Mariel: Hello! Welcome to the Faith and Family podcast hosted by the Tired But Inspired Moms. We are four Christian moms who are members of the Church Of Christ, Iglesia Ni Cristo. I’m Mariel Gutierrez, been a mom since 2006.
Bernie: I’m Bernie Rosquites, been a mom since 2012.
Emirick: I’m Emirick Haro, been momming since 2000.
Jewell: And I’m Jewell Buenavista, been a mom since 2008.
Mariel: And we’ve been friends forever. Yay! I love these mommas with me. So today, we’re talking about how tough it is to be a mom, but we’re also going to remind you about how awesome it is as well, based on our experiences, right? We’re taking this time to count our blessing because on really tough days being a mom isn’t easy. Studies reveal that the majority of mothers, about 85% of them, said they do not feel supported or understood by society. That’s a sad statistic. That’s too high. That’s too high. I guess we’re part of the 25% that’s not there, I hope, because we have each other. But ladies, how difficult is it to be a mom, like if you rank it from 1-10? Ten being the hardest.
Bernie: I’m going to go with 11. I’m going with 11.
Mariel: That’s off the scale.
Emirick: I’m going to up 1 you, Bernie. I’m going to say it’s 12.
Bernie: Alright, alright. It’s not a competition.
Jewell: Okay, I’ll bring it down a little bit. I’ll say 10 but I love it.
Mariel: Our average is still a little off the radar, guys.
Mariel: Right. You know what, I just wanted to share one of the stories that always comes to my mind when I’m thinking about hard times and moments where I feel like I failed as a mom. I think that you may have heard this story before because we’re friends- we text and we talk and whatever. It was around the time Massimo was born, and he was a newborn almost a decade ago-wow- and he had a poop explosion on my white couch, okay. Why do we even have a white couch with kids? I don’t know. But, he had a poop explosion, and it’s like, ‘yeah, newborn, poop explosion – makes sense right? So, I’m cleaning him up and then – guess who else had a poop explosion? Now, my daughter – who was about 3 at this point, right, and she’s been potty trained for a year and a half – she decides, ‘well if he can do it, I guess it’s a free for all. I’m going to do it too. And so she does it too. And there was poop everywhere. You guys know, you remember poop explosions of the onesie, right? It’s all over the onesies, it’s all over the back and it’s all over you, but this one was on the couch too. I just felt really overwhelmed at that point, you know? And I cried. I cried a lot. I was just like, ‘forget it I’m not going to clean anything at this moment.’ I had to, eventually, obviously. Yeah, I just felt alone, and I felt like I was drowning, and everything was just trying to just push my kids to the surface so they can survive. And everything was kind of in a cycle. We were doing laundry, and feeding, and we were snacking, and pumping, and reading. When you’re in those moments, and I don’t know if you had those moments. I’m sure you guys have. It’s hard to see the beauty of motherhood, especially when you just had the baby.
Emirick: I remember in those phases, you’re always thinking about the next phase.
Emirick: When they’re 1, it’ll be easier. When they’re 2, it’ll be better.
Mariel: And how wrong were we?
Emirick: Yeah! And then when you look back, you just remember it was hard, but it was also…
Mariel: I know, but you don’t remember it well enough to have more children, right? Just kidding!
Mariel: So anyway, back then at that moment – probably one of my most overwhelming ones, I started fine-tuning my prayer because I realized I can’t do it. I can’t do it alone. I can’t. I used to pray, of course, for God to bless my family, bless my children, etcetera. But now I had a specific prayer for me, as a mom – ‘bless me’ – I remember my prayer. Even until now, it’s ‘bless me to become the mother that my children deserve’.
So after that, little by little, it didn’t happen overnight, right? But God taught me how to be more patient. God pointed me to resources, and verses, and eventually to you guys – my own mom village. But yeah, do you guys ever have moments like that? That you can recall? Like motherhood wasn’t like la vie en rose?
Bernie: I think everyone, every mom out there can relate to that, Mar. First of all, I’m just glad you found your way through those prayers. You gained your footing. I get those internal struggles too, but sometimes it’s external. It’s kind of like what other parents are doing that makes you feel really bad. I remember this one time, my son was in Pre-K and I was invited by some moms to have lunch/playdate with our kids who were in the same class as my son. And I was like, ‘cool!’ And I would still try to look for that mom village myself and this was a great opportunity for me to connect with other moms. So they come, they bring our lunches, one mom, she brings the PB&J, Goldfish crackers, a bag of grapes, and juice, all that. And these 2 other moms had similar lunches but their kids had a salad bowl, a tangerine, the seaweed snacks…
Mariel: Wow! I wish I ate like that.
Bernie: Right? I don’t even eat like that now. And bottled water. And then there’s me. I’m toting the Happy Meal with the chicken nuggets, the fruit punch, and the apple pie, thinking like, ‘I’m a winner at this’. And the moms who brought the salad bowls commented, kind of gave their side talk, ‘oh we don’t feed our kids those things. And just so you all know, I’ll do it in air quotes. ‘We don’t feed them “those things” They were talking about just how they feed them like vegan, gluten-free, GMO-free, all that. And they don’t use peanut butter, they use sunflower butter. They probably dry their own fruit in the dehydrator, all that. So by the end of the lunch, I felt horrible because I was feeding my kid a simple Happy Meal, which I think every kid has got to try a Happy Meal once in their life, right?
By the end of the lunch, I felt bad because when Jojo was a baby, I didn’t do the jarred food. I was doing the Baby Bullet, I would steam his fruits and veggies. Do you all remember the Baby Bullet? Remember those days? Remember that? It went from that to chicken nuggets, hot dogs, and pizza. At that moment, I felt like I failed my kid in the nutrition category. But, the next day, a mom who brought the PB&J, she came up to me, and she was like, you know what? She told me ‘pay them no mind to what the other two moms said. Don’t feel any way about it because that’s their way of feeding their kids. That’s your way. Everybody’s doing their own way, and we are all doing the best we can. When she said that, moving forward, I felt so much better.
Mariel: I’m glad she said that.
Emirick: Me too.
Emirick: Let’s switch it up now, I want to talk about the moments that make being a mom worth it. One that really comes to my mind, to this day, my son, Russell, he was diagnosed with Autism. When he was little, like 2 years old, I was having a really bad day. I felt like, I don’t even remember exactly why the day was so difficult but I just remember it being a bad day. And I was sitting in a room, waiting for my ride, waiting for Luis to come pick me up.
When they got there to pick me up, I was at choir practice. Russell comes sneaking behind me, and he was 2 years old, he couldn’t talk yet. I was sitting alone contemplating all the horrible things that are happening that day and from out of nowhere, this big old baby Russell clutching his Jungle Book VCR, because back then he used to always hold a Disney VCR in hand. He comes up to me with a huge smile on his face, let’s go of the VCR, jumps on my lap, and cups my face in his hands. He leans in really close and looks into my sad eyes, and kisses my face, wraps his tiny baby fat arms around my neck. He didn’t always do things like that, because kids with autism don’t always express that kind of emotion, that kind of stuff. But it was really big… I still remember it to this day. I feel like it had a message for me that I was loved and that everything would be okay. Like I said, I don’t remember what I was upset about, but now that Russell is 19 years old, I still remember this moment, 17 years ago.
Jewell: I can picture him putting your face in his hands and giving you kisses still. You know, I love these types of stories because it’s true. I truly, truly believe that God uses our children to remind us of how much He loves us. Our children can test our patience. It’s so amazing how our children can drive us nuts, but at the same time, we just have such unconditional love that we don’t know how to contain this love for them.
And really – I’m sure mommas, you all have your stories and our listeners have stories of how God uses our children to remind us how much He loves. I can share lots of precious moments but I can think of one right now. I remember this one time – I was just having like one of these bad days. Like you, Em, I don’t even remember what it was about. But all I can remember was Hayden, he said, ‘Mommy,’ – he didn’t say much – he said, ‘come here’. And then he grabbed my hand and he said, ‘sit down here on my bed. He said, ‘sit down’, okay? And then he says, ‘lay down, lay down’, just calming like that.
And then he starts rubbing my head, ‘it’s okay, it’s okay.’ I’m sure through my voice, you can hear, he’s just calming me down. He’s just calming me down. And then he said, ‘it’s going to be okay, it’s going to be okay’, and then I just started tearing up, and I just looked at him, and I was just like, ‘thank you’. Those precious moments when they, I mean he was probably 8 [years old] at the time, but that’s why I truly believe that God uses our children to remind us, ‘it’s going to be okay’.
Through their innocence, through their purity. When they hug you, they kiss you, and even though there are days that it’s rough, our children being around, it just makes motherhood just worth every test of patience we’ll ever have. It just makes it so worth it. they love you. Motherhood truly gives you that purpose. We are helping mold more people to serve God. For our children to say, ‘you know what, it’s going to be okay. God is going to take care of us’ – they’re already learning that no matter what happens in our lives, we’re there to serve God, God is going to take care of everything – that’s our purpose. It’s to raise our children to serve God even better. It makes motherhood totally worth it. What do you guys think?
Mariel: I love it. I love that that was instilled in him already, you know? To be able to have that notion of how to take care of someone else and what to say and what he said was that God will take care of you. That’s so sweet, you know?
Mariel: I just love it. I just love seeing how God works in our families’ lives… I know, as Christians, we pray for God to be at the center, right? Well, what does that actually look like? And when you can see it and feel it, even in the simplest things – like you said, like every one of you said – it truly makes motherhood worth it.
For me, it’s been almost 11 years since I was in the “Mom-of-two Club.” Every night before I sleep – this is still true today – I’m always filled with such gratitude. I’ve learned how to be present, like always present. I think that’s one of the greatest gifts that God gave me – to be present, and see the blessing in everything, even when it’s hard.
Emirick: I know what you mean, Mar. There are days where – even to this day – it may be hard, but when I see them after school or after work at the end of the day, I feel complete when they’re around and they just bring so much joy. Even many years later.
Mariel: Exactly, and like what we’ve all been through, we’ve all been in the same kind of regional space where the sky could be orange , the world could be falling apart. But you know, I can still laugh with my kids. They feel safe to tell us feelings, they feel safe to tell us anything. They ask us anything. We pray together every day, multiple times a day.
I guess for me, there isn’t just one moment that really defines how motherhood is worth it. But maybe It’s just me sharing this feeling of peace. That’s kind of the gift of motherhood for me. Like what Jewell was saying, it’s the purpose. You feel like you have a purpose. You wake up and you are grateful. Especially in our Christian culture, we know to pray together with our family, and that’s kind of how we all touch base with each other and understand how to obtain that peace together. You know that the love in the family is stable, because God is at the center. And then you’re good. Yeah, that’s just what it is for me. It’s a feeling, it’s a feeling.
Emirick and Bernie: That’s awesome.
Bernie: Well, so for all our listeners out there, what are you struggling with? You heard our struggles. What are you struggling with? And remember – and I say this so sincerely – you are going to be fine. You are going to weather that storm. We’re tired, but yes, we are also inspired by this motherhood stuff, this momming stuff. Count your blessings. Count your blessings, mommas.
Jewell: I can hear our listeners say, ‘Yes! I know it, I’m struggling, I’m crying’. But mommas out there, please keep your favorite moments close. I know you have lots of favorite moments and don’t let the tough times get you down. We can laugh at them. And if you are down, all you gotta do is reach out to other mom friends. You can reach out to us, really. We’re on social media. Take us up on that offer.
Mariel: Yes, we will laugh at you, or with you. We’re able to laugh together. We’re all in this together. And if you’re up for it, share it online and tag us: #tiredbutinspiredmoms #faithandfamily … and, remember, you’re not alone. We’ve all said it. You’re not alone, I promise. Whatever you’re going through, you will get through it. I wanted to thank you ladies, Bernie, Emirick and Jewell, thank you so much for your stories and your advice. And to our moms out there, thank you so much for listening to this Faith And Family podcast.
You can listen to our other podcasts where we tackle how to communicate with toddlers, fostering kindness in our children, and many more on incmedia.org/faithandfamily, on iheartradio, Google and Apple podcasts.