Moms Rock: Mel Robbins

Published in baystateparent magazineMel Robbins: Moms Rock

If you’ve heard her on The Mel Robbins Show or seen her on A&E’s reality show,
Monster In-Laws, you know one thing about her: Mel doesn’t mince words.

Mel Robbins has made a career of tackling issues through no-nonsense, thought-provoking conversations that challenge people to think. And she’s done it with a singular mission: to help people get what they want out of life – personally, professionally, and relationally.

The down-to-business talk show host and self-made businesswoman is down-to-earth in person. Raised in a small town in Michigan with strong family roots, Mel is as unpretentious and welcoming as her renovated, Sherborn farmhouse. And, like her home, Mel’s family life is a mix of family tradition and new modifications to create the right fit.

It’s in Sherborn that Mel and her husband of 15 years, Chris Robbins are raising their three children, Sawyer (age 13), Kendall (age 11), Oakley (age 6) and two Australian Shepherds. The small-town, rural feel of Sherborn and supportive neighbors are a perfect fit for the Robbins family.

Mel’s life philosophy, “It Shall Be,” is tattooed on her wrist and ingrained in everything she does.

“If you believe it, and if you force yourself to take steps to make it happen, it shall be. That’s the philosophy of how I parent, it’s the philosophy of my business, of how I live my life,” she says.

Mel speaks from experience. A Dartmouth and Boston College Law School graduate, Mel began her career in New York City as a trial lawyer. After moving to Massachusetts in 1997, Mel decided the legal profession wasn’t for her, and got a job at a start-up internet company. She began to explore career options with Handel Life Coaching co-founder Lauren Zander, when Zander encouraged Mel to become a coach herself. Mel went on to launch her own, one-woman executive coaching business, where she coached high-powered executives from Fortune 500 companies to reach their professional and personal goals. Mel’s coaching led to TV appearances, which ultimately kindled her fascination with the media business, particularly radio.

“I love radio. Radio is my passion,” Mel says. “Nobody edits me. It is a very intimate medium because you are in someone’s car, kitchen or headset.” Others have described Mel as a “breath of fresh air” in talk radio, which is primarily male-dominated.

Last year, Mel expended her no-nonsense advice to TV. As the relationship expert of A&E’s reality show, “Monster In-Laws,” Mel tackles thorny, real-life family relationships. Mel moves in with a troubled family for a week, and tries to restore relationships at the brink of failure through life coaching skills with creative tactics.

“It’s my job to force these families to talk about the stuff they don’t want to talk about and to hammer through it. And to remind people on a very guttural level what’s truly important, which is their familial relationships,” she says.

If you can’t read or see Mel in action, you can read her inspirational advice in her book, Stop Saying You’re Fine.  The books gives practical, how-to advice on overcoming self-imposed obstacles and achieving success in life by understanding the neuroscience behind the inertia that holds people back from achieving their dreams.

Mel is as passionate about her kids as she is about her career. Her “can do” attitude extends to her parenting philosophy. “It’s important for kids to understand that in a family, it’s not a ‘momocracy,’ it’s a democracy,” she says. “Mom has a life, too. What I believe is healthy is for my kids to see a loving relationship between Chris and I first, then to see a loving relationship with myself.”

She describes her children as uniquely different. The oldest daughter Sawyer is “thoughtful, serious, and has the most infectious belly laugh that you will ever hear.” Kendall is “deeply curious, deeply emotional, and amazingly interesting.” Oakley, the youngest is “a typical boy – he bops all over the place. He’s a polite little kid,” she says.

With two entrepreneurs as parents, the Robbins household can get hectic, as the massive family calendar tacked on the wall shows. Mel and Chris have managed to keep their family close and cohesive by simplifying tasks like grocery shopping, delegating chores to the kids, and making time for family dinners, weekends away and time together.

“Chris and I both grew up in families that had family dinners. The majority of families only meet together two to three times per week. Having family dinner together is huge,” Mel says.

Mel and Chris hold a family meeting every Sunday night to go over their schedules and put the kid’s activities on the tack board. Even with the best organization, though, Mel says their parenting is “very fluid, it’s a mosaic of different things.”

“The second you set your schedule and you think that you’ve got things nailed, one of your kids no longer wants to do karate,” she laughs.

While some two-career families hire a nanny to help with the kids and household, Mel and Chris don’t. Instead, they tap into teens in the neighborhood for help. When she’s not on the road for Monster In-Laws, Mel broadcasts her radio show from her home office. “I do radio because it allows me to be there for my kids,” she says.

Mel hopes to continue in what she’s described as her life’s passionradio – while being able to be present for her kids.

“We want to make sure our kids are interested in other people, that they’re respectful, that they’re kind, and that they do their job, whatever that might be,” she says.

For Mel, her job is, “having real conversations,” a job that she describes as her life’s passion.

I’ve found what it is I want to do for the rest of my life,” she says. “Now all I need to do is show up and earn the privilege of doing it.

Take Twelve with Mel

Life Philosophy: “It Shall Be.” If you can figure out what you want and have the courage and the sheer will to feel scared, you will make anything happen in your life.

Favorite Family Pastime: Family dinner

Who inspires you: My husband, my mom, Howard Stern, J.K. Rowling, Judge Judy…  I’m inspired by anyone who has the gumption to go for what they want and keep pushing forward.

Wish for my kids: Happiness

What Monster In-Laws has taught me: That every human being wants to feel like they matter. If you’re being a pain with other family members, it’s because you’re in pain. We all need to hear why we’re important.

Favorite thing about being a mom: Experiencing the endless capacity for love. It just keeps expanding. It surprises and overwhelms me.

What drives me nuts: Myself. I drive myself bananas.

Current family obsession: Dancing. The kids love to stand on the mantle and put on dance parties.

Biggest parenting surprise: How it solidified incredible lifelong friendships. Friends are the family you choose. We have a very tight extended family here in Sherborn.

One sentence to describe me: How about one word?  Real.

Favorite Massachusetts activity: Going on a walk at Rocky Narrows with my family and the dogs.

Best part of my day: When the kids run off the bus.

About the Author

One Response to “Moms Rock: Mel Robbins”

  1. Great post Trish!

Leave a Reply