When Yes Means No

Rebecca Carroll

Work. Faith. Marriage. Kids. It’s the balancing act that many of us at 4word are constantly struggling to maintain. Or the act that we look forward to juggling someday in the future. Today, we are speaking to Rebecca Carrell, morning show host for the Dallas-Fort Worth station 90.9 KCBI. She and her husband, Mike, are learning the keys to balancing both of their careers, their marriage and raising their two children, all while keeping God at the center. We’re eager for you to hear Rebecca’s advice and suggestions as she shares how her family makes it work.

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4word: You and your husband both have successful careers. What do you rely on to make home and family work?

Rebecca: Mike and I both are hard working, driven individuals. In fact, growing up in Minnesota, when I was in second or third grade, I would drag our snow shovel from house-to-house charging our neighbors two dollars to clear their driveways. Looking back, I should’ve had an agent – that’s much too cheap!

In all seriousness, I am very grateful to my husband that he is as supportive as he is. There is no way I could work morning-show hours if he weren’t on board. Mike faithfully gets the kids up every morning, making sure teeth are brushed and beds are made. He packs lunches and drops them off at school. Not only that, but since I have a 3 am wake-up call, it’s not uncommon for me to be the first one to bed. So he often handles the good-night duties as well.

However, at the end of the day, we rely on Jesus. We believe we were following God’s will when I went back into radio, and we will stay until He leads us out. Mike and I pray together, Bible study together on the weekends, and make sure we are always cultivating common interests. We also try to do frequent date nights and family dates. Our current obsession is roller skating! The kids got skates for Christmas, so we put them in lessons and go skating as a family.

The bottom line is this: It works because we have committed to making it work. We remind ourselves often that our real “job” is mom and dad, and we do our best to make the home a loving, God-centered environment.

4word: How do you ensure that you have quality time with both of your children and your husband?

Rebecca: Fortunately, I am home in the afternoon with the children. I pick them up from school, make the snacks, and oversee the homework. I do my best to be present with them, and that means sometimes my phone and e-mails go unanswered. My biggest challenge in the afternoon is turning work off. I have been guilty of being there in body but not mind, so I am very intentional about listening to them and expressing a keen interest in their day and their activities.

Quality time, in my experience, is not something that can be manufactured. It seems as though when my husband and I attempt to create quality time we end up frustrated and let down. Quality time is organically birthed out of the quantity of time you spend with your loved ones; those sweet moments that spring up while tucking a child into bed or snuggling on the couch.

Some moms struggle with our arch-enemy, mommy-guilt, over the amount of time they are able to be with their children during the week. To those sweet moms I would say this: remember that when you say “yes” to something you are saying “no” to something else. Guard the time with your kiddos that you do have, and be fully engaged when you are there. Let e-mail, the phone, and social media take a back seat. I promise at the end of our lives we will never wish we had spent more time working!

Regarding the quality time with Mike, it’s the same thing. When he walks in the door the kids know they have to wait; mom gets first crack at the daddy hugs. After he kisses the kids we spend about 20 minutes connecting while I get dinner ready.

4word: What steps have you taken to prevent you and your husband's career from "competing" with each other?

Rebecca: Romans 12:10, in the New Living Translation, says, “Love each other with genuine affection and take delight in honoring each other.” We have taken this verse to heart and do frequent marriage pulse-checks. We ask each other how we are doing, then we say, “Okay, but how are you really doing?”

Mike and I have an agreement that if my speaking/travel becomes too much of a burden on the family, it stops. Marriage first, then children, then work, with God saturating the equation. That may sound a bit radical, but the fact of the matter is that what my kids need most from Mike and I is security. They need to see mom and dad in love. They need to see us put each other first. When we keep our marriage strong, the career issues seem to work themselves out.

4word: What is the most challenging aspect about raising a family in the midst of dual careers and how have you approached that?

Rebecca: The biggest challenge is guarding the schedules. We live in a competitive, hectic, stressed-out culture that wears “busyness” like a badge. We insist on dinner as a family at least five nights a week, and try to keep that time pleasant. Each night we go around the table and everyone talks about the best and worst parts of their day.

We have a hard and fast one-activity-at-a-time rule, and we don’t budge. We don’t let one child’s activity determine the family schedule. We make fun and laughter a priority – I want my kids to want to be around us! Mom and dad aren’t their friends, we’re their parents, but that doesn’t mean we can’t get silly as often as possible.

Just as Mike and I intentionally check the marriage-pulse, we check our children’s emotional-pulse too. When it’s apparent that one child needs some special attention, they get a date with mom or dad. It might be shopping, a movie, the park – the activity doesn’t matter as much as the one-on-one attention.

4word: Any other thoughts you would like to add?

Rebecca: I love encouraging other women on this topic, and when I do, I tell them to hold fast to the most important thing, and that is their Heavenly Father, who loves them more than they love their own children. I believe in staying in His word, because when we are connected to Him and listening to His voice, He is so faithful to guide us down the right path. The right path may not be the most glamorous or bring the most money or accolades, but you simply cannot put a price on the peace that surpasses understanding when you are smack in the center of His will. Seek Him over your husband, your children, your career, your friends, and everything else, and you will find that He is more than enough.

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What have you done to keep family a priority? In what ways do you make an effort to keep God above all else you do?

Rebecca Carrell is a Christ-follower, wife, and mother. She is also a conference and retreat speaker, Bible teacher, and radio personality in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Rebecca started in radio in 1998, working at various stations for over 10 years, before hearing God’s call to combine ministry and radio. You can catch Rebecca on 90.9 KCBI’s morning show every now and then.