When J.R. was 3, I had such an embarrassing night! I invited my pastor’s wife and daughter over for dinner, since our husbands were traveling together. She innocently asked who would like to say the prayer and J.R. was the first with his hand up. His prayer went like this: “Dear God, please make all these people go away so it can just be our family for dinner.”
There are plenty of things my children say and do that are embarrassingly out of my control. But there is a completely different set of things that my children say or do that is just screaming for me to LEAD. I love it when Orrin Woodward talks about the moments in life when he feels like something is going awry, and someone needs to do something. Suddenly he thinks, “Woodward, you’re the leader; now act like it!”
There are so many times (a day!) that I have to remind myself of that. “Terri, you’re the mom. Now act like it!”
I think I could confess for hours about this, but here are some areas where I have noticed the “terrorizing” effect of my kids and have had to scream at myself, “Terri, you’re the mom. Now act like it!”
- Eating. I must admit, I daily wonder if my kids will like what I am preparing for dinner. It would be so much easier to give chicken nuggets and mac and cheese, and let them deal with the habits as adults. However, when I read anything on nutrition, I realize I am responsible to God for that knowledge and I ask myself, “Who’s the mom? Act like it!” I know- I can’t force them to eat right, but I CAN limit them to snacks I approve of between meals, so that they haven’t filled up on empty calories of crackers and cookies by the time the meal is served. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t force him to drink…, but you can put some salt in his oats:)
- Restaurants. Kids want to decide where we go. Kids want to run around. Kids want to order expensive foods, junk foods, or junk drinks. If friends are present, I feel the pressure of the terror factor even more, since I can see the habits of the friends’ families in restaurants. BUT… “You’re the mom. Now act like it!” runs through my head. If I want them to share a meal, because it’s economical and better quality than the kids’ menu, then that’s MY choice. Teaching them to drink water at restaurants could be a lifetime habit of saving money and good nutrition. Acting with excellence in the midst of “unexcellent” people is necessary for success in any field. What a great way for them to learn that! Life-lessons in price comparison are golden to their future spouses.
- Bedtime. The child who says, “Mom, I can see you are tired, and would like some time with Dad. I’m going to go to bed early without a fuss,” has never been in my house. “You’re the mom. Now act like it!” has saved me countless hours of sleep, time to read, and time with Chris, as I get to determine bedtime, and stick to it.
- Bathroom stops. This is a funny one to make my top list of battles, but Chris helped me see the terrorism of this in church one day. I didn’t even notice that every Sunday, I was getting up in the middle of the service to take someone to the bathroom. I never got to listen -nor did those who sat near us. When I gave my wimpy excuse, “Well, he’ll wet his pants,” Chris practically asked me, “and who’s the mom?” When we took the kids aside and told them no more potty in the middle of the church service (or for the next 2 hours of road trip, or during a homeschool class, for eg), it’s amazing how using facilities beforehand became their priority and I got to enjoy an uninterrupted service – as did all those attendees who sat near us.
- Attitude. I witnessed a conversation between a mother and her teen the other day.
Mom: “You are taking your brother to lessons.”
Teen (in a frustrated tone): “I have to do what?!”
Mom: “Try asking me that again.”
Teen (still ticked): “Why do I have to take him?!”
Mom: “I need you to change your tone.”
WOW! Nobody was asking who the mom was! She handled it. She didn’t drop to his level and argue. She didn’t even address the rebellious questions he was asking. She first had his attitude right. Eyebrows up, posture right. We are raising the next generation of adults – she taught him to act like one.
6. Entertainment. I often think of a story Dr. Dobson tells in Parenting isn’t for Cowards about a mom who called the doctor saying her six-month-old baby was sick. When the doctor asked what the baby’s temperature was, she said, “He won’t let me take it.”
WHO IS THAT BABY’s MOM?!
I have heard many moms say, “I can’t get my kids to play outside;” or “My kids won’t read,” or “I can’t get my daughter off Facebook;”
WHO’s THE MOM?!
Ah, girlfriend, sometimes it just feels good to get all of that out. I KNOW we are the moms, but doesn’t it feel better to know that we are banded together? It’s comforting to know that most kids are fighting with weapons from the same old arsenal. Unmentioned skirmishes loom: the push-back on what to wear, or personal hygiene, or the dreaded kids’ chore-list. The list is endless. But we know that things become so much less dreaded when we stay the course and consistently stay the mom! Of course, in my life, prayer is at the beginning of every change. When I noticed my frustration in these areas, I thought I would share to encourage you to stay strong. I’m beside you! We can do it. WE ARE THE MOMS! Let’s act like it!
Love ya! Terri