Act like the Mom!

Dear Lindsey,

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!”

  1. 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:)
  2. 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. :)
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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

36 thoughts on “Act like the Mom!

  1. LOVE IT!! (Esp the valid “who’s the mom” point about bathroom breaks!! Why is it our four yr old has to “go” in the middle of church and dinner!?! ) I look forward to discussing the post with Chris and implementing it immediately! 

  2. Oh, yeah, Terri—you’ve got it right! As a mother of 5 (3 of them VERY strong-willed), I was constantly in “Mom mode.” Loved your comment on leading a horse to water but not being able to make him drink—your solution: you can put some salt in his oats. ;)

  3. Wow!!! That was SUCH valuable information! Thank you Terri for once again sharing your wisdom and insight about parenting!!! I always learn soo much from you!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! <3

  4. Terri, thank you for the extra time you take on top of “BEING THE MOM” :) to post for your fellow moms/girlfriends. This was such a wonderful reminder. I love the “band of mothers” atmosphere you’ve created. It really feels like a team effort to do our best to raise our children. It’s such a blessing to me and I KNOW many others! Love ya 💜

    • Beth,
      You are such a great encourager in my life!! You were THERE encouraging me the day Lindsey encouraged me to start a blog! and I said, “I don’t think anyone would read it.” and she said, “I would!” so I joked I would write “Letters to Lindsey” and post them. Thanks for reading! Love ya!

  5. Well put Terri, it is a blessing to have you out there being a great example so your kids will grow up to be a great product. I will also do my very best to be an example father so my children will be an assett to your childrens culture. We need more examples and so do our children.

  6. Terri thanks for the post! You have no idea how much this blog and your latest cd on getting your children to love reading has helped in the Spiewak household! Love you lots girlfriend!

  7. You are singing my song, girlfriend! :) I often tell parents that if your child can sit through a Disney movie without a potty break, they can certainly sit through church without one! Press on…

    • Thanks, Donna! You are such an inspiration to me as the mother and woman of God that you are! I hope I am “singing your song” in my life:) Thank you so much for taking time to encourage!

  8. Terri, thank you for reminding us to be “the mom”. I don’t know how many times I have heard other moms say “it’s just easier to give them what they want”. I think I’ll save this and send it to them. As a mom of 6 I just have to say, to be a mom may be hard in the moment but in the long run the kids will respect you for it. It also teaches them to be parents to their kids. We are seeing those results in our grand babies. You’re an inspiration!!!

  9. Terri

    Oh how we must remember we are the Mom!! I wish I could somehow wear this blog in the grocery store. It floors me every time I go at the things I hear and the moms who seem perfectly okay with being hit or called stupid. Yet, I know it’s easy to point the finger and not realize my own blind spot moments of “Who’s the mom”

    Thanks for sharing and for the CD on reading!

  10. I proudly declare that “I’m the MOM!” My daughter is a pretty good example of what hearing “no” and consistency will achieve. If she has an attitude, she knows (even her friends know!) that when I say, “I beg your pardon?” they’d better add a word (“please”, “thank you”, “excuse me”, etc.) or change their wording. It’s tough to be the bad guy sometimes. She’s not always going to like me – but she’ll respect me. (fingers crossed* ;)

  11. Thank you for this post, Terri! Our girls were 10 and 6 when we started our journey with LIFE TEAM. Whatever it is that I missed out before then, I was able to recover through the learning system with LIFE TEAM. Our eldest is now 19 and our youngest is 15. No matter what age they are in, I still need to remember who’s the mom. I still need to stand my ground esp. when it comes to matters of faith and values and equipping them with a solid foundation for life. With our 15 year old, it means giving guidelines with regards to the teen culture such as how to handle peer-pressure, going out with friends or to parties, respecting curfews, decent way of dressing, speaking, acting that commands respect and following through with consequences when she violates house rules agreed upon; with our 19 year old, even if she is in the age of majority, I still remind her of our values, making the right choices, taking responsibility of the consequences of her actions, of her finances, her job, her relationships, her health. When we’ve given our best being the mom, we entrust the rest in God’s hands and hope that the seed we’ve planted, will bear fruit under God’s love and care.

  12. What a GREAT reminder that “YES, I am the mom,here!” Loving this blog Terri! Keep them coming, you are such a gift…. I have to tell you that my 7 year old, Breylon, said to me yesterday while listening to your CD about getting your kids to read….”Mom, they said to be successful I have to really like reading and do it lots and lots, I better get moving on that”….LOVE IT! :)

  13. Terri – Great perspective & advice!! I told my children that I loved them enough to let them hate me! (At least for a season). My young ones didn’t HAVE to tinkle – however, they were required to TRY!! (go into the stall, pull down pants, assume “the position”, & push!) I was pleasantly amazed at how often that produced the desired results! I also often told them – “You don’t have to like it, you just have to DO it.” (whatever IT happened to be at that moment!) I am sickened by parents refusing to act like parents – it is a LOT of what is wrong with our young people nowadays. We will always make mistakes, because we are human, but we need to remember that WE are the GROWN-UPS – if we do not LEAD, our children will find someone who doesn’t care OR love them, have much sense or wisdom TO FOLLOW!

  14. Thank you so much for your wisdom! I definitely felt challenged while reading this post — which I LOVE! It is amazing to me how God answered my prayers of finding the “right information” whether or not I knew that is what I was asking for. He was faithful to me when I was especially not faithful to Him! You and your wisdom are definitely an answer to my prayers! Thank you so much for taking your precious time to share. I ALWAYS look forward to your posts! :)

  15. I don’t have kids yet, but I look to people like you and Angie Ballah and Jessica Hilmes to figure out a better way to do things. Those of us without kids, well, a lot of us are watching. Thanks.

  16. Terri, you are such a blessing! Thanks for the reminder. I have an 8yr gap between my middle and youngest child, who is now two. I thought we were done after child number 2 and so we switched gears mentally, emotionally, and physically, but God had other plans. I forgot what having a toddler was like, lol….. So this was perfect timing :) Thank you for standing there “right there beside us” and for the encouragement to “Be the mom and to stay strong”. God Bless!

  17. I absolutely LOVE this! Any suggestions on a 5 yr old that sincerely hates socks and shoes? :) She doesn’t have a problem with anything else, but I think the sock and shoe thing is going to be the death of me. :) Thanks so much for this and all of your posts!

  18. I LOVE this Terri! While I am not a mom yet, I have so many incredible examples to learn from in the Team when that day comes. Every post you share helps me to become a stronger and more courageous woman! Thank you for being a hero in my life! God Bless!

  19. Terri,
    Thanks so much for your transparency! As a mom and homescooler I often wonder if anybody else ever deals with these daily battles- it is so encouraging to know that I am not alone! In a day and age when it is more the norm to be your child’s friend (how well is that working in our society?!) it is refreshing to read your perspective.

  20. Thank you Terri! This is EXACTLY what I needed to read this morning. It’s so easy to choose what seems like peace in the moment but when those moments add up and I look back at my week exhausted and overwhelmed I begin to see how much more difficult things became the more I gave in (and gave up my role as the Mom). Conversely I see how much more smoothly things seem to run the more frequently I take the reins and decide to Lead.

    I especially enjoyed the attitude example you shared of how the Mom of a teenager handled rebellious questions. It really spoke to me as someone who has always struggled with anxiety in the face of confrontation. When someone questions me I tend to question myself and freeze up, but this example is a great encouragement to focus on the heart in every situation and stay true to principles even in the face of my own imperfectness in the arena of parenting.

  21. Thanks for your blog Terri, it helps to know none of us are alone in the journey of motherhood on the Life Team. I have three children, a 11 yr old boy, an 8 yr old girl and a 4 yr old boy. It can be difficult at times, but with the helpful stories and inspiration from you and all others who comment here, it makes standing up, being and acting like mom a fantastic journey.

  22. Thank you Terri for your blog and to all who comment here. It is so helpful and such an inspiration when things get tough, thank you

  23. Thank you Terri! You continue to inspire me and touch my whole family. You are a blessing with the truth your share. We appreciate you so very much! Love you!!!

  24. Thank you! It’s so easy to descend to my kids’ level and whine back at them. I like your mini-sermon to yourself. I need to remember it!

  25. Thank you!! I recently took my 7 year old son and 9 year old daughter to a local Mexican restaurant we enjoy. We do not order soda or juice etc as it is not good for us or economical so water it is. This is challenged most often by my 9 year old. This time my 7 year old decided to see how far he could push it, my 9 year old stepped in before I could and ordered for him. Then after the server left she let him know, YOU know the rule and Mom doesn’t need to say it anymore so straighten up! Thank you Lord I am doing ONE thing right :)

  26. I will get so much pleasure in sharing this one with several who really have no clue. And will take your suggestion to heart with my grands! Thanks Terri!

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