Podcast Episode 47: The Most Difficult Listener Question Ever

Aug 10, 2012 | Podcasts

In The Loop with Andy Andrews, hosted by Andy Traub.

This week, AT shares some good news and asks Andy to answer the most difficult listener question they’ve ever received.


Andy and AT share some good news:

  • You can get seven free letters from Andy’s previously unavailable Storms of Perfection book by signing up for the free e-mail list on AndyAndrews.com.
  • AT shares what he calls the “toughest question ever asked on the podcast.” Rebecca writes:
  • Andy, the area of parenting I have trouble with the most is making more quality time with my children. I’m a mother of two and since the first day my child was born I have wanted to quit my job and become the manager of my home.
  • The problem is my student loans. I’m a lawyer, and my education cost a lot of money. It does not seem feasible to quit my job until the student loans are paid off. Even with aggressive payments, the loans won’t be paid off for another three and a half years. By then, my children will be in school, so there will be no point in staying at home.
  • Right now, I struggle with how to make the most of the time I have with my children. It’s hard not to become bitter about the decision I made about my education 10 years ago. Any insight you could provide would be appreciated.


In a way, this is a problem Andy is struggling with right at this very minute, though he certainly isn’t comparing their situations.

  • In two weeks, the summer is over and school will start for his two boys, who are 10 and 12. Unfortunately, Andy is past his deadline on the book he is writing.
  • He’s getting up at 3:30 AM and going somewhere else away from his house to write so that he isn’t tempted to spend time with his family instead of writing.
  • He’s coming home for dinner every night exhausted. He’s very aware that he’s going to be writing for the rest of Austin’s last summer before he becomes a teenager.


Right now, he’s thinking things like:

  • It’s never going to be like this again.
  • I could have gotten this done earlier.
  • I’ve screwed up with how I’ve spent my time.


However, we live in the present and we have to deal with the choices we’ve made in the past. Andy’s not trying to compare what he’s going through to the seriousness of her situation, but he wants to give Rebecca some “straight talk,” what Jones would call “perspective.”

  • We can’t do anything about the decisions we have already made. We just have to live with them. We’re not made with the ability to make right decisions all the time. We don’t know what the future consequences of our choices will be. Once we make choices, it’s part of our duty to go about making those choices right.
  • The two things she’s not lacking are the money to pay the loans off and a time frame in which to pay them. All she is lacking is an idea. One idea changes everything.
  • The perspective Andy wants her to have is the same kind of perspective that he and Polly had after Hurricane Ivan destroyed their home.
  • It was going to take two years just to even get back inside the house. Two years just to get a certificate of occupancy.
  • Three weeks after the hurricane, Polly had a miscarriage. They had a four-year-old and a two-year-old. They moved to three different rental houses during the time. It was a bad time.


During that time, they thought things like:

  • I can’t believe we have to put our kids through this.
  • I can’t believe they have to spend all this time moving and uprooting our family instead of doing “kid stuff.”


But there was another way to look at this “bad” time:

  • At least it happened while the kids were young, because everything was an adventure to them.
  • Even the new bathtub in a rental house was amazing to them because they could race their cars in it.
  • This would not be the case had they been teenagers.


The point is that Rebecca’s situation is probably bothering her a lot more than it’s bothering the children.

  • Since her real concern is with them and not with herself, she can afford to lighten up on herself a little bit.
  • Understand that she can find quality experiences that will trump any amount of “regular” time a lot of parents spend with their kids.
  • A lot of parents are home at 5 o’clock in the afternoon and they’re home all night long. But all they do is sit in their chair, tell everyone to be quiet, watch the news.
  • Lots of families don’t even eat dinner together.


There are things you can do to make ordinary experiences extraordinary, especially for little kids.

  • Right now, Andy is writing in one of those houses they rented after the hurricane. So, last night, they came to visit him before they went to bed and the boys were running around and talking about all the memories from the old house.
  • They had those good memories because, during the awful time when Andy and Polly were worried about everything, they didn’t let the kids see that. They still made sure to create extraordinary moments for the kids during that time.


Andy asks Rebecca: What will your kids remember about this tough time in your life?

  • Her kids are going to remember that they had a mom who worked hard when they were little so that when they were older she could really be there for them.


Questions for Listeners

  • Do you have a question? Call in and your question might be featured on the show!



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