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Liberating Yourself From the Common Myths of Motherhood (Part 1 of 2)

Air Date 05/11/2017

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Authors Karen Ehman and Ruth Schwenk shed light on false ideas women have been bombarded with about being perfect mothers, and offer moms encouragement in a discussion based on their book Hoodwinked: Ten Myths Moms Believe and Why We All Need to Knock it Off. (Part 1 of 2)

Episode Transcript



Mrs. Karen Ehman: And I sat there in that office just, you know, looking at the administrator there in his suit and tie, me in my sweatpants and my shame, thinking I've failed as a mother.

End of Teaser

John Fuller: John Fuller: Karen Ehman and Ruth Schwenk join us today on "Focus on the Family." Your host is Focus president and author, Jim Daly and I'm John Fuller.

Jim Daly: John, women today are inundated with different ideas on what it means to be the perfect mother. And with social media and the Internet and Pinterest, all those things, that picture of perfection is everywhere, but that's all it is, is a picture. There is no such thing as the perfect mom and I would throw in, the perfect dad. It just doesn't exist. We're all falling short, right? And God's grace is what brings us through. It's not our perfection.

And on this Mother's Day weekend, we want to encourage you, mom, to take some of that load off of your shoulders and just to think differently about motherhood, the beauty of it, even with the trials that you're gonna go through. And John, I've said this so many times, women have an amazing ability to look at themselves first. It's like the Lord has placed that spiritual gift in them. If something goes wrong, I usually see them say, "What did I do to cause this?" men do not suffer from this. (Laughter)

John: Not very often, no.

Jim: We say it was that guy's fault. It wasn't my fault. We've got the opposite problem, but women own it. And it's a beautiful thing, but it can be burdensome when it's not real and when it's self-inflicted.

John: Yeah and our guests are gonna help kind of do some myth busting with regard to misconceptions that moms so often have, those fears and worries and false ideas. Karen is a popular speaker and has three older children and is with Proverbs 31 Ministries. Ruth is known for her Better Mom and For the Family websites and she has four kids between 8 and 15. And they've written a book together called Hoodwinked: Ten Myths Moms Believe and Why We All Need to Knock It Off. (Laughter)


Jim: Welcome to Focus.

Mrs. Karen Ehman and Mrs. Ruth Schwenk: Thank you. Thanks for havin' us.

Jim: Hey, let's go to that little observation I made a moment ago. I mean, you're women; we're not. Is that a fair assessment, that moms particularly, women get married. Some, not all, have children and then there's this burden of perfection that you tend to own. And when it doesn't go well, it seems like you always look to yourselves first. What did we do wrong? How did we burn the turkey? Is that right?

Karen: I think so. I think when I was first a mom, I thought I would just never mess up. I don't think I saw my mom mess up. Like I felt like she was such a great mom.

Jim: Oh, that's interesting.

Karen: I knew she had struggles and I'm sure she had times that she felt like she blew it, but I don't want to be stereotypical, but I kinda think that generation wasn't as out there with their stuff they were struggling with maybe as we are.

Jim: They're quiet.

Karen: Yeah and now we're puttin' it all over social media (Laughter) when we goof up. But I looked at her and she was such a great mom. And I looked at other people that I thought were such great moms. And then when I became a mom and I wasn't so great, I thought, "What am I doing wrong? What am I doing wrong?"

Jim: Yeah and Karen, your kids are 19 and up into their 20's, is that right?

Karen: Yeah.

Jim: Just so the listeners can have an idea of your motherhood stage.

Karen: Yes.

Jim: And Ruth, for you, as John mentioned, you have younger kids. So, let me ask you that question about that sense of being overwhelmed as a mom. Describe that so all of us—both men and women—can better understand it.

Ruth: Well, I would say when you say being overwhelmed as a mom, what immediately I get a picture of myself when my kids were younger even, when they were probably 6 and younger. And the house is full of all of these little kids and I'm just standing in the living room like, "What do I even do? It's so overwhelming. There's so much to take care of."

You know, you have a toddler; you have a baby. You have an older child getting ready for school. There [are] just so many different details. And I think you add onto that, like you mentioned, social media. And even, I look at social media and the pressure to do. "Oh, wait; that mom's taking her kids to the zoo. Oh, I wish I had time to do that."

Jim: Yeah.

Ruth: You know, there's so much pressure from the online world I think.

Jim: Absolutely and it's usually in your low point that you observe a friend or somebody else doing something fun and you're going, "How does she have time to do that?" like go to the zoo.

Ruth: Yeah, you just want to go to sleep actually. (Laughter)

Jim: Karen, in the book you talked about your daughter being born and how that really did kinda change, I think, began to form maybe some of these myths in your own mind.

Karen: Uh-hm.

Jim: Why was her birth so significant to you? That was your firstborn, correct?

Karen: It was my firstborn and I tell ya, the day before she was born, May 13th, 1991 was the last day I got to the end of my to-do list. (Laughter)

Jim: You've not seen a to-do list since then?

Karen: I still have one, but it's just (Laughter) like, you know, it's a Rolodex.

Jim: It's a Rolodex (Laughter) of to-do's.

Karen: Yes, but I was a very decisive, in-charge, get-it-done, hands in lots of the pots, you know, doin' a lot of things kind of person. And then all of a sudden, I had a baby, not only a baby, but a colicky baby. I was a stay-at-home mom. I was nursing her. All of a sudden, this person needed me 24/7 and I couldn't keep running at the pace I was running before and getting all the things accomplished, which was pretty much how I viewed myself as a person, was how many things did I check off that to-do list that day? And then all of a sudden, the to-do list was, nurse the baby, you know, clothe the baby.

Jim: Change the baby.

Karen: Change the baby all day long. (Laughter) And I had to adjust real quick to what I saw was success in life and my to-do list and what I could handle and couldn't handle. And it was a hard thing, but it was a good thing, because it helped me. I remember a friend saying, "Oh, welcome to losing your life." And I'm like, "What are you talkin' about?" She said, "When you become a mom, you sign up to lose your life."

Jim: That's such an interesting statement. Why in the culture and I think the answer is "meism," the fact that we're very self-focused, but especially for moms who I would think would see the bigger picture, I mean, what a miracle to bring life into this world the way uniquely women do. Men can't participate in that same way. I mean, it's an amazing thing. Why is it seen in some places as such a negative thing?

Karen: Because of the meism, because we're used to putting ourselves first and our wishes and our wants and now we have this little person who has needs that we have to meet all day.

Jim: And give and give and give.

Karen: Yes and then we start to kinda have a little pity party for ourselves and we can develop either resentment toward our child or the mommy martyrdom syndrome that, "Oh, I'm giving up all of this for my child," rather than looking at that child and saying, "This didn't surprise God any (Laughter), you know. He allowed this in my life. What can I learn from being a mom that's gonna make me more like Him?" So often we think having kids is because we're gonna raise them, but really God's raising us.

Jim: Yeah, that's a great way to look at that. I think the same of marriage, but kids really knock the pride outta you.

Karen: Oh, yeah.

Jim: That's for sure. Ruth, you have a great story about being at the dentist and just (Laughter) how the Lord humbled you through that experience. What happened?

Ruth: Oh, wow, this is an embarrassing story really.

Jim: Oh, excellent. (Laughter) I love those. (Laughter)

Ruth: But I think most moms can identify with it. This was several years ago, so I had three children at the time and I was taking them to the dentist, which I feel like is maybe one of the hardest things in the world to do. Like you have to make appointments actually and take them (Laughter) twice a year. I mean, that's just [hard].

So, I finally, finally took them to the dentist and we got there and my oldest daughter, Bella went back and the dentist was examining her and I was waiting out in the very, very full waiting room. And the dentist came out and sat next to me and Bella was still in the back and she sat next to me and she leaned in and she whispered in my ear, "She has six cavities." And (Laughter), I didn't know, by the tone of her voice I was supposed to be alarmed is how I felt. I'm already at a little bit of a fragile state. I have a newborn in the car seat, a toddler and then Bella's back there.

And so, I said, "Okay." And so, she starts describing all the options that we can, you know, that are available to us. And then we stand up and we walk to the back. And as I'm walking to the back towards where Bella's sitting, there was an older woman who had been cleaning her teeth.

And you know, there [are] those people in life, they just look at you and you want to cry. You don't know why. (Laughter) I don't know; there's something so sympathetic about their look towards you. So, she looked up at me and she had that look on her face and I start crying. And tears are just coming, streaming down my face.

Jim: Uncontrollable.

Ruth: Seriously, it was (Laughter) it was ridiculous. So, I can't stop crying and she's like, "It's okay; it's okay," which makes me just cry more. So, they kind of explained [it]; they showed me Bella's teeth and everything and I'm still crying. And then we go and pick out the prizes and I'm still crying. "Oh, yes, you can have that ball, you know, the little bouncy ball."

And I walked back down the hallway to the front desk and the waiting room is right there very full of people. So, everybody can see me crying. I have the car seat I'm hauling. The kids are walking behind me. They're probably very embarrassed. (Laughter)

And I check out at the front desk and the ladies at the front desk looked very sympathetic, as well, because I was still crying. And you know how sometimes at doctor's offices they have bouquets of flowers just to kinda brighten up the office.

Jim: Right.

Ruth: -- And so, I noticed the one woman at the desk look over to the other and they kinda nodded at each other and then the next thing you know, she takes the flowers out of the vase. Takes them back, kinda wraps them up in paper, hands them to me (Laughter) and says, "I hope you have a better day."

And I turned, walked out. Cried all the way out and as soon as I got in the parking lot I stopped crying, but that's motherhood. You're so overwhelmed. You don't even know why you're crying half the time.

Jim: Right.

Ruth: The emotions are running and they're high.

Jim: That's moms lookin' out for a mom; that's what that is.

Ruth: That's true. (Laughter)

Jim: You were touching their hearts.

Ruth: Then I had to explain it to my husband (Laughter) why I had these flowers. "Well, I was crying in the dentist's office and I couldn't stop."

Jim: Well, now let me ask you; the serious question there is why? So, Bella gets the report card on her teeth that she's got six cavities. That reflected what about you?

Ruth: Well, that's true. I really felt like a bad mom. I mean, honestly, like has she not been brushing her teeth enough? I mean I thought I was doing a good job, but most moms would say, every morning and night, "Have you brushed your teeth? Have you brushed your teeth?" You know, they're asking their kids. That's just one other thing we have to remember and that was a bad reflection on me as a mom.

Jim: I mean, and every mom just went, "Yep, I understand exactly what you're talkin' about."

Ruth: Karen, while we're here, I mean, this is a great spot to highlight the 10 myths. Why don't you just maybe between the two of you, give us the 10 and I pick, we here as a team, picked five that we want to kinda drill in on going back to the dental analogy. (Laughter) But what are the 10, what are the 10 myths just quickly?

Karen: Okay. The first one, mothering is natural, easy and instinctive.

Jim: That's a myth. (Laughter)

Karen: Yeah, the second one, the way I mother is the right and only way. No. 3, I am just a mom. (Softly) I'm just a mom. No. 4, motherhood is all-consuming and all-fulfilling. Those are kinda opposite myths of each other. No. 5, a good mother can do it all, all at once. Six, motherhood is a rat race. Seven, motherhood is luck of the draw. Eight, everything depends on me. Myth No. 9 is, I have to do it all right or my child will turn out wrong.

Jim: Ooh, that's the one that hits.

Karen: Yeah, which leads to myth No. 10 sometimes, which is one I have dealt with often, my child's bad choice means I'm a bad mom.

Jim: I think you've just done it. John, where can people pick up this book? (Laughter)

John: They can get the book and we're gonna post the short list there, so you can see maybe real quickly which of the myths really are affecting you as a mom, at www.focusonthefamily.comor call us, 800-A-FAMILY.

Jim: Let's go with Myth 3. I thought that was a good one. You said, I am just a mom. In fact, one of you had the story about pullin' up to the bank window.

Ruth: Me.

Jim: What happened?

Ruth: So, I pulled up to the teller and she said, "I need to update your information in the computer. Can you tell me what your occupation is?" And I always struggle with that, because I do work from home. I have the blogs and write and such. But sometimes I say, "Homemaker." Sometimes I say, "I'm an author."

Jim: Writer, yeah.

Ruth: And so, this particular time I said, "I'm a homemaker." And she looked puzzled and she's like, "A homemaker?" And I said, "Yes, I'm a mom. You know, I'm at home with my kids." And she said, "Okay, so you're just a mom?" (Laughter)

Jim: Oh, man.

Ruth: And in my mind all those, you know, I've seen blog posts, everything about that phrase, "just a mom" is everywhere. And I was like, "Yes, I'm just a mom. I'm a mom." And she repeated it again. "So, that's all you do. You're just a mom."

Jim: You did change banks, right? (Laughter) I mean, that's what I would do.

Ruth: I don't bank there anymore.

John: Well, she's just a mom; she has no income. (Laughter)

Ruth: Right, right.

Jim: But again, for guys, we don't really, you know, if somebody says you're just a dad, we kinda brush it off and keep goin'.

John: Yeah.

Jim: "Just a mom" to a mom, it's a knife that goes so deep, because it devalues you.

Ruth: Yes.

Jim: How do you, within yourself, how do you build up a wall to say, "No, this is an important thing. I'm doing the most important thing a human being can do and that's raising the next generation." But how do you convince yourself of that?

Ruth: Yeah, I think the culture views success in a different way, which is why there is that pressure, you know, to not be "just a mom." But I think recognizing who we are in God's eyes first is so important for a mom, that we're a child of God, no matter what we do. And is one of the most important jobs you can have. We're raising children to be light and love and truth to the world.

And I think if we can accept that God has called us to be the mother of our children and we can see it in that light, that we realize how important our job really is.

Jim: Yeah and Karen, you have a 19-year-old and then 20-somethings.

Karen: Uh-hm.

Jim: So, you're a little further in that spectrum. You have more to look back on than Ruth, but expand on that a little bit, now that you have a little more experience with older adult children.

Karen: I think I struggled a lot with what she's saying about [what] culture says, you know. If you don't have a title behind your name, that either is an important job or a degree or whatever, that somehow you missed your calling. You're not doing something that's important in society.

But I know for me, I had to tell myself, I'm not here by default because I couldn't do anything else. I was here by choice and it wasn't because my husband was real wealthy and I could be a stay-at-home and a work-at home for the seasons that I was. But we made some sacrifices so that I could be there with my kids and do some things that I wanted to do in that short little season.

But whateverseason you're in and whatever way you are approaching employment--we're not like pro just stay-at-home moms or pro just working moms--whatever your family has decided is best, you 're gonna have some sacrifices. Moms just need to be doing things for their kids, not that dads can't do it, 'cause dads can do it.

Jim: It's just different.

Karen: It's just different.

Jim: Yeah, there's a role for both mom and dad.

Karen: Yeah, I mean, still to this day when I'm sick and I'm in the bathroom and I'm about to toss my cookies, I want my mom! (Laughter) I don't want my dad; I want my mom (Laughter) especially in those younger years. I've noticed a progression as my kids got older, they want dad sometimes to help them with some different things in life as they got older. But when they're tiny, they want mom.

Jim: Absolutely.

Karen: And that puts pressure on you and you have to make adjustments, whether it's, you know, with outside activities or employment or whatever, but to realize that you're there for your kids and it's not something you see immediate results in, like you know, jobs you get reviews and bonuses. Huh-uh. You know, 4-year-olds don't follow you around the house saying, "Oh, blessed art thou, mom."

Jim: Way to go, mom. (Laughter)

Karen: "You know, you're so wonderful." You know, it says in Proverbs 31, that our children rise up and call us blessed. You know, sometimes it's not until they're 22-years-old and they send you a text message saying, "Thank you, mom. (Emotional) You've always been there for me. I never tell you that enough," which just happened to me a week ago. He didn't do it when he was 4.

Jim: Or maybe 14 either.

Karen: It took 18 years, yeah. Just hang in there; you're doin' important work.

Jim: Aw, that's very sweet.

Karen: You're doin' important work. Why do I always cry when I come here? (Laughter)

Jim: Oh, I love it. I love that emotion. I mean, that's a mom's heart.

Karen: Yeah.

Jim: And that's what I love in you.

Karen: You don't get immediate feedback and "Atta girls" sometimes. You do it because you're doin' it for the kids and you're doin' it for the Lord.

Jim: You know, Karen if I could add to that, there's so many moms living just under where you're at, kinda Ruth, where you're coming into with teenagers that are full-throated teenagers, "Whatever!" You know, those teenagers. How did you hang on there, knowing that someday, keeping the big picture, I guess is the question. How did you struggle or manage keeping that big picture in mind that it will get better? I will still hopefully be their friend, even though I'm grounding them right now (Chuckling) and they're calling me, you know, something other than "I love you, mom." Did you create some mechanisms to get through to the big picture?

Karen: I actually couldn't do it at first until I found someone who I'm kinda that person for Ruth now, 'cause I'm further along in the parenting role than her.

Jim: Kinda like a mentor.

Karen: I found a few people ahead of me that when I, you know, was lamenting over one of the choices of my children or feeling like I failed because, yeah, I've done the dentist thing. It was only four cavities though, not six.

Jim: Oh, way to rub it in. (Laughter) Oh, man! You just pierced her heart. (Laughter)

John: So, you're a better mom than Ruth.

Jim: Ow! (Laughter)

John: We've established that.

Karen: Oh, no, no, no. We can swap war stories all day of things our kids have done. But I found people that were further along in the parenting road than me, that I had on speed dial, that I could call and just pour out my heart, tell them the situation, know they were a locked box. They weren't gonna go sharing that everybody on their social media and I could say, "How do I get through this?" And you mentioned the teenage years.

I had two friends that gave me great pieces of advice. One of 'em said, "Everythinggood is still in your child when your child maybe makes a bad choice." You know, whether that's, you know, when they're tiny and you know, in Sunday school and their Sunday school tells you something. They pushed a kid down or whatever or when the school's calling you when they're older, 'cause they did something that they thought was hilarious, but the substitute teacher found no humor in [it] and now they're in trouble, that everything good is still in your child. It's just some of the bad behavior is overshadowing the good now. So, don't just write 'em off and think you're a failure as a parent and they're doomed for prison, because you know, the school called one time.

Jim: That's another mom thing.

Karen: It is.

Jim: Moms leap from, you know, a poor grade to, "He's gonna fail at everything."

Karen: Oh, exactly.

Ruth: Absolutely.

Karen: Exactly.

Jim: I don't know quite why that mechanism's there, but that's the big picture issue.

Karen: And then another friend told me and this is especially, you know, when kids have done something that you're not real proud of, "You're seeing the beginning of their testimony. This isn't the end."

Jim: Wow, yeah.

Karen: "This is the beginning." Think of all the people you know who are sold out for Jesus, livin' for the Lord. Now think about their testimony. Where did it start? What were they involved in? What did they do? And when they told me those things, I was like, "Okay, this is a bad grade," or "This is, you know, a call from the school" or "This is, you know, my child pushed somebody down on the playground." They're not in prison. They're not, you know, this isn't the end of the world. It's gonna be okay. You need people further down the road that have lived through some of this and walked through it to tell you, it's gonna be all right, 'cause all you see is what's right in front of your face and you think everybody's doomed.

Jim: Right. Let's grab that for a minute, because I see again, in my own family, I see Jean bear the burden of the kids' behavior. You know, if they didn't do well on a homework assignment, I tend to have that attitude, well, let's let 'em fail, you know. We'll see where it goes. It's better [that] they fail now. And she's, you know, somewhat panicked. No, this is setting them up for the long term. If he doesn't do well here, and kind of that owning of the other person, the child's responsibility.

You in myth 10, to bring that one forward, this fits so well right here, which is my child's bad means I'm a bad mom. We all feel that as parents, but I think moms feel it maybe a little deeper. Speak to that.

Ruth: Yeah, I think that we question whether we could've done things differently. Did I not tell him enough times that he shouldn't do this? But there's one thing that I always try to do and that's remember what I was like when I was younger and how God worked in my life. And so, I think it speaks to what Karen was talking about, when you take a leap forward and look back. We can look at our own lives and think about how we were as kids and how God transformed us.

Jim: Right.

Ruth: I didn't grow up in a Christian household and in high school, I started following Christ. And I look at the choices I made before then and yet, God could use me. And so, I remember in that, you know, when I think about my own life, I remember how God can work in my child's heart and I don't have to do everything perfectly. And his bad choice now doesn't mean he's ruined for life.

Jim: Right and Karen you said it, that you know, they're working on their testimonies. The Lord is working on our children's testimonies. It's a beautiful way to look at it. But as a mom, you don't want them to suffer. You know a better path. You're older in the faith. You're more mature. You have greater wisdom. So, you're trying to lay that down for your 14-year-old who's going, "What?!" How do you maintain that perspective and come out not owning their bad decisions?

Karen: Yeah, you're further down the road. You want to prevent them from making those bad mistakes and suffering the consequences. And it's funny. My husband and I approach this very differently when it comes to parenting.

Jim: (Laughing) As most couples do.

Karen: Oh, my word, it's with everything. I'm always the one that wants to step in and prevent something from happening, prevent the bad behavior. And he's pretty hands off on those kind[s] of things. He'll step back and say, "Let them learn their lesson. They're only gonna do it once. It might be the only way they learn." And so, whether it was a kid at the top of the monkey bars about to jump off, 'cause he thinks he can fly like Superman (Chuckling) or a teenager maybe headed down a little bit of the wrong path, I want to just [go], "No! Don't let him jump." "No, don't let him hang out with those kids."

And he's like, "They need to learn their lessons. Our job is to not be meddling parents. Our job is to be prayerful parents, to yes, teach them right from wrong, to discuss with them the consequences of where things could lead, but as they get a little older, to let them make their own mistakes.

Jim: Well, and one of the things, you experienced this with your son, I mean, he went in a direction that was a bit rough. What happened?

Karen: Yes, I went to the school one day when he was in the ninth grade. Thought I was droppin' off a permission slip and the secretary looked at me and said, "The vice principal will be with you in a minute." And I thought, "What? Huh? Huh?"

Jim: Uh-oh.

Karen: Well, apparently they had called my home after I left. I didn't know that. And I found out that my son had made a really bad choice. He was only 14 at the time, he was in the ninth grade and there was an 18-year-old that could legally get chewing tobacco. I don't know what it is about chewing tobacco, but a group of kids there though it was really cool to chew and spit.

Jim: Especially baseball players.

Karen: You got it. He was a baseball player.

Jim: Yep.

Karen: And the 18-year was smart enough to know it wasn't supposed to be on school grounds and you aren't supposed to possess it in the State of Michigan if you're under 18. But he hoodwinked—no pun intended—(Laughing) my son into passing it out to some ninth graders and he got a little kickback of cash for doing that.

Well, my son wasn't thinking and a kid got caught with it. They said, "Where'd you get it?" He named my son's name. They searched his backpack. They found a couple other tins and the whole tobacco ring was busted up.

And I sat there in that office just, you know, looking at the administrator there in his suit and tie, me in my sweatpants and my shame, thinking I've failed as a mother. I failed as a motherand I went home and I cried to my husband about it, 'cause he got suspended. He had to do community service. He had to go to juvenile court.

And I remember just being busted up about it and my husband's like, "Wow! Really?! So, you bought the tobacco and you put it in his backpack?" And I said, "No, I didn't." And he said, "Well, then why do you feel a bit guilty? Have we taught him you don't buy tobacco until you're 18 and even after that, we don't really think it's a great idea." You know, 'cause there's health risks with it and such. "You didn't make him make those choices. Those choices were his own. We have taught him right from wrong. He made a bad choice. He got busted. He probably won't do it again." You know, my husband's theory, it's okay. It's okay. Your child's choice is not yours.

We tether our identity to the choices of our child. But my husband was right. I know we taught him that was wrong. We never told him that was a good idea. Hey, can we get a kickback? We'll go in on the ring with you. No! But it's so hard because when they're littler, maybe you can bear some of the brunt for some of their behavior.

If your 6-year-old steals a pack of gum at the store because you never told them stealing's wrong, okay. You need to tell them, you don't take stuff without paying for it. I get that. But as they get older, you've got to transfer that ownership to them. Let them make their own choices. Let them deal with the fallout of the consequences and to remember, as my friend told me, everything good is still in your child.

'Cause now that I'm four or five years from that incident, I can see my son was trying to help out this kid who was from a very abusive and bad and poor background. And he wanted to help him get money. And my son's a great entrepreneur. (Laughing) You know, those were some good things that when involved and intertwined with this bad choice, there was some good in him.

Jim: And it wasn't the end of him.

Karen: And it wasn't the end of the world. It wasn't.

Jim: Yeah and mistakes happen.

Karen: Now he never did it again.

Jim: You are speaking to so many moms' and dads' hearts, but again, moms tend to own that in such a different way.

Karen: And then another thing I think is really important to remember is that, if we can tether our identity to the bad choices of our child and we're responsible for it, then conversely, we can take great pride and great credit for the good things they do and that's not true, either.

Jim: Well, this has been great.

Karen: It's not.

Jim: Ruth and Karen, we're gonna come to a close today, but I know many moms are screaming, make sure they're back next time. And so, we are gonna have you back next time, continue the discussion on some of the other myths and hopefully, help moms see a different way through. And I know, if you're that mom that is struggling, you are wrapped up in the decisions your kids are making, you are identifying those poor decisions as being a poor mom.


Jim: We're here to help you. We have Karen and Ruth's book, Hoodwinked, which is a wonderful resource. And we want to get that into your hands. And so, you can contact Focus on the Family to do that.

And in fact, when you donate today, a gift of any amount, 'cause we believe in the content, we'll say thank you by sending you a copy of Hoodwinked so you can look at these 10 myths, probably only nine of which you're affected by. (Laughter) And it will give you some perspective. That's what resources and tools like this do for you, is they give you some ballast, some understanding and hopefully, catch you in the act of moving down a dark alley where you don't want to go. That's what you're hearing from Karen and Ruth as moms today. And we'll do that as, again, our way of saying thank you.

John: So, donate and get your copy of the book, Hoodwinked and a CD of this program, as well at or call 1- 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY.

On behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for listening. Join us again tomorrow. We'll have Karen and Ruth back and once again, help you and your family thrive.

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More Episode Resources


Karen Ehman

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Karen Ehman is a Proverbs 31 Ministries speaker and a New York Times best-selling author whose books include Keep It Shut, Let. It. Go. and Listen, Love, Repeat. She has been a guest on national TV and radio programs, and she writes for Encouragement for Today online devotions. Karen and her husband, Todd, reside in Michigan and have three children. Learn more about Karen by visiting her website,


Ruth Schwenk

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Ruth Schwenk and her husband, Patrick, are the co-founders of The Better Mom (TBM), a contributor website where a community of over 500,000 moms gather every month for learning and sharing life together. Ruth and Patrick are also the co-creators of For the Family, another community-driven website that encourages and equips couples and parents. Ruth is the co-author (with Karen Ehman) of Hoodwinked and Pressing Pause, and Ruth and Patrick are the co-authors of For Better or For Kids. The couple resides in Michigan with their four children.