Tips from 3 seasoned moms - With Family Looking up
June 15, 2021
Sometimes it’s nice to hear from some moms with older kids and more experience. In today’s episode, we interview the ladies from the podcast ‘Family Looking up’ as they share some tips they have learned over the years. Come listen for some laughs and new ideas!
Tips From 3 Seasoned Moms
- with Family Looking UP
The Mom Training Podcast with Diana Ballard
Diana: Alright, hey ladies, welcome to The Mom Training Podcast. We have such a treat for you today. We are going to be talking to Andrea (Nielson), and Beth (Millward), and Camille (Ward), who are the hosts of the podcast Family Looking Up. These ladies are hilarious. Their podcasts are fun to listen to, very informative. They have lots of really cool people that they interview, and they just have a really good jive to them with the three of them together.
We're so excited to have them with us today, and we're going to be learning from them. These are who I would consider as seasoned mom. They have more kids than a lot of us that are listening right now. They have older kids. They’ve been through things up and down, and so, we're going to learn from them today about a couple of tips that they wish they would have known before motherhood or just something that they feel that they could share with us today that would help us in our journey forward. So, Andrea, Beth, and Camille, hey, welcome so much to my podcast.
Andrea: Thanks for having us on.
Beth: So, fun to be here.
Diana: Yeah. I’m so excited. Okay, I would love to hear from Andrea. Let's start with you. Share a little bit about your family, about your kids and stuff like that. And then your tip that you would share with us.
Andrea: Alright. Well, I am married to my husband, Josh, and we've been married for... Oh, shoot. I don’t even remember.
Camille: Probably same as me, and I don’t even remember.
Beth: 75 years. It’s amazing. Congratulations!
Camille: You have to think… Odelle is 20. So, how long did it take you to get pregnant? And go on from there. That’s how I figure it out.
Andrea: Long enough, I can’t remember. I think it’s 23 years. But anyway…
Beth: That’s embarrassing.
Andrea: We have four kids together and my oldest is 20, and my youngest is 12. I have two girls and two boys. I love all the stages. I used to think, “Oh, I’ll be so sad when we’re out of the toddler stage.” And then I went to the elementary age, and I thought, “Oh, this is great.” And then we got into the teenage stage and I truly love the teenage stage too.
Diana: That’s awesome.
Andrea: They all have their challenges, and they all have their benefits.
Diana: Cool. I love that… Okay. What’s something that you would share… Like maybe you wish you wish you would’ve known or something that might help a mom that has like some younger kids and maybe haven’t gone through the stages.
Andrea: When you told us that you want us to talk about this, I was thinking this is kind of a hard question that should be easy. But I feel like, a lot of times, when people are looking for that advice, it’s like that grandma advice that when you’re a young mom, and you are in the trenches, and your kids… You go to a restaurant and they make a huge mess. And you have a grandma come up to you and say, “Oh, just enjoy.”
You’d think, “I don't want to hear that. I really don't want to hear that because right now, this is really hard.” So, I had to really think about what advice I would want to hear if I were a young mom. And I think, what I would say is just to remember – you’re the mom.
There's kind of two parts to that. So, first of all, you're the mom. You're the best mom for your kids. That doesn't mean you're going to be like every other mom on the block, you're going to be different and that's the way you're supposed to be for your kids. And you're going to get a lot of advice from your own mother, from maybe your mother-in-law, from your neighbors, from the grandma in the grocery store, and they probably give great advice, but just take it with a grain of salt, and say, “Okay. That might be good advice that I want to listen to, or that may just not be the right advice for my current situation or for my kids, and that’s okay.” And I mother the way that I think is best for my kids, and it’s okay to just say, “I’m the mom, and I have these kids for a reason, and so...”
So, that's the first part of it. The second part is also to my kids, I'm the mom.
Beth: Yeah, you are. Preach! She’s the mom!... Who’s the mom here? I’m the mom.
Andrea: I’m the mom.
Beth: Your the mom.
Andrea: And sometimes, it’s so sad to say, but I get scared of my own kids.
Beth: Yeah, you do.
Andrea: Like there’s things that I want to do. Like, “Oh, shoot. I really should take away those video games. But then they’re going to tell me, “I’m bored all the time.” And I’m going to have to come up with something or I really need to sleep train, but then what do I do when they’re crying, and I can’t get them to sleep? Or…
There’s so many of these little stages and they happen all through. Like starting with a baby with sleep training, or as a teenager. I mentioned like taking away video games or phones when you think that they have been abused or overused. You're going to find so many different situations through motherhood and I'm sure I have a lot more to come. Where I'm really fearful of what I really need to do, but my mother heart is telling me that this is what needs to happen.
And so, to just try to get rid of that fear and say, “I'm the mom and this is what I think needs to happen”, and do what you need to do. And you know what, generally, I find that it's just a little bit of pain for all a lot like… Let's talk about sleep training...
???: Oh, my gosh.
Diana: That’s tough, right?
Camille: We’re all yawning.
Andrea: I mean, you're exhausted. And I would always be so scared… I’m a proponent and I know not everyone agrees with this. I'm a proponent of, at a certain age, having my kids cry to sleep, and I was always so scared …
Camille: It doesn’t matter if people don’t agree, because you’re the mom.
Andrea: That’s true.
Beth: Yeah, you are.
Andrea: Or like taking away a pacifier, I'll say that one... I was always so scared to take away a pacifier because I thought, how am I going to get him to sleep? Or they're going to freak out or you know… What am I going to do?
And it's like one painful night, and that stage was done.
And so, I think there’s just a lot of things like that, where we're so scared of what might happen, but in the end it's not as bad as we think. We've built it up to such a big thing, but we know that we need to do something. And so, I guess my advice is just remember - you're the mom. That's a powerful thing.
Beth: You’re the mom.
Camille: Own it.
Diana: Yeah, that… I don’t know, what stands out to me is from your two points, the first one for sure is, feeling that empowerment. Feeling that, like trust in yourself… I guess for both of them - trust in yourself. That, “I know what's right for my kids, and I'm going to just have to make that decision and stick with it.” Because I think that's where a lot of mom guilt comes from, it’s the 500 different pieces of advice for one subject that comes in. So, being able to realize, “I am capable of making my own decision, and sticking to it, and being okay with that, and trusting it. I love that.
Andrea: Yeah. And really, I think we always have this fear like, “Once I do this, I can never turn back.”
Camille: Oh, yeah.
Andrea: If I decide that the new rule in our house is - whatever it is, we're only going to watch TV for an hour, the whole week. Like I can't go back... You know what, we can always change. We can say, “All right, new rules.”
I’m the mom.
Andrea: We’re going to change things up… There are very few things in life that are permanent, So, we make mistakes, we own up to it, and we just do the best we can.
Diana: Oh, I love that. That’s awesome… Yeah, and I think that's so important to also realize that you being the mom, you can be flexible.
Andrea: Yeah, yeah.
Diana: Yeah. Oh, thank you so much. That was absolutely wonderful… And your family is beautiful. I love… I was just looking at your website, and all your guys’ pictures of your families; like you’ve such beautiful families.
Andrea: Thank you.
Diana: Yeah. Okay, let's hear from Beth here, and tell me about your…
Beth: Uh, so many things to tell you.
Diana: Share your wisdom with us.
Beth: You know, we’re going to need some time because I know things…
These guys’ kids are much older but they seem to know so much less than me. So, I feel bad for them, honestly.
Camille: Beth, herself can't even comprehend… All of her own knowledge. It’s so hard.
Beth: Half of my thoughts are non-comprehensible.
I have five kids. My oldest is 12, and I have a two-year-old. He’s going to turn three soon. I’ve four boys and a girl. And my second is the girl and she truly, in her soul, believe she is the oldest. And we just let it happen, because she's not wrong. She's basically the eldest. She's very good at taking care of everyone.
So, I have my five little kids. They are wild and crazy, and I am sad to say that I'm starting to feel the feels of like, “Ah, they grow up so fast. Why didn’t I hold them more?” All the things that… Like Andrea said, if the grandma says that to me, three years ago, I was just like, “Stop, you know nothing. You know nothing about my life. Stop talking to me. I am so tired.”
And now, it goes fast.
So, the thing with trying to give young moms advice is that - it is so hard to see past where you are right now, and I don't think that is a bad thing at all. Like I'm not saying like moms need to see further ahead, because you can't. It is impossible to see from where you are at right now. So, I think, as moms that are a little more seasoned, I think we need to remember those young moms are in such a hard time, and they are feeling it, so let's just support them instead of trying to shove our advice down their throat.
And it's just, because I feel all those feelings that I would love to tell my little siblings, like, “Oh my goodness, just hold them and love them.” But I know that's so annoying. So, I just keep it to myself and I just hold them and love them for them.
So, my first bit of advice… That wasn't my advice…
Andrea: Wow, she said all that… Now, you have… Oh, I see…
Beth: No… That was just side note because I have so much wisdom.
My first and most important piece of wisdom - young moms with babies in diapers. There is never a time, it is okay, to keep a poopy diaper in your house.
Beth: Like, I have walked into three homes recently, where they said… I walked in and I was like, “Whoa, is there poopy diapers in this house?” They said, “Oh, yeah.” I'm like, “Do you put in your garbage can?” And they're like, “Yeah.” I was like, “This has to stop.”
“I realized that you have not left the house and you can't smell it, but the rest of the world can.”
Diana: Oh, my gosh.
Beth: So, this is my first piece of advice - throw the diaper outside. And if you can't take care of it right now, fine.
Camille: Get it outside.
Beth: Put it outside.
Camille: That's where filth belongs.
Beth: That may seem foolish, but I'm telling you, you can't tell that it stinks, sometimes, but the rest of us can. So, do everyone a favor and throw it outside.
Okay, also not my real piece of advice.
Now, my real piece of advice…
Diana: Now, that really is a real piece of advice there.
Beth: That is a real piece of advice.
Diana: That is.
Beth: I didn’t realize that people thought that that was okay, until very recently when I walked into some homes with babies, and I was like…
Camille: That's not okay.
Beth: But they were my family, so I couldn't ask them upfront like, “What is that smell?”
Beth: They just thought it was fine. And so, now, I'm seeing other people might think that. So, I just want to clear it up, okay. Not okay.
But here's the real piece of advice - is that there really are no… There's no extremes in parenting, or there's no place for extremes in parenting. So, I think, sometimes we start reading things and hearing things, and we are on the way… Like, “Breast is best.” And that’s it, and I will not change from that. And that is what is right.
Camille: And not just for you but for everybody.
Beth: For everybody.
Camille: That is the way it is done.
Beth: Yes, and I just don't think there's a spot in parenting for that. I think that you can do things that work great for your family, that will work horrible for another family. And I think you can have a real hope and dream for what you can do for your child and you might just have to change that…
For taking the example of breastfeeding. Let's go with a controversial one here. If you really want to breastfeed your baby and your baby is not getting enough food, then it is okay to feed them a bottle. And all the ideas and hope you had for that child might be really hard; like a hard pill to swallow. But in the end, your baby needs to be fed.
And I think that we get caught up in these extreme ideas that it is the only way, and I will not deviate from that… My child will take a nap every day at two o'clock, and this will happen this way. And it doesn't help you be a better mom. It really is debilitating, and I think moms just need to give themselves a little more grace, and take people's advice, and read all the things. And then decide what works for you, and maybe really try hard to do that thing that you just hoped and dreamed will work… It doesn't work, and it's okay.
And I think you need to do that for yourself and also other moms as you're watching, how they parent, or you feeling the need to give advice, there's no room for extremes. It's just different with every kid, different for every mom, and it’s going to change throughout. Even day by day, little kids are changing so much, something that worked amazing yesterday, could totally flop today. And that doesn't mean anything. It just means it didn't work today.
So, I think that it's important for all of us and even… I mean, it doesn't matter if your kid’s 20 or two, it’s these things don't always work the same way or you need to change them…
Camille: Sometimes, we base our worth…
Camille: On that extreme idea that that is the mom that we are, and it robs our joy.
Beth: Yup, it does.
Camille: If it doesn't work that day, or if it doesn't work at all.
Beth: Yup. And we put these like definitive numbers, even like, “If it took me nine months to gain the baby weight. Then it should not take more than nine months to lose the baby weight.” I remember telling myself that over and over, because I was having a hard time with my last one. But I was like, “I have nine months. It's okay. It took nine months; I have nine months.” Well nine months came and went, and my fifth baby was not as easy to lose the weight as my other babies. And we just give ourselves these numbers and ideas that it's like, “Why? Where did they even come up with them? Is that a doctrine somewhere that I read?” Or I just made this thing up in my mind and I was so stuck on this idea that then when nine months passed, I was devastated. There's, “What's wrong with me? This is horrible… Blah blah blah…”
Diana: Well, sometimes, you can't control.
Diana: Like I just… So, I’m about to have my fourth baby and I'm preparing for any type of birth. Because, in the beginning, I wanted all natural. Second, I had to have part induction. The third one, I chose an epidural. And who knows what I’m going to do with this one?
I don’t know!... I think you’re right. Like if we get so stuck in our extremes… There's a lot of emotional and mental turmoil, that could go in. Like if I’m going in fully expecting one thing but say that there's something wrong, and a C-section has to happen or they’re saying, “Hey, you're going to need to have help to have this baby right now. You need to be induced”, or just there's things out of our control. That you’re right, if we are extreme, if we're not able to be flexible mentally, physically, emotionally, whatever… Then that could really lock us into a box.
Beth: And I think it takes a lot of practice, and that's okay too, but like, just saying like, “Hey, this is what I want to have happen - I'd love to go have your baby. I’d love to do it naturally. But if not, well, we'll do it a different way.” Like I just love that…
Camille: The baby's coming out, no matter what, you see… Right.
Beth: Yeah, like it’s coming out. And instead of just ruining your whole birthing experience with this idea, you don't even get to enjoy it when you’re so stuck on that. Just say like, “The important thing is the baby being born.” Right? That’s the end goal here is we want to hold that perfect little baby. And so, if it comes out with a C-section or naturally, or induced, or whatever, the end goal is the same.
And it’s the same throughout all of parenting. Like what is your end goal? Well, maybe I didn't get to it the way I wanted to, but now, look at these kids that I… They're fun to hang out with. That’s what I wanted and we got there.
Diana: You did your best… Yeah.
Beth: And they got jobs, we did it… So, that is all my wisdom.
Camille: That’s it.
Beth: That’s it. Don’t ask me another question because I’m literally out.
Camille: It’s over.
Diana: Love it… That’s so funny. Awesome. Thank you so much for sharing. And I will say, with the poopy diaper thing, yeah, I definitely learned that from the beginning. We have a dog now, so that can’t be thrown right outside.
Diana: She finds them, and I won't tell you what she does with them. But she finds them.
Yeah, but it goes straight out on the trash, I don’t care if it’s snowing or whatever, that’s out.
Beth: Okay… Good on you. You’ve done it.
Camille: That's the only absolute.
I think in parenting, breast – bottle, sleep – not sleep…
Andrea: Home school, vaccination, whatever.
Camille: Medicine – natural… But you throw that dang poopy diaper outside.
There’s no excuse for that kind of behavior.
Diana: Oh, so true. Right there with you. This is awesome. Thank you for that wisdom, Beth. That was awesome.
Okay, Camille, tell me about your family, and some of your wisdom as well.
Camille: Oh, I don't have much wisdom, but I do have a lot of kids.
So, I have six kids. We kind of almost had two families because… All from the same parents, not like I remarried or anything. But we had four kids. So, those are ages 20, 18, 16, 14. Then we had a big gap where we got to do the whole miscarriage and can’t get pregnant thing for several years. And then we have an eight-year-old and a six-year-old.
They, simultaneously, keep us young and wear us out. But the wearing out is much bigger than keeping us young.
But we love it. It's an interesting dynamic to have that many kids with that big of a spread. Because then, you're doing teenager and diapers. But then you give the poopy diaper to the teenager and tell him to get it outside.
Andrea: Oh, that is handy.
Camille: So, there are some pros to it. But yeah, it's a funny thing. I think through all of motherhood, you feel like you're almost having this out of body experience when you get to new stages. So, when you have a kid start to walk, you're like, “Oh my gosh, it's actually happening. I’m here.” Or potty training, or start middle school, or high school, or start driving… All of them, is this surprising adventure that you're actually there.
And so, I have two kids who have left the house now, of their own volition. They weren't imprisoned or anything.
But the oldest is living in Italy on a mission for our church, and he'll be home in just like 60 days, finally. The next one is in Hawaii, going to college, and she'll be home four days after him So, we're going to have a big summer, of all six kids all back at home again, for the first time in a couple years and…
Diana: Oh, that’s awesome.
Camille: We're going to try to simultaneously, have a great time, and I'm going to try not to lose my mind.
Andrea: Good luck.
Camille: That’s my end goal, right there.
Andrea: That’s the end goal of motherhood, isn’t it?
Camille: It is, just honestly trying to hang on to your sanity.
Andrea: Have fun but don’t lose your mind.
Camille: You're most likely going to lose your mind but…
Andrea: To have fun… That’s debatable.
Camille: Have fun. Just try and have fun... I love my kids. It's a lot of fun, and I love being a mom... I don't love every minute, because that's normal. And I think that that is part of my message that I wanted to share, which is - I think, especially as a young mom, when we look at ‘the mom’ we want to be, we see the perfect moms that we think are perfect. We see the moms that we think are doing everything and have the kids turn out great. And they're just crushing it, according to our vision. But we're really comparing their outsides to our insides.
The truth is that when we really put all the moms up against each other, all of our efforts are our best mostly. I mean, we all like really are trying hard, but it's not perfect and it's really messy, and it's pretty mediocre, because we're all human beings. And some days we're just really tired and other days we don't feel great and other days we're really busy. And I think that's the biggest message is that there is this idea that we have to be perfect.
And we say we understand, but we don't, we do not understand that really, I think, as moms. Because we care so much about these kids. We don't want to screw it up. But we have to give ourselves some grace, and understand, that if we're trying, we are crushing it. That means crushing it. Trying means crushing it. Not perfection, not what it looks like - the sparkly life, but just trying, you're crushing it. You're loving that kid, and that's what it's all about.
Diana: Right. And I think that kind of connects with Andrea's point too about the, “you're the mom” and realizing that we can't always be like everybody else. And a lot of times, we don't really want to be. Like if we really thought about it, and we see this person that looks really good on the outside, that maybe is really fit and things. But maybe she struggles in another area that we just don't know… It's just…
Camille: She does. That thing. It’s that she does struggle in another area. I think that's one of the great things about doing a podcast, is that you get to talk to all different kinds of moms from all over the world. We've had a chance now to interview people from several different countries, and you realize that there is this just humanity between all moms. That we all want the same thing for our kids, which is the best. And we're all trying our hardest; doesn't matter what country we're from, what religion we're from, what culture we're from, we all have the same goal.
And I think we all struggle with this perfection syndrome, and feeling like we're not enough. But we are enough. We are the mom for a reason. And as long as we're trying, we're succeeding.
Diana: I love that. I totally agree with you. And I think, overall message from what all three of you talked about here is really about the empowerment of being a mom. Because it's realizing that we have a choice. We don't have to be the black and white; like between extremes, we have, we have options. We don't have to be perfect. It's really about loving ourselves, and feeling the worth that we have as a mother in whoever that we are, wherever that we're at in that moment. Whatever we're focusing on, whatever we are capable of in our own home. Like that is enough. So, I love that.
Camille: Yeah, I think our other underlying message always with all of that is one of our best tools to really believe that and live that is to also find the humor in all of it. We just always… Again, we get so caught up in all this like we're just trying so hard, we're doing this, we're doing that, and trying to be perfect. And we're also, the mom in this, this, this, this. And in the end with, when the day is over. You've had great successes, you've had some big fails and you can just kind of laugh at like, how hilarious this mom thing is because it's so hard.
It's such a huge job. It's not just a little piddly, we have to bake cookies… It is a huge job, and if you can’t find some fun and humor in it, then you're just really missing out on some of the greatest parts of being a mom. And you're also torturing yourself throughout the whole process of just taking it so seriously. Of course, now, it’s the most important job in the world, but you can’t take it so seriously all the time, or you'll just go crazy.
And so, we always try to make sure throughout all of our podcast, and our interviews, and anything we do that… I mean, we obviously love to laugh like we really think laughter is just a key part of…
Beth: Of coping… Yes.
Camille: Coping. It really is a coping mechanism.
Beth: Yes, it is. Very much.
Camille: And it’s isn’t just tiny babies, up to grown people, you can always find something to laugh at and just take yourself a little less seriously.
Diana: I agree. I totally agree. Well, you guys, I’ve listened to multiple of your podcast, and they really are funny.
Diana: You guys do great together, and being able to share that message, and the humor.
Yeah, so Family Looking Up is their podcast. You definitely want to check them out. They are on Instagram as well, @Family Looking Up… Right? Just that, Family Looking Up?
Diana: They post stuff in their stories, and on their pages there. So, definitely, if you’ve enjoyed hearing from these ladies, their fun and their humor, and the three of them together, make sure that you’re checking that out. And thank you, ladies, so much for sharing a couple of tips with us, and about your beautiful families and we’ve really enjoyed having you guys on here today.
Camille: Thank you so much, Diana.
Andrea: Thank you for having us. This has been fun.
Beth: Thank you.
Diana: Yeah. And I hope to connect with you guys again, and ladies, we'll see you next week on The Mom Training Podcast.