Well-meaning people give young moms a lot of advice. Some of it is helpful, but some of it just isn't.
Author Becky Baudouin wrote a book called Enjoy Every Minute and Other Ridiculous Things We Say to Moms to explore this advice, laugh at some of it and pull the nuggets of truth out of them.
Join us on A Life Designed as we talk about a couple of the main themes in the book - mom guilt and balance.
Learn more about Becky and read the first three chapters of her book for free at www.beckybaudouin.com. She can also be found on Facebook and Instagram.
If you need more inspiration for self-care in motherhood, you can download my Ultimate Guide to Guilt-Free Self-Care HERE! It’s a Guide to help you take care of yourself in mind, body and spirit so you can feel like your best self every day.
And join us in the Life Designed Community on Facebook!
Welcome to A Life Designed.
My name is Tina Haisman. I teach busy moms how to get everything done and still have time and energy for themselves. My passion is for helping women create more heart-to-heart connection with their husband and children so they can feel deeply fulfilled in those most important relationships.
The topic of today’s podcast is Overcoming Unhelpful Motherhood Advice.
But before we get started I want to let you know I have created a free download call the Ultimate Guide to Guilt-Free Self-Care. I’m really proud of this guide. It’s a Guide to help you take care of yourself in mind, body and spirit so you can feel like your best self every day. And that topic goes just perfectly with the theme our guest is here to talk about today! Visit my website tinahaisman.com to download it.
Also, I have a FREE private group on Facebook where you can come to get inspiration for your life. It’s called A Life Designed. It’s actually a happy place on Facebook. I hope you’ll join us!
Now let’s Dive IN and talk about Overcoming Unhelpful Motherhood Advice with Becky Baudouin.
Today, I am so excited to be joined by a guest. She is a good friend of mine. Her name is Becky Baudouin.
I’ve known Becky for about 5 years now. We are both in a Christian Women’s Speaking group. She is a very wise soul. And you’ll see why during our talk today.
Becky is a writer, speaker, and former columnist at Chicago’s Daily Herald.
She holds a degree in Practical Theology.
For more than a decade, she has writing compelling stories with transformative truths to encourage and equip women walking through the ups and downs of everyday life.
Becky describes herself as a friendly introvert and a homebody, and she says if you’re looking for her, she’s probably in the kitchen.
She and her husband, Bernie, have three daughters and call Chicago home.
So, let’s welcome her. Welcome Becky!
Thank you … So happy to be here.
Q: So, in addition to everything I just mentioned, you’ve written two books, Cancer, Faith and Unexpected Joy and Enjoy Every Minute and Other Ridiculous Things We Say to Moms. Today we are going to focus on Enjoy Every Minute. Why did you write that book?
As a mother I found myself receiving advice that was truly not helpful, even though I know it was well-intentioned. I wanted to examine some of the most common and well-intentioned parenting clichés to find the nuggets of truth in order to find the most helpful aspects of the advice and offer encouragement to mothers.
Q: One of the most popular pieces of advice you write about in the book is the advice often offered to mothers of young children is, “Enjoy every minute because the time goes so fast!” Why do you consider this to be impractical advice?
I don’t think the sentiment behind this advice is bad—it always comes from moms who are further along on the journey. They see younger moms with little kids and begin to reminisce about when their own kids were young. They miss those years, and looking back, the time does go fast. So, they feel compelled to tell the younger moms to enjoy every minute because before they know it, their kids will be heading to college. But I think the thing that is missing in all the reminiscing is really remembering. Remembering the hard moments. Remembering that the demands of motherhood can feel brutal. Remembering what it’s like to be sleep deprived, feel isolated, and stretched to your limits.
When moms used to give this advice to me, I’d think, “I know, I know . . . everyone keeps telling me to enjoy every moment, but seriously, some moments are awful. The best thing about them is that they are momentary and won’t last forever. I just need to move through them, go to bed, and wake up tomorrow knowing that it is a new day with new mercies, and I get to try this again.”
Q: Let’s talk about mom guilt. When you put out questions to your social media audience to get feedback for the book, what kind of response did you get?
When I asked moms on social media to tell me about their mom guilt, I thought I’d get a lot of comments and start a dialogue about this topic that affects every mom I know. But instead of comments and conversation, my inbox was flooded with private messages.
Many moms wanted to share, but they didn’t want to do it publicly. They didn’t want their names put out there. I discovered that lots of moms are feeling guilt over similar things—often things completely out of their control—and for many moms, the guilt over their perceived shortcomings has turned into deep-rooted shame and a pervasive sense of failure. The progression from guilt to shame is sneaky and nuanced. Guilt says, I should have done that better. Shame says, I should be better. Guilt says, I hurt my kids when I lost my temper. Shame says, My kids deserve better than to have a mom like me.
Q: We hear a lot about balance. Is balance in motherhood just a myth?
I think that finding and maintaining balance is a bit of an illusion because just when we think we have our babies on a sleep schedule or our preteens figured out, they start to cut a tooth or puberty comes knocking on their door. Just when we think we’ve got the consistent family dinner thing down, softball season begins and nutritious, organized meals go out the window. Just when we think we’ve nailed the college launch process, our second child leaves for college, and we are thrown into a pre- empty nest sort of crisis we weren’t expecting. Just when we think we’ve finally found some level of balance in our lives, a wave we didn’t see knocks us off our surfboard. Our kids get sick. Anxiety or depression sets in. Our car—or marriage—breaks down.
So how do we approach this craving we have for balance and order in light of the reality that our kids, our schedules, and life around us are constantly evolving? Because even in our diligence to create structure and order, life will happen. The first lessons our children teach us when we become mothers is that we are not in control, and we need to become flexible and adaptable. Perfect balance is unattainable, so let’s start with what we can control. We can intentionally make choices every day that align with our values. We can look at—and work to accept—our own limitations and our unique wirings, as well as those of our husbands and children. We can create margin in our lives for the unexpected and make wise choices about how we live out our days.
Q: How does God use our parenting mistakes for good in our lives and in the lives of our children?
This parenting journey is a transformative one, for us and for our kids. We don’t have to be perfect. We could never be perfect! In the book I tell the story of when my friend, Tricia, forgot to send her first grader to school with his blanket, stuffed animal, and favorite book for Super Reader Day. She felt horrible. Guilt plagued her. When her son, Jack, came out of school she was surprised to see that he seemed fine. She asked him about Super Reader Day, and he said he was really surprised and disappointed when he opened his backpack and didn’t find the special things he needed, so he went and asked the teacher what he should do. She helped him problem solve, he borrowed a book from her library, and he enjoyed the special day at school with his friends. His disappointment didn’t ruin his day. Tricia apologized and vowed to do better at writing things down, and Jack extended grace and grew through it.
God shapes us as he shapes our kids. He can use our mistakes to equip our children for times they will be disappointed by others. He uses our shortcomings to teach them how to forgive. As we model humility with our children, he teaches them how to be gracious and compassionate. He uses our mishaps and oversights to help them become flexible humans who are capable of problem solving. He uses our forgetfulness to remind our children that they don’t have to fall apart when things are not perfect, because he is their ever-present help.
In the terrible realization that we cannot be the perfect mothers we would like to be, there are some equally staggering, magnificent truths: He is everything we are not. He measures up where we fall short. His strength is made perfect in our weakness. Like brilliant stars spread across a night sky, his absolute perfection and faithfulness shine most brightly in contrast to our imperfections and flaws. As moms, we can lay down our heavy burdens of perfectionism and shame. Jesus is inviting us to pick up his light, made-for-us yoke—his freedom-filled provision of grace. We don’t have to keep striving. We can live freely and lightly. For the first time in a long time—maybe as long as we can remember—we can find real rest in him.
And as we walk this journey together, we encourage and support and remind one another of these truths. We were never meant to do this alone.
Thank you so much for joining us today. For inspiring us. And for showing us we are not alone in this journey of motherhood.
I would definitely recommend every mother read this book. I hope you will pick one up, girlfriends.
To learn more about Becky, you can find her on Facebook @Becky.Baudouin.Author.Speaker and Instagram @beckybaudouin.
Thank you to everyone! See you next week!