Our Keepsake Journal is Here! 🎉

Sometimes I think my children think I’m their humble servant. I sit down to start work on a blog post or edit photos or cook dinner or read a book and I hear “Mama? Can I have a drink?” “Mama! Can I have a glass of milk?” “Mama, can I have a snack?” I won’t lie. All I want to say back to them is “I don’t know. Can you?”

I mean seriously. What did I do to make these children think I’m going to wait on them hand and foot and do everything for them?

Oh right.

I know what I did.

I waited on them hand and foot and did everything for them. For years.

I created these little, self-entitled monsters and now I need to disassemble them and gently rebuild them. Recently they’ve been facing a somewhat rude awakening as I’ve been telling them “You can get your own . . . ” fill in the blank of whatever they are asking for. I want them to understand that to receive kindness we need to give it and also, equally important, they need to one day be self-reliant.

What waiting on my children all the time has done is created little humans who think they are the center of the universe and who, if I don’t step in, might be incapable of taking care of themselves when they become adults. If I’m not careful I will send children out onto the world who lack basic skills to care for themselves or anyone else and will be, quite frankly, lazy. They are close to that already. So, I decided that it’s time to break the cycle.

One day recently my son was sitting on the couch, playing Minecraft for much longer than he should have been when he asked me to get him a glass of milk from the kitchen. I was in the middle of cooking dinner so I let him know he could get his own milk. “For goodness sake, your leg muscles are going to atrophy,” I told him.

“What’s atrophy even mean?” he asked.

“It’s what all our brains are doing thanks to the internet, streaming services, and social media,” I thought to myself, but what I said to him was, “Get a dictionary and look it up!”

That’s a lie. What I actually did was tell him what it meant. I mean, come on! I didn’t even make him look it up on his own and if I had, he probably would have asked me “What’s a dictionary?”

This is how bad it is now. Many of us parents—not all, of course—have become so accustomed to doing it all for our children it is now a reflex for us. I understand that until our children are a certain age, we do things for them because we know we can do it quicker and with less mess. That’s why we don’t often ask our children to help us cook, clean, sit a table, or pour their own juice.

We are aware that juice will be spilled, dishes might be broken and trash bags might be split and, honestly, we don’t want to add “clean up the child’s mess” to our already long list.

What we need to realize, though, is that in our desire to avoid our own inconvenience, we are creating a generation of lazy, spoiled brats, who one day will be incapable of handling life because we never taught them basic life skills.

I realize how overdramatic it sounds to say getting your child a glass of milk will make him a spoiled and incapable adult and that isn’t what I’m really saying, but some parents (me) may start small and let it snowball out of control. It eventually becomes second nature to do it all for them. At the same time, we can’t let the pendulum swing too far the other way and never be kind and get our children snacks when they ask for them. There needs to be a balance between letting them know you love them and doing everything for them. It’s important to show them acts of service should be appreciated by them, as well as shown by them.

I know letting kids know they can do things on their own can be a tightrope walk at times, especially if you have young children and when you ask them to hand you something, they start telling you things like “get it yourself” like my 4-year-old daughter has. I’ve had to find gentler ways to let them know they are capable of waiting on themselves and taking on more responsibility.

Though we parents may want to avoid the frustration that accompanies letting our children do things on their own, it will serve our children and society as a whole, better in the long run.

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Check out our new Keepsake Companion Journal that pairs with our So God Made a Mother book!

Order Now
So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Lisa R. Howeler

As a writer, former newspaper reporter and photographer, Lisa R. Howeler writes a little bit about everything on her blog Boondock Ramblings. She's a wife and a mother and enjoys a good John Wayne movie and a cozy Jan Karon book. She's also a freelance writer and photographer who is a contributor to various stock agencies, including Lightstock and Alamy. Her photography work focuses on documentary and photojournalism.

Dear Graduate, I Love You Forever

In: Kids, Living, Motherhood
Kindergarten grad

I never imagined these days of preparing for graduation, senior prom, senior photos, and you actually moving out would come. A few weeks into your life, friends gifted you a 6-month sleeper. I remember the cuddly white footie pajamas well. But I swore you’d never get big enough to wear it. How could this 8-pound human grow to fit into 6-month clothes? Impossible. And then somehow they did fit, and then they didn’t anymore. Just like that. Everyone says the days are long but the years are short. Everyone, that is, who has had a lot of years. When I...

Keep Reading

Always Choose Adventure

In: Kids, Living, Motherhood
Two children looking at aquarium exhibit, color photo

Here’s the thing about traveling with little kids. Is it hard? Sometimes. Sometimes it looks like a whole carry-on dedicated solely to snacks, activities, and emergency treats. Sometimes it looks like buying a drink for the passenger next to you as a way of saying sorry and thank you all at the same time for the airplane kid chaos they endured. Sometimes it looks like altering your picture-perfect itinerary that you meticulously planned on account of missed naps finally catching up. Sometimes it looks like washing a car seat off in a hotel shower because your toddler got carsick, then...

Keep Reading

Love Beyond Words

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother hugging daughter

My daughter Lexi lost her words and some of her motor functioning when she was two years old. She was three when the silent intruder of Rett Syndrome made itself known through seizures. But here’s the heart of our story: even without words, Lexi and I have created our own language—a symphony of unspoken love. She may not call me “Mom” in the traditional sense, but her eyes, her laughter, and the unique sounds she makes speak volumes to my heart. Each day with Lexi is a dance—one where the steps aren’t always clear, and the rhythm can change in...

Keep Reading

Daddy, Am I Beautiful?

In: Faith, Kids, Motherhood
Daddy holding preschool-aged daughter, color photo

“Daddy, do I look beautiful?” I heard my daughter ask my husband from the other room. I barely heard what she said as I was in the kitchen washing the dishes, but her words struck a chord in my heart. My sweet girl, all dressed to go out, asked for her Daddy’s assurance that she was beautiful, that she was admired and special. It hit me in that moment: this pure and built-in desire we all have to be loved, admired, and wanted. Just as my sweet girl wanted her Daddy’s approval and assurance of love, I so often cry...

Keep Reading

Sensitive Sons Are Strong Too

In: Kids, Motherhood
Boy pets kitten held by another older boy

My son has always been timid. When he was a baby, he cried when he lost his pacifier in his crib. If I laughed too loudly, he might burst into tears. Once, he was asleep in his bassinet as my husband and I turned on a movie. The MGM lion roared, and he woke in a panic that seemed to take forever to calm. Now, at five years old, my son wrestles, runs, fights, and screams at the television. He pretends to fight bad guys and save me and his twin sister. He thinks he is the king of the...

Keep Reading

Wrestle Like a Girl

In: Kids, Motherhood
Girls wrestling team huddling on the floor

I’m a wrestling mom, but I’m a new breed. I’m the kind with my little girl on the mat. Sure, I support our son out there, and I scream like a wild banshee with the rest of the crazy parents, and I’m in awe of the athletes these boys are. But then steps out our daughter. And it’s different. She decided to join her big bro at practice years ago when word was just starting to spread about the possible emergence of girls’ wrestling. She was only in kindergarten, but I think my husband might have already been thinking college....

Keep Reading

I’ll Hold on To Moments of Childhood with My Preteen as Long as I Can

In: Kids, Motherhood, Tween
Smiling preteen and mother

This Christmas season, my husband took our laser light projector and aimed it at the Australian bottle tree in the front yard. It shone like a thousand red and green fairies dancing through the branches. The first time I saw it, I gasped with glee. Christmas came and went. Much to our 6-year-old’s disappointment, we took down the decorations and boxed them in the attic until next year. I noticed that my husband forgot to put away the light projector though. One Friday night, recovering from a stomach bug, we decided to watch Wonka and fold laundry. We bought into the...

Keep Reading

“Tell Me Another Story, Daddy?”

In: Kids
Man reading to young son

“Tell me another story, Daddy?” I had heard these words since we had finished supper. My 5-year-old son loves hearing stories. He loves to put himself in these stories. He doesn’t just watch Paw Patrol, he’s in Paw Patrol. He is a Kratt brother. And he loves hearing stories about his favorite adventurers with him saving the day alongside his animated heroes. While I absolutely love telling stories to my son, there are many days when I don’t feel like it. When I want to say, “No, Daddy is tired. Why don’t you go play with your toys while daddy...

Keep Reading

Getting Glasses Can be an Adjustment

In: Kids, Motherhood, Teen, Tween
Pre-teen wearing glasses

On their last break from school, my daughter and son happily enjoyed a nice week of catching up with friends and having a relaxed schedule. I was careful to avoid overloading our schedule so we had a nice balance of days out and days being at home. As can often happen on a school break, I used one day as our “appointments day.” We had our routine dental checks and eye exams booked. The morning went smoothly with the dentist, and then it was time to head home for lunch. Next, we popped back out to do the children’s eye...

Keep Reading

To the Fifth Grade Parents: Thank You

In: Child, Kids, Motherhood
Arcade style photo machine, color photo

To the fifth-grade parents in my community: How are we here already? The end of fifth grade. The end of elementary school. It feels like yesterday we saw each other at kindergarten drop off, some of us through the tears of sending our first baby to school, some seasoned pros, and a small group of us with a touch of extra worry in our mama hearts—the special ed mamas. Among the many things I worried about sending my kindergarten son to school was how your children would treat him. Would they laugh at him like they did at his Montessori...

Keep Reading