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

How to Freak Out Less & Laugh More

The phrase "The days are long but the years are short" seems to be on repeat in my mind as the realization that our kids are growing older hits. It's been quite awhile since I've bought diapers or filled a bottle. I don't often wake in the middle of the night to a little one's needs.

Though I love the baby and toddler stages (like loooooooove them), I always figured I'd be excited to be out of it and onto the older years. And it is undoubtedly fun to be able to snuggle on the couch and read books side by side, have water balloon fights in the front yard, and cook dinner together...and yet, I'm realizing something.

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The stage that I considered to be the most challenging of my life because I was tangled in a life of exhaustion and spit-up, has shifted into something else...another season more challenging than the one before.

Though I now have a few minutes to shower every morning (sometimes even without a kid interrupting!) and generally sleep through the night without someone needing me at 2 am, this stage is a hundred times more demanding.

Our kids have opinions and personalities and giftings and struggles. They have expectations and hurts and fears. There are days of tremendous elation and others with lots of tears.

I REALIZE EACH AND EVERY DAY THAT I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I'M DOING AND PRAY THAT I DON'T SCREW THEM UP...TOO MUCH.

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My heart skips a beat knowing they’re beginning to make life-choices that will impact who they grow up to be. Our youngest may be six, but our oldest is nineteen. This summer will mark six years with both these two and though it seems like we've had them forever, I also realize how fast time is going.

SOMETIMES I FORGET TO CELEBRATE THE LITTLE THINGS LIKE I USED TO AND SEE THE WEEDS RATHER THAN THE FLOWERS.

I think sometimes I stress out too much. Do you?

The other night, eight-year-old Imani had a performance. The weather was beautiful and warm and we smiled as we walked to and from the elementary school. We were all hungry afterward and as we fixed some snacks before putting on pj's, one of the little ones put on the La La Land soundtrack. The music is so fun and upbeat. I've played it so often that we all know the words to our favorite songs and the younger three and I danced around the kitchen, lip syncing and laughing.

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But when I tried to bring one of the older kids into the fun, he got angry. Some of our kids have a lot of trauma from their past and unpredictable anger flares up now and then because of it. But this was not one of those kids.

The way he shunned our fun was surprising and unexpected. And it made me really sad. Like heartsick kind of sad.

I LOOKED AT HIM AND WONDERED WHERE HIS JOY HAD GONE.

I'm not saying he's a depressed kid. I'm in no way detecting a constant spirit of sadness or anger. But it does flash more often than I think it should and definitely more often than it had when he was young and every conversation had to do with superheroes, trucks, and legos. Now he talks about mean girls in class and struggling in math. He shares when he feels like he doesn't fit in and that he's not good enough, cool enough.

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Ohhhh how that breaks my heart.

Motherhood is hard to maneuver, isn't it?

SO MY CHALLENGE FOR THIS SEASON IS TO BRING MORE JOY TO THE HOUSE.

TO FREAK OUT LESS AND LAUGH MORE.

I came upon Rachel Macy Stafford's post titled, The Day My Child Lost Her Joy—and What I Did to Revive It and realized this isn't only hitting my family. Is it impacting yours?

I think it's partly my own fault. I've noticed as the number of children in our family expands, the more order I need in our home and when order is not there, I get tense and frustrated.

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AND AS WE KNOW, MOTHERS ARE THE HEARTBEAT OF THE HOME.

How does the saying go? "If mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy." Gosh, it's true.

Life is so chaotic and loud in a family of eight that I think it's my way to restore a little calm. The more kids in the house, the less I can handle mess and clutter. And my patience wanes as our old-enough-to-clean-up-after-themselves children either don't clean up...or they whine the entire time they do.

And because they see impatience in me, they're impatient. Because I'm stressed, they're stressed.

But if I ooze joy, they'll ooze joy.

And in all truthfulness...I yell. You guys, sometimes I yell at my kids for almost no reason at all. Sometimes it's simply because I'm stressed and they did something that broke the camel's back.

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I've never been a person who yells. What is my problem??

I DON'T WANT THEM TO REMEMBER ME AS A "YELLING MOM."

I WANT THEM TO REMEMBER ME AS AN AFFIRMING, GOOFY, FUN MOM.

Something has got to change. And I think joy is where I'm going to spend my time first.

How do you infuse joy and happiness into your home? How, as your kids enter elementary, middle school, and high school...do you help them brush off hurt in a healthy way and turn their faces toward light instead of darkness and depression?

How do you see the flowers and not the weeds in your day-to-day life? From one mama that often feels in over her head to another...I'm so glad we don't have to pretend everything is always ok and perfect. No facades here. Let's grasp authenticity.

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

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

WRITTEN BY TERESA SWANSTROM ANDERSON: AUTHOR, SPEAKER, AND FOUNDER OF THE & SOCIETY

"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.

The Impact of Voicing, "I'm a Good Mom"

A few days ago, I scrolled past a dear friend's post on Instagram. Her words stopped me because I needed to hear them. I thought perhaps you needed to hear them, too.

I am a great mom. (You must continue reading to see that is not a conceited sentence!)

Last week I was out with a few of my girlfriends and we started talking about parenting, being a mom, and how hard it is. One of my girlfriends then said she sucks at being a mom. Over and over in her head, she hears herself say she is inadequate and not doing a good job. Around the table we all chimed in agreement,

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“ YA, I HEAR YOU. I SUCK AT BEING A MOM SOMETIMES TOO.”

I even said it. I said, “Yes, I often fall mega short at being a good mom.”

WHY? Why did I say that? That is not true. I do not believe that in my core. I immediately felt my heart tug at me. Why did you say that? You know you are a great mom. You pour your heart and sweat into that job.


Did I want to make her feel better? Did I want to conform to the group? Yes!

You know what, though?

THAT FRIEND IS AN EXCELLENT MOM.

AND SO WAS EVERY GIRL SITTING AT THAT TABLE.

We all love deeply our children and our husbands. We fight for our kids. We delay gratification in hopes to build little human beings that are not entitled. We set boundaries. We protect. We play. And we love.

I have had it with this idea of self-deprecation and false humility. There are no perfect mothers. We will make mistakes every day. But as long as we show up, work hard, and love hard, we are doing a dang great job.

So to my girlfriends around the table that evening - I apologize for being anything less than the powerful spirit inside of me. We are fabulous moms and we are going to bask in that sunshine. (written and posted by 
Abigail Irene Fisher)


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As I sat on the couch, taking a few minutes for myself as the kids played outside, I read through my friend Abigail's post again. I remembered how a few weeks prior, I had taken an eight-hour mountain biking workshop here in Colorado.

Toward the end of the day, I was tired and overwhelmed. We were going down a hill that was mega-outside my comfort zone. It was steep, there were rocks in the way of where I wanted my tires to go, and the loose dirt and gravel taunted me with it's instability. When it was my turn and I rode my bike gingerly down, I froze and nearly fell. My coach asked me to go back up and start again.

Over and over, I tried, but I couldn't get over how hard and out of my comfort zone it put me.

It seemed dangerous and I pictured myself plummeting down the mountainside, bloody and injured.

The other girls were patiently waiting for me at the bottom, cheering me on. "They'd done it," I thought frustrated. "Why can't I?!"

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As my sweet coach walked up to where I stood with my bike, one foot on a pedal, the other on the dusty ground, she said something profound. Not just something that got me down the hillside, but something that has stayed with me and I recite back to myself all the time in my day-to-day life:

"LOOK TO VICTORY."

"If your eyes are on the rocks and hard places, that's where you'll end up. And we both know the rubble and rocky ground is not your target. Look instead to where you want to be, look at your destination." 

"WHERE YOUR EYES LOOK DIRECTS WHERE YOU GO"

"Look to victory!", she said again. "Look where you want to go and guess what...that's where you'll position yourself to be. You CAN do this...don't allow yourself to dwell on the crags and rocks. Look at the place you want your tires to roll over and that's where they'll roll."

And guess what? I did it. I forced my eyes away from the scary places that would take me from achieving my goal, and recited "look to victory!!" under my breath the whole way, as I hurried down the steep decent I thought I could never successfully make.

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I think about this now as a mom. As a writer and creative. I have massive insecurities and fears I have to shove away a million times every day. But I'm learning to look to victory and set my sights on where I want to be instead.

If we allow ourselves to listen to the lie that we suck as moms, or are horrible in our careers, or will never be a good enough wife or friend...that's where we'll end up.

Look to victory, friends. Set your eyes on Christ and don't let lies of inadequacy and weakness dictate where you steer your day. And remember...

LOOK WHERE YOU WANT TO GO AND GUESS WHAT...THAT'S WHERE YOU'LL POSITION YOURSELF TO BE.

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

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

WRITTEN BY TERESA SWANSTROM ANDERSON: AUTHOR, SPEAKER, AND FOUNDER OF THE & SOCIETY