Spark Spiritual Awareness In Your Children
This podcast explores these questions:
- How do you make connections with your children?
- What do you tell your kids about the opposite sex?
- Are extra curricular activities important?
Learn to take the proper precautions for children with allergies and how this can bring them closer to God.
Learn how to teach your children the importance of prayer.
Communicating with a toddler is like being a hostage negotiator. Listen to moms discuss effective ways to talk to a toddler, “and learn what didn’t work.”
Mar: You’re listening to Faith & Family, a Christian-family community that aims to provide Christian advice and promote Christian values. I’m Mariel Gutierrez. Nothing can really prepare you for parenthood, not even a college degree. But you’re quickly gonna learn that it is exhausting. I’m a Tired Mom. I’ve been a tired mom for almost 10 years now and my husband and I can’t even say that we’ve mastered parenting at this point. And everything that we’ve learned has been through trial and error and lots and lots and LOTS of prayer, especially during those dreaded toddler years. Now, having a toddler is like being a hostage negotiator. I mean, their list of demands is never clear, even when they’re able to express it, they’re impossible, and they’re constantly protesting and they never listen. So, how exactly do you communicate with your toddler? We have a few other tired moms joining us today on this podcast to share their experiences. Bernie, you there girl?
Bernie: Yes ma’am I am. How are you? Thank you for having me here. I’m excited.
Mar: Jewel’s here too. Hey Jewel!
Jewel: Hey! I’m excited to talk about this.
Mar: Mhmm, so both of you have toddlers, correct?
Bernie & Jewel: Yes we do.
Mar: Bernie, tell me about your toddler, girl.
Bernie: My son, he is almost 4 just around the corner. Anybody who’s taken care of him knows he can wear you out. But for me, I guess what’s most challenging for my son is him toeing the line. He is at that age where he wants to see how far he could go before he goes into the serious trouble. He gives you the stare down and he gives you the stare down while you’re telling him multiple times like, “Don’t touch it! Don’t throw it! Don’t put it in your mouth!” And as you’re telling him that, he’s slowly doing it and he’s looking at you at he’s–
Mar: He’s maintaining that eye-contact huh?
Bernie: He’s like, “I’m gonna do this mom!” And he’s got the grin on his face like, “You know I’m gonna do this. I’m gonna commit.”
Mar: What’s your favorite thing about him though?
Bernie: My favorite thing about him is he is at that age where you see him growing into his own personality.
Mar: What about you Jewel? How’s your toddler?
Jewel: Well, I actually have 3 kids. I have an 8 year old daughter and I have a 6 year old son. And my toddler, he’s 3 years old. My thing with Hudson, my 3-year old, it’s not really annoying…he’s in this stage where he thinks he’s an avenger. This guy has absolutely no fear. He really believes he probably can fly because Ironman and all of those guys, they just jump and fly. So actually not too long ago, this is probably super bad parenting…On our staircase, he actually went on the outside of our staircase. Our staircase is about 17 steps high and I think he went on the 10th step and decided he was Ironman. He jumps off and oh my gosh, well I wasn’t there but all the kids were like, “MOMMMMMY!!” Hudson, he was crying but fortunately he didn’t break anything and you would’ve thought the kid would’ve learned so maybe for a couple of weeks, he didn’t do it. And so he’s at it again, you know? And I try to have fun with it, but you know what girls? There are just days where I’m like, “Ok you need to take that energy level from 20 down to 2 or something”.
Mar: There are days when bedtime is 6pm, right? [they all laugh]
Bernie: That’s the truth!
Mar: [joking] You’re like, “I don’t care it’s light outside. It’s summer. It’s really 8pm. Trust me.”
Jewel: And it’s funny because there are days when I’m just like, “Honey, seriously. Can you put the kid to sleep?”
Bernie: I know, you try to put him in the bathtub with that lavender, and half the bottle’s empty, cuz you’re like, “Imma make you go to sleep!”
Mar: And you’re there falling asleep while you’re scrubbing him (like), “Why are they like this??” Ok, so ‘Super Hudson, Adventure Hudson’. But what’s your most favorite thing about him?”
Bernie: He’s just in the stage where, when he see’s me, he’s always just super excited so of course, any mother loves that feeling. So I’m trying to hold on to this stage that he’s in right now. So I think he’s in that ‘in-between’ stage where he’s somewhat done with his Terrible Two’s. So he’s a little passed the Terrible Two’s stage, so he’s in this super energetic phase but it’s gonna be transitioning into that ‘testing phase’. So I’m kind-of cherishing this moment right now ‘cuz I’m still going through it with my 6-year old where it’s that testing and I’m screaming for him to listen to me.
Mar: So I’m somewhere there. I’m straddling in between those things. Because my kids, my daughter’s turning 10 and my son, he’s just passed the toddler’s stage. He’s 6. I was trying to describe this feeling to one of my single friends and she was asking me why I was thankful that the toddler years were done. And I was like, “I don’t know if I’m thankful that they’re done” because I miss it! Like…it was hard, oh my gosh. There was one time when my baby was born, the bigger one regressed a little ‘cause she wanted attention too obviously, right? So the baby poo’d all over the white couch so she decided, “I’ll go poo all over the white couch too!” And I remember that being the hardest toddler moment ever, you know? But even at that moment, if I could go back and tell slightly-younger-Mar, “Hey, don’t be so frustrated. You’re gonna laugh at this. I promise you. It’s gonna be fine.” But I remember that day. I was not telling myself that. I was crying.
Bernie: I think anything that has to do with poop, it’ll make you cry.
Mar: Poop equals tears.
Bernie: That equals tears. One time we were getting ready to go to bible study and we were running late and Jojo (her son) decides to…we were all dressed up and everything. As soon as we were leaving the door, he hands me his poop. He’s just like, “Mom, here.” I’m like, “Here! Give it to me! What is that?? What is this?” And I’m like, “Did you give him chocolate?” And I made the fatal mistake of smelling it and I realized it’s poop so…
Mar: At least you didn’t taste it!
Bernie: Right? Thank goodness he didn’t go to that level but still, I’m like, “It’s good. I’m holding poop in your hand and we’re just gonna be late to bible study…good times.” [laughter]
Mar: Alright, we’re gonna move forward here. We love our toddlers but tell me about a time where they just will absolutely not listen to you.
Bernie: Everyday is like that. They don’t listen, I think. But the one time when I have to really make sure he does listen is when we’re at church because we sit in the nursery but still…
Mar: But does he listen to you when you’re at church?
Bernie: [Sighs] Yes and no. There are times we have our good days where you just put the little iPad in front of him. I bring his ear phones and he’s set. And then there are times…and it depends on if there’s other kids there where he’s like, “Yo, my homies here so we’re about to get down with the get down and we’re gonna make some noise.”
Mar: Oh that’s right, he’s too young for CWS, right?
Bernie: At the end of the year, he’ll be CWS. But for now, he’s my little sidekick. And you know, you can’t yell at him at church. Sometimes you give him the quick, little tiny pinch but you don’t wanna do that either.
Jewel: I do!! [laughter]
Bernie: Girl!! I know you do! [more laughter]
Jewel: And you know what, Bernie? I do it with a straight face, I’m looking straight forward—
Bernie: Like, they don’t even know where it’s coming from, like it was a ninja pinch. A ninja pinch under the arm where you hope no one can see it…I have tried to…and this is always at church…I have tried to like, “I’m gonna kneel down and I’m gonna look you straight in the face.” I don’t yell ‘cause I did that one time and it’s just like, not good. I don’t want it where people see ‘Crazy Bernie’ at church but at the same time, it’s like, “This is my kid. If you have a problem how I parent, you can talk to me.” But at the same time, this is church and I try to teach him there’s a time and place for everything like, “When you’re at home, you can go bananas. But when you’re at church, maybe beforehand you can play around a little bit. But when we’re in church, you need to be quiet.” And so there are times I gotta really do the stern voice and look him in the eye because you can’t yell. And sometimes that works, and if that doesn’t work, I just revert to: “I’m telling on your dad!”
Mar: When you kneel down though, is that your way of leveling with him? Is that a strategy?
Bernie: I think so. Instead of me being overly…lemme just be on your level, lemme look at you in the eye, he’ll know. And then sometimes when he’s about to lose it, I’d have to grab his shoulders and (be like), “Son, we are at church.” But at the same time, they have to learn. This is how they learn about how far you can toe the line, because they’re gonna learn the look. They’re gonna learn the look with the pursed lips and you’re talking underneath it like, [mutters under her lips] “You better not even…you better stop.” So I try to do that. I try to look him in the eye and see and let him know how serious I am. This is serious. So they kinda know. So those are one of the things.
Mar: When they grow up though, they’re gonna master the 5 words, the 5 magic words: Wait ‘til we get home. [laughter]
Jewel: What’s funny though, is for us it’s like, when we get home, I’m too tired.
Bernie: It’s like, “Wait ‘til you get home!!” –
Mar: And like, “Wait ‘til tomorrow. Wait ‘til next week.”
Jewel: When you ask the question Mar, when your kids don’t listen to you, I think as parents, we just…it’s a lot of times they don’t listen to you and it really is because they haven’t really reached that stage where they can fully comprehend everything that they see. It’s like you have your toolbox like, “Ok, what is it today?” You know what I mean? You take out different tools. Like the other day for example, I tried to have Hudson go to Children’s Worship Service. I mean, he’s been attending children’s worship service for the last year and a half. And on Sunday, he just did not wanna go in. So then, I used my toolbox. My tool that I used that day was the ‘Option of 2’. “Ok so who do you wanna sit next to?” Cuz he was like, “I wanna sit next to you (kuya). I wanna sit next to you (ateh).” I’m like, “Oh no no no. So who do you wanna sit next to? To kuya or ateh?” So his brain is like, “Oh ok so I guess those are my only 2 options.” He’s like, “Ok I’ll sit next to kuya.” And so it was a very quick fix because sometimes, knowing our children, it really helps. There are days when he will listen, and there are days where you have to use different strategies like narrowing it down to two options and he doesn’t think that there are other options.
Bernie: I like that. I like the whole ‘toolbox’ thing. That’s the truth. You just gotta see, gotta figure out which ones gonna work for that day, for that particular situation.
Jewel: Even when they were babies, right? When they were babies, we were told, “You have to even figure out which cry it is. Is it the hungry cry? Is it the poop cry? Is it the ‘I’m sleepy’ cry?” So I guess in every stage, you have to play this guessing game but we have that maternal instinct of knowing what it is.
Mar: I agree with that. When my kids were young, I did try to level with them. I did the whole ‘looking into their eyes’ also. I did the ninja pinches. I did that. I did the ‘bringing them to the bathroom’. They hated that.
Bernie: You know what? When they get snatched up, that’s when you know you’re in trouble.
Mar: And the thing is, it came to the point where I would be like, “Do you need to go to the bathroom?” And they knew what that meant, you know what I mean? [laughter] It wasn’t because you were potty trained or anything like that. It was: [sternly] “Do you need to go to the bathroom?” That is precisely how I would ask it and they would be like, [scared] “No…” [laughter] For me, what worked was, every time that they would get in trouble, we would have to get ourselves out of the current situation. For instance, if they’re freaking out over something over here, I would remove them, bring them to a different room first of all. We would sit down in this different room, even if it’s just like in the bathroom. Not ‘bring them to the bathroom’ kind-of thing. But wherever it is, it’s a separate room. We have to remove ourselves from the situation. We sit down. And then I have to tell them, “Ok, I’m gonna have to punish you ‘cause you did this.” And this was more for the advanced ages of toddlers obviously. Baby toddlers are not gonna understand that. Baby toddler, what I had to do was hold their hands to make them understand like, “No. Stop hitting. I’m gonna hold your hands for a little bit, ok?” They would cry, they would twist, they would do that ‘melting’ thing. Oooooh! Help me, help me, help me! That was hard. And one of my other mom-friends, what she did was…it’s so funny. She’s on a different level. But she makes discipline fun. She would chant things like for instance, “We’re not gonna touch this socket”. When you say, “hey don’t touch that socket”, that’s not fun. But with her, it’s like [friendly], “We’re not gonna touch that socket! Yay! Let’s say it together! We’re not gonna touch that socket!” And then they’re all doing it together and they’re not touching the socket and I think, “Whatever works…”, you know what I’m saying?
Bernie: I like that, I may have to try that…kinda change the energy. She went from upset to switching it really quick.
Mar: Yeah! I think what she did was take away the negativity out of discipline.
Jewel: If we were to do the 80/20 rule, the 80% of the time, we’re actually very loving and then the 20% of the time, we’re ‘momsters’. But I do believe kids need to see that, that when you act up, cause and effect!
Bernie: Yes, yes yes.
Mar: We don’t wanna yell.
Mar: You balance it out with love.
Jewel: Yes. Lots and lots and lots of love.
Mar: And I agree with that. I too, am a yeller.
Bernie: Who isn’t?
Mar: I’m a momster. It’s true. But you’re right though, it is cause and effect and I tell them that all the time. They’re older kids now and I’m able to say, “You know what? You think I enjoy yelling at you guys? I’m tired. Why would I want to?” But yeah, it’s definitely about balance, right? Ok so now, we’re fully engulfed into motherhood. What do we pray for in regards to being a mom? Do we pray for that aspect of our lives?
Jewel: Definitely. For me, not just myself but even my husband, we pray to have the patience. Lots and lots of patience. And really, the qualities that we need to be good examples for our children. And it’s important for us to teach our children that they hear those things. It’s funny, I have to say that my kids when I’m stressed…cuz sometimes I say, “You guys are stressing me out.” And so they’re like, “Mommy, I wanna pray.” And actually, my kids say in their prayers, “Dear God, please help my mom not to be so stressed.” [laughter]
Bernie: And that’s great! Because we know that no matter what happens or whatever it is, they know they’re gonna turn to God first. That’s the one important thing.
Mar: Even for when mom is going crazy.
Bernie: “Dear God, please help my mom not be crazy.” [laughter]
Mar: Yes! Valid prayer.
Jewel: And you know what? You’re so right Bernie ‘cause I think it’s the funniest thing, but I totally believe in what you just said, that it makes me happy to know: good and bad things, you run to God for everything.
Bernie: Right! You hope they carry that forever. Even with my son, before, we used to tell him, “Ok did you pray for your food?” The majority of the time, I’m putting his plate down and I turn around to get a drink or whatever. And I already hear him like, “Dear God, please bless my food. I love you God. Amen.” And just to know that you know to pray.
Jewel & Mar: Yes, yes.
Mar: What about specifically as a mother, is there something that you pray for Bernie?
Bernie: I think that aside from patience, I think it’s really, “God give me the knowledge and wisdom to understand when my son is going through those things because I don’t always wanna yell at him. I don’t always wanna be like, ‘Do you want palo (spanking) or do you want pinch?’ Give me the understanding, the open heart to be able to see and feel what my son is going through so I just don’t revert to just yelling.”
Mar: There was a moment when my daughter was a toddler. She was 3 when I had my son. And I believe that I had suffered a little bit of post-partum depression. And there were a lot of times, of course, aside from the regular stresses…for me, what it felt like was I was constantly not doing enough. There was a moment where I had gotten mad at my toddler and I know it wasn’t her fault and then I started crying because I was like, “Oh my god, I’m a monster.” And that was the first time I apologized to her and I really wanted her to understand. I wanted her to know I did wrong. It was my mistake. It’s not you. Because I was so worried like, “Oh my gosh. I broke her. I’m gonna break my toddler, she’s gonna grow up, she’s gonna hate me, she’s gonna do this this this.” And I was freaking out.
Bernie: You’re not the only one, girl. I’ve done that to my son where I’ve lost it. Like why? And then I find myself crying because it’s like, “I’m horrible!”
Mar: Right! And the thing is, I feel like motherhood is this constant…it’s like you give give give, you love love love but you’re so guilty all the time, right? But at that point, I realized I kind-of switched gears in my prayers and I said, “God, I am not the mom that these kids deserve.” I’m even getting emotional now! [gets emotional] But um, ‘Cause it’s hard, you know?
Bernie: Very hard! And you know what? It’s ok to cry, especially the new moms too. You know, how you have your baby, you’re losing sleep and all that…To the moms out there that are listening to this, that when you feel you’re at your wits end and you’re tired, your hair’s a mess, you don’t know what a manicure and a pedicure is like anymore, you feel guilty ‘cause you went to Target and you bought a shirt that was on clearance instead of tryin’ to buy something…It’s ok! Being a mom is not easy, it’s hard work! And when you see another mom, especially those new moms, give them a hug. Sometimes when I see some of these new moms, “Girl imma just give you a hug ‘cause I know that look of ‘you haven’t slept in a day’” The only snacks you’ve had was their (the baby’s) food, the melting cereals, the poop under your fingernails, I mean c’mon…
Jewel: No and you’re right it’s totally….and one of those things that we worry about is, “Oh my gosh. All of these people are watching.” But you know what? Don’t even worry about it because most people have been through that so they totally understand. So you don’t have to feel bad or anything like that. And I love Bernie how you said that it totally is ok. But always remember you are doing the best that you can and your kids will love you. We really are amazing moms, we do nothing but everything for our kids.
Mar: That’s perfect. I think those are great words of wisdom for all of our moms listening out there. All you moms out there? We’re here for you. The moms that work, stay at home, commute, make dinner, go to school, you’re all appreciated, we all virtually hug you. And for those moms that are still going through the toddler phases, just remember they have a limited vocabulary, even though they’re yelling in your face, they don’t understand everything that we say and we can’t expect them either to understand everything that we’re saying but in the end, I think that it’s pretty unanimous that prayer works, right?
Jewel & Bernie: Yes.
Mar: Yes, prayer works. So hold on tight during those toddler years, pray hard. We’re gonna be praying with you. Thank you so much Jewel and Bernie for being with us on today’s Faith & Family podcast.
Jewel: Thank you.
Bernie: Thank you for having me, thank you for having us. And for all the moms out there, Sis Jewel and I are out here to give you a hug if you need it.
Mar: Alright, so aside from finding us on incmedia.org, you can catch these podcasts on iTunes and Google Play. We’ll catch you guys next time on Faith & Family.
Do our children not show kindness or gratitude? Are we not fostering these qualities at home? Listen to moms on fostering kindness and gratitude.
There are terrible things all over the news. Our children may come to us with questions, are we prepared? Listen to moms discuss concerns of their children.
Is technology teaching our children to become lazy? Listen to how moms teach their children to produce information rather than consume useless information.
Butterflies and romance are not the only things you will experience in marriage. There’s miscommunication, financial crisis, and arguments. Listen to real wives discuss how they handled the bumps and bruises of marriage.
Mariel: You’re listening to Faith & Family, a Christian-family community that aims to provide Christian advice and promote Christian values. I’m Mariel Gutierrez.
When we walk down the aisle, we have our hopes and new lives just along the horizon: the man of our dreams, the kids we’ll have, the house we’ll own, the places we’ll travel. But if you have known, if you HAD known about the heartbreak and the trials that would come along the way, would you have run away instead?
Today we’re talking about marriage, moms with wife hats on. How do we tackle the hard times? With me today is Jewel Buenavista, Emirick Haro and Bernie Rosquites. Hello mamas! How’s everyone today?
Jewel, Em, Bernie: Hi! Hello! Good, I’m a tired mom. Haha!
Mariel: We’re talking about marriage. Alright, who here’s married?[laughter]
Mariel: Just kidding. So when we went into it, I know that some of us were younger, we were all at different ages when we went into marriage. So what were your preconceived notions about marriage vs. what like it actually is? [laughter] I guess Bernie’s gonna go first.
Bernie: I think that you come into it, and you think everything’s gonna be…just because you’re this happy couple that, as long as we’re happy and we love each other, that love is enough.
Em: I kinda walked into it thinking it was just gonna be like the dating period. It was just gonna be prolonged dating, but even better ‘cause we were gonna live together!
Bernie: It wasn’t? Haha…
Em: Oh yes, it was. He’s still downstairs so…[laughter]
Jewel: For me, it was…I’ve always believed in fairy tales so it was…growing up, you watch all these fairytales…
Bernie: Massages every day! [laughs]
Jewel: …always having butterflies when you’re looking at your husband, you know from a distance…and so, that’s how I’ve envisioned marriage.
Mariel: But what is the reality?
Jewel: It IS like that![laughter]
Mariel: Is he in the room too?? [everyone laughs]
Jewel: [jokingly] Why are you laughing?
Mariel: I’m sure we’ve had great courtships, it was fun. And then, all of a sudden, marriage. Bam. So it’s a lot of hard work.
Em: I’m not gonna lie, it was hard after the “I dos”.
Mariel: Yeah, right? Almost instantly too!
Em: Yeah, it was like…what happened??
Bernie: Yeah like, looking at your spouse like, “Who are you? And why didn’t I get the memo about you?” “What is happening right now ‘cause you weren’t acting like that when we were dating?”
Jewel: What I did wanna say was, “What is reality?” I remember people would always say…like people you look up to, that you admire their marriages…one of the advice they would always tell me was, “Marry somebody who you’d be compatible, like your best, like your companions, great companions type-of-thing.” Now, I really know what that is because it’s… it’s the whole giddiness and all of that in the beginning where it’s like, “Oh I can’t wait to see you!” you know, all of that DOES go away, especially when you start having children…
Mariel: But it’s not necessarily bad, right? It’s replaced with something else.
Jewel: No, it’s not. What I love, when I think of Harmony (Jewel’s husband), I mean, we’ve had our challenges, but really because we were able to overcome them with God’s help, it’s like when I see him, I always tell him, “You’re like my comfort.” When I see him, I feel comfort, you know?
Mariel: Yeah. You feel safe?
Jewel: Yes, I do. I feel safe, I feel like my best friend is here and is gonna protect me. We’re gonna do this together.
Mariel: It’s so funny because, I did the same thing! Someone told me when I had just gotten married, “Wait ‘til you’re best friends.” And I got so offended. Cuz I was like, “No! I don’t wanna be best friends. We’re gonna be romantic and in love forever!”[laughter]
Mariel: But, you’re right though. It’s like, definitely. You see him and you’re like, “I’m safe” right?
Bernie: Yeah, that’s how I see Jerry.
Mariel: Was there ever a time when both of you, you and your husband, had to really REALLY put an effort into the marriage? Was there a bump in the road that you had to work through?
Bernie: Many! Many, many many.
Mariel: Describe one. We just want one, and how’d you get through it?
Bernie: It happened kinda twice. There was one when we were almost in our 10 year mark, maybe around 8 years where we just got comfortable. We just got really comfortable with each other and when we went through our frustrations…and not necessarily with each other but we were just going through these individual frustrations but we didn’t go to each other and check in and like, “How are you doing?” you know. Then, the second time it happened was when our son came along. All of a sudden, like we all know, you throw kids into the picture, mortgage and just the daily things of…it becomes routine that you always think that, “ The kids are first. The kids are first.” And that’s fine and we were having our family time but we weren’t having our US time. And you know sometimes, I just need a hug, you know what I mean? Just like our kids. Sometimes I just need you to hold my hand, kiss me on my forehead, tell me everything’s gonna be ok, even when it’s really not. But that portion of our relationship, we really had to work hard because there came a time, we were bumping heads and it got ugly to the point where I was like, “I don’t even know what’s going on between us. I don’t even know who you are. I don’t know who I am when I’m with you, and vice-versa.” Where we had to really like, pray. So…prayer is good! Thank God we have God to run to on those times.
Mariel: Well, when you’re in a position where you can still stop and talk about it, you know, that’s always good, right? When you get complacent and you’re just like, “Whatever!”, that’s the worst.
Bernie: I mean, I found myself being complacent and that’s when you don’t even…for my husband, when he was letting things out, I’d be like, “Ok, do you feel better?” And then really, that’s not the way to do it. I realized that saying nothing is worse than saying something. At least say something. Whatever it is, say something so he knows that I’m listening and that I’m aware of what he’s going through. And I had to learn that. And there was a part of me where I felt like, “Do you feel better? Ok fine. Are you done?” And that was wrong! That was so wrong because we all go through our emotional issues and sometimes we may not have the solution to whatever their problem is but sometimes, I think they just need someone to say, “It’s ok” or “I support you. We’re gonna get through this together.” ‘Cause sometimes, that’s all you need to hear sometimes.
Em: I complete agree with you that you have to talk it out. The cliché saying is communication is key. But it’s so true! If you do keep it bottled in, you don’t make progress. Nothing happens if you keep it all bottled up inside. You do have to communicate. You have to talk about it, you have to…even though you think it’s dumb to share this feeling, just share it! Just share it and work it through and I agree with you that talking helped us a lot; saved us.
Mariel: And you mentioned prayer, too.
Jewel: Communication and prayer’s key. When you say marriage takes hard work, when Harmony and I first dated, I know myself. I already knew myself that I will admin, “I’m not high maintenance materially but I will admit that I am high maintenance emotionally.” And like, he jokes around today like, “What does that mean?” Now he KNOWS what that means.
Mariel: He’s like, “I would have rather bought you the bags, dear.”[laughter]
[continuing to joke] “Can I just buy you some shoes?” And everything would be ok.
Jewel: But I do wanna say, when it comes to communication, I really do believe that. I wanna share a story that, when we got married, again, we were a little bit older so we kind-of knew what we wanted, we kind-of knew ourselves already. So our first year was, “Oh my gosh!” I was always excited to see him. When we woke up, and when he was leaving, I was sad. And I was so excited when he came home from work. It was all excitement, you know? And then, I got pregnant. And then, when I gave birth, I felt a physical change in me. I felt like there’s moments when, I have to admit, I wasn’t as excited to see him when he came home. As a matter of fact, I was like, “Here’s the baby!” I was just so filled with…I was just tense and all of this. And I remember a month after birth, I was laying there by myself in the room and I was crying. And the reason why that I was really sad is I was sad at the fact that I was not excited to see him when he came home the way I was before. And I knew things were changing. But I didn’t want to keep that to myself so when he came home that day, I wanted to talk to him. So he’s like, “Why, what’s wrong sweetheart?”
Mariel: He’s like, “Oh no…..” I’m just kidding. [laughs]
Jewel: But here’s the way I said it. As painful as it may sound, I was open and I said, “I don’t know what it is that I’m going through. It makes me sad to think…” See, I’m getting teary-eyed right now! [continues story] “It makes me sad to think that for some reason, I’m not as excited to see you when you come home. And I don’t know what this is. Whatever this is I’m going through, I don’t know what it is!”
Mariel: What was his reaction to you saying that to him?
Jewel: And that was the thing! He basically said, “Well, I don’t know what it is but we’ll go through it together.” And that’s how I feel, that’s why I really believe in communication regardless if it’s a good thing or a bad thing. Cuz there’s a lot of ‘first things’ that we experience as a married couple, right? And so one side is, “I don’t know what this is! I don’t know what these feelings are! I don’t know why I’m experiencing this! But I wanna communicate it to you that I’m not doing it on purpose, you know?”
Bernie: Riiiiight, well that’s good!
Mariel: And it’s scary to think if you’re the only one feeling it, you know?
Jewel: Yesss! And that’s what it is, Mar. The fact that he was…I’m sure that it was very painful for him to hear that I wasn’t excited to see him when he came home. But I did communicate, “I’m not intentionally doing that on purpose to hurt you. That’s why I’m trying to figure out why I’m feeling this way.” And so, obviously it’s all the hormones, all of the post-partum whatever-it-is.
Bernie: Yeah, you just had a human come out of you!
Jewel: And I love….it made me closer to him to know that I wasn’t going through it alone, that he was much more understanding when…
Mariel: You know what, too? He could’ve made that all about him, right? And he didn’t!
Bernie: Yeah! It coulda went sideways, and it could’ve ended.
Jewel: And so, a lot of bumps in our road, in our marriage is similar to that story where either one of us is experiencing something for the first time. But the important part is that we communicate it right away so that we both are experiencing it together. At least it’s not like, “What in the world is going on with you?!” You know what I mean? “And so are you doing that on purpose just to make me angry or what?” So we both have learned that through communication, it’s not something we’re intentionally doing. It’s something that….especially me. I guess because of the physical changes that happens in your body as a woman when you give birth, all these hormones, not that we’re giving excuses but it really does change you. And so it’s important to communicate that.
Mariel: And what’s beautiful about you both is that there’s no judgment. Like, “I’m gonna say something that may be painful but it’s not because I wanna hurt you. I just wanna make sure that you know how I feel and maybe you can help me.” And what’s funny is that when you’re married, you’re like, “This is the person I choose” but except that person changes, and you change too. And what’s funny about that too is that every time I would have a kid, I would panic. And I’d be like, “Oh my gosh. Who am I? Who am I gonna be to offer…like, what am I gonna offer this child?” Because I was so young, I didn’t get to finish college the first time I went. And so I was in my 2nd year I think and I was like, “Oh, I’m gonna get married!” And so I got married. And then I had a baby two years after that and I was like, “I gotta go back to school.” So I did that. I went back to school after my daughter was born. She’s 10 now. And then after that, I went to school, went to work. And then you know, work, school, and then baby was just too much! So I had to stop. And I was a deaconess too at the time.
Bernie: Oh my goodness!
Mariel: So, I had to get rid of one, and obviously you can’t get rid of the baby or your work so I was like, “I’m gonna stop school for a bit.” So that was on hold. And then I got laid off and then I had another baby. And then the same feelings came up again. It was like, “Ah man! If I’d have finished school, I woulda had my degree, I coulda done this this this.” And I panicked again. And so I went back to school and I thought to myself, “For this time it’s gonna be real. Choose what you wanna do. See it through.” I had to stop because I ran out of money to go to school. And for a while, I was on forbearance because I wasn’t making any money. I was unemployed. And I had a lot of money to pay back. And so I had to go back to work, and me going back to work means daycare for my kids.
Bernie: Sure, that’s another expense added too.
Em: And emotional toll too.
Mariel: Emotional toll, yes. That’s another one that was really hard for me to deal with. I think for me, maybe what had made it the hardest is because we were so busy juggling everything, we forgot to pray about it.
Bernie: Mmmhmm!! And that’s easy to do!
Em: Yeah like, you don’t need to. You just kinda fall asleep like, wherever.
Mariel: And so how we got through it….recently, we sat down, like you guys said; communication. But I think we both admitted that we had forgotten about God. We forgot to just be like, “Hey God, we’re having a hard time.” Because initially, when I was having a hard time with the loans, I was like, “God help me find a solution”, He gave me a job, which is great. But then after that, that’s when it slipped.
Bernie: Cuz you’re thinking, “I got a job. Ok, we’re gonna start paying. All is copacetic!”
Mariel: It’s like, alright. So we’re able to pay things off. We’re living ok now. We can now, like when we go to Target and the kids want random snacks, we can say yes.
Jewel: You know what? Finances I think is…I think every marriage goes through some finance….that’s one of the biggest challenges; finances, the first year of marriage. Cuz I’ve been in real estate. And when the real estate crashed, it was a very very tough time. I’m glad it happened because it really brought us closer as a couple because what brought us closer was prayer. We literally ran to God and just, “What do we do?” And I loved how Harmony just really took over and got stronger in leading the two of us in prayer. And that’s where I feel like…that’s why finances, I’ve learned that every couple will go through financial craziness but somehow, one way or another, God will always provide. When you look back in your life, God always provides as long as you reach out to Him first.
Bernie: We just had a (worship service) lesson about that too! I think it was a weekend where it was like, the minister was saying, it was actually Bro. Bob Pelien, and the lesson was incredible. One of the things that really stuck to me was…you know, you’re gonna go through stuff. And that’s just part of life. But if you can look back and see what you went through knowing that you went to God…I mean, if you put Him first, then guaranteed God will give you what you’re asking for, what you need or what He feels that you need. But if you just put all that trust…and that’s what Jerry and I learned is that sometimes, you gotta let go. You just need to do your part for God and then the rest…of course you’re gonna pray and you have to do your part to help whatever it is you’re going through. But at the end of the day, thank goodness we have our faith because we can either have our devotional prayer at home or we have our devotional prayer at Church, but thank God, at the end of the day, no matter what it is that we go through, we have our God to cry to, to open our hearts to. And I think when Jerry and I were going through our things, I had to switch up my prayer a little bit because at first, I was thinking, “Lord, please help him with whatever he’s going through.” But, what I had to say, what I learned to say was, “God please help us both. Help me have an open heart and an open mind and be able to see and feel what he’s going through and at the same time, help him also make sure that he’s going to You individually. Help us both as a couple.” And that saying, let Him take the wheel.
Em: I think you nailed it right there. My prayers used to be specific about exactly what I wanted, like, “I want this, I want that.” But ever since…as you grow up and you become more mature, it really is just…I just ask God to give me the right heart, the right mindset you know?
Jewel: Yes, that is precisely it.
Em: It’s like, “Whatever it is, it is. Whatever I have to go through, I have to go through. But just give me the right heart. Shape me to see things the right way and to have the right attitude, to have the right responses when things happen.”
Jewel: The thing is, the beauty about being in the Church is divorce is not an option.
Bernie: You gotta work it out!
Jewel: So that’s why you have to, since it’s not an option, there’d be times where it would feel good to just say, “Forget it!” That’s not an option. So you think, “Ok can I do to change myself or vice-versa so that we can make this work.”
Bernie: And that’s where the word ‘WORK’ comes in.
Jewel: Because it is a conscious effort but ladies, yes it’s hard work but I would not have it any other way. I LOVE being married. I love that I do have my partner. I really do feel like we’re in it together. There’s way more laughters than there are tears of sadness. There are more…I mean, we’re always laughing. And just sharing our faith and us going through this journey raising our kids together, watching them together, there’s so much of joy of marriage that the bumps in the road, yes we’re talking about it, but it’s the fact that we…all of the positive stuff of marriage is what helps you get through the hard part.
Em: I think you’re right, you’re absolutely right. And I love seeing my husband as a father. It’s one of the most beautiful things that I have in my life that we share together. And it’s like you said, we still really enjoy each other’s company. He’s my best friend and we laugh together and I can’t picture without him. And even though it’s hard and it has it’s bumps and it’s bruises, but I feel like God puts that there to help you grow as a person, to make you stronger. It makes or breaks you.
Bernie: Gold gets tested! Gold gets tested, it’s in the Bible.
Em: I know. I know the purpose of this is to share with our audience that when you are going through those hard times in marriage, it’s real! Everyone goes through them I think. But then, we’re hoping to illustrate that you can get through it! You don’t have to give up. You don’t have to throw in the towel. There’s still so much beauty about marriage out there. So you gotta keep working on it and you gotta factor in God and I think you’ll get through it and you’ll be better for it in the end.
Mariel: I think that that pretty much sums it up perfectly. Marriage is demanding, right? Ready or not, that’s what it is. And sometimes, we’re ready for the situation that life throws at us, and then there are times that we are pushed to the limits. But as we learned today, just like between us, as long as we put God at the center. That’s not just something that is said in worship service, but when we actually put that into practice and action, we get through things.
So moms listening, whatever trial you’re going through, remember: this too, shall pass. Right ladies?
Em, Jewel, Bernie: That’s right. Yes. It will.
Mariel: We’re here for you. We understand you.
Bernie: Thank you, this was an awesome show to be on.
Mariel: Well, we’ll talk again next time. We hope you guys come back here on Faith & Family.
When you’re married with kids, romance isn’t about flowers and candy anymore, it’s about taking out the trash and sitting on the couch together. But is this enough? Listen to moms and wives talk about the effort they put into their love lives.
MARIEL GUITERREZ, HOST: You’re listening to faith and family, a Christian family community that aims to provide Christian advice and promote Christian values. I’m Mariel Guiterrez. Coming up at almost 12 years of marriage, the structure of our date nights have changed to say the least. My husband and I are all about that Netflix and Chill but heavy on the Chill so it’s so chill that when we have any spare minute we usually choose sleep over food or going out. But we’re so tired. We’ve got jobs. We got a pet, we’ve got kids. Is this romantic? Aft¬¬¬er kids, is dating even necessary? These are the things we’re talking about today on Tired Moms a faith and family podcast. And here to weigh-in is our favorites, Bernie, Emrick, and Jewel. Hey, Moms!
EVERYONE: Hey, Hi, Hello!
MARIEL GUITERREZ, HOST: Ok, ok, so quick question before anything. Ready?
BERNIE: Go ahead.
MARIEL GUITERREZ, HOST: Most romantic date you’ve ever been on with your spouse… Go.
BERNIE: We were at Walmart and we held hands.
EVERYONE: Oh my gosh, so sweet. So romantic. Boom. Did you post about it?
MARIEL GUITERREZ, HOST: Oh my gosh, filters on filters.
EMRICK: I’m trying to search in my brain the last most romantic date and I would have to say we go on frequent date nights, little pockets of hanging out here and there, but…
MARIEL GUITERREZ, HOST: Oh, your anniversary just came by too, right? Happy Anniversary!
EMRICK: Oh thank you. Oh yeah, that wasn’t too romantic.
JEWEL: I think that’s why we’re struggling. When you say GO. It’s like oh my gosh,…
MARIEL GUITERREZ, HOST: I didn’t have an answer. I had to text my husband.
BERNIE: Have you got an answer yet?
MARIEL GUITERREZ, HOST: I did, after twenty minutes, he texted me back and he was like … I think for me there was one anniversary, a random one, I don’t know what it was, six, seven, and we just went to the Drive-In Movies and we bought five large fries from Five Guys and you know those fries are huge. And we just kind of like sprawled it at the back of the car and ate. But that to me was fun because I like food. But he texted me and I was like what do you think was our most romantic date ever, in your opinion and he said getting lost in Saint-Denis, Paris. And I have to tell you, Saint-Denis is an unsavory place, that’s a place where you ex in the Mac and say hey don’t go there. But we ended up there because we got off on a wrong stop and he said it was getting lost in Saint-Denis, Paris because we had to stick together to survive.
JEWEL: When you really want me to think about romantic dates, before kids, all out, everything is full on massage, the whole nine yards.
BERNIE: We’re going there people, we’re goin’ there.
JEWEL: But you’re right, with kids now, it’s like to me, that peaceful moment where it’s just you and your husband…
EMRICK: Even just hanging out downstairs when everyone else is asleep.
EVERYONE: That’s true.
MARIEL GUITERREZ, HOST: Well with that said, do you guys ever feel like you have to chose between who you give your attention to? Like your kids or your husband?
BERNIE: When I was pregnant, women would come up to me saying you better know how to divide your time because your husband is gonna get jealous and he’s gonna get needy and blah blah blah and so after when we had the baby, it was almost a year old, I was asking my husband, I know I don’t look the same as I used to prior to this baby, but do you feel a little neglect or tell me how you’re feeling? And he was just like, “I’m totally cool.” And I don’t know if he was just saying that on my behalf not to let me worry but I think because we had our child later in life, we were without kids for ten years and so those ten years, we were just all about each other. We didn’t know it was gonna take us long to conceive so by the time our boy came, it was like this miracle that happened so…
MARIEL GUITERREZ, HOST: So you both kind of understood—
BERNIE: …we understood this is what it is. This is what we prayed for. This is why we went to church every day and kneeled and prayed and this is God’s gift so God gave us our time to be crazy and go out on crazy dates, romantic, all that, but now it took us very long to have this boy. It’s just all about this boy, so I mean I check on him even now. Are you cool? Are we cool?
JEWEL: It’s your maternal instinct to really cater to your kids and then there are many times that harmony would feel like not that he felt neglected, but I don’t think he understood why. Like if he was asking for any attention from me, it would annoy me. Cause it’s like, seriously? I’m devoted to these kids, blah, blah, blah. But one thing I realized was, and we had a very great heart to heart talk. I realized in the last five years, I was pregnant, I gave birth. My kids are not that far apart from each other. And I was pregnant, I gave birth, I was pregnant, I gave birth, so my body, my hormones were just all over.
BERNIE: Oh, I can imagine.
JEWEL: And there’s this time where I realized, oh my gosh, and I told him. I said I don’t know why you still love me the way you do. ‘cause I would not love me the way you love me if I was dealing with me. My husband is my husband still. I’m a mother, I’m a wife, I still have to be a wife. So it’s a conscious effort that I cant use the kids as an excuse, oh, the kids, the kids, ‘cause my excuse for a few years. Now I tell the kids, kids, we’re going on date night. Sorry.
BERNIE: You stay home with grandma.
JEWEL: Right? Seriously. Jasmine might be like mommy, I don’t…. Girl, I’m sorry. We’re going on a date night.
MARIEL GUITERREZ, HOST: Good for you.
JEWEL: So now the kids are like “are you guys getting a message again?”
EMRICK: Good thing you guys get massages.
MARIEL GUITERREZ, HOST: What does romance evolve into after awhile? Is it still even necessary?
EMRICK: It is 100% necessary
BERNIE: It evolves into something different. I mean I’ve talked to moms where they’re like,”you know what girl, he took out the garbage, put the kids to bed, gave them the bath. I got to watch an hour of TV and read my favorite book. I love my man.” And to that mother, that was romantic. He took care of everything. I mean she seriously said, “girl, he took the garbage out, he put it in the right recycling bin.”
EMRICK: That’s big. If he puts the plastic liner after he took the trash out, you’re so romantic.
BERNIE: When we’re… just my son, he’s doing his own thing, he’s playing and my husband and I are sitting next to each other on the couch and he puts his arm around me and I’m cool. I feel like I’m on top of the world, so I think that it varies, but there are some couples out there that do want the whole still the gifts, etc. It’s different from everybody.
EMRICK: I agree. It has evolved to the little things. Even a funny text, just unimportant banter, it’s funny. And you’re like, “Aw he’s so cute, he’s so sweet”, just those little things.
MARIEL GUITERREZ, HOST: You guys heard about the love languages right? The five love languages?
EVERYONE: No. Can you remind us what they are again?
MARIEL GUITERREZ, HOST: Gifts, words of affirmation, quality time, acts of service, and physical touch.
EMRICK: For me words of affirmation…
MARIEL GUITERREZ, HOST: Me too, I think mines is words of affirmation as well.
BERNIE: Physical touch, haaaaay. That’s what I’m talking about.
EMERICK: What are we talking about? Acts of service? Like I made you lunch?
BERNIE: Am I saluting him?
MARIEL GUITERREZ, HOST: You know what’s funny? I went through this list with my husband and I said, “What would you say you do?” And I was like, “I’m definitely words of affirmation.” And he’s like, “How come you get to chose yours?” I said, “Ok, you tell me what I am.” And he’s like, “I think you’re words of affirmation.” And I’m like, “ well, there you go.” And then he’s like, “What do you think I am?” I’m like, “I think your acts of service?” He’s like, “WHAT? What is that?” The thing with my husband is that he’s not so much a touchy feely or words kind of guy. He’s more of a, like whenever my head hurts, for whatever reason, he always brings me food. And for the longest time—
EMRICK: He knows the way to your heart.
MARIEL GUITERREZ, HOST: He does and I’m like, “if I’m getting chubby, it’s your fault.” But that’s the thing, he’ll do things like that. And for a long time, I’m like, “I don’t understand why you keep bringing me food. This is not a solution. Give me a Tylenol. Give me like three Tylenol and we’re good.” But I’m beginning to understand that I can’t dictate the way he shows me his love and then for the longest time, what I wanted was I used to believe that if I show you this kind of love, you have to mirror it back. I honestly thought that’s how it went and because I kept saying all right. Because I like words of affirmation, I’m not gonna lie, I love it. Yeah, tell me I’m awesome. Tell me I’m pretty. Tell me I’m still hot, you know. So I always tell him that, hey you’re handsome and I’m waiting, dot, dot, dot..
EMRICK: I agree with what you were saying like I try to mirror what I want and it’s like I’m showing and telling you all these things, words of affirmation, I’m doing this, “and how come you’re not doing that to me?” And it took a conversation during that time when we were having difficulty where he pointed out all the different ways that he loves me that I never paid attention to. He’s an acts of service kind of guy.
MARIEL GUITERREZ, HOST: Oh, they need to meet.EMRICK: He will bring me water every night before I go to bed. He will make sure my keys are in a place that I could find them. In the winter, if he feels like the mist was covering my windshield, he will go out there and wipe it off and just do these things that I kind of took for granted because that’s how he shows his love. That’s his acts of service and I never really saw it that way because I’m a words of affirmation kind of person. And I’m like, “you’re not doing these things that I am doing to you so don’t love me.” And then when we have that conversation, even before this whole you taught me the five love languages, it’s just profound, because when we did have the conversation, he said you don’t notice these are things I do because I care about you and I know you like to drink water every night and all these things. And I was just like “oh man”… I felt so stupid. Like “ok, yeah, you’re right.” It’s good to communicate and if you can express to your spouse “this is how I feel loved”, and they could say the same thing to you and you could take care of each other that way.
JEWEL: Can I just share a story on that? There was this one time where we’re watching a movie and I’m like moving my neck “ah, my neck hurts” and he’s like “oh really?” And so I’m like, “oh ok the guy doesn’t get it.” So I move my neck on the other side.. “Oh gosh, my neck and my shoulders are hurting”. And so we were watching a movie so he’s like “oh ok”. And I got mad. I’m like “honey, my neck is hurting” and he’s like “ok”. This was when we were first married so he doesn’t know yet, and so I’m like “aren’t you gonna massage me?” And then he’s like “honey if you want a massage just tell me to massage you”. And he goes “how many times have I said my back hurts, do you come rushing massaging me?”
JEWEL: And that’s when harmony made me realize we really have to communicate. ‘Cause what he thinks is a certain way is totally oblivious like we don’t even think about it and what we think is so crystal clear, they don’t really see. And so that communicating what makes you happy, what makes him happy is totally key. So I think that’s how we learned ok, this is how we show love and that’s how we show love. And I kid you not ladies, majority of the time, he knows how to show his love that way. So, I get pretty relaxed.
EMRICK: Massage is nice. I hope you’re reciprocating Jewel.
BERNIE: You guys have a deal right?
JEWEL: Oh no, we barter. That’s what we do. That’s what ten years of marriage is, you call it bartering.
MARIEL GUITERREZ, HOST: That’s true. No you know what’s funny about communication is that I feel like for a long time, I used to over-communicate. Like you said, I’m words of affirmation kind of person. And I would be like, “hey tell me you love me.” I would be that girl. I’d be like, “do you love me? Do you love me?” Because I was so needy, especially after the kids, I was like I need to hear it. “Why do you love me? Tell me now.” And we’ll be like at Jollibee and he’ll be like “uhh oh my gosh.” I’m like “now! What? You can’t even figure out why? Like one reason?”
BERNIE: Before you order that chickenjoy, tell me you love me.
MARIEL GUITERREZ, HOST: “How do you know how to order extra gravy hella fast but not know why you love me?” I would get so offended but you know what, like you guys said, communication. I found out that that hurts him when I do that. Like when I say, “hey, why do you love me? Why do you…?”
JEWEL: He probably feels insulted.
MARIEL GUITERREZ, HOST: He does, he did. He was like, “You know what I’ve been busting my behind here trying to show you in these different ways that I love you but all you can see is what you think you need to hear.” I was like, “Wow, I gotta grow up now.”
EMRICK: I feel like we have the same relationship. I was doing the same thing. I wasn’t noticing the way he loved me.
JEWEL: Do you find it romantic when you watch your spouse perform their duties?
EMRICK: It is, my husband is an overseer and when he performs his duty, when he does his visitations, guards chapel…
BERNIE: Fill them forms out, fill them forms out.
JEWEL: Our definition is so different from how others see it as.
EMRICK: Cause he’s being a man, he’s being that leader.
JEWEL: And I love how all our husbands are leading by example and it’s like we find it so attractive ‘cause you feel like “yeah, that’s the man of our household.”
EVERYONE: Yes. Mhm.
JEWEL: I find it … so that’s when I think when I’m with him; I find so much comfort, so much peace. Our household is gonna be fine, so when he holds my hand, there’s that sense of he’s leading our…
JEWEL: …Yes, security! That he’s leading our family. That he’s leading our family in worshiping and serving God the right way. You feel me ladies?
EVERYONE: Absolutely. Yes, yes.
EMRICK: It warms your heart. It gives you peace and you feel safe. Because of those feelings, I don’t know.
JEWEL: That’s romance. I’m attracted to him. That’s what’s romantic for us. For sure.
MARIEL GUITERREZ, HOST: Absolutely. I think we can agree what is romantic is really subjective, right? We understand that. But when you promise to be with someone forever, we have to make an effort to make it exciting and a fun journey so we made that promise to our spouse in front of God, to be the best kind of wife for our husbands so that means we have to put in significant effort. Maybe instead of waiting for an opportunity to come up, we need to create opportunities. Steal those gazes, smiles, and kisses. And who knows, maybe on your next Netflix and chill, you might even be conscious. Thanks, Bernie, Jewel and Emrick for joining us today.
EVERYONE: Thanks for having us. Thank you. That was fun.
MARIEL GUITERREZ, HOST: I know, always so much fun. But maybe we need to book like two hours next time.