Motherhood'ing Through Birthdays + Broken Down Minivans


WhiRLwiNd weekend celebrating Bigs who turn NINE today. Nine. 

Nine magical, blissful, beautiful years of navigating all.the.firsts.

Nine humbling, challenging, brutal-at-times years of falling down + getting back up.

It’s been the wildest ride, this journey through motherhood.

Much like our day yesterday...


The plans were all mapped out. Itinerary set. Bags packed the night before. We were headed out on a family adventure - to an indoor water park. Just our crew. To celebrate Bigs’ birthday.

Mama got her workout on, car packed and Littlest three ready while Daddy + Bigs finished up workouts for the week.

Out the door. Coffees in hand. On the road earlier than expected. That. Is something to celebrate.

All was well. Smooth sailing.

And then, 45 minutes in to a 90 minute ride. 

The. Car. Starts. Malfunctioning.

So there we were. On the side of the road. In what felt like the middle-of-nowhere (and that’s saying something bc we live in a town of approx 8k). With four kids packed in the back. Spotty cell service. In the cold + rain.

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Plans derailed. Stress SOARING. Worried. And this mama’s brain, triggered.

For 65 minutes, our girls sat in the back of the van, on the side of the road, watching their mom and dad brainstorm + bicker and collaborate + teamwork-it. Sifting through ideas and possible solutions.

Just when it started to feel like we were running out of options, (read: felt like I was about to E X P L O D E.) No taxis. No Uber. No LYFT. Closest friends > 45 away. STRESS mounting.

We both took a breath. And a big long EXHALE. 

And trusted.

We’ve done hard shit before. We could figure this out.

Our girls watched us reach out for help. Modify our plans. Get creative. And receive help.

They heard this mama say, out loud, I cannot control my brain’s reaction. I can control my response.

They saw this mama of theirs shaking + constantly re-grounding. Reminding myself (and them) we were safe. We had each other. That this was just a little adventure.


If that isn’t motherhood, I’m not sure what is.

This windy, twisty, sometimes brutal journey that’s full of curveballs and messed up “plans.” Smooth sailing + being blindsided.

This journey that is always humbling and always beautiful,

When we allow ourselves to let go of what we think it should be and allow it to be what it is.

A wild, uncharted adventure. Messy and beautiful. Rewarding and ever-challenging. All of it true.

We made it to the water park. Eventually. With the support of friends who are family. My dad’s wisdom and expertise. Two LYFT drivers - one who happened to be in the neighborhood after a 3 hour drive from NYC. A tow truck driver. Rental car.

Synchronicities. And a shit ton of letting go.


The irony that I’m running an online course on emotional agility right now, of all things, was not lost on me.

This. Is. Life. 

And I was once again lifted by GRATITUDE.

That we were safe. Healthy.

For my phone. And the internet. And apps that connect us. The driver’s who drove us.

For work we love that allows us to pay unexpected bills.

For our home. And being together at the end of a wild, adventurous day.


Giving myself permission to be human is new work for me. And it’s the very thing that allowed yesterday to not derail into a giant toxic mess.

I used to get stuck in self-judgement. Beating myself up, believing that would somehow lift me. Which energetically spilled over onto others. Especially hubs.

I know now that fighting the emotions only serves to keep me stuck. And blocks me from joy.

Yesterday was a hard day. A 9th birthday celebration we won’t soon forget. And it was magical and beautiful. And exhausting.

And, I really believe it was a gift.

A reminder to all of us that we can do hard shit.

When we breathe and trust and teamwork it - and learn how to ride our own waves of emotions.

Can’t believe she’s nine. 😭❤️✨🙏


Samantha Arsenault Livingstone is an Olympic Gold Medalist, high-performance coach and consultant, transformational speaker, educator and entrepreneur. She is the founder of Livingstone High Performance, LLC. and the Rise Free Academy - inspiring, empowering and equipping athletes, coaches and women who lead with the skills they need to cultivate high-performance - to achieve AND feel fulfilled along the way. 

In addition to private and group coaching, Samantha consults with teams and organizations on athlete wellness, Mindful Sport Performance Enhancement (MSPE), leadership, courage building, rising skills and creating high-performance environments. 

A mama of heart warrior and mama of twins, Samantha and her husband, Rob, live in the Berkshires with their four girls. To learn more about her offerings, go over to