Girls Are Different From Boys

I’m approaching my four-year anniversary of motherhood. My two boys are responsible for this milestone. They are teaching me so much about life…

Recently I was in the bathroom when the door was busted open with the type of urgency an adult would use if there was a national emergency. I expected the person on the other side to yell, “Get out now! Your life is in danger!”

In the doorway stood a 40 lb three-foot tall boy in his Cat & Jack undies holding a mass of black fabric by his side.

“Mama, can you help me put on my Batman costume?”  I told him no and to please shut the door because people in bathrooms need privacy, and I am a person.

He slowly shut the door and asked, “Mama why are you sitting down on the potty?”

“Because boys are different from girls,” I said. Then the door closed.

I stared at myself in the mirror, while washing my hands, and thought about what I just said. I need to get ahead of this before it’s too late. I was snapped out of my thoughts when my cute chunky toddler opened the drawer of the bathroom vanity with a force that left a bruise on my shin. But in all fairness, he absolutely had to get out the hairdryer.

Son, girls are different from boys, and here’s why…, but first I’ll put on your Batman costume complete with fake muscles and a plastic mask. 

A girl will carry her baby doll, while singing a song about fairy dust. She will skip to the rhythm of her mud covered boots as they land on top of mossy rocks in the forest. She is equal parts nurturing and courageous adventurer.

You, son, can carry a baby doll in the coziness of your Batman muscles, while singing a song about garbage trucks. You will skip to the rhythm of your mud covered boots as they land on top of mossy rocks in the forest. You are equal parts unhinged curiosity and brazen adventurer.

You can fall and get back up. She can fall and get back up. She might cry because her baby fell down and got muddy, but you might laugh because your baby doll fell and got muddy.  Neither is bad, just different.

Son, you are not like her because you are a he. You will be given the same opportunities as she will, but you’ll approach them differently. She will deserve to be heard and you will deserve to be heard, but standing side by side you probably will hear the same thing with a different spin.

Your approach to cleaning up the toys on the floor might take you into a spacial journey filled with more building and destroying to finally get those tiny Lego pieces into the box. Her approach to cleaning up the toys on the floor might result in giving the Lego pieces names and putting them to bed in their box.

She will think slightly different from you. She’ll do math slightly different from you. She’ll run her mile in gym class faster or slower. Maybe she’ll chose to walk, because she hates running and rather be out rock climbing. Whatever. That competition doesn’t matter. What matters is that you respect her. It matters that you hear her and acknowledge her as a person, and all people are different.

You are different from them and they from you. Girls and boys weren’t made to be the same. They were made to share and to be compatible. Our world needs more compatibility. More sharing thoughts, sharing adventures, sharing responsibilities.

Learn from the differences. Choose to remove labeling the differences, and just recognizing we need to be different from one another to thrive.

Oh, and son, before you run away to save Gotham I have one more thing to say.

One day in the faraway future, but in this galaxy, when you have real muscles, you’ll have the privilege to work alongside a girl.  She’ll be across from you, and next to you, at the conference table. She’ll lead you on that building site as you look over blueprints. She’ll safely land the plane, despite turbulence, while you co-pilot. You might need to knock on her office door and gently open it. Please don’t just bust in like you own the hour. Be aware and kind.

Respect and love her differences. Don’t devalue her based on what she can or cannot produce or how she looks. Always look for her beautiful uniqueness and then figure out how it will balance out your weakness.

You’ll definitely save a lot of good people this way. . Oh, and girls can pee standing up, it’s just practical to sit down. Girls like efficiency. Girls are different from boys.

Okay, go Batman, make Gotham a better place.



Love you more than candy,

Mama Teresa







Postpartum Anxiety

This time last year I thought I was going to die.  If I wasn’t going to die I thought one of my kids would. The winter months were frozen with fear of getting sick, then dying. It was awful.  I wasn’t sleeping much and my hormones were a mess. It also turns out that I was clueless about postpartum anxiety.

Last February my low point collided with a moment of long approaching clarity.

Read more

A Shocking Discovery

I’m over here trying to build something and it’s really easy to talk myself out of it, until  I reach back into my memories like I’m reaching into a bag of peanut M&Ms. There, in my mind, is a sweet crunchy reminder of a visit to Mother Teresa’s house. Yes, the Mother Teresa. And, also this quote. That and this remind me to keep going.

“Mother Teresa didn’t walk around complaining about her thighs — she had shit to do.”
 sarah silverman

Of all the people who were trying to build something out of nothing Mother Teresa definitely had things beyond herself to run toward. But I learned something shocking while in her house.

I stood where she loved and served others, where people would seek out her advice and wisdom and where her body rests. I stood in a calm quiet so unique in the city of Kolkata. Blue cotton curtains danced on the June breeze and the words of her story floated into my heart with just enough familiarity to be shocking. Shocking, because how could Mother Teresa and I have anything in common (anything other than: we share the same name.)

I read about her story to serve the poor with no money, no resources and no infrastructure. She only had a calling from God.

When you consider the intense motivation of a calling from the same voice who spoke out into the nothingness, “Let there be light,” and then there was light. When that same voice calls you forward, you go. So, she moved without anything, to build a great something, and left a legacy.

You and I are not unlike Mother Teresa. I totally believe that God created each of us to leave a unique mark on this world. To build something from nothing. And guess what else? It’s not going to be easy. Your calling to go requires extreme tenacity, and it may require you to stay. Sometimes staying is boring and lonely; the hardest part.

aerial-aerial-view-aeroplane-59519 (1)

Photo by Josh Sorenson from Pexels

How exciting and thrilling is it to need a passport then board a 16 hour flight? There you are just skipping over continents like a kid dancing from one puddle to the next. That’s the stuff people tell stories about at dinner parties.

They went somewhere in Asia and said it was a nine hour drive from the airport mostly on dirt roads. They had no access to Amazon Prime. They went to serve, because that was their family’s vision. Their team mission. They lived in a hut with a dirt floor and didn’t drink coffee for a year. They fed their kids rice mixed with whatever veg they could forage, and bathed them in the same basin the village goats drank from.

That’s the kind of “answering a calling” and “building something” people talk about between passing the butter and salting their steamed broccoli.

Back at the Mother House, I stood in the museum dedicated to her life and that’s where my heart and soul felt in awe of how familiar Mother Teresa’s life was/is.  That’s the shocking part. How can someone so brave and loving be so understood?

The words I read talked about her feelings; how she felt after laying the foundation she was called to build. And here’s the shocking thing about all of it…

Mother Teresa felt alone and depressed.

Not for a short while until her popularity increased, or funding came through, or a quota of people were fed and healed.  She felt alone for nearly half a century. 50 years of loving, serving, feeding, mentoring and leading people while feeling alone and depressed.

But she never gave up. She didn’t quit. She remembered the moment when God clearly told her to go. And then it turned into stay. So she did. She stayed through the hard and lonely season of building something great. Something noble.


Photo by Lisa Fotios from Pexels

Hey there, you! Called to stay or go. You. Called to build something with nothing. Called to do the very thing only you were created to do. Listen. Listen to the same voice that spoke it all into existence. Whether you’re at home with your little babies, you are on a great mission. Whether you are going to pack your family up and leave the suburbs for a row house in a zip code you only read about in the news. Whether you decide you’re not going to date anymore and live a life dedicated to serving a hidden people group, because you’re called to. Go and stay. Build a foundation.

A note for you, Mama, at home raising your babies. You’re on an adventure to build a foundation too. You might not need to bathe your kids in a water basin used for the village goat, but let’s face it, bathing your kids is a labor of love regardless of the location.  And although sometimes you crave nothing more than to quiet time alone, yet struggle with feeling lonely daily. You are never alone.

You’re seen and heard by the Creator of the Universe…a loving Father who called you from the beginning to love Him and then to love others. Find others, then love them. That’s how you and Mother Teresa are alike. She loved the people she was called to love. She didn’t do it for the feelings, she did it because of the calling.

I don’t know if she complained about her thighs or other stuff. What I do know is she got shit done.

Don’t get hung up on the stuff complaints are built on, you’ve got shit to do.

Love you more than candy,


Hunting and Gathering


You know the adage from when you were a kid…

Sticks and stones may break my bones,

But names will never break me.

Totally not true. First, I understand where Alexander Kinglake, the originator of the little ditty, was coming from. It’s healthy for kids to know they do not need to take on the labels given to them by other kids. That saying is basically a great anti-bullying campaign from 1862.

Honestly, words do break us. How we talk to ourselves can definitely move us or keep us stuck. Words have strength.

It’s only taken me about two decades of my adult life to come to this awareness. Like the kind of awareness that causes me to change the words I choose. Specifically my inner dialogue. Half the stuff I say to myself I’d never say to others. I am practicing changing this behavior, as I spend my days nurturing people.

For example, I really don’t like most domestic responsibility that comes with owning a home or raising kids. I do like owning a home and I do like raising kids, therefore the responsibilities aren’t going away. The way I talk about those responsibilities can go away.

Recently I started flipping my mindset about the things I do on the regular. The change in my attitude and behavior was pretty much immediate.

Here’s a few of my mental flips:

I have to clean my house. → I’m giving my house some love.

I need to run errands. → I’m hunting and gathering.

I’m doing laundry. → I’m cleaning clothes.

Going grocery shopping. → Going to gather food to share.

The above list is hyper focused on the Mundane Life Chores. I noticed how being aware of the time it takes me to do certain MLCs changes my vibe towards the chore.

I had fun timing myself doing things like:

Emptying the dishwasher: 10 min (felt like 30 min)

Cleaning three bathrooms: 25 min (felt like 45)

Folding laundry: 10 min (felt like eternity)

Oh, and my husband is a stellar partner who does his own laundry. He also empties the dishwasher, takes out the trash and will grocery shop on request. So, I’m not over here solo hustling as a housewife. He was the one who encouraged me to be more honest about the amount of time it actually takes to do little things. He’s a smart dude, and a killer cook.

I’m still working on more inner thought overhauls and usually it’s in in the moment of catching a thought then flipping it.

I choose to change the words and what follows is a heart change; a changed attitude. This is the stuff of life, it’s not going away. So, I’ll just play with the words and be realistic about the time until we all get along.

Today I clicked the belts on my kids’ car seats and backed out of the driveway excitedly saying, “We’re going hunting and gathering!”

We went to Target and Aldi, hunted for goods and gathered them up to bring home. It was an urban adventure in a modern lifestyle. There were no sticks and stones, and my words didn’t break me. Not this time.

What are some ways you change-up the way you think about the daily stuff of life?

Better Than Candy

The days leading up to the day when I heard the best sentence ever were filled with tears. Tantrums and mood shifts hung in the air like burnt microwave popcorn.

I am in the middle of raising a three-year old boy. These moments are normal. Challenging, but normal. There is something that happens to a kid in their 30th month of life and it totally changes the way their brain interacts with their world. I happen to be extremely present in this world created daily by my brilliant little dude, so my perceived sensible world is definitely impacted by all his exciting brain development.

On the day of the beautiful sentence, I was in need of a break from parenting. I text my husband to say I’d be going out that night. For everyone’s safety and sanity. I don’t even think I had a plan. I just needed to remove myself from the life of a preschooler for a short while and regain my sense of humanity. As I stood there in the entryway of our home, zipping up my coat, these sweet words flew into my soul like a bird hitting your window pane: totally shocking.

“I love you more than candy!”

From the tiny little mouth of my first-born boy, who is now old enough to build flying trucks out of DUPLO blocks, and spread peanut butter onto toast, but young enough to have a melt down over the wrong spoon in his cereal.  From that tiny mouth came words of raw truth. His heart’s voice reminded me of the deep connection we have despite the growing pains and emotional storms.

“I love YOU more than candy!” I said back to him as our blue eyes locked.

Over the next few days and weeks I hear his sentence when days are annoying. I choose to tell him I love him more than candy when what I’d really like to do is go for a long run around my neighborhood, and return home to a clean kitchen smelling like freshly baked chocolate cake. Instead I stick with it. I stick with him and with my people inside my home where love is growing, and yeah it’s not always sweet but it is better than candy.

Photo cred Pixabay

Why I Thought Being a SAHM Was Weak

This is a special lake for my family. It’s taught me so much about love, listening, and showing up as I am. Being on this water brings me joy. I can say the same about being a SAHM.

A wise friend challenged me to ask myself different questions, because the questions we ask either grow us or keep us stuck.

In my other post about the label of Stay At Home Mom, you can read it here, I ended with four questions I’ve been asking myself.  I’ll answer them in black and white text, because the answers will grow me.

Why did I think being a stay at home mom (SAHM) was weak?

I’ve been wrestling with this question since the fall of 2015. I was coming out of a baby fog and began experiencing some hard truths and false truths about parenting. I struggled with feeling powerless, insignificant, and forgotten. Being a SAHM was a balance I hadn’t figured out and I’m still discovering.

Here’s my recent realization…

I believed women who worked while raising kids were more capable than women who didn’t work while raising kids.

About a month ago I stopped believing this. Like really believing it. I might have spoken like I didn’t believe it, but somewhere within me the lie still had roots. I finally decided to kill those roots and make a total mind-shift.

Mothering is not weak. Deciding to not work outside the home or collecting a pay-check is not weak. Balancing a career with kids is not stronger than balancing life with kids. It is not weak to know my limits. It is not weak to nurture, and it is definitely not weak to be a woman who answers a call to be a stay at home mom. On the contrary, she is equally strong and capable to answer the call to return to her career as a mom. Either way, mothering requires strength.

What changed your mind?

In short, experiencing mothering changed my mind. And don’t confuse that with being an experienced mother, because I am only three and a half years with two kids into this journey.

At the moment a little pink line showed up on my pregnancy test I became someone different. The change is powerful and behavior modifying. There is a thousand years of journeying between the physical experience of being a mom and the emotional experiences. It’s within this gap where courage and bravery take root. Being strong is my only option. People rely on me at an entirely different level than ever before.

Mothering takes tenacity, intuition, emotional intelligence, patience, fully functioning on sleep deprivation, and loving unconditionally. All of these things are never on a college syllabus. They are learned in the moments of real-life mothering.

I changed my mind because I chose to stop believing what research might say about SAHMs, or what companies might pay a SAHM once she returns to work. Most importantly, I stopped talking negatively to myself about how my role as a SAHM wasn’t as valuable as someone out there in her career. Those things clutter my perspective, and I need to see clearly and move freely as I lead my kids.

Oh, one more thing that changed my mind: the word And.

I am one person, raising two people. My ability to do “and” is different from her ability to do “and”. What I’m saying is this: during this season of mothering, I am doing what brings life to my kids, me, and my family. Those are my “and she does this…”. My friends have their own “and, I do this…”.  That’s what makes us fun and unique. My “ands” don’t have to be equal to or greater than her ” ands”. We seem to place extremely productive women on pillars because they can accomplish many measurable things. There AND is huge. My and is small.  That’s a comparison I had to close my heart off to. It’s made a big difference in how I show up to my day.

Finally, my mind changed because I have lived to believe my identity and self-worth is not in what I produce on the daily. My identity is rooted in a creative and purposeful Love existing beyond my title or role.

What about when they go to school, what will you do with all your time?

In my opinion one of the greatest outcomes of the women’s rights movement is our right to have more choices. The choice to go to college and enter into a career then to choose to stay home raising little babes is a gift. So many women didn’t have that choice. They could only stay home, indefinitely. I don’t have to stay home but maybe I’ll want to. I will choose my route based on what is best for my family and my creative desires. Maybe I’ll go back into Producing, maybe I’ll write a book, maybe I’ll do both. Either way, while my kids are away learning I’ll pursue my options.

Have you had any challenges with wanting to go back to work?

Over the Christmas break I got an awesome gift. It was a job offer to produce with Disciple Media. The offer came as a total surprise. It was one of those too perfect for reality offers…but it was reality. Flexible schedule, work from home, be on-set minimally. It’s all in my wheel-house and was so enticing! Okay, so after about two weeks of thinking and asking questions back and forth I said no to the offer.

What? Crazy. I know.

Crazy because I had such a peace about saying no. The gift of the offer was within this: the job offer was my personal push to begin writing. I had been thinking about writing since September. I did nothing though. Oh wait, I did make a lot of excuses, but none of them were written down, so in effect, I did nothing.

In the email I sent with my no thanks, but thanks for thinking of me response, I shared with the owner of The company my reason for not saying yes. In the bold “that takes guts” email I wrote out my current calling in life and my future professional goals. I literally told him, the owner is a guy which matters because it’s not like I was talking to another woman about being a mom. So, I told him that my calling in this season of life is to be a mother. A full-time mom, and time is really limited lately with my kids the ages they are. I told him it wouldn’t be right for me to give such little time to Producing while also trying to give quality time to this crazy life as a SAHM. I told him I have a goal to write. I also said Disciple Media creates inspiring and motivational films, and those two things resonate with me big time. My hope is in the future our paths will cross. His response made my eyes shed a few happy tears.

I have to share it here, because I believe when someone decides to make a choice they know is true to their calling, something great will come out of it later on in life.

Hi Teresa!

I greatly appreciate your honesty and commitment to the plans God has for you. Our kids grow up so fast and we have such a small window to be an influence in their lives; we share the same commitment. It’s also exciting to hear about your writing direction – I wish you the very best!

Thank you again for your consideration and hopefully we can collaborate on something encouraging and inspirational in the future!

Chris Dearolf

Owner & DP | Disciple Media

This is the stuff of strong people, people!  Yes I think about going back to a career. Yes I think about what it’d be like to be around adults for most of the day and on-set and organizing compelling stories. I think about a quiet lunch in my office, or a business lunch. I think about not telling people to use the potty. I think about not making three meals a day and handing out snacks. I daydream about a day without negotiating with a three-year old or not hearing anyone cry. Then, I think about why I’m home raising two young boys and it stops me from thinking about going back to work, and refocuses me on our story as a family.

These are just a few of the questions I’ve asked myself since becoming a mom. There will be many more questions to live out the answers.

Are there any questions you’ve been exploring as a nurturer?

Stay At Home Mom, Check!l

The first time I had to deal with the issue of being called a house wife/stay at home mom was during a weird season of my life. I had just moved to a new city because my husband started a great job. We had been trying to start a family. By trying I mean it had been two years and no kids later. I was also trying to find a job while knowing I just really wanted to be a mom. That season of life pretty much felt as comfortable as wearing soaking wet jeans, with sand in my unmentionable places, while walking on a beach in 90 degree weather. I had to keep moving forward, but it was awkward.

Anyway, the house wife label crashed into me while checking a box on a travel visa for an upcoming trip to India. I was freelance producing a documentary short. We were going to Mumbai and Kolkata to interview girls rescued out of sex trafficking. This was a big deal trip, with big deal outcomes, and I was stuck on how the only categorical documentation I could note on a visa was “house wife”. Some of the girls we were going to interview didn’t even have birth certificates. They were healing from a life no human should ever endure. Yet, in my selfishness, I was lugging around the pride of a label I thought was beneath me.

It’s taken me five years to walk away from any negative perceptions hidden among labels. Three of those five years I’ve actually been a mom. Yes, it happened! We finally got the chance to become parents after thirty months of infertility. It’s a bit ridiculous for me to have allowed semantics to hinder my walk in freedom, because for me and maybe for you too a label can really mess with someone’s true self.

This label also refined me.

I had to dig deep to figure out why answering the question, “What do you do?” bothered me. Strangely I didn’t realize I had to dig deep into the stuff of mothering to find out why I was ashamed to announce my stay at home status, even though said status was my choice. There I was on my knees loading dirty laundry into front load washer when the hard truth hit me. Somewhere along my journey through life I had adopted this belief:

Staying home to raise children is weak and anyone can do it.

Just typing that out feels disgusting, but it was a paradigm I carried around with me and didn’t realize I held it until I became a mother.

I have lived the answer and discovered my belief is all kinds of wrong. I’d even stand up in a crowd and say: being a stay at home mom takes tenacity and a lot of emotional intelligence.

It’s all on-the-job training without annual reviews or raises. A mom, working outside her home or inside her home, is a mom always. At 2am, 2pm, and 11:57p she is always there where her children need her. I had a warped view of what a stay at home mom’s role was, and how it differed from that of a mom who puts on a belt to accent her work pants.

We are raising people. Living, breathing, thinking and creative people. Who happen to love us more than is explain-ably possible. My mother-in-law (also a brilliant and educate woman who stayed home to raise three young children) referred to the early years of parenting in a way I had never thought about. She said, “You are their entire world.” I mean wow. The minute a baby is born into our world, is the minute you become a person’s entire world. This is true until they become teenagers, and then I hear you have to remind them that you kept them alive and cuddled them in the early years.

It took me a while to live a lot of icky feeling moments to realization my belief about mothering was being refined. Over the past year, as a mom to two, I’ve been chiseled into a new pillar. It bears the markings of strength, sacrifice, and love that is equal parts fierce and tender. Every challenging experience has marked my soul and made me a bold advocate of being a stay at home mom. It’s my current role, therefore I’m a fan. What’s your current role? You need to become a fan of yourself too.

So, if I had to check a box titled “stay at home mom” today, I’d do it without shame. I’d claim it on a public document by checking the box with a neon green marker. If I had to stand in front of a stadium of educated Ph.D. holding women with a visible career path, I’d still gladly answer “What do you do?” with “I’m currently a Stay at Home Mom, smartest vocation I’ve chosen to date and is providing me with the most on-the-job learning, and we are encouraged to hug and have dance parties where I work.”

If you’re a mom who struggles with staying home or going back to work, ask yourself this question: what is my current belief about mothering and how does that belief affect my behavior?

In my next blog post I’ll answer the questions:

Why did you think being a stay at home mom was weak?

What changed your mind?

What about when they go to school, what will you do with all your time?

Have you had any challenges with wanting to go back to work?

Nurturing People Takes Root

Hello, I began Nurturing People as a hashtag, and it still remains as such.

But, I have a long relationship with writing. Mainly writing stories told by other people, and mostly those stories were shared through videos, but always began with words on paper.  Stop. I’m wrong. They always began with listening.

Although never proven, I think my heart is partially shaped like an ear. I adore listening to other people’s stories about the stuff of life. The second thing I love next to listening to others’ stories is composing her story or his story or their story for others’ hearts and souls to hear. Stories, when told in the right place at the right time, connect us and grow us.

And, so…

After three years of full-on-momming, and dabbling with freelance writing jobs, I decided to focus on my own thing and take Nurturing People beyond a hashtag.

My vision for Nurturing People is to share moments about growing through life as a nurturer. To share stories from my home and hear stories from your home, that grow you and will grow us. As this blog changes from less of my voice, and more of your voice, I hope we can stay connected.

And, just because backgrounds are part of who we are…

At home, I have two boys and I’m married to a great guy, both facts make me the only woman in my house. That’s a huge responsibility for many reasons. Sometimes I freak out about the depth of my calling to raise and nurture boys, but mostly I am grateful. Being a parent has taught me, and brought me into a live-able belief, that we are all created to nurture people at all seasons of growth.

My background in writing and interviewing began a long time ago in 1st grade. My teacher, Mrs. Findley, was most likely tired of answering all my questions and she told me I should be a journalist. So naturally I asked a question like, what is a journalist? Her direct answer lacked a sugar coating and was more like a hammer hitting a nail, a journalist is a person who asks a lot of questions.  I did in fact ask a lot of questions. My first spelling test was straight-up anxiety inducing because I thought I had to write out the entire sentence containing the spelling word I memorized. “Cat, the cat jumped over the fence, cat.” I raised my hand in the middle of the test and asked if we had to spell out the whole sentence. Getting the answer to that question, which was “no” with a laugh, “Just spell the word cat,” made me braver about asking questions. The right questions help with life. It totally grew me.

Fast forward through high school and into college where I landed at Liberty University for both undergrad and graduate degrees.  When higher education was all done with me, I left with a bachelor of science in broadcast journalism and a master of arts in communication. That nail hammered into me in first grade made a good kind of mark on my ego.

I’ve practice my interest for listening, asking questions, then creating content as an assistant news producer with ABC, a producer for The Zone Music video show, the executive producer and story producer with Facing Life Head-On, a producer with Zone Communication Group, a digital media producer at Possible World Wide,  a video producer at Crossroads Church in Cincinnati, OH, and a content producer for Water Street Mission. I plan on continue producing great content that inspires people.


Teresa B. Duffy