I’m a mom. A really ‘normal’ mom. I have two little boys, a husband and a large dog. I have a full-time office job. We live on a cul-de-sac in a small city in Kentucky. My husband is a teacher and a coach. I drive a crossover SUV with two car seats in the back.


My life is so far from the glamorous life I thought I would be living 10 years ago. At the time, I was single, I had just gotten my first ‘real’ job out of college and I was living in Nashville with a disposable income and fun at my fingertips. They were the days when I said that I never wanted to have children because, well, those days were all about me.

My daily routine now would make my 23-year-old self drop her $17 martini on her expensive purse that was put on an almost maxed-out credit card.

Nowadays, I wake up at 4:30 a.m. seven days a week to feed the baby. I do a 30 minute workout in the basement. I go upstairs, shower, get the kids ready for the day, blah, blah, blah.

I work all day. I pick the kids up from the sitter. Bring them home and feed them. Play or watch a little television. Then move on to baths and bedtime for the kids.

Then I go to sleep and start all over the next day.

Yes, it can be monotonous.

Yes, I am often wearing leggings and an oversized sweatshirt when I’m not at the office. Right now I am sitting in my bed typing this while my 3-year-old is supposed to be napping but is instead jumping on his bed and emptying his drawers. My hair is in a topknot. If I took the ponytail holder out, it might actually stay in that topknot.

Since it’s the weekend, I spent this morning feeding children, attempting to put toys away before they were taken out again, scrubbing what appeared to be a large batch of boogers off my 3-year-old’s bedroom wall and doing load after load of laundry. My 6-month-old has spit up on me multiple times and I am still wearing the same sweatshirt with the spit-up on it...eight hours later.

Yes, it can be ‘gross.’

I have been desensitized to gross. I talk about poop like it’s the weather. I don’t even gag when changing a blowout diaper anymore. If I think my kid might vomit, I hold my hands out to catch it. I wipe snotty noses with my shirt sleeve. I don’t wince if my dog licks spit-up off the baby’s face. And I don’t blink an eye at any of it.

And you know what? I wouldn’t trade this life for anything.

Nothing could replace these people, this extreme feeling of love and the family we’ve built.

Yes, sometimes I might say I want to run away for a week all by myself.

Yes, there have been days where I have absolutely lost it and yelled at the kids to get in the tub.

Yes, I have mornings when I take a super long shower and cry, simply because I am so frustrated and tired and don’t know if I can make it through the day.

Yes, I have locked myself in the bathroom just to get some peace and quiet.

But those moments aren’t the things I think about when I review my life.

I think about how my life really just began when I got married and I had my now 3-year-old.

I think about how these babies have made me the best possible version of myself.

I think about how I would lay down my life to save my children.

I think about their infectious laughs and how they light me up from the inside.

I think about the amazing feeling I get when I walk in to pick them up from the sitter and see their happy faces.

I think about how dull and boring my life would be without them.

I think back and wonder what on earth my husband and I spent all our time doing before we had children.

I think about how they can make any bad day better.

I think about how insanely worried I get when they are sick. And how I cuddle them and help them feel better and watch them peacefully sleep.

I think about not even caring when they vomit on me because I just want them to feel better.

I think about how my heart is capable of holding so much more love than I ever thought imaginable.

I think about how wonderful of a dad my husband is and how I fell even deeper in love with him after we had our children.

I think about my children and my heart absolutely explodes with love. I would do all the gross and all the boring and all the mundane and all the monotonous over and over and over again just to be their mama.

I am living the life that I am meant to be living.

From the outside looking in, you might see an overtired 30-something trying to keep up with the day-to-day grind of life to provide for her family. You might see two little boys with mischievous smiles and snotty noses being wrestled into their car seats and wonder why I keep doing what I’m doing.

Well, I do it because of this intense, all-encompassing love. And because—I know it is exactly what I am supposed to be doing. This is my life, and I couldn’t be more proud of it.

Raising a mentally strong kid doesn't mean he won't cry when he's sad or that he won't fail sometimes. Mental strength won't make your child immune to hardship—but it also won't cause him to suppress his emotions.

In fact, it's quite the opposite. Mental strength is what helps kids bounce back from setbacks. It gives them the strength to keep going, even when they're plagued with self-doubt. A strong mental muscle is the key to helping kids reach their greatest potential in life.

But raising a mentally strong kid requires parents to avoid the common yet unhealthy parenting practices that rob kids of mental strength. In my book, 13 Things Mentally Strong Parents Don't Do, I identify 13 things to avoid if you want to raise a mentally strong kid equipped to tackle life's toughest challenges:

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