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38. Ask Us Anything - Season 3 Finale

15 December, 2021

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Laura: Welcome to unsung stories where we'll be chatting to unexplained Mummers in the Christian world who loves Jesus, faithfully seeking to know and love God more and pointing their families to him. I'm your host, Laura Smith. And I hope that you will find solidarity with a regular mom living out the gospel in regular ways and being encouraged in your own unsung story.

Thanks for joining us. Well, hello and welcome to our final episode of unsung stories for season three and wrap up our first year together tonight. I'm joined by my husband, Leon Haile. Hi. Hey Don. Yeah. Good. How are you feeling about tonight? MRI? 


Leon: No, that's good. How are you feeling? 


Laura: I'm a little bit now you're sitting in front of me, but 


Leon: we'll get there. You're like we just switched. I'm suddenly super confident in you're really nervous. Yeah. 


Laura: I've got to put like a. What in her bugs, but anyway, we'll get there. So this episode is created from a bunch of questions, asked by women on Instagram at unsung stories podcast. And so there's heaps that have come in around our marriage.

So maybe did you want to start off interviewing me by jumping in and asking those questions and then they can get to know you and I are a little bit more. 


Leon: Yeah, I'd love to first question. How did you and your husband me meet 


Laura: I'm a little bit nervous, cause I know the story that you think I'm going to tell, but I don't want to tell that publicly, so I'll just share 


Leon: a different version.


Laura: Oh my gosh. So we both got baptized at the same time and met at the pre baptismal class. 


Leon: Thank you. That was like the least romantic. That's fine. We'll move on. How do you to prioritize your marriage in a season of little kids? 


Laura: So usually I answer these questions like, and you're not, just talk. I think you'd agree with me say,  yep. That's a good idea. So we I think we give space for the other person to be themselves in marriage 


Leon: and 


Laura: don't talk, but like you get time to be, do your thing. And I get time to do my. Which, yeah, I think it's helpful. I think we're pretty good at communication. I think you're very good at leading us to communicate well.

And I think that we're both willing to be wrong. And I've previously said that date night won't save you. But I do think after we'd been out a few times this year, that it's actually been quite nice. And so it's probably good to get out and have fun and be kid free together. 


Leon: Change of expectation.

Yeah. It was like what your marriage looks like now. And like how much time you can actually spend together and how many date nights you can go on, like before you had kids, or even if you've got one kid and ample babysitters, regardless of. 


Laura: Yeah. Yeah. And we're just that bit older too. So it's not like I need, it's not like when we first, we it's not like when we first got married and it's like, ah, just want to be with people that like, I do want to be with you or, but you do like your own space too. Yeah. And 


Leon: nothing box. Next question. Okay. How do you keep the romance alive in your marriage? 


Laura: Yeah. Got expectations and priorities. Right. I don't know. I don't really like, like, is it cutting that out? Is it like romance or is it 


Leon: like. Well, what we actually think romancey is it's not like I felt like you just came into marriage, like watching every single rom-com and cheek fleek and thinking that's what marriage and romancey as well. I don't feel like it is 


Laura: right. And like romance is, I think the most romantic thing you've done lately is at five. O'clock saying you go out for a walk for an hour and I'll do dinner in bed. And that, that is romance. I think. But if it's talking about like sex and that's a polite way of saying it, I feel like it's a two-way street. It's not just me fulfilling your needs, which is what you hear around or you feel in mine. Javi is a great podcast and it's helped me heaps think through sex. And one of the things, if you do listen to that, she encourages people to read song of songs and look at the wife's attitude towards her husband. And I find that really, I found that really helped. 


Leon: Alright, next question is for me.


Laura: you want to ask it? Oh yes. So Leon, what's something that you think Christian wives could do for their husbands that would be helpful or loving. 


Leon: Okay. Well, since this is a PG rated cook I'm not too sure if this will apply to all marriages. But some things that first come to mind, I feel like if wives show interest in their husband and husbands husband,

If they show interest in their husband and what's going on in his lives, so he's his work, hobbies, sport, or whatever they are into appreciate husbands and what they do. I think we can too often compare. Like who has it harder and therefore lose sympathy or acknowledgement of what's going on for the other person.

So I acknowledge women do it tough whether they're working moms or stay at home. But for us men, we often feel great pressure to provide financially to be present at home. And then if possible, try and fit in time for our own hobbies or activities as well. So I feel lucky if women can acknowledge that regardless.

 If they're doing it harder, or if they've got an easier, 


Laura: it's just different, right? Like it's not like one person's got a harder or easier. It's just, this is a really tricky stage of flying. 


Leon: Well, I've got it harder, but yeah.


Laura: I was watching on Tik TOK. And I was thinking if women, if men treated women the way, have you 


Leon: told your audience about your tick-tock activities 


Laura: is a bit of a public efficient in real life? I think I say, oh, I saw her on TikTok about five times in each conversation. Don't give 


Leon: her your phone number. Cause she was saying nonstop. 


Laura: Gimme. Yes. If men spoke about women, the way women talk about men. So it's so common for women to just bag on their husbands about how lazy or a non-contributing to the house or whatever. But there's a trend on Tik TOK where husbands have obviously asked the wives to pack up their shipping boxes from all the online orders.

So it fits neatly in the recycling bin. It's just this trend of women just like checking the boxes into the garage and not caring. How's like. Men did one about all my wife asked me to put my laundry away and I just left it for a week intentionally. Anyway, that's a bit of a 

Leon: tangent. Yeah, I'm a bit lost. All I got out of that is are all women like addicted to online shopping market?


Laura: I'm not addicted. I save you lots of money.


Leon: You probably want to cut that out. Next question. There's been a theme around identity this season, other than a Christian, what kind of mum, woman? Apart from the tick tock. 


Laura: I really have no idea. And I don't think I'm just one thing. I'm probably a little bit of a gentle parent, but also a lot, bit authoritarian and like a little bit crunchy, but, you know, depending on capacity or budget, I'll flex and not be a crunchy mom and just go mainstream.

So crunchy mom, or like, like the organic essential oils. Well, it doesn't like mainstream 


Leon: kind of that's good in theory. 


Laura: Yeah. It's really good in theory, but like, if I am, 


Leon: so if you're into that,


Laura: but I can't be that all the time because I don't have capacity to do it all the time. So when I can or will when our budget allows, I will. So I like to call myself a flexitarian and just go with what I need to be in that moment. I don't think we can identify as one thing, God has made us really complex and it's actually beautiful that we don't fit ourselves into a box.


Leon: Okay. But to summarize a crunchy flexitarian flexitarian 


Laura: crunchy flexitarian would like to be more crunchy. Okay. 


Leon: So a bit crusty. Flexitarian crusty, crusty. Flexitarian 


Laura: I'm a crusty mom. Let's run with that. 


Leon: Oh man. Okay. What are your family? Christmas traditions. 


Laura: Yeah, I don't think we have any, do we, other than like we'll swap families each year, like who has Christmas on the day? That would be the closest thing to a consistent thing. Go to check. 


Leon: You'd go to church every morning. On Christmas day. That'd be traditions though. I feel like we don't lock traditions, not anti traditions. 


Laura: Yeah. We just don't have any, 


Leon: or we're just not were aware of them, 


Laura: honestly, 


Leon: like hanging out. Do you celebrate Christmas with 


Laura: Santa? Yeah. So we're not closed to Santa in our home. We, when we set out, I was all for Santa, but our eldest is really black and white, so we've just always told them the truth. So that Santa is like a character like pop patrol. So we'll sit on his lap and we'll have a photo and we'll say sin is delivering their presence, but it's just a game.  And all the kids know. 


Leon: Yeah, Eliana was telling me tonight as I was putting into bed. Mum and dad, you got to see Toronto like 


Laura: yesterday. All good. We'll be lucky. I seen as not real, but sand is coming on. Christian, 


Leon: look at my presence. I don't actually care if he's real and he gives me presence or someone gives me presents. How has your faith been impacted since becoming a parent? 


Laura: I think it's been challenged and. And it was just that real. It was just a real point of like, how serious do I actually want to follow Jesus? 


Leon: I feel like this question is, do you recognize as a parent, but over the last seven or eight years, that you've been a parent. I feel like it's just a last stage right now. So I feel like your faith is increased and strengthened and grind, but it's not all just from being a parent 


Laura: really grow. Like I had kids early twenties, so I was kind of growing up as well. Robbing children. Yes is a real thing that made me like, decide again, am I following Jesus? But then it also became the lifeline that I had to hold on because I was like, oh, this is really hard. And only Jesus will get me. 


Leon: Yeah. I feel like more and more. We're saying, I don't know how you'd get through life and the hardness of life without Jesus, or like having a relationship with God, being able to talk to him, find comfort in him, crying out to him.


Laura: What's the point of it all? Like what's the point of this life? If not for being in heaven for eternity. 


Leon: Yeah. Oh, I like this one. What's been the hardest thing about being a parent so far. 


Laura: So there's a few things that I don't think that I'll ever publicly share. But I unexpectedly found it really hard to advocate for my kids. So sometimes I actually think it would be easier to physically take a bullet than emotionally protect them or advocate for them. But that probably says more about my insecurities and why I struggle. But I think just the unrelenting ness of it it never stops. And even this year I found like another shift with having the fourth in that, you know, one year old stage of, I just had to learn how to be Laura alongside being a parent.

So I didn't get naptime anymore or even bedtime. You don't get, because you've got older kids are. 


Leon: And even if you do get a break, you miss them. 


Laura: Yeah. Yeah. And so it's just, I've, I've found yet another adjustment of, I have to be, I have to figure out how to be me all day, not just do whatever I want to do or be Laura as a mum, which is weird and a bit of a juggle 


Leon: good one. Glad you're answering this one. How do you handle discipline? 


Laura: No idea. Like I, sometimes I feel like lately we don't, which is not good. Just wing it. Yeah. I think. Consequences. And that kind of terminology never 


Leon: been greater discipline our kids. 


Laura: And like, I will lean towards being authoritarian parent and have to battle to not exert my authority over them or demand that they do something just because I say so, which 


Leon: to tell the audience about the belt or not what belt. Well belt for 


Laura: you want to get a belt? What I think he's trying to be funny anyway. So the 

Leon: leather belt, when they real bad, 


Laura: he is Jackie. We do not have a belt. 


Leon: We told them to the jail. So Johnny had a soccer game and where he was playing was just around the corner. From like a juvenile jail and we took a wrong turn and accidentally ended up at the jail and say, our kids are asking what this is. And we're explaining. This is like when naughty kids go and they freaked out, absolutely freaked out for the rest of the day. They were perfect. So you really need to go back 


Laura: up there.


Leon: No good parenting tips. If you're really stuck, just go visit your local prison and say, Hey, you go. 


Laura: Yes. But something that I do think that we do do better than that, well, that you do is that I think that you're really good at having. Like a two way respectful adult, like conversation with them. And that you've just got patients for them to sit and listen and discuss the situation. So I'm not like that naturally, but I really like it. And 


Leon: I feel like with the boys too, when we're, when tensions rise on things, instead of just getting into a yelling back. Or going back and forth. They normally, we send them to their rooms. They come down for two to five minutes. They come out and then we have a civil laws conversation, not all the time, but I feel like when you even like in your relationship with like you and me, when you're having a yelling battle and no one's going to win that.

But if you go away, calm down, come back, have a yarn. Well, I feel like that is super helpful for us going with our girls. Well, I did say the two boys. Although in 


Laura: saying that L D L did that tonight and she was screaming and I just sat outside and then she stopped and came out and said, I'm sorry. I mean, there's a parking spot. And I kind of think what we're doing kind of our goal is now is to set up patterns and habits for when they're teens and even as adults. So I find it easy, easier to sometimes pitch pitch to them as an adult. Like how would I talk to Leon in this situation? Because I want to practice getting that good news. In hopes that I hope that it carries on when they're teenagers. 


Leon: I feel like just when they're a little bit younger, like the boys, we had time out and stuff like 


Laura: that. At that time 


Leon: we're still working on it. We don't give us your tips. 


Laura: One thing I did think was that when, when we're in those heated times, I actually find that I need to work on me. Self-regulating because I'm noticing things coming up in me, frustration. Pride, whatever, all of those things that I'm actually having to parent myself and calm myself down, ground myself, what's bringing this up for me, deal with that and then deal with them. And often it's probably more my reaction bitch.


Leon: So you need Tom out to a big time, 


Laura: man, for a long time. 30. So half an hour. That'll do. 


Leon: All right, let's get going. How do you get regular bauble rating as a 


Laura: young mom? I I'm assuming that's young. My mum with young kids, I am pretty young yet. I think that it won't happen if you don't plan for it to happen. It will cost you, so your nap, time, time or TV at the end of the day. And I think duty turns into desire. I've said this a few times before, and so it might feel like a chore at first, but I really do think it becomes a source of joy or. And, and we all say, we want to be these godly wise women when we grow up, but that's not going to happen if we don't exercise the self-discipline now.

And, you know, I mean, I just said it, but as you know, God, more, the more you're going to love him. And I think I'm pretty convinced it starts with knowing him more. So you just have to do it. And 


Leon: do you feel like different seasons look differently? Yeah. So. Then a week later, you're strolling on, what's 


Laura: doing, I had a year, a few years ago where I would do like an hour study a few times a week and it I've never seen more growth in that time, but I haven't been able to replicate that.

I'm actually hoping that's a goal for next year that I will really COVID high COVID pregnant newborn. Yeah. And also, I mean, I do, I have spoken about it before on the show, but so give yourself grace in those times, right. There are, we are in pretty hectic time, poor seasons, but know yourself and don't, don't just go, oh, well I'm tired or whatever, like push past that.

And I think also pray because God like pray that God will want us to draw near to him. He will draw near to us and just pray that he would.


Leon: Good answer. How do you Laura find the time to do a podcast and parent for young? 


Laura: Well, this kind of flowing on from what I was just saying, and it is getting hard and I think that you have been really supportive at like creating time to do it, but I'm just finding the real struggle at the moment. It's just their mental.

How do you say it? Lethargic? Yeah. Mental strain. And I feel like it's a lot more work than I anticipated and like, I've let a lot go, which is humbling me, but I think I'm going to commit to another season, but I just want to slow down the output and relax a little bit more in hope that it will just keep, be able to be sustainable, to keep.

 But I think my biggest concern is that I've been putting this show before spending time and investing my relationship with God. And it kind of sounds a little bit drastic, but I do feel like I'm choosing to work on this before I'm choosing to spend time in the Bible switch is a really dangerous spot to be and not good for any of us.

So I've got a lot of excuses and kind of humbled to say it on the show, but I think next year I'm going to take a chunk of time to prioritize knowing God more. And I just want to prioritize him in my life. So this might be slower to release again, and I'll probably get punished by Instagram and apple podcast, but that doesn't matter.

Cause I want to be faithful to God before anything. 


Leon: Oh that night, if he could like, and subscribe, I've always wanted to say that that'd be really helpful. Thanks listeners. All right. How do you handle with love and grace differences with other moms? For example, breast versus bottle feeding. Sleep training versus attachment and all that other interesting stuff like mums that are super organic and clean eating first.

Mum's a bit looser, all that fun stuff. 


Laura: Yeah. Yeah. So I think there's going to be big things that we disagree with people, and that can be tricky to navigate, but with all of these examples, I think, but I think we need to take a step back and ask why isn't actually a big deal that we're disagreeing on. So bottle or breast ovarian vaginal.

I mean, everyone's going to have a different reason on what's best for them, their circumstances and their baby. And I mean, I can actually only think of one woman. Asked to have a as area and wanted to bottle feed straight away. And that was great for their family, but everyone else I know I've had to actually work through feelings of failure of shame for not giving the baby they're the best cause no one chooses to have an emergency scenario.

So I don't know why we're kind of arguing about this really. And I think just as we do disagree, we need to just put on love in many of these parenting decisions and assume that the other mum is doing the best that they can for their child and their family, even if we disagree or the latest research says otherwise.

And more than these big discussions, like about other things. I think that we see these kinds of hurtful disagreements come out in little ways and. Well, I cringe talking about this cause I can think of times where I haven't been gracious with people, all my pride and my arrogance has been on display as I'm chatting with a friend about their parenting style or research or whatever.

And so it's in these times when they pop up, I'd probably suggest to use your active listening skills or learn how to listen and really hear what your is saying and try and think about what their perspective is. And I actually think it'll be the mum who's feeling hurt to have to do this. So say someone criticizes the packaged food that you just pulled out of your lunch box.

The mum who's commenting knows the research. She's probably scared of, you know, an overweight child or fear for her kid's health. She's probably working really hard to give her kids that healthy, organic, whatever. So in a way, her comments on your, your packet food is probably her pride coming through.

And so I find it easier when I say it like that to just, I guess, being Gregg, be more gracious or not engage, or I can take a deep breath and be confident in my answer of like, oh yes. Well, it's not my first choice, but that's all I can manage in the moment and what she's getting fed. I also find that the passing hurtful comments usually come from first time moms who haven't had like a heap of experience with their plans, not eventuated.

 And it can be pretty crushing when your idea of parenting's not coming out the way you planned it and failings horrible. But we, I think we do get a bit used to being like a 70% mom of what we have the version that we planned. And so then that also brings us a degree of sensitivity when we're chatting to some.

And the other person is, is the older woman who's judging you. Cause they've done it all before and they would do it different or whatever. And I find that easy cause I can just kind of ride their comments off. 


Leon: Yeah, I feel like for us, it was more relevant. We had our first kid and this was all like big deals and we stressed about it and thought about it. And as time's gone on, it's not really a big deal. Like a kid's R I K, whichever way we've gone. And so I feel lucky. You gotta be mindful of the first time mom who these are. 


Laura: I find often first-time moms are the ones who are telling you that you're doing it wrong. 


Leon: That's what I mean. So you gotta be mindful of first time moms who this is, 


Laura: this is a big deal for them, 


Leon: but I've found it as we've kind of moved out of that stage. And our kids have grown up a bit. It's not that big a deal 


Laura: anymore. Problems, bigger 


Leon: problems. I feel like more of the food thing's still there. 


Laura: Yeah. Well that's because the stage we're in, but I can guarantee when we're 18, we go on who cares what they ate. 


Leon: Yeah. I can't remember what I had as a kid, 


Laura: but oranges and tank war, but that's where I'm saying, is it this way? So healthy. I think that's what I'm saying is that it takes the mum. Who's probably on the receiving end of getting her. To think about what's going on for that mum saying it because she's, do you know what I mean? She's, that's what she's probably still striving for. She hasn't gotten used to failing yet.


Leon: This a big deal for women is I 


Laura: think so. Yeah. Yeah. And, or I, I did also think a lot of that hurt and that disagreement can probably come from our, like us still hurting over our own perceived failures. So. Like at what could just be a passing comment actually hurts more. So I think working through that grief can be helpful in how to approach other people's remarks, because it's not like they're pouring salt on your wound.

So I used to have a real sensitivity to people talking about breastfeeding because I struggled so much with our first three, particularly for our first one and just felt like a massive failure and that I wasn't giving my baby the best. And so when people would comment on it, it was. Ultra painful, but now that I've worked through my feelings of shame and all of that, it's not as painful and yeah, sure. I bottle fed 


Leon: for these types of 


Laura: pressure. Yeah. So much pressure from church. Maybe not so much from church culture, but definitely in the world. Yes. It depends on the church. But I think in that relation or staff, be willing to apologize, be willing to be wrong, open, to change, quick to forgive, and like the one Corinthians love, like love is patient kind, but is it not, self-seeking not recording wrongs easily, angered trust, that sort of thing.

You know what I mean? 

Leon: Gerkin people need to be validated for their ideas. That's why someone's not doing it like them. Luckily the weather, my friend gives the luck if they breastfeed or not, that doesn't affect me at all. Yeah. I can say acute. Like if it's a really close friend and I think they're doing something terrible, then I'd say it. But 


Laura: yeah. And so that's the thing, I think that we're so caught up in this comments of like a 


Leon: judgment yes. Have the perfect kids that have to be like fed the perfect everything. 


Laura: I wonder if it comes back to women feeling judged, because that is a huge thing of like keeping up appearances and worried about what people think, that sort of thing. So I think if it was a good friend and you're thinking like, you know, You 


Leon: know, they're fitting in macros every day, every meal, 


Laura: and it's your good friend or your sister or whatever. And you're like, Hey sweetheart, do you really think that's the best thing for you, family understand life's hard, you know, like, can I help you? That sort of thing, but it's not like judging, right? That's you, that's where you come from a place of love and like a humble heart posture and seeing if they're okay, because it's thinking of what she's going through, right. Of what's going on for you. That. And I have to give you kid maggots every day.

Yeah, I dunno. 


Leon: Yeah. Do it that what you will lucky last, how do you grow in godly contentment? 


Laura: I'm not HAPE Shaw, but I reckon it's grounding yourself in scriptural truth. So the world will tell you that your content, when you have it. Some churches will tell you that God promises the good life here and now and all of that, but that doesn't actually really align with what the Bible says. So I've personally found myself more content when I align my thinking to scripture the reality of heaven being the perfect place. So, you know, I don't have my dream home now, but who really cares, like at best, I've got 50 years. And if I have to live in this nice home for 50 years, it doesn't matter.  got to turn it away. 


Leon: Your dream home is


Laura: thanks, Dave. But I think most people say anyway, Stacey said in her episode a few weeks back, I remember that listen to them, not. But she said in the pain and the suffering of this life, she finds it easier to trust God and be content. And I would just agree with her because I think the pain and the suffering of this life just acutely highlights the need for the gospel and that this world is broken and it's not going to be perfect here.

And creation is groaning and we are groaning and we all await the day when we won't be subjected to. The craftiness of scene, really. So whether it's the truth of the gospel or like the, how many other truth that you can think of in the Bible about God being with us or peace and joy bringer of this life and that this life is the narrow road.

And I mean, that's, that's like the tip of the iceberg. If you just start rating your Bible, there's so much truth that you can soak in. And that I really think brings. 


Leon: More attention span is gone. So I think let's wrap it up. 


Laura: I usually get, I just want to say actually, I just want to S I should have watched something a little bit more 


Leon: here we are, and stuff like that to 


Laura: start with. Oh, well, do you want to keep going or do you want to wrap it up? Yeah, let's wrap it up. Yeah. Well, I did just want to say thank you to all the listeners of this show, because it has just been. So much more than I anticipated. I, I set out thinking, well, what would be a good goal? I'd be happy with 30 people.

And it's just 30,000 no way, but you know, it's just so not what I thought it would be. And I really appreciate every comment and nice message and review on iTunes and all of that. I read it and emails and I'm just, I am really thankful and I'm glad that you guys like it and that you're finding it helpful.

And all the women who have been vulnerable sharing so far. Huge. Thanks to them. But yeah, I usually wrap up the show by praying. I mean, have the guests pray? Would you like to pray for women or is that I'd 


Leon: love to, he's a bit on the spot, but I'd love to pray, dear God. Thank you for your. Thank you for your holiness, your goodness to us, you creation that you've given us.

 Thanks for your son, that he had done a cross for our sins. We're going to have a relationship with you. Thank you for the women in our lives. Thank you for the way that you've created them to be nurturers carers lovers mothers. Thank you for the work you've done through this podcast. For the women that listen and have shared and the community, they have pray that you'd keep growing them spiritually emotionally and a private that'd be able to support one another.

And I pray that they would have a nice Christmas with their families but also be able to celebrate you in Jesus name. Amen. 

Laura: Amen. 

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