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Heather MacFadyen: Don’t Mom Alone

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
May 4, 2022 2:02 am

Heather MacFadyen: Don’t Mom Alone

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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May 4, 2022 2:02 am

Stuck feeling defeated as a mom? Don't go it alone! Author Heather MacFadyen shows how you can be foster key relationships with God, others, & your kids to be the mom you want to be.

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You know, before we get started today, I think we need to talk about something I don't think our listeners probably understand.

But it's really important. Really important that we are a listener-supported program. In other words, we exist and are able to bring this kind of content to marriages and families because people are generous financially to jump in and be a part of making this ministry possible. In fact, what's exciting is right now we have a spring match going on where if you join in, and maybe you've never done this before, so we're asking you to become a family life partner, a monthly partner. Your gift of any amount that's given monthly will be doubled. Through the end of the year.

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Who doesn't want to be a part of that? So to join us, go to familylifetoday.com and become a partner with us. In motherhood, it was very humbling.

I found, very quickly, I think we hadn't even left the hospital with my oldest. And I was in tears. What is it that's so hard? I mean, I mean, I know, I like to say the man.

Can you please pull that, can you please pull that quote and like start the episode with that because that is the best statement. Exactly. Because I'm thinking there are guys like me listening and going, seriously, you two are like, it's the hardest thing in the world.

Like, really? Is it that hard? Welcome to Family Life Today, where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most. I'm Ann Wilson.

And I'm Dave Wilson. And you can find us at familylifetoday.com or on our Family Life app. This is Family Life Today. After 36 years of being a mom, I want to know the Ann Wilson secret, the mom's secret. Jesus. You're a good mom. And I was gonna say, you can't say Jesus. Don't give me the can Jesus answer. Well, that's true.

Sounds like a squirrel. I mean, you've raised three sons. Now we have grandkids. You've done it.

If there's like one secret. I think the thing that surprised me the most is how much I needed other women, other moms in my life to encourage me. You're saying that because I was sitting in our studio the other day. No, because I don't think I had any idea how lonely I would be as a mom because we moved to Detroit. I was pregnant. I had a baby. I didn't have a church.

I didn't have a community. And I was dying. Like I was miserable. And I was blamed for all of that, by the way. I'm sorry. I probably did blame you. But I needed some women.

And I think you're right. The reason we're talking about that is because we have Heather McFadyen with us, who's written a book called Don't Mom Alone. Heather, welcome to Family Life Today. Oh, y'all are so fun.

Thanks for having me. It's going to get a little wild in the studio. Heather brings out this crazy side of me. Well, I mean, you're a mother of four boys and a mom of three boys. So we've got two boy moms in the studio.

And you've got to have a certain quality to be boy moms. What is that? I don't know.

Maybe it pulls something out of you in reaction to all of the boy being in the environment. But Heather, share with us and our listeners, what do you do? And even your podcast? So I began writing online before Facebook was a thing. And then trans- No, wait, wait, wait. How long ago was that? It's a long time ago. 2008.

How do you say that anymore? 2008. 2008. So you were like blogging or just writing articles about being a- Blogging.

This is what people would do. Yeah, that's big. My in-laws and my parents, neither one lived in our city. So I was like you, you know, isolated from community and from family. And so how you updated them was you wrote online and shared.

We went to the zoo today. So I did that. And then it kind of became a ministry where I was sharing what God was teaching me. And that transitioned into a podcast in 2013, eight years ago, almost eight and a half. And just a few people listen. And now, yeah, people are listening all over the world.

And it's called Don't Mom Alone. You should all listen to this. I just sent it to a bunch of young moms that I'm doing a small group with because it's encouraging.

Well, I would say, I'd listen to it. Oh, look at you. I mean, I was like, I got a, you know, I read your book, but I wanted to hear a little bit. And so I clicked on a couple.

We know Dr. Julie Slattery and you had her on recently. And I was like, man, men could learn a lot. From women in general. Yeah, I have my few dads hanging in. Yeah. Yeah.

We need to get some merch for them. Well, if I asked you, like, is there a mom's secret? I know you obviously are going to talk a little bit about what Ann said, that you can't mother alone. But is there something that comes to your mind? It's like, okay, this would be mine. This would be the secret.

I think moms need to know or understand. Jesus. Well, the first third is about, yeah. Really honing my relationship with God. I think I was stripped of all the tools that had worked up to that point. So I was a good performer in school, did some synchronized swimming.

We haven't talked about that, you know, right? Wait, wait, wait, wait. You're one of those, the arm comes up together. I did that, you know, athletics. And if you want to call that, I think it's athletic.

It is. That's hard. But just any area of my life, you work hard enough.

You put in the time and you get an A plus or a gold medal. And in motherhood, it was very humbling. I found very quickly, I think we hadn't even left the hospital with my oldest. And I was in tears of just not knowing what to do. And I had my master's degree in speech language pathology specializing in zero to three child development and infant feeding. And my child struggled with keeping his food in his mouth.

He had reflux so bad. And I'm thinking, I'm supposedly the expert. I have a master's degree in this. I was the one who had a babysitter's club as a 13-year-old back when the books were popular and had my own handbook on how to babysit. I loved kids, always wanted kids. Wait, did you write your own handbook? Oh, yeah. I'm just saying like, I was all in on the babysitter's club. And then I couldn't do it.

I've hit my wall day one at the hospital and had to really lean into my faith. Heather, that happened to me. I went out to dinner with my parents with a three-month-old. And my dad looked at me. He lived in another state. He looked at me, he said, what's happening? Which already made me cry. Because what has happened to you? You know, I probably had food in my head.

I don't even know what was going on. But I said, Dad, and I had been in sports my whole life. I said, I could run a marathon.

And it would be so much easier than this. And he's like, what are you talking about? You have a three-month-old.

You have one child. Like how hard could this be? Exactly. But I think what that does to us as women is it makes us fall on our face before God. There's something beautiful about that and say, God, I can't.

What is it that's so hard? I mean, can you please pull that quote and start the episode with that? Because that is the best statement.

Exactly. Because I'm thinking there are guys like me listening and going, seriously, you two are like, it's the hardest thing in the world. Like, really? Is it that hard? That's because you were faking being asleep at night.

I did fake being asleep when the kids ran in it. I do think there's a pressure that we put on ourselves. And I think that our society puts on us. But we draw connection lines. If there's a school shooting, if there's a, you know, a child goes and becomes a prodigal, everyone starts questioning their parenting as if it's an A plus B equals C situation. And while we know as parents, we are responsible and we have this ability to steward that well and be intentional and all of that.

It's a wild card. These are humans with sin natures. And God has an ultimate storyline where He may even use that prodigal moment for His greater purpose and plan.

But when you have that crying baby and you're thinking, I don't know how to make them stop crying, it is a weak point. And there have been many times when I've wanted to be assigned a different ministry. A ministry to moms is not sexy. It's not interesting. It's not cool. But I think it is cool when you have needed it or you see the need. But I think in the greater realm, it's not a high and lifted up platform or interest to a lot of people. And they may even say, well, it's not that hard.

Why would you need support? But I think what I've found is if my goal is to reach the world with the gospel, which it is, I believe we've all been given the same calling to go and make disciples. And our assignments are different. And my assignment is in this season, a mom is so ready and willing to receive help outside of herself. A higher power, a strength, a purpose, and a plan beyond what she can see. And then that eternal perspective helps her.

That's where I'm supposed to be. And I feel like it's such a need. And it was MOP's ministry. It was all those ministries that really strengthened my faith. And so if I can be a piece of that in someone's life, motherhood's a season. We all say that.

It was when I was with a group of older women in a knitting group. Jealous. I know you're jealous. Jealous. I'm not jealous, but maybe there are some people.

I'm one of those cool kids who gets around and knits with other people. We would sit together for hours once a month. And I'm with these women and realizing they have had more years since their kids have left their home than they ever had kids at home. So it is a blip on the timeline if you're blessed with a long life. But it is a really important stage.

And obviously it's an exhausting stage. I mean, listening to you two just talk about being a mom. Just last week, our youngest son was here with two grandkids. So we had a three-year-old and a one-year-old. We're driving in the minivan.

There you go. It was a rented minivan. And guess who's driving?

I'm driving. The dad. My son is in the passenger seat. So Ann and the two kids and their mom are on the back. And the one-year-old is screaming for an hour.

Blessed little girl. The car seat or whatever didn't work. And it was so interesting. Heather, maybe any woman listener as a mother understands this. The worst place to be in the car is back in the back with the children screaming. And that's why I was driving and my son was in the passenger seat.

And I could see this going on. I was thinking like, this, I feel so bad for my daughter and all because she feels bad with us. Like, sorry, she won't stop crying. I'm like, we don't care. But I can see that she's thinking what I used to think when I was in that situation.

I know exactly what you're going to say. Why am I back here? Like, Dave, get back here for a while. And I was watching or listening and looking in the mirror and noticing that Cody and I are almost oblivious. It's like there's a wall. You know, it's like there's a wall. It's behind us and we can hear it, but we're not a part of it.

You moms are in it. That's why it's so hard. Yeah, it's a visceral response. And I do think it's a God-given thing that when they're screaming in the middle of the night, I want to help. I want to make the screaming stop in a different way than you want to make the screaming stop. I want a child who's content and happy.

There's something in me that wants that. But I think we can't, I can't describe it to a man. And I even think when we were pregnant with our first, my husband didn't even grasp fatherhood until a baby showed up on the scene and he grasped it a little bit. But yeah, for sure, those early months of trying to work through on paper, it seems like my husband and I grew up in the same home. Our parents, thankfully, were both married over 50 years. We each had four kids in our home.

So our dads had professional careers, Christian families. So not a lot of conflict from that. But when it came to how are we going to raise this child, the conflict starts coming up.

And you don't want a mom alone if you have a spouse and that you invite your husband into that. But man, do we let them cry it out or not was one of the big hot buttons. And the mom visceral response is, I'm not going to let my baby cry. It's my baby.

You gotta go in there. And the right response is let them cry it out. Right.

The formula says. Yeah. Yeah.

And I think that all those little teeny decisions, they can start to wear on your marriage. And so I do have a chapter in here on staying connected and a teen mentality when it comes to parenting. Is the aloneness feeling as a mom?

Is that a dominant? Obviously, you have a whole ministry called Don't Mom Alone. Yeah.

So I'm guessing what you're going to answer. But describe that, because I don't think we always understand that aloneness feeling. I think for me, it was beyond just the loneliness that maybe people can relate to having gone through the pandemic if you don't have kids, like beyond just I can't see people. So your kids are maybe forcing you to be away from people. It's more I have pulled away pieces of myself from being known, whether it's I'm no longer working outside the home or even when I'm around other moms, I'm not really sharing what's hard right now because I don't want you to think I'm a bad mom.

That's really true. So what I found was my pride and my wanting to look like I've got it all together. I'm not making mistakes is that I wouldn't share what things were hard. I might host the playdate, but I may not say that I was up the night before or as this person's espousing on the horrors of using a pacifier, my child sucking on a pacifier is the only thing that's keeping me sane. It's like, oh, I better go hide that before she sees that we rely on pacifiers or this one saying you should only breastfeed and I have formula in my pantry, better not bring that out while she's here. You know, you start hiding because we all are doing this for the first time, wanting so desperately to get it right, but missing the opportunity for connection because of these isolating ideas. And now it's worse because now we're not only comparing to our friends around us. We have all of social media that we're comparing ourselves.

Exactly. I can remember being at my first outing, going to a Bible study, taking my baby, and I think I had an infant like a two month old and a two year old and some moms were talking afterwards and talking about, oh, it's so fun. And I remember saying, you guys, you know what happened to me this morning? I said, this is awful. I said, I had some orange juice in my hand that was mine. It was glass. And my two year old kept trying to pull it out of my hand. And I said, no honey, it could break. And I was very calm and he kept pulling and pulling and I thought, well, all right, I'll just let it go. And so I let the cup go out of my hand. And he splashed the orange juice all over his face.

And he just broke into this tantrum and crying and he was fine. And the moms looked at me and here was the response. I needed them to laugh like, girl, I have done that. You needed identification.

I did. And I remember thinking, oh, I guess no one's done anything like that. And I went home, cried, because it just reinforced you're failing and you are a bad mom. So I think we can be surrounded by people, as you said, Heather, but we can retreat in shame and guilt.

And that can be hard. You had that happen at the park. I was laughing at the beginning of your book because I read like, oh, this has happened to her too. Yes, it was before I was in any mom community. And our church's Mops was at, it's called the Arboretum.

It's just a pretty park. And I saw all of them. And I am trying to do the two kid hustle. I'm trying to feed the newborn who's screaming. And then the toddler really needs to go home and take his nap.

But I haven't gotten the cute picture yet of them by the pumpkins. So I'm trying to make it last a little bit longer. And one of the mentors comes over and she sees me struggling. And this is another lie that keeps us isolated is that I don't need help, right? I can do this all on my own.

I should be able to do this all on my own. Moms for centuries have. And so she offers help, but I reject it. I'm like, no, I'm fine. And then she so wisely offers a specific help. And she says, she had a British accent, does the toddler have a snack? And I was like, a snack? Genius.

Food always helps. And so I pointed to the bag and she gets out the little snack cup and she goes to offer it to him. And he really rudely just grumps away from her and says, oh, and I'm horrified because you can't act that way, especially not to a British woman. And she's a mentor.

And she's a mentor of the church. And so I look at her and I go, I am so sorry. And I start listing off all the excuses. Like he's teething. He needs a nap.

It's hot outside. And we do. She looks right at me, dead and eyes. She says, why as mothers do we feel like we need to apologize for our children? If he wants to be a jerk, let him be a jerk.

And I was like, I'm gonna start crying again. I'm not letting him be a jerk. I'm failing. But so much of the not connecting with other moms is our kids behavior ties to our performance. And if we are high achieving, high performers and kids are kids and we see that as a B plus on our report card, we don't want to be out with other people. We don't want them to do what they do. They see us failing all the time.

Which are funny stories now when they leave poop in random places. But it's not at the time. It's quite embarrassing and horrifying.

And yeah, it does. It separates you from people. So what are you doing? I'm listening. I'm listening to two moms saying, when I'm around moms, I feel judged. I feel like I'm trying to measure up, but I need to be around moms. So how do you balance that tension and where do you go? My hope is to invite women into being safe community for each other. To recognize that we are important, but not essential.

There is not a formula. You may have found a great thing that works for your child, but that may not work for this mom. And to just be curious about her process, love her where she is, recognize you came from different homes, and support one another. I have a great story that models that I just heard from a friend.

They read a playdate. I just wonder does this have a British accent? Because you're really good at that. I'll try to weave it in. Have another accent.

Have another accent. Australian shrimp on the ballby. So she's there at this playdate. She's doing the multi kid shuffle. She's realizing that her child just spilled goldfish all over the floor and one of her other kids is leaning over to go eat it off the floor. And she's like trying to keep the conversation going with this mom and horrified and trying to keep her kid from eating the goldfish off the floor. What are they going to think that I let my kids eat goldfish? And the mom she's talking to, without skipping a beat in the conversation, reaches down, grabs some off the floor and starts eating them herself. And she said, Oh, I found my people.

The bar has been lowered. We're just living life together. I think that's the key too. I realized at that time, I thought I need a place where I can share all of my junk and be heard and be accepted. Because I'm going to fail. I'm going to make tragic mistakes. But I need somebody else that will also share their fear, their pain, their failures. And I think it takes a while to find that and to not give up. Yeah. Have you found that? To be that kind of person.

So if you're with them and they do something and you just read that article, or you just saw that Insta story, that that what they're doing is the opposite of what all the experts are saying to stop for a second and not judge. I had a young mom. My kids were a little bit older, but she had a baby maybe six months old.

It was her fifth baby. And she asked me to come and wallpaper her bathroom. So I went over and so I'm helping her and the baby's in the bathroom with me. She can sit up at that point. And I said, Hey, the baby's sucking on the plunger. And she's fine. She's fine.

It's good bacteria. I laughed. I took the plunger out. But I thought as moms, like she's on her fifth. She's like, I'm not sweating stuff anymore the way I used to. And also as the older mom to not judge, but to encourage, to lift up. Yeah. If women are feeling lonely, and I think this is true, we can feel incredibly lonely when we haven't connected.

And I think this isn't every stage because it changes. With moms of babies, of toddlers, we need friends. Our kids are in middle school, and they're going through hard stuff. We need friends, but we continue to isolate sometimes because of we're fearful of judgment.

How can women find their friends? You're listening to Dave and Anne Wilson with Heather McFadyen on Family Life Today. We'll hear Heather's response in just a second. But first, if you want more people to experience great conversations like the one you're hearing today, you're going to want to listen to this. All month long, any gift you give to family life will be matched dollar for dollar.

And here's the exciting part. If you become a family life partner, which means you give each month to family life, your monthly donation will be matched dollar for dollar for the next 12 months to help families strengthen their relationship with God and with each other. Imagine the families who need to hear God's plan for marriage and family through our radio broadcasts, through our podcasts, events like Weekend to Remember, small group Bible studies, and our website.

I mean, where do you want people going when they Google for help when their marriage is in trouble? You can help more families learn about the life changing truth of God's Word. Not to sound overly dramatic, but that'll change the world. So now's the time to become a monthly partner to have your monthly donations doubled for a year. You can give today at familylifetoday.com or by calling 1-800-358-6329. That's 1-800-F as in family, L as in life, and then the word today.

All right, now back to Dave and Anne with Heather McFadyen. How can women find their friends? Actually, I think it starts with prayer. I'm not a just pray, last prayer, first pray.

I do believe that when you pray and bring that to God, he opens your eyes to see in a way that the Holy Spirit in you that is hopefully in them sees itself, you know, it's one spirit and connects you and you'll be amazed. I've prayed with women for friends and God reveals the next right person to also let the pressure off that doesn't have to be this most amazing best friend connection. But to find one person and whether you say, hey, let's bring the kids to the park.

If you can without kids, go get coffee and try sharing something a little vulnerable. Try saying something that maybe is a little risky and see how they respond. If they respond in kind of a dismissive way and don't want to engage in that, then the message loud and clear, this isn't my person. And that's okay. It's not a rejection.

It's just direction. Move on. If they do respond and share something vulnerable for themselves, then keep going.

Keep taking that risk. And I say, if you prove to be a safe person, you're not talking about other people when you're together, that gives them the clue that we're talking about us here. We're sharing our things and not beating up on our spouses or only talking about the kids. We're just talking about what's God doing in your own heart? What's going on in you? What are you passionate about right now?

What are you loving right now instead of gossiping about others or, I don't know, complaining? I think that that's really important. I love that you're starting out with prayer. God knows us. He knows what we need.

He's wanting to fulfill our desires in terms of having a friendship. So start with prayer. Pray that God would bump you into somebody and maybe several people that bring different things.

But I think that's big. But can I just tell our listeners, don't do it alone. Don't do it alone.

The hardest place to be is by yourself. God created us to do life together in community. And there's something about being with another woman. It makes us feel whole. We have God, we have the Holy Spirit. We can have a husband, but we also need a friend. So I would say pray and seek and pursue those friendships.

And I like that. Share something a little bit vulnerable and see where it goes. That's David Ann Wilson talking with Heather McFadyen on Family Life Today. You can get a copy of Heather's book, Don't Mom Alone, at familylifetoday.com or by calling 1-800-F as in family, L as in life, and then the word today. If you know anyone who needs to hear conversations like the one you heard today, you can share today's podcast from wherever you get your podcasts.

And while you're there, it really helps if you'd rate and review us. There's a belief parents often wrestle with that we are fully responsible for our kids. And we can carry the burden of that as moms and dads. Well, Heather McFadyen is going to talk with David Ann Wilson again tomorrow about those beliefs and help us see that some of them just aren't true. We hope you can join us for that. On behalf of David Ann Wilson, I'm Shelby Abbott. We'll see you back next time for another edition of Family Life Today. Family Life Today is a production of Family Life, a crew ministry, helping you pursue the relationships that matter most.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-09 17:51:19 / 2023-01-09 18:03:02 / 12

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