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Ditching the Cranky Monster Mom

Ditching the Cranky Monster Mom

In a lighthearted but insightful conversation based on her book The Cranky Mom Fix, Becky Kopitzke describes how frustrated moms can identify what triggers their anger, embrace forgiveness and grace, and offer kinder, gentler responses to their children for a more peaceful home.
Original Air Date: April 9, 2021

Excerpt:

Becky Kopitzke: In those moments, if we’ve had a mom fail or a dad fail, we have got to remind our children that they are loved.

Jim Daly: Yeah.

Becky: Because, the last thing I want, is for my kids to think that God’s love for them is dependent on their performance. And, if I’m modeling that for them, it’s gonna be harder for them to believe that God loves them just the way they are, if mom only loves you when you do things right.

End of Excerpt

John Fuller: Becky Kopitzke joins us today on Focus on The Family and your host is Focus President and Author Jim Daly. Thanks for joining us. I’m John Fuller.

Jim: John, I don’t know how your household is, but at the Daly home, uh, mom, Jean, she sets the tone. Uh, she’s the temperature gauge, if she’s in a great mood, everything is running pretty good. And, uh, I’m not sure if that’s true for you.

John: It generally is. We’re all very aware of mom’s emotional-

Jim: (laughs)

John: … state. (laughs)

Jim: I love that old saying, you know, “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.”

John: Uh-huh.

Jim: And it’s so true, and I don’t think it’s a bad thing actually. I think if mom’s happy, that’s a good thing, and that should be part of the goal of keeping your marriage healthy, et cetera. Today, we’re gonna talk about parenting and here at Focus, uh, you know, those are our two main themes. Marriage and parenting, and we want you to have the best family environment that you can have. And we’re gonna help you today to learn to, uh, ditch the parenting monster, if I can call it that. Uh, sometimes, it does rear its ugly head, we get that. It happens in the Daly home, I’m sure it’s happened in the Fuller home.

John: It does in ours too. Mm-hmm.

Jim: It’s just, kind of, it, you know? Kids have an incredible way of, uh, pushing your triggers and bringing up, perhaps, the monster in you as a parent. Uh, to do that, we’ve invited, uh, recovering monster mom, Becky Kopitzke, and she’s gonna join us today.

John: And, Becky and her husband Chad, live in Wisconsin and, uh, have two daughters, Clara and Noelle, and Becky coaches Christian writers and speakers and podcasters, and, uh, she’s an author, and her latest book is The Cranky Mom Fix

Jim: (laughs)

John: …. Get A Happier More Peaceful Home by Slaying The Momster In All Of Us. Uh, stop by our website, focusonthefamily.com/broadcast, or give us a call to get your copy.

Jim: Becky, welcome to Focus on The Family.

Becky: Oh, thank you for having me.

Jim: It’s great to have you. Now, you’re from Wisconsin, of course, John’s from there too, so you two have been just going at it here.

Becky: Oh, yes. We know what it’s like to survive winter.

John: (laughs)

Jim: I’ve never heard names of little towns like this. (laughs)

Becky: (laughs)

Jim: What was the one you guys were talking about?

John: Well, y- you mentioned growing up in…

Becky: I, well, I live in Neenah, I grew up in New Holstein.

John: Mm-hmm.

Becky: Which is the ultimate cow town.

Jim: (laughs)

Becky: We’ve got all sorts of them, we got Waukesha, we’ve got Waukegan, we’ve got Fond Du Lac. Yeah. A- All sorts of names that no one can pronounce.

Jim: This is great, I love it.

Becky: (laughs)

Jim: I hope to get up there. My mom was from Wisconsin, so-

Becky: Oh, really?

Jim: … I’ve really not spent any time up there.

John: Let’s, let’s do a road trip, Jim.

Jim: Okay, let’s go.

Becky: Tell me.

Jim: Uh, lots of cheese, I think.

John: I think that’s in the cards, yup.

Jim: (laughs)

Becky: Good people are bred in Wisconsin. (laughs)

Jim: Okay, let’s get to the Momster terminology, you-

Becky: Yes.

Jim: … I think claimed this phrase, Momster. I love it.

Becky: The Momster.

Jim: How did, uh, the monster mom first show up in your life, mom?

Becky: Well, unfortunately, it was very early on in my parenting career. I had this wonderful idea, that I was going to be the patient, kind, ever-loving, soft and gentle mom-

Jim: (laughs)

Becky: … until I had an actual child in my hands.

John: Yes.

Becky: And this child has a will of her own from infancy, our children have a will of their own, that’s how God has designed them. And, for me, sadly, the Momster first appeared when my first daughter, Clara, was only a few weeks old. She woke me up in the middle of the night, as was the norm at that stage in life, every mother with a newborn knows what that’s about, but I was just exhausted after the first few weeks. I was feeling shell shocked from motherhood. And I got up to give her a diaper change and a feeding, and there was just this blow out diaper. Now, mothers-

Jim: (laughs)

Becky: … you know what I’m talking about, right?

Jim: That’ll push your trigger.

Becky: (laughs) That’ll push your trigger. And I actually growled at my baby-

Jim: Awe.

Becky: … my three-week-old beautiful baby. I just said, “Ugh, mommy is so tired. Why won’t you let me sleep?” And then, immediately, what’s like the Holy Spirit, slapped me across the face, and I had this outpouring of guilt, and I wept over the changing table. My poor three-week-old baby did not deserve that from me, and that’s when I recognized that motherhood will squeeze out the most sinful parts-

John: Hmm.

Becky: … of a woman, even one who thinks that she is very in tune with God and thinks she’s got it under control. Oh, no. (laughs) No, even the best of us Christian women can fall apart when we hit those triggers, that call the Momster to play.

Jim: Well, obviously the, the question is, why does the Momster exist? I mean, what’s in us that-

Becky: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … allows us to react to that? Of course, a three-week-old baby can’t i- i- I mean, what do they know about pushing your buttons?

Becky: Yes.

Jim: They’ll learn that a little later. (laughs)

Becky: Oh, yeah. They will. (laughs)

John: (laughs) Yeah.

Jim: But, I mean, at that point, “Hey, I just have a dirty diaper and I’m hungry.”

Becky: Yes. Yes.

Jim: So-

Becky: All, all they’re asking from us, is to raise them the way God has called us to do but the problem, we like to blame it on the kids. You can’t blame a three-week-old-

Jim: No.

Becky: … for, for waking you up. As the kids get older, they will, they will push your buttons but even then, we want to blame it on the kids, but the culprit is really our own hearts. The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure, so who can understand it? We certainly cannot really understand our own hearts. And, when our sin is unveiled, we’ve gotta look at ourselves first before we blame the kids. We’ve gotta know.

Jim: And that’s how you begin to tame that Momster, right, look at yourself.

Becky: Yes, identify that.

Jim: Okay. So, how do you go through that process?

Becky: Well, (laughs) sorry, unfortunately, that’s the lifelong process but it-

Jim: (laughs)

Becky: … it, it begins in knowing, my kids are not my enemy. My kids are on my team. If we are starting with the foundation of that truth, then we can approach them in God honoring way. But, if we feel like our kids are the culprit, our kids are the enemy, our kids are the source of our sin, then we’ve got it all wrong. So, we’ve gotta look at ourselves first and understand what control we have and what control we don’t have. And then, just recognize that tuning into Jesus, is gonna take us a long way in this route to taming the Momster. Because our enemy is on the prowl, he would want us to do anything that’s unloving because God is love. So, anytime we act unloving, Satan gets another point. For me, just enough to know that he’s got a hold of me in that moment, I can snap out of it and say, “No way, Satan. You will not get my family today.” We’ve got to identify who the enemy really is and it’s not our kids.

Jim: You know, I don’t think I’ve asked this of a guest but you’re, you’re in this territory, so I’m gonna do it.

Becky: (laughs) Oh, no.

Jim: I mean, there are non-believers that listen to Focus on The Family, I think it’s really hard to find good marriage and parenting content in the culture-

Becky: Absolutely.

Jim: … so they tune in, and if you’re there, we’re grateful that you’re there.

Becky: Yeah.

Jim: But, when we’re talking about the influence of evil in our heart or in our lives and we refer to Satan, some people might be going, “Is this woman crazy?”

Becky: (laughs)

Jim: You’re not crazy, I know that, and I agree with you whole heartedly by the way but describe that a little bit spiritually what’s going on there.

Becky: Sure. So, what’s going on there is, is, there is this realm of good and evil that exists in the world, and, and for those of us who are believing on Jesus, we know that in the heavenlies, there’s an enemy of God. And he’s got his demon cronies and I even explain to people that I, I mentor, that sounds really woo woo, right, it sounds-

Jim: (laughs) Yeah, it does.

Becky: … kinda, creepy, um, but it’s just the reality of a supernatural world and we live in a supernatural world. And some of us choose to acknowledge that, some of us don’t, but in general, it’s just the battle of wills. Our sin nature is a part of the ugliness inside of us that never really goes away, even when we’re following Jesus. When faith is strong in our lives, we’re always gonna battle this tendency, this temptation, to do something that is not gonna have a good output. And tha- you can blame it on Satan, you can blame it on y- all sorts of moods, or there can be all sorts of reasons that we-

Jim: Sure.

Becky: … that we will place on, “Why am I acting this way?”

Jim: But it’s really when we fall short-

Becky: Fall short.

Jim: … of living up to, um, the Lord’s desire for us, really.

Becky: Yes. Yes, and he does have a desire for us-

Jim: Yeah.

Becky: … and do we recognize that-

Jim: For good.

Becky: … as a first step? Yes.

Jim: And, you’ll notice it in your marriage and if you got any, uh, selfishness or, uh, bad things remaining after that, then you’ll see it in your parenting, (laughs)-

Becky: Yeah. (laughs)

Jim: … and that’s what you’re describing.

Becky: Yes.

Jim: Uh, tell us about the day your daughter, um, is it Noelle?

Becky: Noelle’s my younger one, yes.

Jim: So, Noelle, your younger one-

Becky: Yes.

Jim: … when she had a nap or a non-nap experience-

Becky: (laughs)

John: (laughs)

Jim: … how did that bring up the mom- Momster in you?

Becky: (laughs) Well, so Noelle was two years old and it was nap time, and I like to enforce nap time because nap time is my (laughs) quiet time. So, she had just gotten a toddler bed, which meant that now she was free to roam, she wasn’t stuck in the crib. And so, she developed this habit of thinking that nap time was just optional because now I can roam free from my bed. So, I had a baby gate that blocked the hallway of her bedroom from the kitchen, and she would pop out of her bed and, and patter over to the gate, say, “Mommy, mommy.” And, I would say, “Go back to bed,” and I would take her hand and I’d lead her back to her bed and say, “It’s nap time now. Night, night. See you when you’re done.” And then, she would patter back to, to the gate, and I wo- I just had it one day. I was so frustrated with her. I said, “I’m done, you’re going back into that bed, and I’m going into the other room where you cannot see me.” And I went and sat on a sofa and couple seconds later I heard a boom and a crash, and my little stinker, at two years old, busted down the baby gate-

John: (laughs)

Becky: … and came paddling toward me, “Mama.” And, I got so angry, (laughs)-

Jim: (laughs)

Becky: … I star- she’s a stuffed animal girl, she has always been a stuffed animal girl, I gathered up all of her stuffed animals from the entire house and I shouted, “I am gonna throw away all of your stuffed animals. They’re going in the trash.” And she started bawling and I was giving myself this fuming pep talk, you know, “You’ve gotta stand strong. She’s being rebellious, and you’ve gotta make sure she doesn’t become an outlaw when she grows up-

Jim: (laughs)

John: (laughs)

Becky: … and so, just lay down the law.” And then, she started crying and saying, “Mommy, I want you.” And I stopped in my tracks-

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Becky: … and I thought, “Well, what kind of an outlaw says that?” (laughs) And she just turned to me and she said, “Mommy,” she had her hands open, sniffling, “I want you to hold me.”

Jim: Awe.

Becky: And, I thought, “Oh, I did it again. I let the law lead my actions instead of love.” Because, underlying it, what did she really want? She wanted my love, and I didn’t give it to her. Instead, you know, I gave her an attack on all of her stuffed animals. (laughs)

Jim: Wow, that is a powerful picture.

Becky: Because what do we do when we allow our anger to take over, instead of tuning into Jesus who is about love and grace? Firm stance, yes, but I needed to let love lead my actions because underneath it all, she was having insecurities about napping, she wanted a hug.

Jim: Hmm.

Becky: And what did I give her instead of a hug? I gave the rules and I gave her ranting. And then, of course, I started drowning in my regret over that situation. I knelt down and I snuggled her, and I gave her a hug, and she was crying and I was near crying. And, as soon as I rocked her, she fell asleep in my arms, in the kitchen.

Jim: Awe.

John: Hmm.

Jim: That’s beautiful, I love that.

Becky: (laughs)

Jim: The, um, you know, the difficulty is, there are times, as a parent, that you need to do those things.

Becky: Absolutely.

Jim: Um, but you always wanna put love first. I love that-

Becky: Yes.

Jim: … that you’re thinking about. First, finding out-

Becky: Yes.

Jim: … what do you need from me? Why are you acting this way?

Becky: Yes.

Jim: But it does take an adult to do that-

Becky: Yes.

Jim: … and, I guess, it comes back to those triggers. There’s so many moms listening right now going, “That’s me. That’s what I do-

Becky: Yeah.

Jim: … I get frustrated, I get angry.”

Becky: Yes.

Jim: And let’s hit some of those other triggers just really quickly-

Becky: Yeah.

Jim: … and then we’ll continue on.

Becky: Sure, because we like to say it’s the kid’s behavior-

Jim: Yeah.

Becky: … but there are so many underlying triggers-

Jim: Yeah.

Becky: … and there can be so many. They can be physical triggers such as, “I’ve got a headache,” or, “I’m exhausted, I didn’t get enough sleep,” or, you know, “I’m, I’m not feeling well today.” Or environmental triggers such as, maybe honestly, sometimes it’s raining, it looks gloomy outside, “I’m just not in the best mood today,” or, “I’m too hot. I’m too cold.” Or, or emotional triggers. My goodness, anytime my husband and I’ve had an argument, it is much more difficult for me to give my kids kind and calm attention because my tapes are playing about the argument that my husband and I had.

Jim: Yeah.

Becky: And, it could be a variety of stresses or emotions, that are happening to us, that have nothing to do with the children, and we take it out on the kids. Um, and then, spiritual triggers. If, I have noticed, when I am not spending time talking with the Lord, when I am not praying before I act, then I’m far more likely to be cranky. And not a single one of us is gonna do this perfectly, that’s why I talk to women about this because I have done it so imperfectly and yet, I found ways to identify my triggers. And we need to identify them because then we’re beating a known adversary.

Jim: Hmm.

Becky: If we don’t put our finger on what exactly is causing this, then we, we’ll, we won’t be able to beat it.

John: Yeah, this is Focus On The Family, and today we’re talking with Becky Kopitzke, and, uh, her book is The Cranky Mom Fix: Get A Happier More Peaceful Home By Slaying The Momster In All Of Us. Stop by focusonthefamily.com/broadcast or give us a call for your copy. 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY.

Jim: Again, you get to share all your foibles with us, but you had a story about your daughter in the book, uh, where I think she was, uh, gonna be competing in a-

Becky: (laughs)

Jim: … geography bee, or something like that.

Becky: Yes.

Jim: And it ended up being this, ugh, this moment. What did-

Becky: Yes.

Jim: … you learn (laughs) in that process?

Becky: (laughs) Well, I learned how to humble myself, I’ll tell you that, but my daughter Clara was in fifth grade at the time, and she had been selected among all of her classmates, to participate in the school-wide geography bee, and the GOB was a big deal. So, I had bought her, by her request, she begged me to buy her the study guide for the National Geographic GOB.

Jim: Makes sense.

Becky: Absolutely, and I’m all for supporting education, so I bought her this book. And then, fast forward about a month, we got through Christmas break, and she said to me, in the evening, “Mom, tomorrow’s the GOB.” I said, “What? Tomorrow is the GOB?” “Yeah, mom. It’s tomorrow.” And I realized she had not cracked open that book. (laughs)

Jim: Hmm.

Becky: And, I said, “I bought you the study guide. I thought your intention was to study from it, so that you could do your best in the GOB.” And I got so upset with her for wasting the time that she could’ve spent on this book, that she asked me to buy, and I spent my good hard earned money, right? (laughs)

Jim: Oh, yeah.

Becky: We like to say that as moms.

Jim: Yeah.

Becky: I bought this book for her and she wasted the opportunity and here she was gonna compete without being prepared, and I just berated her for it. And then, she got so upset with me and I realized that I was, what I was imparting on her, was first of all, my own perfectionism. So, I needed to separate myself from her at that moment. And then, I said, “All right, you know what? Instead of making this about anger, let’s take advantage of this opportunity. We are gonna have a study party tonight, okay-

Jim: (laughs) I bet.

Becky: … let’s just forget that you, you didn’t spend the whole month,” and over Christmas break, really, what kind of a mother expects her child, her fifth grader, to be spending all of her free time studying for a GOB, that doesn’t really, you know, have any ramifications in her life long term. So, I said, “Let’s have a study party.” So, we cracked open that book and I said, “For every a- right answer you give me, you are gonna get an M&M and we’re gonna have pizza,” and we ended up having a great time but that was a band-aid. The, the study party that we had and all the chocolate, that I now keep on hand, (laughs) for those apology moments.

John: (laughs)

Jim: (laughs) This may not be wise, but.

Becky: Right? (laughs) No, not, n- not what I recommend. But all of that, had to happen because I didn’t handle it well in the first place.

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Yeah.

Becky: So, that little stinker went to school the next day and between fifth to eighth graders, she ended up making third place in that GOB anyway.

John: Hmm.

Becky: And, and, did you know, it’s completely impossible to truly prepare for the National Geographic GOB? (laughs) You basically have to be, you know, an expert on the game of Jeopardy, nobody really can answer all of those questions. And so, I felt so horrible that I had imparted my own perfectionism on her, when really, she was just excited to go and do the GOB.

Jim: Yeah. And, you- you’ve, kind of, answered this next question, but we need to ask it and fill it out with other examples because what you’re describing in the examples that you’ve given, are certain degrees of response, and some good outcomes actually. The idea that you’re able to pull back. And, I think for some parents, Christian parents too, uh, it’s hard to recognize that pit of despair and triggering that we fall into.

Becky: Yes.

Jim: And so, you know, if you go over the line, if you don’t come up with the, “Okay, we’re gonna do the fun study night tonight,” and you stay in the anger part of it-

Becky: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … like, “Why did you not schedule your time?”

Becky: Yeah.

Jim: And you can really, y- y- you can heap on the guilt, when what they need is help.

Becky: Yes.

Jim: ‘Cause, they’re not, you know, still, in the teen years, they’re not fully functioning-

Becky: No.

Jim: … and they need guidance at times. And it does frustrate us as parents that they’re not thinking straight.

Becky: Right.

Jim: You, kinda, y- y- you’re getting all-.

Becky: Uh, right.

Jim: … the lingo here.

Becky: Yes, exactly.

Jim: But so, how, how do you pull back, as a parent, when you notice you’re stuck in the mud, so to speak?

Becky: Mm-hmm. Absolutely. Well first, we do need to recognize. Like you said, these kids are not adults, they are not adults, and we can’t expect them to think or act like adults. It is our job to train them up to be wise adults, but they’re not there yet. And proverbs tells us, “Folly is bound up in the heart of a child.” That means that that’s part of their natural state, so are we going to berate them for that, or are we going to help nurture their positive qualities into maturity? So-

Jim: Yes, and yes.

Becky: (laughs)

Jim: (laughs)

John: (laughs)

Becky: Exactly.

Jim: Not the right answer, but it’s true.

Becky: Isn’t that why we’re talking today, right? (laughs) But, I, I believe i- when we have not handled our parenting well, when we have those blunders, or those mom fails, I like to call them, and I have had so many, and the pain is real, it’s on both sides, we’re both wallowing in pain and, and disappointment and regret. So, start, we need to start by humbling ourselves and recognizing that we did not handle that well, and then acknowledge the mistake. Acknowledge our own mistake and the child’s, right? So, I needed to acknowledge, “I should not have come down on you so hard about this GOB. I recognize that it was i- you were excited about it, and I should’ve been excited about it for you.” And then, I need to apologize to my daughter and ask her for forgiveness and apologizing to our kids does not show weakness. Apologizing shows them that we rely on Jesus, just as we want them to.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Becky: In fact, I think it gives them a greater opportunity to know the Lord than if we had ex- expected perfection from them and from ourselves. So, we’ve got to ask for that forgiveness. But then, there is a degree of holding the child responsible, because it’s not a, you get out of jail free card either because she did have a responsibility in this situation, to prepare for the GOB. My responsibility was to respond to that situation with more grace and more kindness, and I didn’t handle it well. So, but I, I told her, I said, “All right, so you didn’t prepare but I want you to be responsible for that, but let’s work on the solution together.” That’s when we brainstorm solutions together, and that’s how we came up with the study party and said, “Let’s make it fun.” But, most importantly, in those moments, if we’ve had a mom fail or a dad fail, we have got to remind our children that they are loved-

Jim: Yeah.

Becky: … because the last thing I want, is for my kids to think that God’s love for them, is dependent on their performance. And, if I’m modeling that for them, it’s gonna be harder for them to believe that God loves them just the way they are, if mom only loves you when you do things right.

Jim: Let me ask you this, I, I think one of the challenges many parents face, is learning to respect your child-

John: Hmm.

Jim: … because we get in a mentality, “They know nothing, and we know everything.”

Becky: Yes.

Jim: And, sometimes that’s true, often times that’s true, (laughs) speaking as a parent-

Becky: (laughs)

Jim: … but sometimes it’s not true, and you need to learn how to respect your child as they’re getting older, et cetera.

Becky: Yes.

Jim: And, if you can do that, that’s the other element of-

Becky: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … having a really good parenting experience. Love and respect of your children.

Becky: Love and respect.

Jim: How do you get into that spot to respect them? How do you make room for that? I- E-

Becky: Yeah.

Jim: … you got any stories of-

Becky: I-

Jim: … how you didn’t do it so well? (laughs)

Becky: (laughs) I have a lot of stories of how I don’t do it well, but I, uh, the premise there, is that our children belong to God, just like we do and they have inherent valuous people. And it can become very easy as a parent, to treat them like second class citizens in our homes because we are the adults and were wiser. And so, I fall into the trap of, snapping at my kids to follow my commands without respecting their time, or, um, expecting them to know what I know-

Jim: Yeah. (laughs)

Becky: … without realizing that (laughs)-

Jim: That’s a classic.

Becky: … yeah, “Wait a second, you’re 14, you’re not gonna know what I know as a 40 something,” right? So, I think the first key to that is, first of all, um, communicating with our children and remembering that they are not us. They are not adults. They’re not gonna think like we do. But then, we have to endeavor to think like our children, but that requires actually knowing who our children are.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Becky: So, we have to go through the journey of really unearthing who they are, what are their interests, who did God create them to be? And, that person is going to be different from who we are, and maybe even different from who we originally expected they were going to be.

Jim: Yeah.

Becky: So, identify who God created and nurture that person, but then I also like to engage in some really practical tips for how to respect our kids. And one of my favorites is, first of all, don’t make them a slave. I used to do this. So, here’s (laughs)-

Jim: What did that sound like?

Becky: That sounded like, years ago, I still remember one day when this really came into focus for me, Clara was seven, and she had gotten old enough to learn how to clean the house and she thought it was fun. So, she’d say, “Mom, are you gonna clean the bathroom today?”

Jim: (laughs)

Becky: “Why, yes I am.” “Can I help, mom?” “Well, absolutely you can help. So, here’s the scrub brush,” and so, she would help me clean. And then, it got to the point where I would say, “Thank you so much, now will you sweep that floor? And then, will you feed your sister a snack? And will you work on her alphabet with her? (laughs) And, uh, ’cause mama’s gonna sit here and just relax,” right, “And crack open a soda while I watch you do my job.” But that’s not the right attitude toward our kids either, they’re n- they don’t exist to take over-

Jim: (laughs)

Becky: … our job in all aspects. Although, when they do get older, they can take over their own laundry and that I ha-

Jim: Yeah.

Becky: … I’m a big advocate for that. (laughs) But, in general, are we treating our kids like they exist to meet our every command? Or are we understanding that they also, they desire and they deserve, under God, the respect of being-

Jim: Yeah, that’s so true.

Becky: … individuals, individuals. And I also encourage parents to give a five minute warning before you tell your kids to jump.

Jim: (laughs)

Becky: You know, before, “It’s time to go to the library,” or “It’s time to get your shoes on for school. It’s time to wash your hands for dinner. Its,” whatever it may be, a five-minute warning. And I learned this because my husband did not do that for me, and I would get so upset.

John: Hmm.

Becky: Y- Wh- Give me, he would be out in the garage, “It’s time to go. Time to go.” “Well, could I get a five-minute warning because I don’t have my socks on yet, you know, the kids are half dressed eating their pancakes. A five-minute warning, please, would help us to be, to synchronize (laughs) our clocks to yours.” And it would frustrate me so much, and then I recognized I was doing the very same thing to my kids. “Get those shoes on, let’s get out the door to school-

Jim: Yeah.

Becky: … no, but y- c’mon, put that game down. It’s time to do your homework.”

Jim: I like that, a little five minute-

Becky: Just a little-

Jim: … “Hey, here we go.”

Becky: It empowers them to obey you-

Jim: Yeah.

Becky: … because they want to obey you, but it’s hard for them to switch gears.

Jim: And, of course, the problem is, five minutes later you’re saying, “Okay-

Becky: Right.

Jim: … two more minutes,” (laughs) but-

Becky: Right, right, so you actually have to stick with it.

Jim: … then you have another problem.

John: Yeah.

Jim: Let me ask you, Becky-

Becky: Yeah.

Jim: … as we’re winding up here. Y- You’ve created three rules, I love that, it makes me, kinda, woo, a little an uncomfortable, but three rules-

Becky: (laughs)

Jim: … for your family that you lean into, what are the three?

Becky: Yeah. Yeah, three rules, and I don’t take credit for this, I got it from a friend, but it works wonders. Three rules that encompass all of the little rules, all in one. So, number one, obey the first time, or for small kids, it’s obey fast, and it becomes a game. Obey fast. Because, delayed obedience is disobedience, so obey the first time. And secondly, is no disrespectful talk, or no back-talk, use whatever language works for you, so that we, we are following, uh, God’s admonishment to us, to, um, speak only wholesome language to one another. Build one another up. So, no disrespectful talk. And then, no hurting someone on purpose, and the reason I love that i- because is because it encompasses not just physical harm, but emotional harm.

John: Hmm.

Becky: So-

Jim: Yeah.

Becky: … don’t kick your sister, also don’t ignore your sister, you know. Don’t push your sister off of that sled hill but also, don’t call your sister a bad name. So, uh, those three rules together, encompass all the rules because otherwise, my husband and I, at one point, had so may different rules for our children-

Jim: (laughs) Right.

Becky: … that even we couldn’t remember what they were.

Jim: We have them on a scroll on the wall-

Becky: Yeah. (laughs)

John: (laughs)

Jim: … actually, there’s, like, 15.

Becky: Is this right?

Jim: And, whenever Jean points to it, I just say, you know, “That’s way too, I can’t even memorize all those.” (laughs)

John: (laughs)

Becky: (laughs) Exactly, but when you’ve got those three rules, it’s so easy to train the kids in what the family rules are. When they have some, sort of, misdemeanor, all you have to do is point to the rules-

Jim: That’s good.

Becky: … and say, “Which one did you disobey?”

Jim: And that really sets up the right environment for the child. I’m thinking of the mom listening right now and this is it, we’re out after this, but that mom that’s going, “Oh, great. I’m not there. I am the triggered mom and everything’s triggering me right now, and I don’t really know what to do. I’m the monster mom.”

Becky: Yes.

Jim: What advice do you have for her, that first step to get some sanity back into her life?

Becky: A- And my heart goes out to that mom. I have been there. I meet so many of those moms. And, my first piece of advice, is to stop beating yourself up. Accept God’s grace for who you are and the mistakes you make because if you’re not gonna accept that, you’ll never be able to share it with your children. So, recognize that your performance as a mom, is not what defines who your children become. God’s got that controlled already. And then, endeavor to go through these steps of identifying who your enemy really is. It’s your own heart, it’s not your kids. And then, learn to communicate with them at their level, and discipline with grace. Create the kind of, fun environment for your kids, but go through those steps after you have first forgiven yourself and given yourself a little bit of a break.

Jim: Becky, that is great, and I so appreciate what you’ve done here, this wonderful book, The Cranky Mom Fix. (laughs) Now, husbands, don’t buy this and put it on your wife’s-

Becky: (laughs)

John: Yeah. (laughs)

Jim: … pillow. I’m just saying, this-

Becky: It’s like getting her a treadmill for Christmas, okay?

Jim: Yeah, this is not-

Becky: Don’t do that.

Jim: … that, kind of, book-

Becky: (laughs)

Jim: … but if you heard the broadcast and your wife didn’t, you may wanna say, “Hey, you should listen to Focus today.”

Becky: (laughs)

Jim: Something a little more low key.

John: Let’s do it together-

Jim: (laughs) Yeah.

Becky: (laughs)

John: … let’s listen together.

Jim: That’s good, John.

Becky: Yes.

Jim: But, uh, it is so good, and we’re here for you. If you have, um, you know, some concerns, or there’s things going on-

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … we have caring Christian counselors that can help you with that. You can call us, and they’ll most likely have to call you back because they’re usually, um, you know, back logged.

John: They’re on the phone talking to people. Yeah.

Jim: Also, we have a wonderful, uh, parenting assessment. Uh, it will show you seven traits of effective parenting, and be able to point to the good things you’re doing and maybe the things you need to improve on. And lastly, man, we believe in Becky’s book, and if you can give a gift to Focus On The Family of any amount, we’ll send you a copy as our way of saying thank you for being part of the ministry. We’re not gonna keep a file on the, uh, cranky moms (laughs) out there-

John: (laughs)

Jim: … (laughs) so it’s anonymous.

Becky: (laughs)

Jim: But, uh, Becky Kopitzke, uh, from Wisconsin, you’ve done a great.

Becky: Got it. (laughs)

Jim: Thank you so much for being with us.

Becky: Thank you so much for having me.

John: Well, get in touch today if we can help in any way, uh, maybe you wanna talk to one of those counselors, or, uh, take that assessment, or donate and get your copy of Becky’s great book, The Cranky Mom Fix. We’re a phone call away, 800-A-FAMILY, or stop by focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. And, have a fantastic weekend and join us on Monday, as we have Ruth and Patrick Schwenk joining us, to talk about why it’s important to put your marriage first when you have children.

Teaser:

Ruth Schwenk: We’ve tried to help them understand that marriage is really important in our home, and I think we wanna be an example to our children. Not just to the world, but to our children, they’re gonna remember how we, uh, made our marriage a priority in our home.

Today's Guests

Cover image of the book "The Cranky Mom Fix"

The Cranky Mom Fix

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