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Are you living your own unique life or merely the opposite of someone else’s?

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“You know what this is about?” she said.

“I have no idea,” I replied.

“This is about individuation,” she said.

What? I had no idea what Barbara Stanny, one of my dear friends and mentors, was talking about.

We were on a coaching call, and I was talking to her about the struggle I was having with distributing my attention and time between working and being a mom. (Turns out creating the freedom to make your own money and your own schedule doesn’t solve this one as I naively thought before having a baby.)

I’d shared that we were putting Penelope in daycare, and I was excited but also feeling guilty.

It was no longer working having a nanny with P at our house while Mike and I were trying to work. We were distracted, irritated, and totally unproductive.

I was navigating the relief I was feeling about this decision and feeling bad that I was feeling relieved.

“What do you mean ‘this is about individuation’?” I asked.

She went on to explain that I was designing my work, childcare, and mothering life from the truth of who I am, instead of in opposition to what I experienced as a child with my mom.

Here’s the great thing about people who’ve know you for a while like Stanny has known me: you don’t have to explain everything.

She knew that I suffered terrible separation anxiety as a child (well beyond the age that it’s normal) and would throw myself at my mother’s feet, begging her not to leave.

I’d had this desire for as long as I could remember to create financial freedom so I would be able to spend as much time with my kids as I wanted. And I’d created that reality.

But what I realized talking to Stanny was that I was putting pressure on myself to spend all but 10 hours a week when I had childcare (during which I was still often taking breaks to nurse her) with Penelope.

And the truth was that I wanted to work more than that.

I was unconsciously living out my life so as not to be my mother, instead of living out my life to be me.

My mom worked and travelled a lot when I was growing up, and it was painful for me. So when I became a mother, I let the pendulum swing all the way in the other direction and thought I should be with Penelope every moment of every day.

I was doing a 1 or a 10, all-or-nothing, approach to motherhood. I felt my mom had worked too much, so I was trying to heal that by working just a tiny bit. And when I was honest with myself, it didn’t feel good.

When I gave myself permission to design my journey as a working mother based on what actually works for me, instead of based on what it would look like to do it differently than my mother, there was tremendous relief. And I didn’t feel so guilty anymore. (The guilt isn’t totally gone. As my mom says, “Mother guilt is in the water.” But it’s less than before and that’s really something.)

So, I ask you, my dear: are you living your own unique life or merely the opposite of someone else’s? {Tweet it.}

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I found that I was spending so much time and energy trying to do motherhood differently than my mother (in the work area, at least, as she really rocked in other areas) that I forgot to ask myself what felt good to me.

Working only 10 hours a week from home (with Penelope and a nanny there, too) decidedly didn’t work for me. I felt anxious and stressed out nearly all the time.

Three and a half days a week of daycare so that I can work, exercise, and shower without worrying about what P is doing really works for me.

It’s not the way my mom did it. And it’s not the complete opposite of how she did it either.

It’s my own version of being a working mom. And that’s the best version for me.

 

OVER TO YOU:

Is there an area of your life where you’re trying so hard to be different than someone else that you’ve forgotten to tune in to the truth of what would work best for you? What comes up for you around parenting and working and the dance between the two? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

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Money: A Love Story is now available on audio!

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Hey beautiful freedom seeker! I’m so excited to announce that my first bestselling book (yes, there will be more -they’re in percolation mode at the moment), Money: A Love Story, is now available as an audiobook! It’s narrated by yours truly and includes updated material that’s not in the original print version. Click one of…

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It was the hardest week of my life and this made all the difference.

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There’s no such thing as the wrong decision.

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Want to hang out this month?

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I met Marie Forleo by chance at a yoga class in 2009. 7 years later, my thriving online business is in large part due to her mentorship. (And we’ve had some really good laughs and a few cries together along the way!) I remember sitting in the back seat of Josh and Marie’s car as…

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Becoming Your Own Economy.

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  I don’t watch the news. I really never have. I don’t recommend that you do either. Why? Because it’s all bad news. There are amazing things happening all over the world that never get reported. Because they don’t make good television. Because they aren’t sensational enough. Because they don’t improve ratings. Here’s some good…

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Outsourcing, Automation, and the Joy of Assisted Living.

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How to Make Money the Feminine Way.

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If you hang in the personal development woo-woo circles that I do (and you likely do since you’re reading this), there’s a lot of talk about masculine and feminine energy. While there are tomes written on this, here’s the quick and dirty version as I see it: Masculine and feminine energy are alive in each…

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21 Days to Change Your Financial Life with the #MoneyLoveChallenge

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  Ever since I had the baby I cannot seem to find anything I can tolerate watching other than Modern Family or Fixer Upper. I can’t stand anything with violence, anything disturbing, anything scary, or anything depressing. So that cuts out almost everything on TV. I promised Mike I wouldn’t watch the new episodes of…

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Make 2016 the year of #MoneyLove! Free resources inside.

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  This is the first week of a brand new year. Possibilities abound. Fresh, blank pages await you. Your story of 2016 has yet to be written. What do you most want to create/manifest/attract this year? Whatever it is (new job, new relationship, vibrant health, a loving community, a new home, creative expression), having the…

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