Encouragement for Moms
About the Guest
Being a young mom raises some tough questions. Sometimes don't you just wish you could just ask someone who has already been there? A group of young moms gets to do just that, peppering Barbara Rainey with their tough questions on parenting.
A group of young moms gets to ask Barbara Rainey their tough questions on parenting.
Encouragement for Moms
Bob: You’ve heard of the good cop/bad cop routine? Barbara Rainey remembers, early in her marriage, when it was good parent/bad parent.
Barbara: I remember Dennis would come home. It was like Jesus had walked in the door because the kids thought he hung the moon and he could do no wrong. He was there to play, and he was happy, and the fun one. I was the policeman/the drillmaster: “You’ve got to do your chores, and you’ve got to help,”—I just felt like I was a grump!
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Tuesday, April 14th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey—and is also, apparently, Jesus, according to his wife. I’m Bob Lepine. We will hear from Dennis Rainey about the parenting challenges. Stay tuned.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Tuesday edition. Did you know the kids thought you were Jesus?
Dennis: This is news to me. I’m glad we recorded this! We made—I need for you to get a clip of this and tape it back on my phone and play it for Barbara tonight!
Bob: But you were aware, even in those early years—that, when you came home at the end of the day—your wife was tired; right?
Dennis: Oh my goodness. I’ve got three points, here, at the beginning of the broadcast.
Bob: You’ve got points—
Dennis: Oh, baby.
Bob: We haven’t heard anything yet, and you’ve got points! [Laughter]
Dennis: I know, but they need to hear this—moms need to hear this—and dads and husbands need to hear this too. Number one—exhaustion is hereditary; okay? You get it from your mom, and you get it from your kids.
Dennis: Alright? Number two—you need encouragement. You’re about to get it from my wife Barbara, who you just heard some of what she experienced. Number three—I want to remind you that the assignment you’ve been given, as a mom, is one of the most important jobs God ever gives any human being on the planet—is being called, “Mommy.” I know it’s tough / I know it’s hard—
—you just listen to Barbara relive some of those moments. You’re going to hear more about that in a minute.
But I just want you to take heart in doing well because you really have been given one of the most noble jobs that God ever gives any human being on the planet.
Bob: Can I add a fourth point to your list—
Dennis: You may.
Bob: —of three?
Dennis: You may.
Bob: The one I would add is—that your success, as a mom—or as a dad, for that matter—is tied to how well you’re doing, as a husband and a wife, in your marriage relationship.
Bob: The strength of your marriage is a key factor in the lives of your children, as you raise them.
Dennis: And I’d add a fifth one off of that.
Bob: Oh, here we go.
Dennis: Yes, here we go. Number five—your relationship with Jesus Christ will fuel your marriage and your job and your role, as a parent.
Bob: Okay, you trumped me—I went to the marriage.
Bob: You went to Jesus. [Laughter]
Dennis: No, it wasn’t a matter of that. [Laughter] You really pointed out something very important. How can we have FamilyLife Today without pointing people back to, frankly, the Bible and the God of the Bible?—
—because He is the One who made you to be a mom/to be a dad—husband/wife—in the first place.
Bob: Well, here’s what got me thinking about the priority of marriage. Our team, this month, has really been praying about seeing tens of thousands of couples, this spring and this summer, go through our Art of Marriage® video event that we’ve designed as a Friday night/Saturday event for couples to go through.
In fact, they are so committed to wanting to see couples go through this material that they have decided to make the kit available—with the DVDs, and a pair of workbooks, and instructions on how to host this event—they are making that kit available for free to anyone who will agree to take ten couples through the material. You’ll get all the details when you go to FamilyLifeToday.com. Click the link at the top of the page that says, “GO DEEPER.” The information about The Art of Marriage is available right there—there is a link you can click—or call 1-800-FL-TODAY.
We’ll answer any questions you have. The offer for the free kit is good now through the end of April. So, take advantage of it by calling or going, online, to FamilyLifeToday.com. Plan to host one of these events in your community.
Now, what we are going to listen to today is a get-together that took place, a while back, as Barbara Rainey got together with some young moms. It was just a great time of Q&A as these moms just shared the challenges they were facing, and Barbara offered some counsel.
Dennis: This is the best of Barbara Rainey in a Q&A.
[Recorded Q&A Time with Barbara Rainey]
Lady: I have a son—and then the three girls—and he is not a passive person. He is very—says exactly what is on his mind. It’s wonderful because you always know where he stands, but how do you train the things that he says because they can be quite disrespectful and hurtful?
I don’t want to squelch his ability—
Lady: Right. I want to encourage that.
Lady: But some of the things that he says are not appropriate.
Barbara: Well, that’s a real training issue. You can make a list—whatever you think communicates with him—but you’ve got to let him know what’s acceptable and what’s not. It may be that he’s getting to the stage where—if he’s really crossing some significant lines—and I don’t know how significant the lines are that he is crossing—but that’s for you and your husband to decide, anyway, what your boundaries are. It may be that it is time for him to start getting Tabasco sauce, or washing his mouth out with soap, or something—
Audience member: Soap works really well.
Barbara: You’ve done that; yes—because, when they start crossing those lines, at seven—you’ve got to nip it in the bud and make a big issue of it, or it really can get bad.
Lady: Well, we’re doing that. Then, I tend to let my husband do it—then, when it’s done, he does it—but maybe, I don’t feel like it was maybe as effective as—
—or maybe, I’m not seeing enough resolve. So, then, you have the whole marriage issue to deal with.
Barbara: Well, it’s one of the difficulties of parenting because our personalities factor into it / our backgrounds—the way we were parented factor into it. Then, our individual goals of what we are trying to accomplish factor into it. I mean, it’s a very complicated process—it’s not simple.
One of the best things that we did is—we had our Sunday night date / our weekly date—and it was not a romantic date either. We would go to this one restaurant, and we would sit there. There were many times when we would spend the whole three hours—and we would never get up from the table—and we would talk about one kid for three hours because there were so many issues we were trying to deal with. We were trying so hard to get on top of issues with different kids, and some required so much more of us than others.
But it was really a life-saver for us to have that, even though we never really solved it, once and for all—
—because there was always another issue next Sunday night to deal with—but it gave us a time when we could really have uninterrupted time to talk about the kids, and to talk about what we needed to do, and try to figure out a plan. It gave us a time to hash out how we both felt about things when we didn’t agree—when we weren’t trying to do it in the middle of the incident with one of the kids.
It allowed us to get away and do it a little bit more objectively because you just can’t do it in the middle of things with your kids—you just can’t. They just pick up so easily if there is any division between the two of you—and boy, they are going—they are going to get in there and milk it. So, it was absolutely invaluable to get away on a regular basis.
And we didn’t make every Sunday night, but we made most of them because it was life or death, a lot of times, for me. I mean, I had to get out of the house; and I had to have his undivided attention. I usually had my list that I showed up with because I’d been keeping track of stuff all week: “We’ve got to talk about this. I’ve got to have help with this. I don’t know what I’m going to do. I’m about ready to go crazy.”
So, yes, I would highly recommend something on a regular basis that gets you away from the kids, where you can pull back and have some semblance of objectivity and make some kind of a plan—even if it’s not a great plan / even if it’s not a perfect plan—but make some kind of a plan to tackle whatever it is you are facing, whether it’s your son and his language or your four-year-old—I mean, whatever it is. Otherwise, you really will sink in the process because you just—there is too much to deal with.
Get away. Get it on the calendar. It doesn’t have to be Sunday night, but it can be Friday night. It can be Wednesday night. It doesn’t matter—just—
Lady: I’m thinking of how valuable that is—not just: “What should I being doing differently?” but “How are you going to step in and help me?” Sometimes, you need your husband to step in and give you a night off.
Barbara: Well, and one of the things that I realized too—very, very slowly in our marriage—is I always wanted Dennis to know what I needed, and to just be able to read me, and—
—well, I mean—duh! I mean, he’s a man; and—
Audience member: Write it on the wall.
Barbara: —he thinks like a man. I think like a woman, and we are never going to think like each other. It finally dawned on me—after many, many years of being frustrated—that he couldn’t read me the way I wanted him to read me. He wasn’t intuitive like I wanted him to be intuitive—that it was okay for me to tell him, and I needed to tell him.
So, if for no other reason, our Sunday night dates—getting out every Sunday night—if for no other reason, it let him hear what I was dealing with because it was pretty much a monologue. [Laughter] Yes. And I just would start in and just go through the list and just start—and he’d try to pull it together, and he’d try to help us come up with some direction which I needed. But a lot of it was that it was really good for him just to hear my struggle—and to hear the agony, and the pain, and the chaos that I was dealing with.
There’s a lot of benefit in getting away with your husband just so that he can hear you and so he can begin to enter into your world a little bit because he doesn’t know. He can’t be at the same level that you do.
Lady (2): Yes. Something that Ronnie did is—that he took over bedtime routine. He brushed their teeth, he did the jammies, and he read them books. That was such a blessing to me because that gave me time to retreat—I knew that was my time. I could go read / I could go take a bath.
Lady (2): And that got me through my days sometimes when they were so little. It was like, “If I can just—
Lady (2): —“hold out until then,” or “…have a plan.”
Barbara: Yes, exactly. You know, it doesn’t—it’s not going to be the same for every couple.
Lady (2): Right. That was something he was willing to do and that he enjoyed. Reading—that’s when he read the Bible to them or whatever. He still reads to them, and they love it—and he does too.
Barbara: Yes, we really need our husband’s help, but they need to know what they can do. Sometimes, we have to help them know what they can do.
Lady (3): I was just wondering if you had to address the issue of dealing with your own emotions, especially when you have young kids. I am amazed sometimes at how angry I can feel because of all the things happening at once—I forgot to eat breakfast, I didn’t get sleep, and the dog wants out. There is just a myriad of emotions that you are feeling. How do you deal with—I mean, it’s so on-the-spot—suddenly, you’re demanded to be on and to know what to do, in the midst of the chaos. I would love to hear—and I guess you are a bit more of a Golden Retriever, and you’re a bit more naturally steady. So, maybe, you have natural advice.
Barbara: Well, yes, I’m not so sure you’re reading me right! [Laughter] I do—I guess maybe I am in some ways; but, you know, raising kids really brought out the worst in me on many occasions.
Audience member: All of us.
Barbara: A lot of it was because of a lack of sleep. A lot of it was because I really didn’t know what I was doing. One of the things I realized, in those early years, is that I really didn’t know, half the time, what I was feeling. Dennis would say, “What are you feeling?” I would go: “I have no idea! I’m just stressed, and I’m frustrated. I couldn’t tell you the name of it if I tried.” It was such a combination of things, and I was overwhelmed. A lot of it really was fatigue—that I just didn’t have the physical/emotional capacity to be able to think it through. That’s really where you need your husband—just to be available to listen and maybe help you think it through—if you want to come to a place where you can name it. I mean, I knew when I was angry—I could name that one / it was all the other ones that I couldn’t name—because that one was pretty obvious.
It was part of my growing up too. I learned a lot by raising my kids, personally, myself. One of the things that I didn’t mention—let’s see, it was in the early ‘90’s.
I decided that I needed to get some counseling for my own benefit, just to grow personally and sort through some things. I really wish I had done it sooner, and it was one of the best things I ever did. A lot of all of those years, I was just processing who I was, as a person. I was trying to figure out: “Who am I? What do I really believe? What do I really want to do with my family? What do I want my kids to become when they grow up? What do we want to produce in their lives?”
Then, dealing with my emotions was a challenge because I didn’t know what I was feeling half the time; but I had to learn to do it because I wanted my kids to be able to name theirs. So, we were teaching our kids to say, “I’m angry,” when they were angry and to name “I’m sad,” when they were sad—you know, to name those things because I wanted them to grow up to be healthier than I was.
For them to do that, I had to be healthy; and I had to learn how to process my own emotions. So, it was a real journey—the parenting years—I learned a lot.
I learned a lot about myself. I learned a lot about my own depravity—which was good for me—because I was one of those kids that grew up not thinking that I had a whole lot of sin in my life. I knew it was true because the Bible said so. I did pretty well, on the outside—looked pretty good / kept the rules pretty well. So, I entered marriage and parenting not knowing, firsthand, about my sin. I knew it in my head, but I didn’t experience it. I experienced it, as a parent. You realize your depravity, which is a really healthy place to be—it’s a really good place to be because it can drive you to the Savior like nothing else.
If you recognize the depravity, and you move to Christ—and ask Him to do the healing, and the teaching, and the restoration in your life—then, you are in a much better place—but it’s hard / it’s a lot of hard work. So, you’ve got the hard work of parenting toddlers, and keeping up with all the physical demands and, then, you’ve got the things that God’s trying to work in your own life in the midst of it.
It’s a tall order—parenting is not an easy journey.
So, I don’t know that I really was able to answer your question clearly because I don’t know that there really is an answer as much as to say there is hope and that God is up to a lot of things in your life, and in your husband’s life, beyond what you’re trying to teach your kids. God’s trying to work in us.
Lady (3): That’s so helpful because I think some of the battle is Satan can tell you you’re the only person angry—
Barbara: Yes, exactly.
Lady (3): —all the other moms are in their houses, talking sweetly and lovingly—
Lady (3): —and serving up cookies, and loving every minute, and holy, and spiritual. No, see—and it’s like I don’t want people to think that because I want to be able to tell them—like you’re telling us—“I was angry.” Then, I think it’s great to be able to name—figure out what your emotion is because—and sitting down with your husband, once a week, to say: “Well, I don’t know. I spent a lot of the week angry, but I think I’m mostly just overwhelmed and sad because I just feel like a failure”; you know?
Lady (3): It’s like—yes: “And I feel like you’re not helping me enough,” or “I feel…”—whatever these things are—“Just process this with me.”
Lady (3): I think a lot of the anger ends up in the lap of your husband—
Lady (3): — or “I’m in this situation because of you. Every day, you go off and enjoy what you’re doing, and I’m miserable.” That isn’t true.
Barbara: Right, but it can feel that way. That’s why you’ve got to have him as a sounding board because—I remember Dennis would come home—and it was like Jesus had walked in the door because the kids thought he hung the moon and he could do no wrong. He was there to play, and he was happy and the fun one. I was the policeman/the drillmaster: “You’ve got to do your chores, and you’ve got to help,”—and I just felt like I was a grump, all the time! I loved it when he walked in the door because I was depleted/—
Barbara: —empty. The tank was banging “E.” So, I needed it when he walked in the door, but—
Lady (3): I do too.
Barbara: —I always felt a conflict of identity because the kids did see us so differently.
I hated that. I didn’t like being the bad guy, but I was a lot.
Lady: I can see the value of having an older woman to mentor you—who is a part of your life / can really minister to your soul—
Barbara: I agree.
Lady: —in a way that just really can encourage you, just to know that it’s okay if you get angry, and it is okay if you’re feeling depressed, or whatever. That can really allow you to get through.
Barbara: I agree; yes. If you can find someone who can be that in your life, then, go for it. Ask somebody or find somebody; and just say, “Can I call you when I need to?”
That’s my goal—is that I was thinking about it this afternoon—was what I’d like to do is just walk up, put my arm around each one of you and say: “It’s going to be okay. It’s going to be okay. You can make it. You can do it. It will be alright,” because there is something about a mom—that we are on duty 24/7.
Even, when we go to sleep at night, who wakes up if somebody cries? It’s the mom—it’s the wiring. It’s the way God’s made us, and it’s just the way it is. We’re that way.
So, even though he will listen and be sympathetic, he is not—he does not have that intuitive, sensitive connection to the kids that’s a 24/7-thing like we do. Another mom does—and so, that is the benefit of having someone that’s a friend or an older woman, like Elizabeth said—that you can call because your husband can understand, to a point, but only to a point. So, I—yes, I totally agree.
Bob: Well, we’ve been listening to Barbara Rainey interacting with some young moms in a recent Q&A session. I’ll tell you what it reminded me of, Dennis—I thought about the times when Mary Ann and I would get together with other couples. We would talk about some of the challenges we were facing, as parents—
—and just how we drove home from those times together, feeling like some of the weight had been removed from our shoulders. There is something about just being able to sit down and say, “Here is what we are going through,” and somebody else says: “I’ve been through it too, and you’ll get through it. It’s okay.” It lightens the burden.
Dennis: And all of us, I think, need older moms and dads in our lives, just to remind us of the truth that there are struggles and nobody does it perfectly.
I’m reminded of Proverbs 31, as I was listening to Barbara answer those questions and make comments: “Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her,
“’Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.’ Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but the woman who fears the Lord, she is to be praised.”
I think moms just need to hear that occasionally. I think they just need someone to say: “You know what? You’re doing a good job. You’re hanging in there. Don’t quit. You’re raising the next generation—morally, emotionally, spiritually. You’re building for a time you will not see—but a very important building—because, really, the future generation rests upon how you do, as a mom.”
Bob: I want you to be honest here. We are encouraging listeners, this month, to consider hosting one of our Art of Marriage video events—in their community, in their home, in their church—and doing it this spring or this summer. If you had come home, back when you had six kids at home, and said to Barbara: “Hey, I’ve got this great idea for this ministry opportunity we can do. We can get a free kit. We can host one of these Art of Marriage events.
“It’ll really help strengthen marriages in our community.” Would Barbara have said: “Great!—let’s do it”?
Dennis: Let me tell you something, Bob—we didn’t have the kit—we had the Weekend to Remember®. I would come home and say, “Hey, Sweetheart, we get to go speak at one of these events!” I’m telling you—there were times when she said, “You have got to be kidding me! We’ve got our hands full, here, raising this brood of six children, for goodness sake!”
I think—if we knew all the couples who had hosted The Art of Marriage—I think we’d find that a huge percentage of them were in the busiest season of a marriage and a family. It’s a time of raising your children, but it’s a time of demonstrating to your children—that you care about other marriages, that you care about the destiny of other families, and that you want to make a deposit in future generations. What better way to do it? I mean, yes, it’ll produce some stress; but it’ll also produce some eternal life- change.
Bob: Well, and as we said, we are giving away the kit to anyone who cares about marriage and wants to build into the lives and the marriages of people you know in your family, in your community, in your church.
Go to FamilyLifeToday.com. Click the link in the upper left-hand corner of the screen that says, “GO DEEPER.” You’ll see an icon there for The Art of Marriage. When you click that, you’ll see all the details about how you can get the DVDs, a couple of workbooks, and the starter guide for The Art of Marriage video event—all for free as long as you agree to take ten couples through the material. Again, it’s a free kit for anyone who will take ten couples through the material. Go to FamilyLifeToday.com and click the link that says, “GO DEEPER”; or call 1-800-FL-TODAY if you have any questions—1-800-358-6329. That’s 1-800- “F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then, the word, “TODAY.”
You know, our goal, here at FamilyLife, is to equip marriages and families.
We want to effectively develop godly marriages and families because we believe godly marriages and families can change the world, one home at a time. We appreciate those of you who agree with that mission—those of you who support the work we’re doing with your contributions. We could not do all that we do without your financial support. We want to say, “Thank you,” to those of you who have, in months past, made a donation to help support this ministry—a special “Thank you,” by the way, to our Legacy Partners—those of you who give faithfully each month.
If you would like to make a donation today, you can go to our website, FamilyLifeToday.com. Click the link in the upper right-hand corner of the screen that says, “I CARE,” and make an online donation. Or you can call 1-800-FL-TODAY. Make your donation over the phone.
When you make a donation today, we’d like to say, “Thank you,” by sending you your choice of either Ron Deal’s revised and updated book, The Smart Stepfamily, or Scott Stanley’s helpful book, which is called A Lasting Promise.
You can select your choice of either of those books as a thank-you gift when you make a donation today. And we want you to know how much we appreciate you for standing with us in this ministry.
And we hope you can join us back tomorrow when we are going to revisit an event that took place 20 years ago this week. It was a dark moment in our history. We’ll talk about the bombing of the Oklahoma City Federal Building, and introduce you to Chuck and Melissa Douglas tomorrow. Hope you can tune in for that.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, along with our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I’m Bob Lepine. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.
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