

Let's Talk Exhaustion & Morning Routines

Our founder Teresa & today’s article author Erin laughing it out (as they always seem to be doing)

Our founder Teresa & today’s article author Erin laughing it out (as they always seem to be doing)

Hey friends, Teresa here! Consider today’s article a “Choose Your Own Adventure” of sorts, because we’re sharing it in two parts. Feel free and read whichever you think would impact you the most as we chat about Morning Routine

The first section is written by Erin, one of our & Gal Leaders, as she shares her struggles and successes in getting her day started well (sometimes we need a #metoo story so we’re reminded we’re not alone).

The second section is for anyone who simply desires the quick and gritty info. The mom who wants the cursory a + b = c to help her mornings flow better.

Enjoy choosing your own adventure! If you’re like me though, you’ll end up reading all the things because you need all the help you can get. (raise hand here)


We become what we want to be by consistently being what we want to become each day.
— Richard G Scott

Maintaining the forward momentum can be challenging at times. However, remembering that you will be able to gain time for yourself, less stressful mornings, and the entire environment in the home becomes peaceful is worth it.

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. ONE .

What do your mornings look like?

Do you find your mornings stressful, full of chaos, and promising to make tomorrow better?

Or are they calm, peaceful, and focused?

Setting up a Consistent Morning Routine can create the most beautiful mornings, glorious afternoons, and restful evenings. You take the stress away and free up time to move toward the goals and achievements penciled in for the day.

Many years ago, I was a morning person and woke up early for work, and by early I mean 3:30am, because coffee addicts are in line at 4:30am * wink *. On the days I wasn’t working at Starbucks, I rose by 7 and was ready to get my day started. I thrived in this same schedule for six years. As the years have flown by though, I have become a Tired Mom.

And by that, I mean neither a morning person nor a night owl.

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Two kids and a couple employment changes later, I am an alarm clock that wakes up, works, checks an item or two off a list, and goes to bed. Sound familiar? Pretty robotic. Ugh.

My schedule changed drastically when baby number two arrived and ohhhhhh girl, did she set a new tone for the family. School drop off and pick up, bringing an infant to work every day (which involved naps and feedings, as well as time to interact and play with baby), dinner and chores, and ending each day with our bedtime routine. I’m not exactly sure how I managed to work from home at night or simply bathe, but I did.

I was exhausted and quite honestly, am still quite exhausted!

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Mom and wife are two roles I have always wanted and would not change for anything.

But my stress and anxiety began to increase and cause internal turmoil.

Turmoil that would often come off as short and abrasive, indirectly toward my people, in turn heightening the exhaustion and stress. Talk about a cycle, so normal for many of us yet and completely uncomfortable and painful.

Is this really what the essence of motherhood is? When do I get to do anything for myself or what I love?

I needed change and quick!

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My breaking point hit hard and quite honestly ladies, it can still knock me off my feet and shake me up from time to time.

I have struggled to ask for help and truthfully, am still working on it every day, and in every situation. Why is it so hard to ask for help?

Why is it difficult to look at my sweet husband, the father of my children, and say “I need some help with_______________________”??

Pride.

Moms can do it all, and we can do it all the time.

That’s what we tell ourselves, right?

But boy are we wrong.

I began to set my pride aside and embrace the support of my husband. Sounds simple, right? Well, for this Enneagram Two, not so much. I do a great job at loving and helping others through life, however, recognizing that my ‘I can do it all’ mentality is not what my family needs. What they DO need? Consistent mornings, consistent schedules, and a mom that’s not stressed out all the time.

We decided to sit down and really set forth a basic daily agenda. Initially, he would help me with simple tasks: getting kids dressed, driving them to school, or something as easy as daycare. As the months went by, we found that penciling in two, sometimes three, mornings a week, which he would take over the entire morning routine, was a game changer.

Consistency is key.

Consistently doing small things will lead to great results. Working daily on following through with routine and the things that matter most, create a progressive movement for you and the family.

Momentum that feels successful and prevailing, graduates from a penciled in task to a naturally recurring habit.

I am still in progress, so no I am not a Morning Routine Professional, but I can attest to the glory of progress. Heading to the office early a few days a week has led me to asking myself what else I am not finding time for. Recently the answer has been my health and gym time. Next up, earlier mornings for more self-care time.

What is it that you would like to add to your routine that sits on the back burner?

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. TWO .

Picture perfect routine comprises of what, exactly?

I took that question to some mamas and found the answers were near identical.

  1. Planning the night before, if not for the week

  2. Positive attitudes

  3. Accountability

  4. Prioritize

Tamil, a mother to three darling divas, has learned the art to routine and keeping it simple. She stated that the following is the basic nightly schedule followed to ensure a smooth-sailing morning.

1.     Double check the alarms to ensure everyone wakes up on time.

2.     Pre-plan the night before by making lunches, reassuring all books are in book bags and outfits are chosen and laid out.

3.     Positive morning attitude.

Knowing the fluidity allows for Tamil and the girls to arrive on time to both school and work.

Improved morning routine sets the entire day up for success and lasting change in life.

Keep cheering each other on and loving on the Working Mamas around you. We need support in everything, including morning routine!!

**For more on this topic, head to THIS POST on How Time Blocking Changed my Life.


READ MORE ABOUT  ERIN  (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO  THE & GALS  SECTION

READ MORE ABOUT ERIN (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO THE & GALS SECTION

WRITTEN BY ERIN PERSON: BAKER, DESIGNER, MANAGER

10 Ways to Teach Kids to be Others Focused

Moms, we all know that pouring into our children’s character is important. In fact, teaching them to become caring, kind, and people of good repute is one of the biggest things we can teach (and sometimes the hardest!). So when we’re able to teach in a hands-on way, there is a benefit all the way around. When our kids witness a lifestyle of focusing on others, they too, begin to prioritize it in their own lives. I definitely don’t consider myself an expert in this area, but I do sincerely enjoy finding new ways to reach out to others and invite my kids into the process.

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Believe it or not, I’ve actually learned more from my kids in this area, than I believe they’ve learned from me. For the most part, our children (ages 8, 4, 3) have been untainted by the judgements and prejudices that we tend to carry. They see people and they see the world through a loving, compassionate and caring lens. They have nothing to lose by being kind to others.

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I love the quote from Martin Luther King Jr that says,

“It’s the quality, not the longevity of one’s life that’s important.”

When we live with others in view and recognize that we all belong to each other, we find meaning, but also discover our purpose.

Kindness towards our friends, family, neighbors and even strangers can have a greater impact than we realize. It can truly change somebody. It’s possible it could change their life, sure. But more likely the things we do will be small and consistent, brightening someone’s day. And these days, we can all stand for the world to be a bit brighter.

It’s impossible to turn on the TV without seeing a world torn apart, bruised and battered by war, famine, disease, natural disasters, injustice, division, riots, racism, hatred, mass violence, and death.  And if we look to the news to inform our beliefs about others and the world around us, we will certainly lose all hope.

But hope can be found in people like you and your children, committed to focusing on others and spreading kindness for the betterment of all.

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Hope is found when you share a warm meal with a person living on the streets.

Hope is found when you give presents to kids at Christmas whose parents are incarcerated.

Hope is found when you sit across from a refugee and offer your friendship as you listen to their struggle and story.

Hope is found when you go out of your way to help someone you wouldn’t typically help.

When we look back on history, I believe it is the everyday heroes of hope, that we will remember and celebrate most.  Those who refused to grow silent on issues that mattered most, those were a voice for the voiceless, those who fought for justice and equality, those who dignified the marginalized, and those who elevated those pushed down by society.  

Focusing on others is a challenge because it means helping people who are different than you in the way they look, talk, or act. Those who believe different than you, vote different than you, and live different than you.

If you are like me, then you love the idea of molding children who are others focused… but sometimes lack fresh ideas and inspiration. My aim is to give you a few tangible expressions that you can put into practice with your own family…feel free and modify or add to these below!

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Ideas on how to care for others:

  1. Blessing Bags

    A year-round and ongoing project that we exercise are bags for the homeless. My kids and I will go to the store and pick out a variety of toiletries, snacks and a few necessities. When we get home we get to fill the bags with all the goodies. Sometimes the kids will write notes or draw pictures. Sometimes we include money, sometimes we don’t. But typically we include a Bible and pray for the person receiving the bag. Our daily drive gives us the opportunity to encounter a handful of people who may benefit from one of our bags

    The best part of all comes when one of the kids rolls down their window to share a bag and a smile with their new friend. On several occasions it has awarded us some very special conversations. It’s amazing what people are willing to share when we take the time to listen. Often a person living on the street will share what it is that has led them to that place in life. Several we’ve met, are incredibly grateful for their new bag and for life itself, which leaves us feeling grateful for all our blessings.

  2. Random Acts of Kindness (Starbucks edition)

    I’m not gonna lie, my kids and I frequent Starbucks almost daily. We love our yummy treats, but what’s even better is buying the yummy treats for those customers in line behind us. I personally have been on the receiving end of this gift and it always puts a smile on my face and reminds me of the goodness of people.

  3. A Little Restaurant Love

    At restaurants my family and I will, on occasion, buy another family dinner or leave a large tip for our waiter or waitress to bless them and thank them for their patience of dealing with us (wink). We always seek to talk to our servers and get to know them. What is more, we aim to frequent the same establishments in order to grow those relationships on a deeper level. 

  4. You Get a Donut, You Get a Donut, EVERYBODY Gets a Donut!

    At random and based on no particular reason, the kids and I will pick up a dozen donuts, cookies or cupcakes and drop them on a porch of an unsuspecting friend or stranger. Who doesn’t love sweets showing up on their doorstep?!

  5. Meal Drop-off

    I think one of the most practical and helpful ways we can bless another person, especially another mom, is to take someone a meal. We can invite our children to cook with us and write special notes and then go with us when we drop it off to someone who is sick, had surgery or experienced loss in their life. This also allows us to have some very real conversations with our own children about suffering and hardship. 

  6. Honoring Miscarriage + Loss of Children

    For our family, every March represents a significant time in our family. I lost a son and my children lost a brother many years ago. Therefore, we use his birthday as an opportunity to show extravagant acts of kindness in his honor and ask others to join us in doing the same. One year, I was able to connect with a mama who had recently lost her own son to suicide. I wrote her a long note letting her know she was not alone and that there was hope. I took her flowers and a special piece of jewelry to remind her of her son. Year after year, I am amazed how I am able to use my lose to help someone else experiencing loss of their own. Entering into the suffering of others teaches our kids not to be afraid of difficulty and how to grieve with those who grieve. 

  7. Sponsor a Child

    There are many organizations where you and your family can sponsor a child. Our family have three different sponsored children in three different countries (ROWAN, World Vision, & Compassion International are two very well known and reputable organizations). Your kids are able to write and receive letters from their sponsored child, which gives them much needed perspective of the world at large. When you’re children are older, I suggest traveling with them to third-world countries and staying awhile. Their eyes will be opened to how the majority of their world lives outside of comfort. 

  8. Acts of Service to Those who Serve Us

    We love to take care of our garbage man, our mailman and our local ups and FedEx drivers. So my kids will make lemonade and distribute it to them when they come. As a result they know my kids, they wave and smile at them whenever they come through the neighborhood. They have developed sweet friendships with these men and women. 

  9. Back-to-School

    In the fall we fill backpacks full of school supplies for children who would otherwise be unable to attend school without them. For example, many foster children in our cities struggle to have what is needed for the new year, let alone anything brand new.

  10. Christmastime

    a) At Christmas time we tend to do a lot of projects that focus on others. One of our very favorite is Operation Christmas Child. It’s such a great lesson to head to Target and pick out school supplies, necessities and toys for kids affected by war, poverty and natural disasters. Often my kids will ask me for a toy for themselves and get upset when they can’t get one. I always love a good object lesson about how others do not have some of the same privileges and blessings readily available to us. 

    b) Another thing we do at Christmas is make goody bags with candy or candy canes and hand them out in parking lots, in stores, and at the mall. It’s fun seeing folks suddenly forget about their shopping-stress as a smile spreads across their face when one of our kids hands them a treat.

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Please do not feel overwhelmed or discouraged if this is not a part of your family’s rhythm. Start small, try little things and build up. I truly believe it is better to do something rather than doing nothing. Good luck, and have fun experimenting with what it looks like for you to become focused on others, and then finding ways to teach those lessons to your children!

Comment below on other ways your family could (or does!) care for others and be less self-focused!


READ MORE ABOUT  CRYSTAL  (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO  THE & GALS  SECTION

READ MORE ABOUT CRYSTAL (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO THE & GALS SECTION

Author and Speaker, Crystal is a survivor of the shootings at Columbine High School and has been seen on The Today Show, CNN, Dateline, and featured in Glamour, Marie Claire and Time Magazine, as well as countless other media sources as she advocates for hope after extreme tragedy.

"I Forgive You": Why it's Healthy for Your Kids to See Conflict with Your Spouse

My Mom and Dad never really get angry”. As the counselor relayed my son’s words to me, I was shocked! My husband and I definitely get angry, and he has witnessed it firsthand on many occasions.

 “I don’t understand. We get angry, even arguing in front of the kids sometimes. We do our best to make up in front of them as well, sometimes explaining the conflict in an age appropriate way to them.”

 “What words do you use?”

 “Well, I tell them Mommy and Daddy were frustrated, or we lost our patience, or we had a misunderstanding.”

 “He isn’t identifying any of that as anger. It is great that you resolve the conflict in front of them, but it is important to sometimes actually say that you were angry, otherwise he assumes he is the only one that ever feels that way and becomes ashamed of it.”

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You guys- this was such a breakthrough for me. (And can I just take a moment to say- go to counseling with your kids, with your spouse, or just yourself! It is truly amazing how much healthier you and your family can become with just a little guidance in the right direction.) I had no idea I was portraying a lack of anger, or how important it was for me to demonstrate healthy anger to my kids. It makes total sense to me now. Frustration isn’t anger. A lack of patience isn’t anger. A misunderstanding isn’t anger. Anger is normal and healthy, (if resolved properly), and I needed to call it by name for my son.

Resolving conflict, as we all know, doesn’t come naturally. Some personalities are more comfortable with conflict than others, and it just so happens that my husband, Shawn and I both land on the more comfortable end of the spectrum (and more so myself). I rather fully address situations as they come up, I don’t struggle for words during the conflict, and I feel so much better when it is resolved in a complete and transparent way.

I know so many other women that would rather have a bikini wax than have to face a conflict directly. For those of you familiar with the Enneagram, I am an 8, which you know means I am the small portion of the population that doesn’t shy away from a conversation that may become tense. This in and of itself makes many other people uncomfortable. While I know none of my children share the same personality or tendency toward comfort in conflict..

I want them to grow up with confidence that they can tactfully and respectfully stand up for themselves, respect the other person during an argument, and have the courage to address issues as they inevitably arise in relationships.

I believe this is one of the most important life skills; success in their marriage, their job and friendships will all depend on it.

Now, I’m definitely not saying the entire conversation should always be hashed out in front of the kids. Some things are just not age appropriate, or hearing the entire conversation would give them more worry than necessary. Even if most of the words exchanged are behind closed doors, kids can always sense when something is off. I grew up in a home that experienced much conflict. I rarely witnessed the actual argument, but I could always sense the tension, I never witnessed the resolution, and it gave me much anxiety. It has taken a ton of work for me to learn how forgiveness even works (and to realize the benefits in it!) because I didn’t grow up familiar with the process or equipped with the tools to have that kind of conversation.

One evening, far after we put the kids to bed, we were having an argument (that at this point I can’t even remember what it was about- isn’t that always how it goes?!) and our oldest came down the stairs, bawling his eyes out. He had been sitting at the top of the stairs listening and was filled with so much stress that somehow he had caused the fight even though it had absolutely nothing to do with him. (I still don’t know why kids often assume this, but they do!). We reassured him it was normal for parents to have disagreements and put him back in bed. For the following two or three days, he walked around in a serious amount of anxiety, until we realized it was because he hadn’t seen the resolution. Until we sat down with him and talked about how we had forgiven one another, he couldn’t find peace.

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I want my kids to see us say we are sorry, we forgive one another, and we hug and make up.

We try to explain to them in an age appropriate way that we had hurt feelings, could have said kinder words toward one another, we are sorry, and everyone can move on now, satisfied and stress free.

They don’t have to wonder if Mommy and Daddy are still mad, did they cause the problem, is everything okay in their home? It gives kids so much insecurity to leave their imagination to fill in the blanks after they have been sensing tension.

Forgiveness, I find, is a choice. A process. I get to decide if I am going to bring peace back to myself, my husband, and my home.

There is such power in forgiveness; power I definitely want access to.

What about you and your family? How do you teach your children to handle conflict in a healthy way?


WRITTEN BY KRISTEN HALLINAN: WRITER, SPEAKER, WORK-FROM-HOME MAMA

READ MORE ABOUT KRISTEN (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO THE & GALS SECTION.