Free shipping on all orders over $75🎄

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 new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

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.

Brothers Fight Hard and Love Harder

In: Kids, Motherhood
Two boys play outside, one lifting the other on his back

The last few years have been a whirlwind. My head has sometimes been left spinning; we have moved continents with three boys, three and under at the time. Set up home and remained sufficiently organized despite the complete chaos to ensure everyone was where they were meant to be on most days. Living in a primarily hockey town, the winters are filled with coffee catch-ups at the arena, so it was no surprise when my youngest declared his intention to play hockey like his school friends. Fully aware that he had never held a hockey stick or slapped a puck,...

Keep Reading

Stop Putting an Expiration Date on Making Memories

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and son in small train ride

We get 12 times to play Santa (if we’re lucky). This phrase stopped my scroll on a Sunday evening. I had an idea of the direction this post was going but I continued on reading. 12 spring breaks 12 easter baskets 20 tooth fairy visits 13 first days of school 1 first date 1-2 proms 1-2 times of seeing them in their graduation cap and gown 18 summers under the same roof And so on and so on. It was essentially another post listing the number of all the monumental moments that we, Lord willing, will get to experience with our...

Keep Reading

When Your Kids Ask, “Where Is God?”

In: Faith, Kids
Child looking at sunset

How do I know if the voice I’m hearing is God’s voice? When I was in high school, I found myself asking this question. My dad was a pastor, and I was feeling called to ministry. I didn’t know if I was just hearing my dad’s wish or the call of God. I was worried I was confusing the two. It turns out, I did know. I knew because I was raised to recognize the presence of God all around me. Once I knew what God’s presence felt like, I also knew what God’s voice sounded like. There is a...

Keep Reading

Go Easy On the Parents Who Refuse to Skip Naps

In: Kids, Motherhood
Two little boys and their sister walking down a gravel road, color photo

Greetings from a mom who is done with napping children. It’s great to have the flexibility during the day for longer activities, meeting friends for playdates, or day trips to faraway places. It’s a new life . . . the life without naps. The freedom to make plans and keep them. But not that long ago, I was something very different than the flexible, plan-keeping, up-for-it woman I am today. I used to be the mom who refused to skip my child’s nap. Yep, that one. Here’s the thing, for a lot of parents, It’s so much more than just a...

Keep Reading

My Heart Isn’t Ready for You to Stop Believing in Santa

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little boy standing in front of lit christmas tree

“My friend doesn’t believe in Santa anymore, Mom,” my son said out of the blue the other day. We were driving in the car, and when I met his gaze in the rear-view mirror his eyes searched mine. Immediately, my heart sank.  This sweet boy, he’s our first. Thoughtful and smart and eight years old. A quick Google search tells me that’s the average age kids stop believing in Santa, but as his mom, I’m not ready for that—not even a little bit.  I can still hear his barely 2-year-old voice going on about reindeer as we lay together on...

Keep Reading

Dear Kids, This Is My Wish for You

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother hugs three kids

To my kids, The world you’re stepping into is unlike anything I experienced at your age. It’s fast-paced, interconnected, and sometimes overwhelming. But within this chaos lie countless opportunities for growth and joy. My wish for you is that you find the perfect balance between embracing the modern world and staying true to yourselves. Change is one thing you can always count on. Embrace it because it’s often the motivation for growth. Embracing change doesn’t mean letting go of who you are; rather, it’s about evolving into the best version of yourself. Remember, you don’t need to have all the...

Keep Reading

Motherhood is a Million Little Letting Gos and Fresh Hellos

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother sitting with child on her lap by the setting sun and water

I missed my grocery-shopping buddy the other day. Mondays are usually the days my littlest and I knock out our grocery list. In the past, we’ve dropped the kids at school and then headed to the store. I grab a latte, and she chooses a hot chocolate. But that day, they were all in school. That day, she sat in her kindergarten class, and I went to the grocery store. Alone. A new rhythm. A changed routine. A different season. I listened to a podcast on the drive. My podcast. Then I grabbed a drink. Just one. I got the...

Keep Reading

Dear Daughter, Stay Wild

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and daughter on beach, color photo

I can’t really put my finger on it. Or manage to find all the words. But there’s just something about that girl. Maybe it’s the way her hair sits tangled. Curled up at the end. The way she moves. Dances. As if everyone was watching. Or no one at all. RELATED: There is Wild Beauty in This Spirited Child of Mine It could be the way she smiles. With her heart. The way only she can. The way she cares, loves. For everyone. For herself. You see, she is beautiful in the way only wild things are. The way they...

Keep Reading

You’re Becoming a Big Sister, But You’ll Always Be My Baby

In: Baby, Kids, Motherhood
Pregnant woman with young daughter, color photo

The anticipation of welcoming a new baby into the world is an exciting and joyous time for our family. From the moment we found out we were expecting to just about every day since, the love and excitement only continue to grow. However, amidst all the preparations for the new addition, I cannot help but have mixed emotions as I look back at old videos and pictures of my firstborn, my first princess, my Phoebe—for she will always hold a special place in my heart. As the anticipation grows, my heart swells with a mix of emotions knowing we are...

Keep Reading

Cowgirls Don’t Cry Unless the Horse They Loved Is Gone

In: Grief, Kids, Loss
Little girls Toy Story Jessie costume, color photo

The knee of my pants is wet and dirty. My yellow ring lays by the sink—it’s been my favorite ring for months. I bought it to match Bigfoot’s halter and the sunflowers by his pasture. Bigfoot is my daughter’s pony, and I loved him the most. The afternoon is so sunny. His hooves make the same calming rhythm I’ve come to love as I walk him out back. A strong wind blows through the barn. A stall labeled “Bigfoot,” adorned with a sunflower, hangs open and I feel sick. I kneel down by his side as he munches the grass....

Keep Reading