Parenting Well: Balancing Marriage and Motherhood (Transcript)

Dr. Dobson: Hello, everyone. You're listening to Family Talk, the radio broadcasting ministry of the James Dobson Family Institute. I'm Dr. James Dobson, and thank you for joining us for this program.

Roger Marsh: You're listening to Family Talk, a division of the Dr. James Dobson Family Institute. I'm Roger Marsh, and Mother's Day is this Sunday, May the ninth.

Now Dr. Dobson has always said that mothers are vital to the culture. They are the bedrock of their homes, and they're central in the emotional development of their sons and daughters. I know Dr. Dobson had a very close and special relationship with his own mother, Myrtle, and I know that he credits her with much of the parenting knowledge that he passes along to millions, even today. As for me, my mom Cathy Marsh has been such a huge influence in my life. The way that she loves my dad and takes care of that relationship for the 66 years they've been married. The fact that she raised my sister and my brother and me to the best of her ability, the fact that she instilled a love of ice cream and baseball and movies and show tunes and things like that.

But one of the best pieces of advice I ever got from my mom was the day my daughter Emily was born and I was standing in the delivery area where we were all kind of watching. They were peering through the window and I was in the room with her. And I was just looking at Emily and my mom tapped on the glass and she said, "go pick up your daughter." And I thought to myself, oh my goodness, pick up my daughter. It never occurred to me at 26 years of age, I should hold this little girl. And now she's a 33 year old married mom herself. So that was a great life lesson I learned from my mom.

Well, today in honor of Mother's Day, we are sharing an insightful conversation that our own Dr. Tim Clinton had with blogger and author Becky Thompson. Becky is a popular mommy blogger and an author. She also runs the Midnight Mom Devotional Facebook page with her own mom, Susan Pitts. Every night on that page, Becky and Susan post a prayer for moms to pray in an effort to encourage mothers who are feeling alone at that moment. The page has more than 1.3 million followers. And with the National Day of Prayer having taken place just yesterday and Mother's Day coming up on Sunday, this might be the perfect thing to share with a mom in your life.

Now on today's program, which was recorded a couple of years ago, Becky Thompson and Dr. Tim Clinton will explore how women deal with the delicate balance of being both a mom and a wife. They'll also encourage mothers to seek God and remember His love through the tougher stretches of life. So, if you are a mother who's struggling to take care of your kids right now, while striving to be that good wife for your husband, this broadcast is for you. And if you're a dad who's listening, don't tune out because you can learn how to support and honor your wife as well. There's a lot of content to get to. So let's get right to it now, this special conversation on this edition of Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk.

Dr. Tim Clinton: We've got an amazing guest for you. She is Becky Thompson. If you've been online, and by the way, if you're a mom, you probably know a little bit about mommy blogging. She's a mommy blogger. I mean, craziness, what you're seeing online happen in and through her blog. Becky, hey, thanks for stopping by Family Talk.

Becky Thompson: Thanks so much for having me. I appreciate it. I'm glad to be with you.

Dr. Tim Clinton: Well, we're going to talk about two keywords on the program today. Relationships and hope, relationships and hope. But before we go there, hey, tell us a little bit about your family, your little family. Tell us about Jared, your husband and your kids.

Becky Thompson: Absolutely. So, I've got my husband, Jared. We've been married for 12 years, I think, this August. We were married very young, married at 19 and 21. So we grew up together as we got married and grew up together and started our family very young. So our oldest is Colton and he's eight and Cadence is almost seven and Jaxton is three. And I spend all of my time making sure everybody is happy all the time and taken care of.

Dr. Tim Clinton: Yeah. And another fascinating piece here is you're a young woman who grew up where, in the middle of Oklahoma. Right? This all started in Oklahoma.

Becky Thompson: Right. I am originally from Oklahoma City and I honestly thought I was going to marry a pastor, thought I was going to lead some sort of movement for Jesus at some church. And so actually I went to school to try to find a pastor husband. I did that. I did not go to school for a major. I tried to find-

Dr. Tim Clinton: Get that MRS degree.

Becky Thompson: I got the MRS degree. And so, when I met my husband and he wasn't going to become a pastor and the Lord had spoken to my heart and said, "this is the man for you." I actually thought this guy doesn't even know that he's going to be a pastor someday. Like I was so convinced that I would be a pastor's wife, that I thought that God was going to change the man that he had asked me to marry into a pastor, just so I could be a pastor's wife.

A few years into our marriage, when my husband says, "I think we need to leave Oklahoma City. And I think we need to move to the middle of nowhere Oklahoma, where I grew up, to help with my family's oil field construction company, to help my dad." I was just pretty sure somebody hadn't heard from the Lord. I was pretty sure that somebody had misheard Jesus, and it wasn't me. So the last seven years we've been in the middle of Nowhere, Oklahoma, and just serving there and loving the people. And God began all of this there. But just this last December, we made the move out to California. And now we are living in Los Angeles.

Dr. Tim Clinton: That's a big change, Oklahoma to LA?

Becky Thompson: Right.

Dr. Tim Clinton: Yeah. How do you like it?

Becky Thompson: People are wonderful here. It's just a different type of wonderful. This is what I've decided. It's a different type of wonderful. I'm just a little outgoing. I don't know if that comes across, but I just really-

Dr. Tim Clinton: Nah, we didn't pick that up at all.

Becky Thompson: I love people. And so it's hard for me to go to the grocery store and not have conversations with people because that's perfectly okay in Oklahoma. We just chat with anybody. You don't even have to know them, but here, I go talking to people and they're holding their purses a little tighter. They're holding their kids a little tighter. So it's just been a transition, but we are loving it. God is helping us to fall in love with this place.

Dr. Tim Clinton: Becky, what do you think about the whole online world here for a moment? They're saying that people are spending ridiculous hours online. What is it first of all, that you see showing up? Who's showing up and what are they saying through these portals of connection?

Becky Thompson: Absolutely. Honestly, I think it's wonderful. I think the online community is wonderful. And what I am personally experiencing is this. As a young mom, when my children would go down for a nap when they were ... A few years ago, when my kids all napped, bless Jesus, they would all go to sleep and I would have a few minutes. I would realize how lonely I was. I would think about how all day long I had only talked to small kids. I hadn't had a chance to get them all out of the house and take them to the park and find it, whatever, we had just been doing life around the house. And I thought, who am I going to call? Everybody's busy or everybody's dealing with their own lives. But I could go online, and in the time that I had available, I could make connection with the world outside of my four walls.

I could make connection with other women my age. I could make connection, just almost check out of what was happening right in front of me and explore a little of what was happening in other people's lives. Now here's the issue. It's a wonderful opportunity for us to make connection in the season of motherhood, where we really do feel pretty alone. And we're wondering if we're doing any of it right. But the truth is, it creates opportunity that didn't exist in generations before ours.

Because now we have comparison. We're posting about our lives online. We're saying, this is what we're having for dinner. This is what we're doing today. Here's pictures of my kids at the park. And now I'm thinking, well, I didn't take my kid to the park this week. I should probably do that because she did that, or because this is happening. I was thinking about my mom's generation. I was thinking, they didn't just have windows on the sides of their house that were open all of the time, so you could see exactly what the neighbors were having for dinner.

They didn't have announcements in the front yard. "We will now be going on a family vacation to Disneyland. Here are all of our pictures for the neighborhood to see." No, people just lived their lives. And so where a connection was different, there wasn't the pressure of living lives comparable to our neighbors. Does that make sense? And so what I'm seeing here is I'm seeing women wrestling with this balance of, I want to connect but I don't want to have to deal with the comparison.

Dr. Tim Clinton: Do you think a lot of moms, this mommy world, these women are really hard on themselves?

Becky Thompson: Oh my goodness. We're the worst. We're the worst, and this is something I have seen specifically from my following of young mothers and mothers in the middle years and even older moms. If I write online about how I feel guilty and about how the Lord wants to move us from a place of guilt to grace, there are women across all demographics that say, you won't believe how many hours I lay awake at night, just wondering how I could have done it different or better, or how I can become more for my family. We pour out everything for our kids and our husbands and our communities. We are constantly pouring. And at the end of the day, we lay there completely depleted completely just out of resource and yet it's almost like the enemy comes in and says, "but you coulda..."

And he just lays it on the line. You could have handled that with more patience, you could have handled that with more kindness, you should have loved your husband better today. And we hear all of these lies repeated in our hearts and in our heads and we don't really know how to get off that carousel of guilt. And it's so incredible because I feel like we're in a season where we need voices that will say, you're a great mom. And for the sake of your family, you need to choose grace for yourself over this guilt and this shame and this burden that you constantly put on your heart.

Dr. Tim Clinton: Our special guest again today is Becky Thompson. She is a mommy blogger and internet sensation. Absolutely, in Christianity, it's amazing what God's doing in and through her blog, Your blog again, by the way, people want to look at it right now.

Becky Thompson: Yeah. Right now.

Dr. Tim Clinton: While you're talking, what can they do?

Becky Thompson: They can go to their browser and they can type in I made that pretty easy.

Dr. Tim Clinton: And they'll see you.

Becky Thompson: They'll see my face. That's my face. I need a new picture probably. But I look like that.

Dr. Tim Clinton: So you went online to make a connection. Okay. But it turns into this massive ministry, really. That's what you got. God's given you a ministry.

Becky Thompson: That's right.

Dr. Tim Clinton: And so in this ministry, what were the topics then that started resonating upfront. It was like, you went like, yes, you're kidding me. I had no idea that there were that many people who are like me, who felt like that.

Becky Thompson: Exactly. Well, the first major heart issue that really just exploded was this. How do I continue to be a good wife while I'm busy being a good mom? How do I love my husband when I've poured all of my heart out for my family?

Dr. Tim Clinton: I'm exhausted.

Becky Thompson: Yeah, I'm completely exhausted. And right now it seems like it would be loving, an act of love for my husband to leave me alone. That's-

Dr. Tim Clinton: If you really cared about me ...

Becky Thompson: If you really cared about me-

Dr. Tim Clinton: You'd give me a break.

Becky Thompson: Exactly. You give me five minutes alone.

Dr. Tim Clinton: Give the kids a bath.

Becky Thompson: Yeah, Yes. Preach. You know, this is where this is the season I'm in. Right? And so I would look for my husband to come home and I would look for his help and not his heart. I would look for his hands and not a connection with him. I would want him to be doing, I would want him to be coming alongside me as my partner, but not as my lover, as my husband. It was just about work rather than relationship.

And I think it was because I was in such a season and I'm still in that season of this takes so much effort. Being a mom right now takes so much effort that it would be a gift if you could help me. It would show me you loved me if you could help me. It would show me you love me if you wanted to help me. And my poor husband, I just didn't see any of his exhaustion. And he saw none of mine. And so we'd come together.

Dr. Tim Clinton: Completely missed each other.

Becky Thompson: We just missed each other and we get to the end of the day and we would need breaks, and instead of falling into each other, we would fall apart. The kids would go to bed and he'd fall asleep on the couch watching TV and I'd just finish the dishes and put everybody to sleep.

Dr. Tim Clinton: Yeah. I saw up on your blog that you do some video pieces, so maybe a key statement or something that you do, or a chapter in a book or something like that. Was that the heart then too. So you have this writing ability. Now you're communicating via video online. And by the way, she also is a very successful author. Congratulations.

Becky Thompson: Right, thank you, thank you. Yeah.

Dr. Tim Clinton: Interesting, one of your books was Love Unending, Rediscovering Your Marriage in the Midst of Motherhood.

Becky Thompson: Exactly, it's the answer to that question. How do I continue to be a good wife when I'm busy being a good mom? So yeah.

Dr. Tim Clinton: Yeah. What are a couple of big tips that you pulled out of that?

Becky Thompson: Really the heart of that book is going back to the beginning. You know, you don't have to reinvent your marriage after you have kids. You don't have to reinvent your marriage. You can just say, you know what I used to do, I should probably do some of that again. Like you know how I used to just greet him when he walked in the door, I should probably stop washing the bottle at the kitchen sink, stop all this and just say, I am happy to see you, just because you're here.

I might listen to him, right? Like I did in the beginning and not tune him out with the rest of the noise of the day, not say, wow, everybody else has been talking to me all day. I really don't care what happened with that case or that file or that patient or that client. I don't care. Just that's great news, honey. I would tune into him. In the very beginning, I listened to what he had to say. So I feel like there are a bunch of very small things that we can do to just rekindle this relationship. And it's not re-inventing, it's just reestablishing what God's already done.

Dr. Tim Clinton: I think a lot of people just lose what we call is attunement. They aren't attuned to each other. So in other words, they don't really see, which by the way then depletes their emotional closeness. They feel alone. They're lost. And then all of a sudden they're supposed to be loving. It's like, oh, I don't know if I like you.

Becky Thompson: I don't even know if I like you. I don't know. I haven't even talked to you. How do I love you, I haven't even talked to you in a few days? We haven't even connected in a few days. How do we get back?

Dr. Tim Clinton: So go back to the grace piece you were talking about for motherhood. How did you start giving that gift to others? It had to start, germinate inside of you.

Becky Thompson: Right. Right. Well, you know what I did? Really, the genesis of this whole heart of grace over guilt began with my first book, Hope Unfolding. And after the blog's massive success, and after all of these readers came, with this mass of people coming came agents and editors. And would you like to write a book? And what would you like to say? And people are listening. What is the one message of your life? I don't know, but they asked, "what's the one message of your life?" and I thought, if I had to go back and look over my life at all of the places where I felt alone, or I felt like God was missing, where I felt like I had missed it somewhere. I would want someone to tune my heart to the voice of the Lord and say, "this is what you were hearing in your spirit."

This is what you were feeling. This is where the enemy was trying to say, you're not a good mom, or you're all alone, or it's always been up to you to do it all. And I would have wanted someone to say, "but here's what God is actually saying to you, daughter." Here's the truth of your life, which is you are never alone and you are doing a great job and it's all going to be okay. I wished that someone had done that for me. And so I decided that I was going to live in a place where I listened to the voice of the Father rather than the voice of guilt.

Here's an example. My daughter told me the other day, "Mom, I'm just not good at that. I'm just terrible at that. I'm the worst." She used these words. And I said to her, "Who told you, you were the worst? Who said that to you? Who made you feel that way? Because it wasn't me. I don't think you're the worst. I think that you are great. I think that you are phenomenal." And you know, I think sometimes as mothers, we can understand God's love more now that we have our own children. We can see God as a father now that we're parents as well.

Because the truth is, God is saying the same thing to us that I said to my little girl. Who told you that you were awful, who told you that you were terrible? Who told you that you were doing a bad job? That is not how I view you. You're the greatest, you are the best. You know what? That was then, let's try again. Can I help you try again? And this is the voice of God for mothers. This is the voice of God for all of us, but specifically for the heart of the mother, if we can tune our hearts to his voice, as he says those things to us, we will come out from under guilt. And we will choose grace.

Dr. Tim Clinton: So if you get lost, though, in this whole parenting process, what happens is you're not attuned to those moments. You're busy, you're preoccupied. You're more worried about task-oriented things. And you don't hear. Paul Tournier used to say, and Dr. Dobson repeated it many, many times, "the busy, preoccupied parent misses many an opportunity to be in those moments." You hear what I'm saying?

And I love that because you're giving grace, freedom to a crazy world that's out of control and we've lost our connection with each other. Let's talk about hope before we go. We're fighting the clock here, like this is awesome. Couple of statements you've made about hope I thought were really significant. One, God hasn't forgotten about your dreams. Why did you write that for moms?

Becky Thompson: You know, when we become so task-oriented, as you said, and focused on what do I have to do? I'm just so focused on just making sure that the kid has the lunch on time. Just so focused on making sure that my son who has this allergy doesn't come into contact with this food this day, when I'm so focused on the doctor's appointment or the shot record or whatever it is that we're so focused on right in front of us, we feel lost in our own lives. When we're so focused on what we're doing right in front of us, we feel lost in our desires and what we want. I had a chance to go get lunch the other day by myself and I didn't even know what I wanted to eat, because I didn't have the kids with me.

I didn't know what I wanted because I'm always so worried about what they want. I had a chance to go get myself lunch and I could not decide because I never get to think about what I want or what I need. But the truth is, just because we are so preoccupied with our children, does not mean that God is more preoccupied with our children than we are. He cares about us like we care about our kids and He has not forgotten about us. He has not forgotten about the desires of our heart or the dreams that He placed inside of us.

And while many of us had the dream and the desire to become a mother, some of us are wrestling with the fact that we have these deep burning dreams within our hearts and no time in our calendar to bring them to fruition. And so I just think it's so important for mothers to know that God sees the deep dreams within us. And while this season might not be the season that we see them come about, He is still turning them inside of us and caring deeply about them. And there is this flame of hope that He wants us to continue until the moment that we see this thing come to pass.

Dr. Tim Clinton: Second one, every moment is a significant part of your story.

Becky Thompson: That's so true.

Dr. Tim Clinton: Believing that you're in the story, that God's in the story. So those moments then are gifts.

Becky Thompson: Absolutely they are. And I think in my own life, because I had such a clear picture of what I thought my life would be, I had such a clear picture of marrying this pastor husband and living this certain way, that when my life didn't turn out the way that I thought it would, I felt lost in my own story. I felt missed in my own story. And when God did bring this all about to be this blog and these books and a chance to share my heart, just not in the way I had imagined, I looked back and I had this rare gift and this rare opportunity to look back over my life and see exactly where God had been, and exactly how God was unfolding it to this point.

And so, most of us moms are in a season where there's not a chance to reflect and look back and we don't know what's coming up ahead, and we're just trying to get through the day and the week and all of that. But the truth is, God is unfolding the story in your life. God is unfolding the story in your heart. He cares about each intimate detail. And when you come to a moment where you're positive that He is with you and for you and loves you, that's when you get to look back and say, wow, I can see where you were now. I can see what you were doing now, God. And He cares. So I think allowing the story to be bigger than what's happening in our homes in this exact moment, brings some freedom to what we're doing.

Dr. Tim Clinton: Three, God is in your hard moments. And four was God's in your ordinary moments. Tell us a little bit about both of those.

Becky Thompson: You know what? There is holy work being done in motherhood.

Dr. Tim Clinton: I like that.

Becky Thompson: There is holy work being done in motherhood.

Dr. Tim Clinton: I agree. Julie and I talk about that all the time.

Becky Thompson: Yes, yes. The simple tasks of repetitive love every moment that we choose to love rather than to rage, every moment that we choose to have patience rather than act out in anger. Every moment that we choose an attribute of God's character, and we choose to bring that into the situation, we have a moment where we reveal God's heart for our kids, and we teach them about who He is and we reveal His nature to our families, but these happen and play out in the ordinary moments of life. And so I think seeing the value in the ordinary moments can be just as powerful as having one grand revelation of God's love.

Dr. Tim Clinton: You know what I love too, it's fascinating. Up on the blog there are ordinary pictures, which by the way are extraordinary, because when you look at them, everybody wants those moments. Because they scream of connection, of grace, of love. Years ago I heard the statement, success is coming home and seeing those noses and hand prints pressed up against the windowpane, waiting for you to get there.

Yeah. What an amazing calling, what a beautiful calling for such a time as this, the explosion of the online world. Here are, and it's obvious, it's obvious that God's doing something. There's a stirring out there. There's a lot of women and by the way, dads too, want to know, am I making a difference? Does it matter? And hey, is there anybody out there with me? Becky, how can people learn more about you?

Becky Thompson: Find me at, and then there are links to my Facebook community and my Instagram account and more of my writing and more of my works there. The Facebook world is really where I guess the most of us gather. So you can find more of my works at, but then I would love for you to come over and join us on Facebook, where you can join the conversation and the hundred thousand grace-filled moms and a few dads who just want to champion one another and just follow the Father.

Dr. Tim Clinton: Hey, can we close with one piece too, and I think this is really significant. One observation I made about your blog, about you is you have a real affection for God's word. You like to bring the word alive. Where'd that come from?

Becky Thompson: My dad and my mama. I think this comes from my personal upbringing. Parents who love the Word, parents who read the Word, parents who believed the Word and lived the Word. And so, you know what I would love, I would love for my readers to know that God is not far off. I would love for my readers to know that God desires to speak and meet them in His Word. And so, the more that I can connect them to the Word, the more I can connect them to the heart of the Father and really the purpose of why I do what I do.

Dr. Tim Clinton: Well we celebrate you and God's calling on your life. To all of our listeners out there, we really pray that God uses these kinds of programs to speak into your life. To let you know again, you are not alone. That's why, by the way, we show up every day on this station at this time, because we want to speak into your life, to let you know that your relationships matter. Your relationship with God, those you love the most, that's what really matters at the end of life. Dr. Dobson says it this way. "All that matters is who you love and who loves you."

Roger Marsh: I'm Roger Marsh, and you've been listening to Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk and a conversation between Dr. Tim Clinton and author, social media star, popular blogger and ministry friend, Becky Thompson. Go to today's broadcast page at to learn where you can read Becky's blog or for more information about how you can pick up one of her encouraging books. That's

Remember, it's not too late. If you haven't done something for your mom yet, go out and get that card or send those flowers or in the case of my mom, get the chocolate, okay. Or ice cream. Even if it means simply just making a call between now and Sunday, she will be very glad you did. And from all of us here at the Dr. James Dobson Family Institute, we hope and pray you have a great Mother's Day weekend. If you're a mom, thank you so much for everything that you do. Please know that you are loved, you are important and valuable. And join us again on Monday for another edition of Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk.

Announcer: This has been presentation of the Dr. James Dobson Family Institute.
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