The Pursuit of Health & 3 Questions to Ask Yourself in the New Year

family portrait

This almost seems like a mom rite of passage, but I had my first terrible migraine a few weeks ago. I started the day feeling irritable with throbbing head pressure, but figured I was just tired. By 10:30 am it was growing more painful, so I left work to rest and instead got hit will a full blown aching, chills, light sensitivity, nausea and vomiting migraine. By day 2 when the Excedrine stopped working, I found myself in urgent care getting the “migraine cocktail” (by the way, three injections that burn going in should not be called a “cocktail” – false advertising! I thought they were bringing me a stiff gin and tonic). Even after the cocktail and some Motrin, the headache and flu-like cold symptoms persisted for days so I went in for an MRI to make sure nothing more serious was going on. Thankfully the MRI came back normal, and now I’m armed with prescription drugs and a new prayer, “Lord, help me to never have a migraine again!”

One interesting question you’re asked in urgent care is to choose a number from 1-10 to describe your pain level. One is depicted by a yellow smiley face emoji where 10 is a very angry red emoji that says “worst pain imaginable”. The urgent care clinical team did a great job getting me from a reddish grimace face to a calmer light green face after the migraine cocktail.

But I kept thinking about the pain scale after I got home. Theoretically there is another scale to the left titled, “health scale” that goes to the highest level of well-being you can imagine. It dawned on me that I spend so little time attending to this other scale and, maybe if I did, I would spend less time on the pain scale.

And I’m not just talking about self-care, I know it’s more complicated than that. I often read self-care articles and walk away defeated, wondering how some moms find time to do all the self-care stuff (to some degree I’m just resigned to the fact that I’m not going to sleep, workout, or eat clean as much as I have in other seasons of life). But this is beyond that kind of self-care, or even pampering like back rubs or pedicures. I’m talking about making the daily pursuit of my own health a priority, just like I prioritize the health of my family members, or people I manage at work.

The paradigm shift is to stop thinking of myself last, to give in to a little self-mothering.

When I followed up with my primary care physician about the migraine, he asked if I was aware of any triggers that set it off. Since it was my first one I admitted I wasn’t sure, but had a hunch that lack of sleep had something to do with it. I’m a person who needs a lot of sleep to function normally, and lack of sleep has pretty immediate effects on my health and mood. The doctor suggested I get more sleep. Brilliant! 🙂

Thankfully Eric was willing to make some adjustments. We started “Daddy’s Sleep Training Academy” to help Emma sleep through the night. Mommy moved to the in-law suite in the basement (out of earshot) and Daddy took over night duty. Within just a few nights Emma was sleeping through with just a short period of crying around the time she normally woke up to nurse. It turned out to be better for my sleep and Emma’s sleep to let her cry it out a little ((cringing)). While my instinct to get Emma up as soon as she started crying was coming from a caring place, it was not helping the sleep situation. My “self-sacrificing” was making it worse! I’ve also noticed a couple of examples recently at work where in my effort to be helpful, I actually confused some processes and protocols related to a new program we were launching. It’s a growth edge for me to learn that sometimes what I need to do is – nothing.

We’ve found in our house that grumpy, angry, complaining people are often sleepy, hungry, stressed out people and we approach solutions with a communal mindset. If mom is red lining first thing in the morning, that’s a sign she needs help getting everyone out the door. If dad is exhausted at the dinner table, then baths and dishes can wait until tomorrow.

I heard from so many moms that all they wanted for Christmas this year was time. The faster the world spins, the more time slips through our fingers. In this fast-paced culture, it can feel like there is just no time left for moms to focus on themselves. Yet I find again and again that the more I intentionally shift time to take care of my own needs (pursuing a health score), the more other needs around me take care of themselves. Sometimes the pursuit of your own health is the best thing you can do for the ones you love, manage, and care about. Or put more simply, let me suggest a progression of three questions to ask yourself (in this order) as you move into 2019:

  • What will make me healthy?
  • What will make my family healthy?
  • What will make my neighbors healthy?

The last one comes from a place of desiring a more equitable world where, once our own needs are met (put your personal oxygen mask on first before assisting others) we turn our attention to our community. If you would like to learn more about working for the health of our neighbors, particularly those in under-resourced environments, please visit, or consider starting your New Year by reading my first book on the topic (co-authored with another working mom!) which is available in early January.

I hope 2019 is your healthiest year yet – because there is no limit on the impact a healthy mom can make on this world. 🙂 Happy New Year!

“Can’t You Just” Work Out?

working-out.jpgChristmas is a magical season when your kids are young, and this year we made two trips to see Santa. Usually Aubrey will dutifully inform him of her requests, give a big hug, and off we go. But this time Santa turned to me and asked, “and what does mommy want for Christmas?” At first I was like a reindeer in the headlights… what do I want? I laughed and replied, “a nap!”

Later after we left I had my real answer… the one I wouldn’t say out loud but is what I actually want:

“Santa, I want to return to my pre-baby weight for Christmas.”

Any other working mom out there ever wanted that for Christmas? And to those who are thinking, “Girl, can’t you just…exercise/eat better/do Whole30/get it together?” let me explain…

The baby weight relationship is a bipolar one for me. During pregnancy I love the weight gain. Every pound is like a precious physical reminder that a baby is growing inside and I’m enlarging to make room. I love bump pictures, wearing maternity pants early, gummy prenatal vitamins, and “eating for two” at Chick-fil-a. I feel cute during pregnancy, even at the end when I’m carrying 50+ extra pounds (no exaggeration – when it comes to pregnancy and babies, I go big). My hair is thick and full and despite the physical discomforts my heart is happy. I really love expecting a baby.

But once baby is born my attitude about the weight completely changes. No longer can I affectionately cradle my tummy and think about the baby inside. The bump which still persists today (at 7+ months postpartum) is just stubborn extra pounds that despite all the claims, has not vanished as a result of breastfeeding. In fact, I’m pretty sure I gained weight post-delivery before I lost any. I get frustrated that maternity clothes look weird, my old clothes don’t yet fit, and so I keep wearing the same one pair of jeans or black pants. I return to work from maternity leave still looking like I’m expecting. My 5 year old regularly pats my tummy and asks “why do you still have a big belly?” One of her friends innocently inquired a few weeks ago at church if the baby was in the nursery or still in my stomach. I’m convinced every other woman loses her pregnancy weight faster than I do. So can’t I just, you know, work out?

I actually would like to work out. I’m an athletic type and have played sports most of my life. I like swimming, racing, jogging, biking, yoga… heck, even a nice brisk walk! I just have such a hard time fitting it into the schedule. I know there are at-home videos and online coaches and 15-minutes of sun salutations a day… but I want 45-60 minutes to hustle and sweat, preferably outdoors or in a group fitness class.

Years ago when I attended barre classes the instructor always started out by affirming the attendees for taking time for themselves. I would think,

That’s odd, this isn’t exactly fun. It’s called WORKing out for a reason… if I were taking time for myself I’d be on a massage table somewhere or soaking my feet.

But now I get it. Having time and energy to work out, and subsequently caring for my body, is a luxury. It’s something I have to make time for and re-structure the normal routine to fit in. It doesn’t just happen. Now I know why all the women who were killing it in those barre classes were the moms. While I was busy avoiding the instructor’s eye because my plank looked more like a tee-pee, the moms were not wasting a single second of the workout. I remember running a 10K before I had kids and even when giving it my best effort I was far surpassed by a young mom of two who nearly won the race while pushing one of her babies in a jogging stroller. So yeah like I’ve said before, moms are beasts.

Many leading employers have long known that providing access to exercise facilities is a smart move. It’s a great benefit and improves employee concentration and reduces healthcare costs. Perhaps they could take it one step further and offer personalized exercise coaching or support groups for working moms. Postpartum moms need to re-enter exercise gingerly, and often doing it with others helps overcome the discouragement barriers I mentioned above. It also needs to happen during the workday. Coming in earlier or leaving later is just not an option. If it were a simple “can’t you just” adjustment, we would have made it. With the demands of a family and a full-time job, we need our employer to partner with us on creating pathways to exercise.

I’m so grateful that my employer, Good Sam, recently added a group fitness room to the second floor of our clinic, run by the local YMCA. I’m able to take classes during the week with minimal time cost (that’s the key) to my job or family. It is convenient, accessible, free for staff, and fun. It really is a win-win. The only difference on fitness class days is when the family gets home, I’m in yoga pants and a tank top, which inevitably prompts my daughter to ask, “Mommy, did you exercise?”

And I reply, “Oh this? Yeah, I just worked out.” 🙂

Magic in the Rain

Disney in the rainThis year for Aubrey’s 5th Birthday we decided to “do Disney”. One does not merely “go” to Disney you must “do it”, complete with special experiences, Fast Passes, Disney attire, and Mickey Mouse ice cream treats. We decided to do it with my parents (who live near Orlando), my Aunt Cathy, my daughter’s best friend since she was a baby, and my colleague Breanna and her crew. We took off for an extended weekend and bought two day passes to the parks.

The first day the weather was gorgeous…a December day in central Florida at its finest, sunny and warm with no hint of winter chill. Apparently everyone else thought it was great too, because the park was absolutely packed. We had to stand in long lines for everything – rides, snacks, tables, bathrooms, etc. Despite my normal modesty I nursed the baby everywhere. When an infant is hungry, walking across the park to stand in a line for the one nursing lounge is just not an option. We waited 60 minutes to ride Small World – normally a ride you can just walk on anytime. It was a fun day, but by the time we left I was ready for a break from the crowds. I live in the middle of a big City, but Disney crowded is on a whole other level.

The second day’s weather was the complete opposite. Before we even got to the park it was somber gray and pouring rain – so hard I thought we might have to pull over. Despite the fact that our tickets would have expired I still found myself questioning whether we should turn back. A day in the soaking rain with two little kids seemed like a big mistake. My imagination simply could not picture how this was going to end well. We all talked it over and I called Disney customer service to see if an exception could be made on account of the weather. In the nicest, happiest way possible, they said no.

So we decided to push through. Breanna was already there and had texted me that there were NO LINES and her boys had just finished riding a roller coaster four times. Their rain gear was completely soaked through, but they were having fun. Eric did his best to convince Aubrey it would be like Ariel’s under the sea ride all day, ha! 😂 – and she agreed we should do it. I think we were all less sure than we acted that this was a good idea, but it was in the car we all agreed to give it our best shot.

Sure enough, as soon as we arrived and stepped out of the car we were wet. Our shoes and hair were soaked by the time we got to the front entrance to the park. We were wet and sloshing and yet… moving fast. Breanna was right- no lines anywhere! We did everything we wanted to do and zipped around, no Fast Passes needed. Our families didn’t even have time to coordinate meeting up on Day 2- we were too busy hopping from awesome ride to awesome ride in our separate corners of the Magic Kingdom. It was so much fun!!!

Later that evening we met up for dinner at the Rainforest Cafe at Disney Springs and with frizzy wet hair and smudged mascara we raised our cocktails and toasted to “Disney in the rain!” It was perfect – a day I will remember so fondly.

I’ve been thinking about this experience and how I’m usually a Day 1 kind of person. I like when the sun is shining and conditions are predictable. I like being warm, dry, and comfortable.

Yet life keeps inviting me to Day 2 experiences…

To press forward in moments that don’t make sense when everything in my natural self wants to cubby up and wait out the storm.

I’m not a get up and go girl when it’s raining. I’m a fair weather chic all the way! And yet… real life means sometimes you’ve just got to go for it and brave the weather. I think there are some parallels to being a full-time working mom in America right now. It’s not exactly 75 degrees and sunny – our company maternity and paternity leave policies are severely lacking, hard-working women still get “mommy tracked” for having kids, and we’ve got a long way to go before society values the hard work of parenting as much as we value the 9-5 jobs. In some workplaces it’s raining – a lot.

But life is too short to wait out the storm. And despite the less than ideal conditions, for those who persist there are real rewards – we build our personal and professional capacity (and resume), develop resilience, and learn that we are able to handle more than we ever dreamed. The great Walt Disney liked to say, if you can dream it, you can do it. Sometimes for me the practice comes first, more like:

If you can do it, dream it.

I think it’s a sweet secret about Disney that for the die-hards who show up in their yellow ponchos with Ziploc sealed personal belongings and waterproof backpacks ready to face the elements – they find they get the magic all to themselves.

A Jammie Kind of Day

Trisha's FamilyToday’s post is brought to you by my dear friend and Mom Boss Trisha Anderson! Trisha is a mother of four children and also an entrepreneur. Along with her husband, she runs four businesses under the group name VISIONful to equip people, organizations, and communities to fulfill their vision and purpose. Trisha is also a woman of faith and a servant-leader.

I am having a jammie kind of day :).

Christmas is in the air….my favorite time of the year. This is the time when many begin to unwind, reflect on the year, sip hot cocoa and egg nog, and fill the home with family and friends and lots of love and laughter. This sounds like the perfect holiday or to some maybe even a dream right? Well for me this sounds more like a dream especially during this time of the year.

Honestly, from November until the end of December it’s more like the time of the year when I have to scramble to make sure I participate in all 4 of my children’s holiday performances and activities at school. This is the time when I have to sign up to bring cookies and treats to all their Thanksgiving lunches and Christmas parties. (By the way, I always pick cookies since it’s usually the easiest thing to grab from the grocery store while trying my best to push my 1 year old in those big clunky car-like grocery carts.) Why are those things so hard to push anyway?!

This is the time when I have to make sure I am being a good mother by begging the dentist office to take 4 kids on the same day when they only have 1 appointment left for the entire year. This is the time of the year when I have to hunt down where the kids put their gloves, scarfs, and hats yesterday so they don’t freeze when they go outside today. I brought my youngest daughter to school the other day and once I got her in the classroom, I realized she had her shoes on the wrong feet, had some crust in her eye, and had socks on her hands as gloves. I made every effort to avoid the look in her teachers’ eyes. I swapped her shoes, cleaned out her eyes, gave her a kiss and quickly made my exit.

As I walked out the door I heard her say to her teacher, “look at my sock gloves”…OMG I just kept walking at that point. I still don’t know how I didn’t realize I had put socks on her hands.

Later that same day my little sister and a friend of mine asked what I wanted to do for my birthday. My birthday falls after Thanksgiving but before Christmas-right in the peak of the holiday season. In the past I usually say, “Go to dinner with my girls”, or “Go to the movies”. Without hesitation though, I answered them and said

“All I really want to do for my birthday is to stay in my jammie’s, eat pizza, watch Netflix, and drink cherry icee’s all day.”

This mom of 4 was in desperate need of a jammie kind of day! As I am writing this now, I realize how much I was in need of a day like that in the midst of the holiday hustle and bustle. When my birthday came around, I took the whole day to do absolutely nothing.  Well almost nothing- I confess I did spend a few hours preparing a year-end report for my businesses before anyone else woke up, but to my defense I did it in my jammie’s as I laid in the bed. That day I stayed in bed until 1:00 pm in the afternoon. (Hey don’t judge me.. this was MY Jammie Day.) My husband brought me breakfast in bed, my oldest realized I wasn’t budging so she cooked lunch and she brought me lunch in bed. After I finally got up, I took a shower, and you know what I did next? I put on more jammie’s! This was the first time I had been so intentional about taking a day for me….oh and it blessed me tremendously!

Having four kids and four businesses, there is always something or someone that needs my attention. Maybe some of you reading this often struggle with a similar juggling act during the holidays or other times of the year. My advice to you when things get a little crazy is to just take a day for yourself ….better yet take a Jammie Day! When the Lord blesses me and my husband to be able to hire a full staff team at VISIONful, one of the perks will be that we offer paid Jammie Days to all our employees!!  When are you going to take your next Jammie Day?



Making Peace with Mom Guilt

Today’s post is brought to you by my friend and super mom Breanna Lathrop. She is an amazing mom of three awesome kids – Porter, Micah, & Selah. She is also chief operating officer and a family nurse practitioner for the Good Samaritan Health Center. Enjoy!

I’m going to count today as a win. It’s the Thursday one week before Thanksgiving and the second to last day of school before break. I knew today would be crazy a month ago when I started getting emails from the room moms about Thanksgiving parties. Room moms. I am really thankful for the folks who take that on but if I’m honest, I often feel like the concept of “room mom” was specifically invented to remind the rest of us of our inferior mothering. I dutifully paid the fees and signed up for my dessert contribution. I actually did both to make up for the fact that I am never going to be room mom.

By 6:30 in the morning I’ve got 50 brownie candy corn creations that look like turkeys on trays and dinner in the crock pot and I’m out the door with our 15-month-old. I drop her off at daycare and she doesn’t cry because the teacher bribes her with a cracker (win!) and I am on time to work (win!). I’m not seeing patients today so I have a few back-to-back meetings. Then I quickly review all the incoming labs, phone messages, and emails and respond to all the most critical (win for those who got a timely response, I guess).  I leave the office at noon because the school party is at 2 pm but I have a 1 pm conference call. I get the call launched on time from my hot spot in the school parking lot and it ends before 2 pm (big win!) I carry in my tray of Pinterest-inspired turkeys and get a huge hug from my 7-year-old (biggest win!) After a thrilling hour of First Grade Thanksgiving Party, I pick up my 4-year-old from Pre-K and drive over to daycare to get the baby. The evening is the usual: playtime, dinner, bath time, homework, story time, cuddles and bedtime (win, except for the moment when I threatened to take the boys’ Legos away forever if they did not get in the bath.) Once everyone is asleep I start the famous “second shift” well known to most working moms. It’s the 8:30-11:30 pm window in which I try to catch up on the emails, results, and patient messages that didn’t get addressed during the day.

Like I said, I’m counting the day as a win but it was also filled with reminders that choosing a family and a career has consequences. My baby girl spent more time at daycare than with me today. Tomorrow is the Pre-K Thanksgiving party and I won’t be there because I am seeing patients. My husband will go with a tray of really impressive brownie turkeys but my 4-year-old still asks why I can’t go when I’m tucking him in. I am chronically behind at work, even with the nightly second shift. The guilt is always there, reminding me of what I am sacrificing.

I’ve read all sorts of articles and blogs on mom guilt which claim we just need to get rid of it. There seems to be a theme that says we should just do the best we can and feel good about it. Our work, kid’s screen time, quality of dinner, bedtime routine- just do what works for you and move on. I hear it and I want to embrace that whole-heartedly, but I can’t. My husband jokingly tells me that I will always find something to feel guilty about and I should try caring less.

Since mom guilt doesn’t seem to be something I can eliminate, I’m making peace with it. I’ve decided to accept mom guilt as a reminder of how very deeply I care.

I’ve always thought that the day I stop having a healthy fear that I could hurt someone by prescribing the wrong medicine or missing an important diagnosis is the day I should stop practicing medicine. Maybe the same is true with mothering. Rather than seeing mom guilt as a reminder of failure, I’ve decided to own it as a part of the processes of loving my family and loving my job. I’m determined to not let guilt consume me or cloud the joy of this crazy phase of life but I’m not going to beat myself up for having it either. I wouldn’t have guilt if I didn’t care. Guilt is also a reminder to re-evaluate from time-to-time. Maybe balance has been off and maybe a few simple changes can improve my family’s functioning.

For me, being a working mom means some late nights answering emails and making school party snacks. It means leaving work early to get to the class party and other days staying late to help a patient.  The balance isn’t always perfect and mom guilt is always lurking. So I’m done running from it. If I can work full-time and raise three kids, I can handle some guilt. I’ll welcome it as a reminder that having a family and a career is more than worth the balancing act.

Why Moms Stay

IMG_2181Recently Eric and I toured a local private school as part of our on-going journey to figure out where to send Aubrey for Kindergarten. As we strolled the halls during the self-guided tour time, we struck up a conversation with a parent volunteer. After a few minutes of answering our questions, she told us more about herself, “I have an eight year old girl and a two year old boy. This morning (a Saturday) as I got ready to leave the baby was crying. He didn’t want me to go. That’s always so hard…” her voice trailed off then she started again, “but I wanted to be here to do something for the school. Because I work full-time I can’t volunteer for a lot of the classroom stuff that happens during the week.”

We thanked her for being there on a Saturday and inquired about her work. It turns out she is a scientist working on curing cancer. As she spoke about her research her tired eyes sparkled and she was filled with a sudden energy. She spoke about specific cancers that are now on the decline, and risk factors that can be controlled to improve others. “I love what I do. Life can be so crazy and hard, but I really am passionate about my work. I know it’s making a difference in the world.”

I could totally relate. A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to zoom out and share about my career with Aubrey’s Pre-k class. As I talked about working at a charitable clinic that serves people who can’t afford to see a doctor, or don’t have insurance (Aubrey at my side calling on her classmates) I was reminded of why I endure the hectic schedule and long days… to make a difference. To be a part of something bigger than me that has a tangible, positive effect on the lives of other people.

These sweet moments come every once in a while… there was the time I was on a conference call with an architect planning our capital expansion project. As we talked about the vision for the new fitness center and how it would help patients with diabetes, heart disease, and other health related illnesses I looked around the room: a motley crew of people who had never done this before were working as a team and turning long-dreamed dreams into reality. It was a holy moment.

Then there was the day I came by work with the girls on a Friday morning to visit our Homeless Clinic and one of the patients stood up to share how Good Sam had completely changed his life. He was crying happy tears and saying thanks for everything – from the breakfast to the bus transportation to the medical care – he has received that not only got him on a path to healing, but also helped him secure a job. Aubrey leaned over and explained to me that he wasn’t sad; he was crying tears of joy.

There was the day Breanna and I received word that a Christian publisher was going to take a chance on two no-name first time authors who wanted to write a very esoteric book about social determinants of health. We were braced to submit our manuscript over and over again, but instead they said yes. I ran through the halls until I found her (leading a Medical Team meeting) and yelled out, “we’re going to write a book!!!”

Moms stay because we make a difference. We stay because today’s world is full of complex problems that we can help solve. We stay because the very same skills that make us good at home with our babies make us good in the board room or in the research lab. We stay because our work matters and even though we give up our free time and “me time” and well, just time in general to do it – every once in a while we have a few minutes to see the impact and remember why we work in the first place.

Evidence-Based Quitting

cartoon7633My Myers-Briggs personality profile is ENFJ. The F stands for feeling and it’s a strong F… I feel ALL the feels, and deeply.

So when I “think” about quitting, I’m more accurately “feeling” about it. Thankfully I’m married to an ISTJ (yep, the T stands for thinking), who is logical and measured in his evaluation of big decisions. Eric’s thoughtful questions remind me that quitting on a feeling is not a good way to decide. Which leads me to my suggestion for moms: evidence-based quitting.

“Evidence-based” is a term I’ve learned working in the healthcare industry for the last four years. It is: the conscientious use of current best evidence in making decisions about patient care (Sackett, Straus, Richardson, Rosenberg, & Haynes, 2000). It seeks to base decisions on evidence, specific situations, and ever-changing realities. It does not merely rely on tradition or gut feeling – although they are still considered.

I think there are some parallels for moms on how to think about the decision to stay at or quit their jobs. The decision to work inside the home vs. outside the home is so full of emotion, tradition & expectations that it can be hard to sift through it and even when you do, hard to feel confident long-term about your decision. For such a big decision, who wants to have to keep making it over and over again? That’s exhausting.

Enter, evidence-based quitting – a process of evaluation in which moms require a certain level of rigor and research before making a job decision. This could involve some or all of the following:

  • Inclusive pro/con list – In addition to your own personal assessment, talk with moms of different choices, backgrounds, and economic levels. Once you have this, take time to imagine the alternatives. Don’t allow yourself to assume the grass is greener on the other side.
  • Literature review – What do the scholarly articles and books say? What evidence is there (for and against) working outside the home?
  • Family audit – How are your kids doing? How is your overall family doing? How are you doing? Ask them for feedback.
  • Laser it – Tease out your primary reason for wanting to quit and evaluate if quitting will really resolve this tension. Are there other ways to accomplish your goal without quitting?
  • Consider the future you – While you may prefer not to work now, will you want to work later? If so, come up with a professional development plan for your time out. Work with a mentor on how to “off ramp” and “on ramp” effectively.
  • Release branch – This is something I have learned from Eric and the world of engineer personality types. They never make an important decision fast! Even once you have made your decision, “release branch” for a few weeks or months and pay attention to your thoughts, questions, concerns, doubts, etc. during that time.

A few examples of things I’ve felt real hard, but didn’t pass the evidence-based quitting test:

When I wanted to quit because, after our first child was born, I couldn’t keep the house clean… we decided to hire a cleaning service twice a month. I said to myself, Veronica, don’t quit your career over dishes and clutter.

When I wanted to quit because I didn’t feel like I was doing anything well and always dropping a ball somewhere… my loved ones reassured me that I was doing great, and that I was being too hard on myself. Don’t quit because of perfectionism.

When I wanted to quit because the demand of doctors’ appointments, kid sick days, dental cleanings, etc. didn’t jive with my meeting-heavy, face-time-requiring job… Eric agreed to be first to handle these events since he has a more flexible job. Don’t quit over kids’ schedules.

When I wanted to quit because I didn’t feel like I was getting enough quality time with the girls… we made schedule changes that allowed for more playtime before the evening bedtime routine. Don’t quit over logistics.

When I wanted to quit because work was hard, or the big grant wasn’t awarded, or the results were underwhelming, or I questioned my impact… I asked for feedback and looked for areas of improvement. Don’t quit over failure.

When I wanted to quit that time my daughter suggested we play mom and kid, and she set it up by saying “you be the kid and I’ll be the mom. When I leave for work you cry because I’m gone ok?”… or when every day (for a season) dropping her off at daycare involved tears… Eric reminded me that kids (especially mine!) have big feelings too and that daycare was great for socialization and learning. He also agreed to take the majority of drop-offs and pick-ups after that. Don’t quit over mom guilt.

While the above examples might sound silly and like an over simplification, it has been useful for me over the years in my “I can’t do this, I should just quit” moments to tease out that feeling to a specific challenge that is bringing me to that conclusion – and forcing an evidence-based process to evaluate the issue. So far (almost 5 years in to working full-time with kids), the evidence (for me) continues to point to working outside of the home.