Congratulations! It’s a Girl!
About the Guest
When Darlene Brock found out, at the age of 27, that she was pregnant she cried for a month. Realizing that motherhood was the most important job she was ever going to have, she feared she wasn't going to do it right. Now, looking back on 20+ years, Darlene shares what she's learned about motherhood, and especially about raising daughters.
When Darlene Brock found out, at the age of 27, that she was pregnant she cried for a month.
Congratulations! It’s a Girl!
Bob: After working for more than 30 years in the music industry, Darlene Brock has a lot of professional accomplishments she can point to; but when she looks at her life, that’s not where she points.
Darlene: The lasting thing that I did was raise my daughters. The thing that matters now in the world are my daughters. So, everything was great. I loved doing every single bit of it, but the most fulfilling job you can have is raising your daughters.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Thursday, May 3rd. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine. Darlene Brock joins us today to help moms with a job description for what it looks like to raise girls.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us. I’ve asked you this question before, but it was years ago. I just want to see if you answer it the same way now as you did back then. (Laughter) Degree of difficulty: moms raising boys, moms raising girls—we’ll stop there. Which is harder? Is it harder for moms to raise boys or harder for moms to raise girls?
Bob: Harder to raise girls than boys?
Bob: Why do you say that?
Dennis: Well, first of all, they are the same sex.
Bob: Yes. (Laughter)
Dennis: There is this—it’s not opposites attracting; it’s—a mom knows how a girl thinks. So, you just got some natural clashing, some competition, some rebellion, little smart-aleck stuff that takes place. You know, we loved our sons and our daughters. Our daughters were just more challenging.
Bob: For both of you?
Dennis: Oh, for—oh, absolutely!
Dennis: Oh, yes. If you took all of our conversations that—we had a date night on—
Bob: Not just because it was a two-to-one ratio because you had four girls and two boys?
Dennis: Right. We had a date night on Sunday night, and we’d go out. It was the CEO and the COO getting together, talking about how we operate this deal, and where we were headed, and what the challenges were this week. The boys were simple.
Bob: Feed them. Leave them in their room for a while; they’ll get better; right?
Dennis: Well, you take them hunting; and if they don’t do well, you leave them in the woods. You know? (Laughter) You can’t do that with a girl! You can’t do that! Again, we loved them both. It was one of the greatest privileges of our lives; and I know right now, if you called Barbara, it’d be hands down.
Bob: Girls were harder than the boys?
Dennis: No doubt about it.
Dennis: Let’s—well, I can’t ask our guest because she didn’t have any boys.
Darlene: No, I did not. Two girls—that was enough.
Dennis: That’s the voice of Darlene Brock who joins us on FamilyLife Today. Darlene, welcome to the broadcast.
Darlene: Thanks. Good to be here.
Dennis: You, undoubtedly, had a few challenges with your daughters in raising them. I got to give a little background on you. In fact, I should let Bob do this. I mean, I actually thought about just leaving and letting you two talk music because of your backgrounds in the music industry.
Bob: Darlene and her husband Dan and I met back in about—it would have been about 1980 or 81.
Dennis: They were married in 1978.
Bob: They were involved with helping DeGarmo & Key, the—some listeners will go, “I’ve heard of them.”
Bob: Back in the day—
Bob: —Bob and Jayne Farrell, Farrell and Farrell, and started ForeFront Records and DC Talk. We just kind of hung out in a lot of different places; didn’t we?
Darlene: We sure did, and you just went down a whole lot of life right there. (Laughter)
Dennis: Well, Darlene has written a book called Help Wanted: Moms Raising Daughters. It’s a part of a bigger project called The Grit & Grace—
Bob: Let me explain. This—
Bob: —is not Grits and Grace. That would be a southern project.
Darlene: That would be a southern—but this is more universal than that. Absolutely; yes. (Laughter)
Dennis: Explain that project to our listeners.
Darlene: I’m a firm believer that every female in every area of her life has to deal with life with grit and grace—whether it is parenting, whether it is relationships, whether it’s career, home front—you have to have both. What I mean by that is grit—indomitable strength, facing difficulty, and “Don’t back down”—because you have to as a female. I know men do, too; but females, we need to stand a lot stronger than we do at times.
Darlene: If we do the standing only and don’t absorb grace into it, we turn into some really ugly women. So, grit and grace—equally important and equally necessary to achieve anything.
Bob: You had a model of grit and grace growing up; didn’t you?
Darlene: I did. My great grandmother, Grandma Bunger—that woman was under five foot tall, probably, did not weigh a hundred pounds—but nobody messed with her. She had 12 kids—loved them all; raised them all. I saw her run through the house with a broom after my great uncle one time because he had come home—he’d drunk a little bit he shouldn’t have drunk, and he was being a little ornery. He ran for his life—250 pounds, running through the house, out the front door.
Dennis: And a hundred pounds—
Bob: She’s a hundred pounds. (Laughter)
Dennis: —with a broom.
Darlene: A hundred pounds with a broom. Yes.
Dennis: If she had caught him, what would she have done with him?
Darlene: Hit him. I’m sure she’d have hit him over the head, and he would have cowered. (Laughter) She was amazing. She was my example of what a great woman is.
Dennis: Well, you know, during the research on you for being a guest here on FamilyLife Today—we did a little bit of a FBI background check and touched base with the highway patrol. Our understanding is you’ve set a record for the most number of accidents, early on in your driving career.
Darlene: Yes. (Laughter) Yes, I did. Growing up, mostly my teenage years—at least let me make that disclaimer—most of them were in my teenage years—not all—but I did put a car in a swamp. (Laughter)
Dennis: You wrote this book on being a mom. You begin this book telling stories about all your car accidents because—
Darlene: —because one of the last ones that I had was when I found out I was pregnant for my first child. I had an auto accident. I was rear-ended. Fortunately, this one wasn’t my fault—others were. This one wasn’t. I didn’t feel good. I didn’t feel good for a few days, a few weeks, and thought, “Boy! That was a really rough accident.” I started realizing I probably should look at the calendar. I probably should count days. At that time, I had to go see my doctor to get proof of pregnancy because I thought, “Maybe.” Well, indeed, he smiled; he congratulated me. I ran out the door crying because I thought I’d just figured out how to be a grown-up. Now, I’ve got another human to deal with; and it scared me to death.
Bob: How long had you been married? How old were you when you found out you were pregnant with your first child?
Darlene: I was 27. We’d been married four years, and I had been on my own since I was 18. You’d have thought I could figure out life by then.
Bob: Yes, Dar—I mean, you’ve had enough time—27. I mean, I would think you’d go, “Okay, I’m ready for this;” but you didn’t feel like you were ready for it?
Darlene: Well, I was smart enough to know it was a bigger job than I had ever done for anything else. Any mistake I made wasn’t just going to affect me or my husband—we were grown-ups—it was going to affect my daughter or my son.
Dennis: Well, after finding out and after stopping crying—you said in your book you cried for a month.
Darlene: I did.
Dennis: Why? I mean—okay, it’s a big responsibility. Why would you cry for a month—around—about that though?
Darlene: I don’t know. I could say hormones, but I think it was fear.
Dennis: You weren’t really looking forward to it at all?
Darlene: Not at all. It’s not that I didn’t want to, one day, be a mom. I thought it was a great thing to be. What a wonderful opportunity in life is to be a mother—to have this child, this baby, this toddler, this—I couldn’t have said teenager but—to have this wonderful other human in my life. It was something that I looked forward to one day, but I really was afraid. I really was afraid that I wouldn’t do it right.
Bob: Was part of the reason you weren’t ready to be a mom—I mean, you were involved—you and your husband were both in the Christian music world. You were managing bands, you were—this was before you started a record company, but that was on the horizon for you. It was kind of an exciting life you were living. Was your thinking at all, “Boy, this child is inconvenient at this time”?
Darlene: Inconvenient, no; but I was busy. We were building businesses, we were travelling, we were dealing with all kinds of humans and relationships in our business, and we were working unbelievably long days. How was I going to do that? My husband and I were business partners, best friends—loved each other, have a great marriage; but I was pretty consumed, and this child would need a lot of me.
Dennis: So, you loved what you were doing.
Dennis: So, the child was an interruption.
Bob: Let’s talk about that for a second because there are a lot of women who are listening, who like their job—they like what they are doing. They are involved in it. It’s fulfilling, it’s rewarding—and they find out they’re pregnant. For them, they’re just—they have some of this ambivalence that you were feeling. They’re thinking, “Okay, I can do it all. I can be the great mom. I can stay with one foot in the business. I can do all of this.” You walked some of that path. How achievable is that?
Darlene: It’s achievable if you don’t expect perfection. If you can take this, all of these subjects that you are dealing with, all of these areas of your life—motherhood, your husband, your business—and know that you are not going to be perfect in all of them. I think the biggest challenge is being willing to accept sometimes, “Not good enough;” but at the same time, I wouldn’t have traded my life. I wouldn’t have done it any other way. My daughters were part of everything we did, and we were part of everything they did.
It was more—it was a family business.
Dennis: You know the feminist message a number of years ago—you don’t hear it as much now but back when there was—it felt like there was more of a battle taking place for mind-share among women who were mothers—was you need to seek your own fulfillment; and you need to get it in the marketplace. Had you bought into that a bit?
Darlene: To a degree. I think for me I just liked challenges. Whatever it was, whatever business venture—I liked a new challenge. I liked to see if I could pull it off. It was more personal than it was corporate.
What I can honestly say is—I can look back at my life and say, “I had this successful concert. I had this successful band. Our record company sold multimillion records.” I could say all of that, but those days—that was then. The lasting thing that I did was raise my daughters. The thing that matters—now, in the world, are my daughters. Everything was great. I loved doing every single bit of it, but the most fulfilling job you can have is raising your daughters.
Dennis: You know, if Barbara was here, she’d agree with you. She’s accomplished a lot as a woman—very gifted. She’s good at a lot of things. She’s an artist, she’s a writer, she does a little speaking, does a little radio here on FamilyLife Today; but she would say that her greatest contribution to this world is six children. Now, she’s busy about making a contribution into the lives of 18 grandchildren; okay?
Darlene: Oh!! That’s great.
Dennis: It’s all about the call of motherhood—to give your life on behalf of the next generation. That’s what you’re saying; isn’t it?
Darlene: Absolutely. If you think—any other accomplishment, whether it is—let’s say you’re a lawyer. You write a contract—that’s short-term. Let’s say you’re in auto manufacturing—that’s short-term. Anything that you do is short-term. Your children—what they become is a complete by-product of what your investment is in them—and then, what their children become—and their children become—and the lives that are affected by those children that you affected.
Bob: Well, it’s interesting to me because, given your background and all that you were involved with, when you sit down to write a book, there are a lot of things you could have written on—just in terms of business, management, people you’ve known, tips on how to get into the music business. I mean, you could have written on a whole variety of things. What your heart was drawn to was helping moms raise daughters because, at the end of the day, that’s what matters the most; isn’t it?
Darlene: It is absolutely what matters the most. Of all the jobs that I took on,—and I consider motherhood a job. I think one of the misnomers is that a lot of moms just go, “Well, I’m a mom.” They have so many jobs they have to fulfill as a mom—careers that they have to perform within the definition of motherhood. It’s a job you need to commit to. You just don’t say, “I got pregnant. I’m having a baby.” You say, “I’m committing to this job of motherhood.”
Bob: You organized the book around all of these job descriptions—these hats that a mom wears, the different aspects of her vocation—and try to address it, aspect by aspect ,to talk about what’s involved in being a mom.
Darlene: I did. I did. Each chapter has its own specific purpose and title. It is academic advisor. It is creative counselor. You can look at sex-ed teacher—we all have to deal with that one. There are multiple jobs within motherhood.
Bob: Which was the hardest for you?
Darlene: Probably, sex-ed, to be honest.
Darlene: Because I committed to saying anything—telling them anything—you know, it’s not that it was hard. It was that it was such a commitment—all of them are—but it was a commitment to answer anything—which I think is a big part of motherhood anyway.
Dennis: It’s back to the title of your project, Grit & Grace.
Dennis: I mean, if you’re talking about something that’s pretty gritty to answer and to roll up your sleeves and say, “Okay, let’s talk about this,” but tackle it head-on—the thing that Barbara and I talked about repeatedly, as we raised ours was, “Would we rather our children hear about this from the world—with its own set of lack of standards, and lack of morality, and with its own twists and turns—or would we rather our children hear about that issue from us?”
Darlene: Absolutely, and I think there is nothing that should be off limits between you and your children. Anything should be able to be talked about—even if you, as the parent, don’t want to hear some of the things they’re saying, or they’re thinking about, or they’re pondering, or they’re facing—even if you don’t want to hear it, you need to hear it. You need for them to feel that when they walk in and open their mouth to say something to you—you are going to respond rationally. You’re going to respond thoughtfully. You’re going to respond in such a way that they feel confident and they trust you.
Bob: What was the hardest thing you heard, as a mom, from one of your daughters? What was the time that comes back to you when you—I’m thinking about things that they might have said about themselves, about their lives, about their dreams or aspirations, where you were thinking, “That’s not what I want to hear.”
Darlene: Absolutely. I think one of the most difficult was when my eldest daughter went to college. She’s in film now. That’s what she always wanted to be; and she’s heading toward being a producer, and doing a great job. When she left to go to college—we sent her to Viola University in California—great college—but we knew she was going to Hollywood. So, it was, “Alright, let’s at least find some bridge.” They had film; they had Bible. Every semester, it would be, “What am I taking, Mom?” “Okay, film and Bible.” “How about Bible and film?” “Let’s do film and Bible.” (Laughter) That was it for four semesters; and then, she quit and went to Hollywood.
When we were sitting on her luggage and she and I were getting ready to go put on the plane, she looked at me and said, “Mom, you know, I’m going to be a producer. You know I’m a Christian, but God better not get in my way.” I said, “Well, I understand.” She said, “You know I’m ambitious, and you know I know where I want to go.” I said, “I’m going to tell you something, Sweetie. Here’s the deal—life is hard. ‘Life is hard, and you do it on your own,’ or, ‘Life is hard, and you have a Savior and a Friend Who will do it with you.’ So, there are two roads. Both of them are hard, but one of them has some help. The choice is yours. It’s no longer mine.”
Bob: How did she respond to that? She said, “I hear you?”
Darlene: She shrugged! She shrugged and went to California.
Bob: And you go home, praying like crazy?
Darlene: Praying like crazy and saying, “God, whatever it takes for her to surrender her life to You.” What it took was she totaled her car in California and called me—
Bob: Chip off the old block! (Laughter)
Darlene: Oh! You know, it’s the truth! That’s sad! Yes. Hey, I didn’t total mine; okay?
Bob: You just “partial-ed” yours?
Darlene: I just “partial-ed” mine.
Dennis: You know—but at that moment—I’m picturing that moment. The easiest thing, as a parent, to do is either lecture, and point their finger at the child, and really put the guilt trip on them, or to say nothing, and punt, and just be a friend to the child. In fact, there is some recent research out that indicates that parents of teenagers think the goal—43 percent think that the goal is to be a friend with your son or daughter.
What I hear you saying, in your book, is—you’re calling moms to a noble profession, but you’re capturing all of it in the concept of being a coach. What you became at that moment, sitting on those suitcases with your daughter—you were saying, “Okay, Sweetie, if you want to say to God, ‘If He gets in my way…’ you can say that; but let me just tell you, as your mom and as your coach, what’s going to happen.” That’s what you did; wasn’t it?
Darlene: Yes, and that’s what you have to do on every subject. You are absolutely right. The first chapter, after my introduction, is called “Coach” because before you do anything else, you have to take that position. You have to be the one to instruct. You have to be the one to encourage. You have to be the one to bench them. You have to be the one that even takes care of the injuries. You have to do it all. You have to be the coach. That’s just it. You’re partnering—in some ways, you are partnering with your child on them starting as an infant and growing into a productive adult. You can’t do it for them; but at the same time, you can’t let them loose to do it for themselves.
Dennis: Today, your daughter is a producer in Hollywood?
Darlene: She is. Right now, she is a post-production coordinator in L.A. She just finished a production in Pittsburgh. She’s doing that until January. Then, she’s going on to a location to another film.
Dennis: Is she doing it God’s way; or is she still kind of pushing back?
Darlene: She’s absolutely doing its God’s way—absolutely. She’s in the trenches with a lot of people who don’t know the Lord.
Dennis: No doubt.
Darlene: She’s in—she’s in a culture that is very different than most of America. She’s doing it so well, and she loves those people so much. I’m really proud of her.
Dennis: Well, if you’re a mom, and you’re listening to this, from time to time, that job assignment becomes wearisome. You need encouragement from someone who has been there, done that, and who’s lost hope and perspective at times. I think Darlene Brock has done a great job, in her book, of kind of distilling out the essence of what the major roles of being a mom are.
It’s not a preachy book. It’s an honest, authentic look at how one mom—and some other moms—have coached their daughters to become the women they are today. I’d encourage our listeners to get a copy of it, and maybe pass it on to a friend.
Bob: As you said, the mother/daughter relationship may be the harder of the two. So, to have a little help, a little coaching, would be beneficial. Darlene provides that in the book, Help Wanted: Moms Raising Daughters, which we’ve got in our FamilyLife Today Resource Center.
Find out more online at FamilyLifeToday.com. Again, our website is FamilyLifeToday.com. You’ll also find the link online to The Grit & Grace Project that Darlene Brock heads up. Look for that link, as well. Again, our website is FamilyLifeToday.com. You can also request a copy of the book when you call 1-800-FL-TODAY, 1-800- “F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then, the word, “TODAY”. That’s our toll-free number.
Let me also mention—I’ve mentioned it already this week—the Life Ready® video curriculum that our team has put together. It features Shaunti Feldhahn. It’s designed to help women focus on the top priorities that they face as women, to understand what those priorities are, and make sure that that’s where you’re investing. We’re getting a lot of great feedback from women who are going through this material with other women in their neighborhood, or using it in a small group setting, using it with the women’s group at church. Find out more about the Life Ready Woman video curriculum with Shaunti Feldhahn when you go to FamilyLifeToday.com; or give us a call, toll-free, 1-800-358-6329. That’s 1-800- “F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then, the word, “TODAY”.
Now, we’ve had some exciting news, here at FamilyLife Today. We had some friends of the ministry, who we were meeting with not long ago; and they were hearing about a project that we’ve been working on. We’ve been taking material from Dennis Rainey’s book for men called Stepping Up: A Call to Courageous Manhood and we’re putting together a video series designed to challenge men to step up and be men. These folks got excited about the project; and they said, “We want to help make sure you’ve got the funds you need to get it done; but we also want to encourage FamilyLife Today listeners to be a part of this project, as well.”
What they offered to do was to match all of the donations we receive during the month of May on a dollar-for-dollar basis, up to a total of $435,000. That’s going to help us—not only cover the costs of producing this radio program—but also, it will help us with the Stepping Up video project and the other things we’re doing here at FamilyLife Today, as well. We’re asking you if you would consider, this month, making a donation. When you do that, that donation is going to be matched dollar-for-dollar. It’s a great time for you to call us, or go online and make a $25-, $50-, $100-donation—whatever you’re able to afford.
It’s going to take all of our listeners coming together for us to be able to match that $435,000 amount. So, would you consider, today, going to FamilyLifeToday.com, clicking the button that says, “I Care”, and making an online donation; or call us, toll-free, at 1-800-FL-TODAY, 1-800-358-6329—make a donation over the phone. Again, your donation will be matched dollar-for-dollar when you get in touch with us. We want to say, “Thanks,” in advance for whatever you are able to do in support of our ministry; and we appreciate hearing from you.
Now, tomorrow, we’re going to continue our conversation about moms raising daughters. Our guest is Darlene Brock. She’ll be back with us. Hope you can be back with us, as well.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We will see you back tomorrow for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.
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