If you’re in the throws of parenting, you know that kids don’t come with an instruction manual. In the same way that elite athletes need someone to speak wisdom into their game in order to make the right adjustments, parents can use the wisdom of parents who have made it to the other side of raising littles and teens.
The Real Story
Nancy Osborne, wife of Pastor Larry Osborne, shares the real story of what parenting was like for them and gives encouragement to parents today.
How long have you and Pastor Larry been married?
How many kids do you have?
3 kids and 8 grandkids
How did you stay sane in the 24/7 days of parenting?
I worked part-time and that made a big difference. It gave me a regular break from 24/7 parenting and helped me stay focused when I was at home. Also, Larry made sure he was home by dinner time and not out too many nights of the week leaving me to do all the parenting.
What support system did you have—or would you recommend to parents—who are in the 24/7 phase of parenting?
Friends and family mostly—and Life Group friends
How do you handle sibling conflict?
Mostly time outs or the classic, “Wait until your dad gets home!” 😄
How would your kids describe your parenting style?
Perfect—the best mom ever. At least that is what they wrote in their Mother’s Day cards. Seriously, I think they would say I was fun and encouraging. I didn’t get too stressed out about the little things.
What has been one of the greatest challenges of being a mom?
Wanting to overly-protect them.
How do you keep your own identity outside of being a mom or your husband’s wife?
My job as an accountant gave me a place of expertise and value completely separate from the kids and North Coast Church.
Do you have a favorite child? 😉
Yes. But if I told you, I’d have to kill you.
Are there any unhealthy patterns that you were raised with that you’ve managed to overcome in your own marriage or parenting? How did you do it?
My mom was critical. She meant well, but it was still hurtful. Larry was always encouraging and never critical. We worked hard to create a different legacy.
What are some of the greatest challenges you have overcome in your marriage?
We were lucky, outside of the normal life challenges we’ve not had much to overcome relationally. Larry has always been my “best friend”.
Chores: paid/unpaid; at what age?
Nothing formal. We just asked them to help as needed. We did give them free room and board. ☺️
What are some surprise joys?
We were told junior high and high school would be tough. But we enjoyed each age and stage better than the last one including their adulthood.
What is harder than you expected?
Their sadness was our sadness. When games were lost or hearts broken I think we felt it more than they did. They say you are never happier than your saddest kids. I think that’s true.
Who has been someone you have looked to for inspiration in your marriage, in your parenting?
My in-laws. They set an example in both marriage and parenting.
Do you have any encouragement/suggestions for moms dealing with in-law boundaries?
Never forget your spouse and kids are priority number one. You repay your parents by paying it forward. If you have to disappoint someone, don’t make it your spouse or kids.
What do you think families need most right now?
Time together that’s not rushed or task oriented.
What would you say are the top 3 ingredients for having a healthy family?
Honest communication – Encouragement – Time together
What is/are things you are glad you did the way you did?
The top three would be reading to the kids a lot, working hard to make it to their events and games, and finally, for our family, putting our kids into public school at Jr High. For us, it was a big win that might not be best for every family. But it helped keep our sons and daughter from being overly sheltered as Christians and as pastor’s kids.
What is/are things you would do differently with 20/20 hindsight?
We made tons of little mistakes we’d do differently. But nothing big comes to mind.
What has been the hardest part about marriage/parenting?
Life has thrown plenty of adversities our way. But we were lucky in that none of our kids went through a major rebellion or medical hardship. My marriage and parenting are more a place of honor than a hardship to work through.
What has God taught you that you may not have learned outside of being a parent/wife?
I can’t control everything. Some things have to be let go. Also, the long-range fruit of putting others first really is more than worth it.
What is your encouragement for wives/parents today?
Hang in there. As Larry says, “Do your best, then take a nap.”