Some days mom life isn't all dance parties and hugs and special doughnut treats. Some days it's anxiety and meltdowns and tough decisions.

And on the days when I feel overwhelmed and unsure and the desire to run away with my family so I can hide them away from the scariness of the world—motherhood feels heavy.

Sometimes the lightness of putting my toddler's new sneakers on—and her contagious excitement because of them… is followed by the heaviness of said toddler's hysteria at school drop-off 20 minutes later.

And hearing her cry harder as the teachers encourage her to "come check this out" as I'm encouraged to sneak out of the classroom makes my heart feel like it's physically being ripped out of my chest. So I wait in the family room, with my two other children and give myself a mental pep talk to stop the tears.

Sometimes the lightness of a beautiful, fun day with my kids… is followed by the heaviness of what's going on in the world around me. The shootings, the fighting, the racism, the sexism, the anger—they all get me down and some days I find it hard to re-focus.

And the news cycle continues to spew out hatred and inequalities and sexual assaults and horrifying disasters—and it weighs on my spirit. It weaves me into its web of anxiety and threatens to hide the joy that's right in front of me.

So I try harder to put up boundaries. I work on limiting my intake. I step away. I center myself around the beauty of my family.

Sometimes the lightness of the beauty that is watching my kids play together… is followed by the heaviness of arguing and fighting over a silly toy. And it's frustrating. I don't understand why it happens and am constantly shocked with the how quickly things can turn from good to bad.

The kids melt down. And I lose my patience. And before you know it—a really sweet moment has turned into yelling and attempts to calm them down and empty threats and feeling like a failure.

So I step away. We take deep breaths. We try again. We show each other love, compassion and mercy.

Sometimes the lightness of watching my husband play with our children and kiss me hello… is followed by the heaviness of budget chats and stressful conversations and not having enough energy to clean up after bedtime and wanting to just go to sleep.

And we take out our frustrations on each other and we get mad and we wished we didn't but we're tired and we don't mean to.

So we apologize. We connect. We work together. We look at each other in the eyes and we promise that we've got this. We love and we continue to love and our love will always be there even in the arguments and even in the heaviness.

The weight of motherhood is heavy. Think: 10,000 loads of laundry, 8,000 meals, 6,000 diapers, 3,000 meltdowns, 2,000 tough calls and many many tears and many many worries heavy. And it weighs on us. It sits like a boulder on our chests some days, threatening to break us open.

And maybe that's what we're here to do. Maybe the heaviness has to break us open.

To open our hearts to the light of the children we have brought into this world.

To allow them to teach us—as getting to see the world through their innocent, creative eyes is sometimes the best teacher we could ask for.

To be completely vulnerable in our role of mother so we can grow into the human we were always destined to be.

Every day I am trying more and more to shed the weight of "perfection." The image of a "perfect mother" or "perfect woman" that has been ingrained in my mind for years.

And every day I am working toward opening myself up more and more to what I've been put on this earth for. To recognizing who I actually am. To dig deep into the place that has been opened up completely thanks to my children—and asking myself to muster the courage I need to step up to the plate and be there for them. Really be there.

We will all experience the heaviness of motherhood. But we can't get lost in it. Because the lightness will always be there, too—even when we have to search for it. And search for it, we must.

Because the heaviness is where the truth is.

And the truth is where our heart is.

So mama, on the heavy days—work hard to let the lightness of your life shine. ✨

And on the light days—bask in its glow. It will fill you up and keep you going.

I am with you—in the heaviness and the lightness. I just want you to know that. You're not alone, and I know I'm not either. And sometimes, that's what we need to know most of all.

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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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