Picture this scenario with me. A church nursery on a Sunday morning. Teenage girl patiently helping entertain toddlers as they play with their blocks. However, one particular toddler continues to throw himself to the ground in a full-on tantrum. Despite all efforts, he cannot be consoled. Two adult women off to the side whispering to each other as they point to the tantrum throwing toddler, “well, you know his mom works.”

First off, it is astonishing the impact a simple, thoughtless statement has as we set up our belief systems in life. Amy took me through her story of being a driven lawyer and her journey to this point. Additionally, she shared how being the teenage girl in our nursery scene above caused her years of limiting beliefs about being a working mother while still trying to honor her calling.

Since then, however, she has acknowledged the underlying presence of a skewed belief system and continues to work through the infamous mom guilt. Which is one of many reasons she makes a great spotlight for The Mom Huddle.

We’ll come back to the impact of mom guilt on Amy’s journey later, but first I’d like to introduce you to our feature in Woman, Mother, Driven Lawyer – Amy Cornell.


Without a doubt, Amy epitomizes the phrase, “be the best.”

She is driven, has a huge heart, grit, and most of all is unapologetically authentic. Her journey into law school didn’t come in the form of family lineage. In fact, her roots of “I was the weird farm kid allergic to everything,” makes her incredibly relatable even with all of her educational as well as professional accolades.

Her journey shows all women it is okay to admit you aren’t happy in the place you are and feel empowered to do something about it. In fact, listening to your gut is more often than not the way to go. Second, it’s natural to alter your lifestyle and even your dreams as life circumstances shift. Lastly, acknowledging the suck in a moment, is not only perfectly acceptable, but also healthy!

Enjoy our feature Amy Cornell: Woman, Mother, Driven Lawyer.


Amy grew up on a rural Illinois farm in a loving, Christian home. She attended Purdue University for a degree in management. Next stop, Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law. Eventually, she finished her academic career at the University of Arkansas for a specialized degree in Agricultural Law.

Ag is a fundamental part of who Amy is. In particular, policy and government affairs piqued her interest. In turn, she took on roles with the State Department of Agriculture, adjunct faculty positions at state universities, as well as Policy Advisor and Counsel for Indiana Farm Bureau.

She and her husband, Matt, have always functioned as dual income home. As a lawyer, Amy didn’t know exactly where she wanted to focus her talents, but after a number of years she found her sweet spot. Running a trade association while simultaneously a Vice President at a law firm, Bose McKinney & Evans/Bose Public Affairs.

Admittedly, it is easy to see how Amy connects with her clients. She shows up as herself, is extremely genuine, and has a deep level of care for others. That’s why when she started to feel pulled in more directions than she could mentally handle, it was very difficult to admit.

“I always want to help. There is nothing more fulfilling to me than someone coming to me with a problem and telling me they think I can be the one to help them solve it.”


Matt and Amy waited for a number of years to have children. Then almost seven years ago, they adopted Savannah, the light of their life.

“She is amazing. A little leader in training… a lot like me! She is and will be our only child so is the star of our household. She’s funny, kind, assertive, loves animals and to dance. I’m just extremely grateful for the chance to be a mother.”

Amy describes that they have a role reversal family.

“Matt takes care of so many things for our household that a lot of others would consider likely ‘mom duties.’ He is amazing. He knows how Savannah likes her hot dog cooked, what she eats for breakfast, does his own laundry… to be honest, sometimes it’s hard to admit he does all of this to other women because I get strange looks and feel self-conscious about it.”


Amy’s role with Bose was exciting to her. She not only brought in new clients to the firm and worked on policy with local and state officials, but also traveled the world for conferences, speaking engagements, and events.

Simultaneously, it was hard.

“I put all of this pressure on myself to be the best. Doing more than what was even expected of me, but I felt the pressure of my own expectations. Trying to be everything for everyone. While neglecting myself.”

Amy’s mom suffered a brain aneurism and then a number of surgeries and procedures followed. As a result, her mom is confined to a wheelchair and needs around the clock care. This caused a fundamental shift in Amy over the course of a few years.

“As much as I love my clients, they weren’t going to be there to help me in and out of a wheelchair if something happened to me. That would be my family. The realization sort of smacked me in the face that in a lot of ways I was putting everything else ahead of my family. Trying to be everything to everyone.”


Her wake-up call really came to a head in the spring of 2021. At her current pace, she was missing out on precious family time she no longer wanted to sustain.

As a result, she made the choice to leave Bose while still continuing her role with the Agribusiness Coucil of Indiana

“My priorities shifted. Ultimately, I realized I was missing so much with Savannah and Matt. The model was no longer working for me, but I had what I would call the best break-up ever. Bose was nothing but good to me. So supportive and extremely gracious about my decision to leave. Knowing people cared so deeply really helped me work through this shift personally. It’s a special place with a great culture. In particular, I will miss the teammate aspect of it for sure.”

Despite Amy’s humble thoughts on this, I would venture to guess the relationships established had a lot to do with Amy’s genuine personality too!

Woman, Mother, Driven Lawyer- Amy with husband, daughter, and dog posing in front of tree in the fall

Amy – Woman, Mother, Driven Lawyer – taking a moment to pause with her family and enjoy God’s beauty.


At this point, I was in awe of Amy’s leap from the seemingly glamorous role, not to mention comfort zone, into unknown territory. She is now entirely focused on serving as the President of the Agribusiness Council of Indiana instead of simultaneously trying to juggle being a Vice President at the law firm as well.

“I can’t run around putting out other fires without my own house burning down.”

With this in mind, it felt like not only a great wake up call for Amy personally, but also took great courage to take action and do something about it. I asked what advice she would give to Savannah if she found herself feeling this way in the future.

“Strike the balance. Don’t give up too soon but also understand life is too short to continue feeling so overwhelmed. Only YOU know when you get to that point. Trust in yourself. It is okay if a job isn’t a good fit. But make sure you understand if it’s truly time to make a move or if you are just being big drama (said with a series of giggles!).”


In spite of her excitement for the shift to balance, it hasn’t been ALL easy either. Amy admitted it is difficult to stand by and watch others support her former clients. Those relationships were very strong and special to her. Definitely natural for her to have feelings of loss in this shift.

“I’ve learned you have to be willing to be flexible. There are definitely things I’m going to miss. Traveling for work, certain working relationships, being in the thick of everything going on. Even so, I’m also learning it’s okay to allow one dream to shift if there are bigger priorities. I’m at peace and diving all in with a new adventure. I also now have the bandwidth to do things for the Agribusiness Council of Indiana that were just ideas before, but I didn’t have time to implement.”

Her advice to working moms struggling with balance:

“Your family is the one who is going to be there, so invest the time. Think hard about what you are comfortable with as your own work identity and then communicate. It’s okay to want things for yourself career wise. Communicate that with your family and figure out what works best for all involved. Some seasons are really hard and that is okay.”


Amy is full of energy, and while her plate is full fulfilling ACI members’ wishes, this time, she comes with the experience of knowing she can strike a balance working for not only her but her family as well.

“I’m still figuring this out. For anyone struggling with balance and feeling the conservative Evangelical mom guilt, I see you. I hear you. The fact you are concerned shows your heart is in the right place.”

Amy learned, over the past six years specifically, life ebbs and flows in career priorities between spouses. Additionally, kids tell you what they need either through word or action.

“Savannah sometimes just comes and sits with me on the couch. She needs me and it feels good. She won’t always want to do that; therefore, I’m soaking up these precious moments.”

Amy’s professional success comes from a career of showing up and being genuine. Her drive right now is showing up and being genuine for her family and the Agribusiness Council of Indiana. From there, sky’s the limit.

“For anyone out there in a tough season, you will make it too. In fact, I’m hugging you through the screen right now.”

Thank you, Amy, for sharing your journey with The Mom Huddle!


Balance is not something you find, it’s something you create. 

– Jana Kingsford


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Motherhood, career, child behavior stress. Not knowing what to do as a parent. Even feeling guilt or unease about your skills…or lack thereof. Subsequently wondering what others think of you and bouncing between trying not to care and analyzing yourself to death.

Any of this sound familiar? I have good news. You are not alone. In fact, even trained pediatric doctors have similar thoughts in their own motherhood journey. Don’t believe me? Meet Dr. Nerissa Bauer. Woman, Mother, Behavioral Pediatric Doctor.

Frankly, I found our conversation FASCINATING.

After a career in academia and a medical pediatric practice, Nerissa took a leap into entrepreneurship. Specifically, she now works with families of children diagnosed with ADHD, depression, anxiety, and other behavioral disorders.

“It’s a privilege to walk with families on this journey. I want to help them feel confident. Not everything can be prescribed and it’s important to meet them where they are. I recognize there are universal struggles, but I utilize a tailored approach for understanding and to instill confidence with my families.”

Enjoy getting to know Dr. Nerissa, Woman, Mother, Behavioral Pediatric Doctor!

Woman, Mother, Behavioral Pediatric Doctor- Nerissa posing on the beach at sunset

Dr. Nerissa Bauer -woman, mother, behavioral pediatric doctor – enjoying some downtime on the beach.


Nerissa completed her residency at the University of California San Diego where she also met her husband, Benjamin. She described the med school experience:

“While in med school, all I really knew was taking care of patients. Obviously, that’s what a doctor is and does. On the other hand, after launching into my career, I recognized additional avenues beyond diagnosing and treating. For instance, teaching and research became a big part of my medical journey.”

During her training in San Diego, the tragic Columbine school shooting took place. A pivotal point in not only Dr. Bauer’s career, but also her approach with patients and families.

First, she saw the trauma this incident caused in her pediatric patients and wanted to figure out a way to educate not only kids but also the parents. Additionally, she was adamant about more education on gun safety in her own patient interactions.

She and Benjamin then moved to Seattle where she attended the University of Washington to earn her Master’s in Public Health. Nerissa became engrossed in the research. Fascinated to improve not only the behavioral care in children through primary care, but also improving the systems for parents. Above all, education and tools being the primary focus.

“Discussing parenting as a doctor with parents in a 15-minute wellness appointment is HARD (impossible). Yet parenting is a big and overwhelming responsibility. No one is trained to do this job.”

For the record, I’ve never felt more seen than in that moment. YES!


The Bauer family moved to Indianapolis for Nerissa’s work at the IU School of Medicine. Her roles there consisted of clinical rotations, teaching, and research. Additionally, in 2016, Dr. Bauer started a blog, Let’s Talk Kids Health.

Let’s Talk Kids Health is a play on words. One of Dr. Bauer’s foundational teachings for parents is to stop utilizing the word “let’s” unless you plan to actually participate with them. For example, “let’s clean up the toy room.” The word let’s implies you will be cleaning with them versus giving them the task of cleaning the toy room themselves.

Such a simple and interesting shift!

For a time, the blog filled the void she was feeling, but after 13 years in academia at the hospital, she felt called to do something different. In addition, she hit burn out trying to wear so many different hats day in and day out.

Extremely grateful to be able to take time off, she did so to process her thoughts on where she wanted to make the most impact.

In turn, Nerissa shifted her focus more specifically to the blog and how this parent platform could be expanded. Her goal always being to engage, educate and empower kids and their families, in particular those with behavioral challenges.

Parent training workshops began to take form.

“I saw an opportunity to support families by educating on the subject of ADHD to both the kids and the parents. Kids with ADHD now learn why their brain works in this way. This understanding then helps them to be more confident and compassionate as a family. I love watching the transition into confidence of my families.”

Her 8-week course takes a family on a mission. Even assigning kids the role of detectives in their own adventure. Equipped with tools and props to keep the kids engaged while learning about their brain. One of her graduates described the process:

“Each mission assigned a task at home that didn’t feel like homework but aimed to develop new habits and routines to address the deficits related to ADHD. I give this course 5 great big stars and a bear hug for the thoughtful moments of affirmation spread through the training in super-secret missions.”


At this point, I was so curious what it was like to be a doctor, nonetheless a pediatrician, and have kids of her own. It felt to me like being an expert in this area would be amazing! Nerissa laughed…

“When my daughter was around 3 or 4, I was working at Riley and specialized in teaching pediatricians specifically for the 2-12 age group. My daughter was in a stage of having awful tantrums. While out in public or at home with the windows open and she had a tantrum, I would think to myself… ‘WHY WOULD ANYONE LISTEN TO ME????’ It was a really eye-opening experience and I believe helped me walk with patients and their families with more empathy.”

She also shared the mixed emotions of having a very busy job and wanting to ensure work-life balance not only for her but also for her young family. This became a larger struggle as the kids got older and she took on more and more responsibilities with her work.

Her kids were a big catalyst to her taking the leap and trying something different from the research and teaching she was so accustomed to. In fact, Jack (14) and Emma (11) have been extremely supportive of Nerissa’s newest business venture into entrepreneurship.

“I feel like I have a second chance in my career. A rebirth to the career fulfillment piece for myself. It’s exciting!”

A few keys Mother AND Doctor Nerissa shared about raising kids:

  • Have the conversation. Always. Be proactive. For example, she has a great resource for starting the conversation about guns you can find here.
  • Kids thrive in structure and routine.
  • You can’t take the mothering out of a mom, but we need to give ourselves permission to fuel our own tank. Don’t lose your identity. In fact, modeling this behavior to our children is extremely important.

Woman, Mother, Behavioral Pediatric Doctor- Nerissa with her son and daughter on the beach in Hawaii

Emma, Nerissa, and Jack enjoying the beaches of Hawaii for family vacation.


While Dr. Bauer still sees patients two days a week, she also has established a number of programs to support families. A lot of these resources pivoting to virtual in 2020 and having a larger than expected impact.

First, Facebook lives for Listen & Learn sessions for families. Dr. Bauer is joined by nationally recognized experts to discuss parenting, mental health and other family topics. A great way to supplement topics parents discussed with their pediatrician but would subsequently love further discussion.

Second, Read & Grow with the parenting book club. A group setting for reading popular parenting books with twice a month interactive discussion. Parents gain perspective and communicate with not only Dr. Bauer, but also other parents facing similar challenges.

Finally, Commit & Take Action through virtual courses specific to behavioral health. Supporting families to find their strengths and remind them they can get through this as a team. “Where you are now is not where you will be down the line.” Giving families hope and confidence to work towards their unique NorthStar.

“Kids are resilient and have so much to teach us. Give them the why and they are fine.”

I absolutely loved this line. It was in reference to 2020 and everything kids and families have gone through but applied to so much of our conversation. Dr. Bauer was not downplaying the effects of 2020 by any stretch. But rather simply pointing out adults can learn quite a lot from the kids and how they are bouncing back.

When I asked what she has learned from 2020 and being an entrepreneur, here was her response:

“I learned there are different ways to help and meet them (the families) where they are. Through education and support. I am feeling fulfilled and also as though I’m reaching a larger audience with my blog, Facebook lives, and parenting book clubs. You can’t always know the impact, but the information is out there and that makes me feel as though what I’m doing is important.”

I couldn’t agree more and immediately went online and signed up as a subscriber to Let’s Talk Kids Health.


Dr. Bauer left the world of academia and a hospital practice to pursue something of deeper meaning for herself. She saw an opportunity for more parent and children education, and she took the leap. What an inspiration she is!

And yet, she is humble enough to note that she doesn’t feel like an expert parent, nor will she interact with her parents as if she is all knowing. This was extremely evident when one of her parents passed by as we sat outside and enjoyed our smoothies. The parent was so excited to meet her in person (all virtual up to this point) and you could feel the appreciation and love of Dr. Bauer and her teaching.

I couldn’t have planned this interaction, but it was a wonderful example of the impact this Behavioral Pediatric Doctor is having on not only our children, but also parents. Feeling seen, feeling heard, and feeling we have strengths to build upon.

“Where you are now is not where you will be down the line. Remember how hard it was to potty train? But you did it!”

Simply reminding parents they have gotten through hard things before, and they will again.

In summary, be okay asking for help. Put on your oxygen mask first… and not just on a crashing airplane, but in life.

Dr. Bauer’s last piece of advice for moms in today’s world?

“You can’t take the mothering out of a mom, but we need to give permission to ourselves to fuel our own tank. I encourage women not to forget who they are while they are also a mother.”



Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you. 

– Ruth Bader Ginsburg, U.S. Supreme Court Justice


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Have you ever heard the expression if you need something done, ask a busy person? For the record, this expression embodies the spirit of our next blog feature, Margaret Weniger. Woman, Mother, and Sales Executive Turned Podcaster.

Margaret and I initially met through a Linking Indy Women networking event. Her inclusive spirit and fun demeanor created an immediate connection for the two of us. However, it was during our second conversation I mentally started to tally up the little snippets of things Margaret casually mentioned. From there, it dawned on me just how much this successful woman is tackling. All of it in the spirit of promoting other women and creating a safe space to follow YOUR dream. Whatever that dream may be.

Margaret shares with us pieces of her journey both professionally and into the motherhood space. A key for Margaret always being in a learning and growth mindset. By no stretch has this been easy for her. In fact, she has gone through being fired from sales executive positions which felt very soul crushing and confusing at the time. She also went through the emotions of resisting her calling because of self-doubt and even some imposter syndrome.

“My inner fraud kicked in when I thought about creating this community for women.”

Even through this though, she has found peace. Additionally, has come to the understanding there is nothing wrong with her (or you). In fact, we’re all quite normal being abnormal. Through working with a coach, validating her thoughts and feelings, self-reflection and visualization, Margaret has a great story to share.

“Whatever you do, don’t force yourself through. You’re just ignoring the problem.” 


Margaret is mother to a son Bodi (5), daughter Dillon (3), and a baby boy due in June. She and husband, Luke, live in Atlanta, GA and enjoy a busy life chasing around their kids while simultaneously enjoying successful careers.

Woman, Mother, Sales Executive Turned Podcaster- Margaret shown with her husband and two young kids, a boy and girl, on a garden bench

Margaret and her family. Getting everyone to look at the camera and smile is an impossible task!

Holding various sales executive positions, Margaret has always enjoyed training salespeople and is drawn to high potential individuals. Without a doubt, a constant learner, who absorbs content from books to podcasts to articles.

“To be honest, I love work. Motherhood, especially in the beginning, has been hard. I wouldn’t consider myself a baby person, so the transition to slowing down in my career came with a little bit of resentment.”

I LOVED her vulnerability in this statement. As a woman who felt a similar conflict at the birth of my own children, the guilt and shame that can follow these natural emotions can be overwhelming. In turn, we don’t share this information due to fear of what others will think or shame in our own admission.

Ironically, if we did, we would likely find others feeling a similar emotional roller coaster of mom and career guilt.

Only after she recognized and acknowledged these feelings did she move into a place of acceptance.

“I got to a point where I accepted the stage we were in with the kids. Not trying to maintain the pace and schedule but rather focusing on this being a season. NOTHING is permanent.”


Her advice for stepping into the career Mom transition…

“We become really good at efficiency and priority. Quality over quantity. Ask yourself what the best use of your time is. And again, remind yourself this is a SEASON.”


A networker by nature, sales executive by trade, and women supporter by calling, she found herself immersed in the company of amazing stories.

Alternatively, she recognized a platform didn’t exist to share the women’s incredible stories to a broader audience. As a result, Margaret started the Rising Tide podcast in October of 2020 to fill this void.

Admittedly, she found herself resistant to being that woman. It was not a quick or easy transition for sales executive turned podcaster Margaret.

“I really didn’t want this to be my calling. I had spent a long time in a male dominated industry and establishing myself. Frankly, I didn’t want to be seen as a woman activist. It was a year and a half in the making before I finally stopped resisting what kept getting thrown in my face.”


Part of the resistance stemmed from feeling like supporting women in the workplace was too big of an issue to tackle. Additionally, to shift from a place of resistance to all in, she changed her perspective on what it meant to be a woman activist.

This is where her sales training supported her. Margaret knew she wanted to keep her platform productive. It’s not a space to vent and complain but rather to share a journey. Solve the root of problems and be authentic.

“I don’t like it when people push air. For instance, sometimes in sales you can have a lot of hype but provide little value. It was important to me to make sure the Rising Tide podcast was more than pushing air. Ultimately, it’s about providing actionable insights.” 

Furthermore, Rising Tide is designed to support you and what you want in your career. YOU decide and that’s great. The premise being we all have our opinions and likely won’t agree on every detail, but the more exposure women can have, the better, more confident decisions they make for their own path.

Her advice when feeling pulled and resisting…

Decide what it is you are trying to do. Reflect. For example, is it climbing the corporate ladder? Is it starting a new business? Even being a super present mom? Whatever it is, take some time to acknowledge this and then figure out a way to achieve sustainable and amazing results in this particular season. Reminding yourself it can always change. Nothing is permanent.

Woman, Mother, Sales Executive Turned Podcaster- Margaret posing on a bridge smiling with hand on hip

Margaret, founder of the Rising Tide podcast, has found her calling in supporting women and sharing their stories.


Margaret has walked through an interesting career path with unbelievable twists and turns and has rolled with these punches like a champ. Coming out the other side not angry and bitter, but rather empathetic and clear headed.

Two times now, she was the first person on staff to become pregnant at software startups. Both companies too new to have an existing maternity policy, much less thoughts on how new parenthood would affect the work environment. Her advice for someone finding themselves in this space…

“Pay attention. My alarm bells were going off, but I ignored them. I also took way too much responsibility for this being my problem. I now realize this was not about my capabilities or even my engagement at work. It’s okay to have the conversation with yourself. There’s a move you can make. What are you getting out of this work experience and is it worth it?”

I definitely can’t wait for you to get your Scaling a Family While Scaling a Startup book published! (My shameless plug for you to get started on this book Margaret!! LOL.) Here is an article she wrote on this subject for anyone finding themselves in this space. It’s amazing!


One of the problems she sees with companies is a focus on “hire more women” without much thought beyond the statement. While this may be a great start, what is the company doing to ensure women feel a belonging to the organization once they’re in it? Additionally, their ability to be authentic in the workplace. Even training and development for future growth.

And we haven’t even gotten into policies on parental leaves and schedule flexibility for family emergencies. Who hasn’t gotten the dreaded fever call from daycare?! UGH!

Margaret’s advice?

Don’t assume you have to know everything. Stand in your power and ask. Before you immediately default to blaming yourself, take a step back and think about it more objectively. As women, we’re so hard on ourselves… what advice would you give your friend? Now be your friend.


Finally, I asked Margaret what some key pieces of advice are she will give to her children as they grow up.

“Try as many things as you can.”

The more exposure you have, the more you are in the habit of being new to something. It becomes less scary and crippling and more your normal. In addition, more exposure increases the likelihood they will find something sooner than later that lights them up inside.

A second piece of advice was about reputation.

“When you commit to something, do a really good job. This is how you start to build a reputation.”

Lastly, “realize people don’t think like you do.”

This is beautiful actually because it not only makes you a special and unique individual, but it also makes you curious. In fact, this curiosity leads to more exposure and learning more about yourself and others.

Woman, Mother, Sales Executive Turned Podcaster- Margaret and her husband and two kids posing on a hike

Family hike time for the Weniger’s!


In summary, Rising Tide was created as a community for women to understand others have similar thoughts and feelings. Connection through a similar journey or thought process. Even a space where women understand they are not alone and their abnormal is actually quite normal.

“When thinking about what you really want to do, take some time. Suspend logic and ask yourself, if you could have it the way you want, what would this look like?”

Visualizing with no rules and then taking a step back to figure out what steps would need to happen for this to become a reality. This can be with work, a side hustle, family, starting something new, anything.

There are so many things you can do. Set a course and take a step.

Unsolicited (LOL), she also recommends hiring a coach if you have the financial means to do so. Coaching not only creates accountability but also provides time for you to check in with yourself without just floating through life with nothing to give to anyone.

In closing, Margaret’s calling is currently to be the platform for women to share their journeys.

She leaves you with this:

“Continue to show up. Stay open. Your current situation doesn’t stop you from what you want to do. It just might not be on the timeline you originally thought. The key, however, is to continue listening to yourself and taking the best next step.”

Thank you, Margaret, for sharing your story. In particular, the amazing nuggets of great advice. The Mom Huddle community can’t wait to support Rising Tide!


Every day focus on your purpose. Remember why you do what you do. We don’t get burned out because of what we do. We get burned out because we forget why we do it.

– Jon Gordon


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First off, I want to talk about Women’s History Month. How many women of influence can you think of from your own life? I feel fortunate to have more than I can count. Admittedly though, my mind went to those powerful women making a BIG splash publicly in the world both now and in history.

I love following Sara Blakely, for instance. So inspirational and oh yeah, just happens to be the youngest woman self-made billionaire and founder of Spanx. She’s pretty amazing! 

How about Serena Williams or Dawn Staley in sports? Inspiring and strong figures for young women to admire.

Then switching gears to powerful women as authors and public speakers… Brene Brown, Glennon Doyle, and Coach Dar. Check, check, check. In fact, I love their impact and encouraging messages! 

Recently though, a post on LinkedIn caused a shift in me. Marcie Wibright shared the story of her daughter working up the ranks within FedEx and into a management role. Furthermore, she is the youngest and first female manager in this space. Shattering her own ceiling. However, likely not something you are going to see on the nightly news. In contrast, definitely something to be celebrated! 

This post was a bit like a smack over the head… I thought to myself: 

Don’t forget to celebrate the powerful women who may not be making headlines but are still taking little steps every day to their own big dreams. And in fact, inspiring you.

In turn, this made me reflect on one very particular powerful woman in my history. My mom.

G-I-R-L, would I give anything to be able to interview her for this blog post.

The interview unfortunately can’t happen since she passed in 2007. Even so, I decided for this month, I would do my best to share some of the advice I feel like she passed on to me in the 28 years I was able to have her HERE as my Mom.


My sister and I often talk about this first point. Empowered women empower women.

It’s never dawned on us that we COULDN’T do or be something. In fact, it’s kind of a little disturbing when women (or men for that matter) say they can’t do something. WHAT?!

Feeling empowered is a quality so engrained in our DNA, it’s actually quite shocking when someone says otherwise.

On International Women’s Day, I saw a lot of inspirational posts with the quote:

Here’s to strong women: May we know them, may we be them, may we raise them.

Wow! I am so very fortunate to feel I was raised as one, by one. 

For the record, I am not saying this without acknowledging I have heaps of self-doubt sometimes I have to work through. Above all though, I KNOW within my heart of hearts I can do whatever I put my mind to. Even with trembling knees and a shaky voice.

This empowerment came from my mom. Why? Because she never doubted. Externally that is. Yes, there were expectations of being a lady (said with an eyeroll and sarcastic tone) and manners, etc. However, the confines of what “women should do” both personally and professionally were not present.

After college, I set off into the world of sports as an occupation. My mom admittedly did not understand WHAT the role was, but that didn’t matter. She was excited for me to dive into a new adventure. Even empowered me to feel I could achieve whatever I set out to do.

I have no doubt she was cheering me on from the pearly gates as I made the leap from an almost two decade corporate career into entrepreneurship. “Yep, you can do this if you put your mind to it Heather. I have no doubts.” 

I don’t remember a time in my life ever NOT feeling empowered to figure it out.

In short, empowerment led to being empowered.


Last week, I attended the Indiana Sports Corp celebration for International Women’s Day with the theme Choose to Challenge. Throughout the entire presentation, I couldn’t help but think of my mom.

While this goes along with feeling empowered, Choose to Challenge simultaneously feels like its own topic. We can be complacent about our circumstances. On the other hand, we can do something about it.

Bi***ing for the sake of bi***ing has no place. Absolutely, you can vent sometimes, but at the end of the day if you aren’t going to take action… your venting is just noise.

If you don’t like it, take action.

I can think of so many examples where mom didn’t like how a situation was playing out. Never once do I remember complacency. Maybe she instinctively knew her life on this earth would be cut short so there was no time to stand still.

On the other hand, maybe this was also engrained in her deeply as well. Whatever the reason, make a move. Take action.

This wasn’t just through talk either. She walked the walk. Being of service to others. If something needed done, she wasn’t known for just standing around while people discussed it. She MOVED. Constantly.

In my mind, choosing to challenge can come in a lot of forms. Whether it comes to challenging the status quo of women, standing up against racism, serving others through community support, or whatever drives you as a human, Choose to Challenge.

Don’t just gripe to gripe. DO something.

You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do.

– C.G. Jung


Additionally, my mom had great friends. In fact, from all walks of life and all different periods too. This was way more influential than I realized in the moment.

Modeling a behavior of supportive women surrounding themselves with supportive women.

Because of the support they showed each other it became something I sought out in my own friendships without even realizing it.

Someone once told me, “never trust a girl with no girlfriend or a guy with no guy friends. There’s a reason no one is surrounding them.”

I’ve yet to find a scenario to disprove this statement.

When you support others, they support you in return. Find your people. And don’t be afraid to keep finding your people. Some are there for a particular season while others are lifers.  Without a doubt, both necessary.

In addition, encouraging other women doesn’t take away from you and your success. Seeing someone else succeed and being truly happy for them is energy that feeds you. This, I learned from my mom. Jealousy and bitterness have no place in our heart.

“Get over that shit.” 

My mom had a potty mouth at times. It was entertaining.


“Don’t take yourself so seriously.”

While I didn’t grow up in a particularly monetary wealthy family, we certainly always had a wealth of fun. This I attribute to my mom’s steadfast belief in always greeting someone with a smile. As well as this… life is short, have fun.

When she passed, the newsletter write-up about her for the Purdue History department where she worked read, “we in the department will always remember her infectious sense of humor, vivacious personality, and welcoming smile.” 

She loved everyone until there became a reason not to. And then she still loved them but from a distance.

She was known to write funny scripts for everything from Share-The-Fun 4-H skits to athletic banquet entertainment sketches. Poking fun at everyone and always turning a gathering into a festive occasion. Her welcoming spirit was a true testament to her love of people and fun.


My mom didn’t pass away with a bunch of accolades or making the news about her impact to women in history. However, reading Marcie’s LinkedIn post last week was a great reminder of my own mom’s influence as a powerful woman.

There are amazing figures both currently and in history making a significant mark in our world. Even so, don’t forget about the ones you may not read about in the news but are nonetheless having an impact on you. 

I’ll leave you with some key take-aways from my mom. 

First, empowered women empower other women.

Second, find your huddle. Choose to challenge when it’s important to you. And don’t take yourself so seriously.

Finally, you get to choose what your legacy will be. Don’t take this responsibility lightly.

Thank the women in your own history who have influenced you. It’s time to celebrate all of those accomplishments whether they make the history books or not. And then, go take action towards something you believe in.


The only impossible journey is the one you never begin.

– Tony Robbins


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Have you ever met someone and instantly felt more joyful? As if an indescribable aura has wrapped you up in peace. With this in mind, I introduce you to Adenike (pronounced Add-A-Nikki) Makinde. This month’s The Mom Huddle spotlight in WOMAN, MOTHER, JOYFUL ENTREPRENEUR

We met a few months ago through a Linking Indy Women networking event. Even in a virtual format, Adenike’s presence gave off the feeling of joy and inclusion. Although in the virtual world we find ourselves in, our group of five was able to dive in deep and swiftly. Sharing thoughts and feelings creating an immediate connection and wonderful conversation.

Upon my second meeting with Adenike, I have now put my finger on why. It’s her warmth and approach to life. In fact, she draws you in. Furthermore, living up to her company’s appropriate name, Joyfully: Career Strategy & Confidence Coaching.

As I thought about who to interview for February, the idea surfaced for a minority business owner who is also a mother. I remembered the LIW encounter with Adenike and without a doubt, knew this was my February person. Not only did she NOT disappoint, but I was additionally awestruck by her approach to life, motherhood, business ownership, and more.


First off, I go into each of these interviews with no agenda and very few prepared questions. While this may seem like an odd approach, I truly enjoy the process and just seeing where the conversation takes us. Furthermore, it keeps me from focusing too much on a particular outcome for the article. Instead, it ends up being just the message I didn’t know I needed to hear.

I say this because what Adenike said almost immediately struck deep.

We were discussing how to instill in our kids a sense of direction and purpose. Not forcing them down our pre-conceived notion of success, but rather how to make them mindful in decision making. This is when Adenike dropped the knowledge on me.

“We bring stuff into our lives because it’s what we expect. I just always rejected the idea.”

To paraphrase… we create our reality through what we expect.

For instance, parents go into the teenage years expecting rebellion and trouble. And just like a self-fulfilling prophecy, those same parents find themselves with teenagers in rebellion and trouble. “We bring stuff into our lives because it’s what we expect. I just rejected the idea.”


If you take nothing else from reading this article, think about that statement. Although made in relation to raising her children, it quickly became apparent this is a foundational belief for Adenike.

Before you think this was a very rose-colored glasses approach to raising teenagers, Adenike was quick to point out, yes, there were times of rebellion and trouble. On the contrary, that did not make up their entire teenage years. The label created for the time period with her kids was multi-faceted. Not summed up by a couple of negative adjectives.

I pressed on with this discussion intrigued by the approach of rejecting the idea.


Adenike has two children. Admittedly, not so much children as now young adults. Caleb, a 19-year-old college student with big dreams and an even bigger heart. Mikayla, a 17-year-old high school senior destined for leadership.

Adenike (Woman Mother Joyful Entrepreneur) and her two kids taking a selfie

Adenike, Mikayla, and Caleb strike a pose. Joyful motherhood moment!

Foundation is key. For Adenike and her family, their foundation is God and a loving spirit.

“I have never felt as though I had to figure it out on my own. God is always there and if I lean on my faith and love, everything eventually works out.”

Watching the pride with which she spoke of her children and their very real and deep conversations, I found myself wanting to immediately implement her suggestions for getting to this point with her kids.

First, keep God in your heart.

Second, come from a place of love with your energy.

And finally, invest in your kids.

For their family, this investment consists of regular Saturday morning conversations to check in. Creating the space to talk about life and share on a deep level.

Whereas, there is a time for discipline. On the other hand, there is also a time for allowing your children the space to learn and grow. She was able to strike this balance with regular “adult” conversation. Above all, learning who they are as people by listening and caring. Subsequently, showing interest in what they had to say as they processed their own thoughts and feelings.

She reminds her kids all the time, “this is the job God gave me to do. I know my job as a parent.” Even though Caleb and Mikayla may not always agree with her, they respect the logic behind this.


We next shifted our discussion to the notion of martyrdom in motherhood.

Whether through their own upbringing or being too tied to social norms, along the way a lot of mothers have created a story. This story includes the mother being a martyr figure in the family. We tend to think this is what we should do.

Be everything for everyone. Put even some of our most basic needs to the side under the ruse of being what the family needs.

This stress of obligation, however, has had an opposite effect.

“Our kids do what we model. Model what you want your kids to look like.”

Instead of coming from a place of, “I can’t do ___ (fill in the blank) because of my kids,” she suggests flipping the script. “I need to do this because of my kids.” Invest in yourself.

Stress in motherhood is not an obligation. Analyze it. Figure out what the stressor is and address it. There is no room for martyrdom once you actually address what is going on.

Again, go back to her first point, “We bring stuff into our lives because it’s what we expect. I just rejected the idea.”


What Adenike gained from 2020 was the perspective of her business shift. Joyfully went from being her business to now being a platform.

“It’s not just business. I have the freedom to be myself. I know I can utilize the business as a platform to fulfill my calling. My first calling was to be a parent. My second calling is helping people.”

She works with her clients to shift from sick and tired to peace and purpose. Creating a sustainable and feasible plan with personal values at the core. It should come as no surprise mindset shifting is a key element to her coaching style.

Starting her own business was key because she wanted to be able to help people the way she had it in her own heart, not through a pre-created program through an institution. This drive took her from a corporate career three and a half years ago into business for herself.

She described the moment she went from burnt out and unmotivated in her job to engaged and excited about her work. It came down to the epiphany of knowing she wanted her own business. Excitement and momentum to a future she hadn’t been able to put her finger on until she invested in herself with coaching, praying, and journaling.

MOTHER- 2020

Adenike is a woman of color. There is so much going on in the world in addition to the pandemic having an understandable and emotional toll for this demographic. I was astonished by her mindset and approach once again to all of the perceived hate going on in the world.

“I told my kids; you can’t control another person. Be aware of what is happening around you, but you can only take on so much. Guard your heart. And if you are out there talking in the world (social media), you better be prepared to take action, not just be noise.”

Additionally, her messaging to her kids throughout this political and racial turmoil had two key elements. First, keep God in your heart. Second, bring your energy from a place of love.

She even went back to her original foundation belief of, “we bring stuff into our lives because it’s what we expect. I just rejected the idea.” Ensuring she and her family remained above the hate. In fact, expecting people to be kind and come from a place of love. Not pulled into the energy zapping of it all because it’s what was expected.


Adenike’s ideal client is a woman who has had enough life and work experience to know themselves. As a consequence, they have hit the point in their journey where they question if they have completed their purpose on Earth or if there is more to their story.

It’s where she found herself a few years ago. Instead of choosing to be a martyr and continuing down a path not entirely fulfilling to her, she chose joy. Seeking out mentors. Reading. Praying. Giving herself space and time to recognize the shift in her purpose. Then, pursuing her dream.

Her amazing approach to life not only rubs off on her clients but also is visible in her children through their actions. Recently, her son told her during a Saturday morning conversation while home from college, “I’m so glad you raised me how you did. There are some crazy people out there.”

I then asked if her son could be a mentor to my own sons. (I mean, seriously, why not right?!)

Find your joy. Focus on your joy. And resist the urge to bring negativity, hurt, and hate (stuff) into your life because it’s what you expect. Reject the idea.  

Thank you Adenike for being an aura of light in the world even when it can feel very dark. Your love and grace are contagious.


Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.

– Maya Angelou


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First and foremost, I’m excited about this 2021 blog series! The Mom Huddle was created to share our collective journeys. With this in mind, this month we’ll highlight a WOMAN, MOTHER, TEACHER.

Not only is The Mom Huddle a platform for stories, but also serves as a way to create understanding. A sisterhood. On one hand, we won’t always agree. On the other, I believe this is where understanding and growth happens.

When we hear someone’s story and find pieces of ourselves in it, we also find appreciation. Furthermore, we learn and grow.

Enter in Mrs. Jacqueline Miller, our January spotlight. Woman like us. Mother like us. A teacher like only some of us. (To be clear, not me… can you say E-Learning failure?!?)

Woman Mother Teacher- Mrs. Miller shown with arms full of bags walking into school

Who can relate to this look? Carrying ALL THE THINGS! Mrs. Miller headed into school for the day.

As I contemplated who made sense for the very first blog in this series, relevance was key. TEACHER continued to float to the top of this list. Mrs. Miller then quickly came to mind. Not only as a teacher AND a mother, but also as one of my boys’ favorite teachers from elementary.

In short, meet Jacqueline Miller.


Jacqueline and her husband, Brett, have two sons, Hudson (5.5 years old) and Camden (almost 3). She also currently teaches second grade.

Here is what Jacqueline had to say about being a woman, mother, teacher, wife, daughter, ALL THE THINGS… oh, and let’s throw in a pandemic.

What has this last year been like for you?

Interesting… (said with chuckles, laced with some exasperation!)

Less than a week after Camden’s second birthday party, the world shut down. It was shocking obviously! Without a doubt, the first week was ROUGH.

Anyone else relate?!?

We found ourselves completely out of routine. Uncertainty. Absolutely running the gamete of emotions in a very short amount of time.

Then came the routine. “We walked the dog DAILY without fail.”

As she shared their rain, shine, snow mentality of sticking to their daily walk, I immediately pictured the postal service motto! “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night…”  

Then I noticed a pointed shift in how Mrs. Miller described life in the early days of the pandemic:

“We focused on enjoying the little moments.”

The bus lot near their home became an exciting walk-to destination for the kids to see all of the buses.

This made me laugh. I remembered back to when preschooler Jake (now almost 12) LOVED buses. The sight of a bus elicited squeals of joy from the backseat. So much so, in the car despite being BY MYSELF, I pointed out a bus. “Oh look! A bus!!” Yep, the little moments stick with you.

The firehouse also became a Miller adventure destination. Including a guessing game of how many fire truck doors would be open.

In general, slowing down life and NOTICING. Recognizing a beautiful sunrise and discussing all of the colors with Camden.

Not something we typically make time for in a morning of running from point A to B to C in the rat race, is it?

How did the boys do with the uncertainty and routine disruption?

Hudson called COVID “the germs.” They are both really good about wearing masks and understand it’s done to keep others safe. Their grandparents especially.

As an educator, I knew the importance of routine for the boys. Days starting with screen time ended in DISASTER. Applying the slow start method in the morning at home worked just as well as it does in school.

For those like me, not in the know… slow start focuses on games, puzzles, blocks, and interactive play without the use of technology. In the school setting, it’s utilized to teach children to interact and learn to play together. Additionally, giving students a chance to ready themselves for the school day.

I’m guessing this may be a giant ah-ha moment! It was a great take-away for me as well.


As we switched gears from family to career, my admiration grew more than I thought possible. Like a lot of you, I hear the amazing work teachers do day in and day out. Conversely, I admit, I don’t give it enough attention.

In the humblest way, Mrs. Miller shared not just about teaching. In fact, our conversation was very little about the teaching itself, but rather more about the other hats worn. I will tell you; it elicited a lot of conflicting emotions from me.

“Teaching has become so much more than just teaching.”

In general, teaching is now about developing the whole child, not just the educational piece.

First, have they been fed? They cannot learn if not. Additionally, she shared stories of saving unopened food waste from lunches and sending home with kids who do not have enough. Bringing in extra snacks and ensuring a supply of food for kids once they leave school. Even delivering lunches during the pandemic to those in need.

Second, where is their mental health? Observing without bias and ensuring she is not overstepping while simultaneously supporting.

Third, do they have appropriate clothing? She now has a stash of clothes for not only homeless children but also for any child showing up with shoes too small or ill equipped for cold weather.

Did you notice we haven’t even gotten to math, reading, or science yet?

Hence my mixed emotions of admiration, sadness, and even some outrage over the necessity of this.


What is the biggest difference in teaching during the pandemic?

Teachers are really good at multi-tasking. For instance, flipping a child’s book to the correct page while passing by and simultaneously reading to the entire class. Scanning the students as the course work is being delivered and watching for signs of confusion or lack of understanding.

These elements are lost or a lot more difficult to manage when class is on screen.

I attended a Zoom the other day with adults. Some weren’t muted and didn’t realize it. Others were clearly not paying attention and then asking for the messages to be repeated… MULTIPLE times. They were adults. Can you imagine the herding of cats it is having Zoom class in elementary?

Mrs. Miller’s pandemic focus was to work very hard to still giving each child a personal connection. Time on the Zoom for them as well as personal messages on their assignments, for instance. All of this goes above and beyond a typical day when teaching in person.

She mentioned in the beginning of the pandemic assigning more work for the kids. Then realized the sheer volume of trying to give students personal messages on EACH assignment wasn’t sustainable. Adjusting course as needed has been a constant theme for the year.

Another adjustment came in the form of headaches. Staring at a screen all day instead of moving around a classroom was something she didn’t see coming.

Woman Mother Teacher- Mrs. Miller with mask on teaching to students in class

Mrs. Miller is happy to be back in person with the kids. The classroom looks a bit different than a normal year though.


What has been your biggest challenge personally during this time?

Not being able to see family in person despite knowing the reason why. Undoubtedly heart wrenching.

What has been your biggest challenge professionally during this time?

Empathy exhaustion. There are so many things going on in addition to the pandemic.

To name a few, witnessing families struggling because of the work from home and the school from home situation they find their family in. A constant juggle altogether.

Then witnessing the Black Lives Matter movement and wanting to support those emotionally affected.

Next, watching families already struggling financially further complicated by the pandemic.

Subsequently, you want to be everything for everyone. As a result, it becomes overwhelming and exhausting. In addition, I want to be aware of my own implicit bias and be mindful when making decisions.


We started to talk about balance not only in a normal time, but especially during the pandemic. She was given advice by a mentor that has stuck with her over the years.

You don’t want to save the world and lose your own.

Remembering this message of maintaining a balance of personal life and professional boundaries served her well in the normal as well as the abnormal of late.

She also acknowledged her partnership with her husband, Brett, parenting as a team. Brett is the best cook and does most of the cooking for the family. This allows her playtime with the boys after school instead of jumping straight into household duties.

It’s all about the kids until they go to bed, then we prep for the next day and do some work.

What do you do for self-care?

Hallmark movies! (with a chuckle) With all of the craziness in the world, they are good stories and you know how they will end. It’s low pressure and entertaining.

As the kids get older, she would also like to get back to the gym, but we also laughed about the work-out it is to have little kids. Hudson had 5 THOUSAND steps in two hours running around the house one morning wearing her FitBit.

Pretty sure Jacqueline is getting her steps in just fine chasing them around!

We also agreed the shift in parenting moves from a physical toll to a mental one as the kids age. A weird adjustment for moms when this shift begins! 


What advice would you give to other parents about this time both as a teacher and a mother?

When we look back, we’ll be so grateful for the extra time spent together. Sometimes we get caught up in ALL of the moments, but a few special activities are what the kids are going to remember. In short, enjoy the little moments.

As Camden says, “look at the pretty sunrise!”

I thoroughly enjoyed talking to Mrs. Miller. Getting another perspective on not only what is going on right now in the world for our kids, but also a general snapshot in the life of a teacher. How often do we forget our teachers are often mothers too? They are preparing not only their own children for the world, but ours as well. Clearly in many more ways than just math and reading too.

Thank a teacher. In fact, figure out ways in which you can support them. Mrs. Miller said she LOVES volunteers in the classroom in addition to donation support.

“Someone always needs something.”

We undoubtedly know this as mothers don’t we? Now imagine a classroom full of kids!!!

Thank you to Mrs. Miller and to all of the educators out there. We in The Mom Huddle appreciate YOU!

The duties of a teacher are neither few nor small, but they elevate the mind and give energy to the character. – Dorothea Dix

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