Back to School….for Moms

Back to School….for Moms

Do you have a child just starting their first day of Kindergarten?  Are they in middle school or high school?  Are they beginning their senior year of High School or they just graduated and they are leaving for college and the beginning of their adult life?  Or, Lord help you, do you homeschool your kids?


Whatever stage of schooling your kids are in, there are always some sort of emotion for moms attached to our kids going back to school.  I cried all 6 times I took my kids to their first day of Kindergarten.  I missed them so much during the day!  Middle school…..distance makes the heart grow fonder and I really needed to miss them during the day so I was so excited when they got home from school!  My oldest son started college last year and it’s my 2nd son’s turn this year.  It is bittersweet because they are becoming responsible adults….but don’t need me as much as they used to.  My friend Debbie has an entirely different perspective as she has always homeschooled her children.  When I finally have some breathing room and time to do anything, she is booked solid educating her kiddos.

Getting kids ready to go back to school is not a simple thing, especially if you have multiple children going to multiple schools.  There are clothes to buy, endless school supplies to gather, sports teams to sign up for, and right after school begins…forms to fill out, MORE school supplies to purchase, clubs to sign up for, band, drama, orchestra, and on and on and on.   Remember, your kids are experiencing all of this stress with you!  With all of this craziness, have you ever stopped before it starts and ask your kids what they want to accomplish this year?  What are their goals?  We, as parents, always have goals for our children but they will only accomplish them if our goals line up with their own goals.

My challenge for you is to set aside at least 1 hour, with each of your children, to sit down and ask them about their goals for the upcoming year.  If you will be interrupted at home, go somewhere else.  Take them out to lunch or go to a park.  Turn your phone off, and give them your undivided attention.  Completely focusing on them gives them permission to open up and be vulnerable with you!  Tell them that you want to support their goals, not just make goals for them, and you want to challenge them to reach for something that will help them grow.

With all of these goals, ask them what their reason or motivation is for setting this goal (it can be just for fun even).  Also have them consider the time and financial commitment of each activity and make sure it does not become overwhelming.

Help them make SMART goals:(Specific Measurable Achievable Relevant Timely)


smart goals

Listed below are some areas in which they might want to set goals.

  • Sports – What sport? What team? What position? Extra training needed?
  • School clubs – What clubs? Do they want to join a new one or be involved in club leadership?
  • Musical instruments – What instrument?What chair do they want to work for?  Do they need private lessons?
  • Drama – Do they need a drama coach?Do they need your help to practice?
  • Goals for grades – Advanced courses?
  • Hours of sleep at night – If this goal isn’t set, many of the other goals will not be achieved.
  • Job / no job – This is a money versus time question….which is needed more.
  • Exercise – This can be as simple as taking a walk with you every day.If you have a dog, you have an easy reason to walk.
  • Making friends – Have them look at their friends and make sure they are surrounding themselves with people that support them, not drag them down.
  • Social activities/events – This is very important.It teaches them how to relate, communicate, and socialize with others.   Plus…it is FUN!
  • Ask them if there are any other goals they want to set.

The point is not to add stress, just to teach them to set and achieve goals.  Celebrate with them when they reach each goal!  This will also give them another reason to discuss what is going on at school with you.  Take this opportunity to make another connection with your kiddos!  You won’t regret it!!




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Are you a “GOOD” Mom?

Are you a “GOOD” Mom?

The pressure to be a ‘good’ mom is huge! We feel pressure from our kids, our husbands, our parents, other moms and dads, and MOST of all, ourselves.

I find it interesting that one of the first questions people ask when meeting someone is, “What do you do for a living.” For a mom, no matter your answer, the feeling of judgment often follows. Not that judgment always DOES follow, we just FEEL that it does. It feels like your answer will reveal whether you are a ‘good’ mom or not.

If you respond with, “I am a stay at home mom” or something similar, to someone that is not a stay at home mom, some of the ‘not so great’ responses I have heard are:

“Oh, so you don’t have a job?”

“What exactly do you do all day?:

“I’d get so bored if I stayed home all day.”

“Don’t you want to do something with your life?”

“You must have so much free time!”

“What are you going to do when all your kids are in school?”

“I would love to not have to work, you are so lucky!”

“Don’t you want to contribute something to your household?”

There are some that make judgments but most of the time, these statements are made simply because they do not know what it is like to be a stay at home mom. On the other hand, moms that work outside of the home get the same kind of pressure. When a mom answers the same question with a description of her paying job, some of the ‘not so great’ responses I have heard are:

“Oh, you can’t afford for you to stay home?”

“Are you worried about how your children are being treated in child care?”

“I would hate having someone else raising my kids.”

“At least you have nighttime to be a good mom.”

“Maybe if you were home more your child wouldn’t act out.”

“I’ll pray that you get to stay home with your kids soon!”

“If you can afford to stay home, then why do you go to work?”

“Do your kids ever feel abandoned?”

It’s easy to say, “Just ignore them, they don’t understand!” but it is much more difficult to actually do that! As I started thinking of how to spread the word that we are all good moms, I realized that it doesn’t really matter what other adults think or say. Everyone has a different ‘recipe’ for how to be a good mom and the only opinions that really matter…..are our kids….

I am writing this on a charter bus…on an 11-hour trip home from a percussion competition with my son and about 30 other high school percussion kids. I thought, maybe we need to hear their perspective of their own stay at home or working outside of the home moms… is what they said (with no alterations….they say “stuff” a lot)

Stay at home moms:

“I respect that she made the sacrifice to stay home with us kids and not work outside the home.”

“I enjoy her being around a lot.”

“She always tends to her kids before she tends to herself. It makes me feel important”

“I respect that she stays at home even though she would like to work, because she wants the best for us and loves us and stuff.”

“Just because she is home doesn’t mean she is not working. She is always working and doing stuff. She never stops.”

“She can always come to my band or sport stuff. It’s ok if she is busy with stuff or my brothers or sisters, but I like that staying home means she can do that.”

“I like that she is always there when I get home from school and I get to talk to her.”

“Since she is at home, I get to spend more time with her.”

“I like that she is not stressed about working and stuff.”

“I’ve never seen someone work as hard as my mom…and she doesn’t even get paid”

Working outside of the home moms:

“It’s great that she is independent and she can do what she wants.”

“I have never wished she stayed at home, it is a role model kind of thing.”

“I appreciate her attitude about the fact that she likes to work.”

“My mom has friends through work….I think it’s great! …do stay at home moms have friends?” (I laughed so hard at this one I almost wet my pants)

“She uses her work money to give me gas money…I appreciate that!!”

“I think it’s good that she can get outside of the house.”

“As a kid, you don’t think of the difference. I don’t think, I wish she stayed home”.

“She really likes her job a lot and it makes her happy which makes me happy.”

“She provides so it helps pay bills and pay for college, which I appreciate a lot.”

“She does what she loves and still makes time for me and my family. I get to see her every day.”

“I get to share her love of music with her, it is her job, and we talk about it every day after school.”

“I know we will always have insurance…she works in insurance.”

“She is willing to get another job and stuff in order for us to have what we need.”

“I respect that she is a hard worker.”

I did not get any negative comments from these kids at all! They all think their moms are the best…because they are the best mom for the kids that God gave them!


What would your kids say about you? If you don’t know the answer to this question……ASK THEM! You don’t have to limit this to whether you work inside or outside the home, ask them what they appreciate about you, what they want more of from you, and what they want less of from you! Don’t be afraid of their answers. Some may be hard to hear, but how do you know unless ask?

The bottom line is, we are all ‘working’ moms. We are working to raise our children and make sure they know we love them! Don’t ask yourself if you are being a good mom….ask your kids!


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Do my kids really NEED Me and how I figured it out!

Do my kids really NEED Me and how I figured it out!

My oldest son came home from school today with his graduation cap and gown. He is a senior and will graduate 3 days after Mother’s day. I feel a combination of joy, sadness, pride, ….and nausea!  Do my kids really NEED me?

Whenever my kids have a champion moment that signifies they are growing up, I am so proud of them and happy for their future, but…it adds to a growing feeling that I am becoming less and less needed in their lives.

I decided that the best way to find out what they need from me, their mom, was to ask them, so I did and here is what they said:

My 18 year old son, Connor said, “What I need from my mom is”:

  • Advice, not instruction – “I want and need your advice from your life experiences….I also want to make my own mistakes.”
  • Privacy – “Knock before coming in my room…and then wait for me to say come in. I’m not hiding anything, I just need some privacy”
  • Respect my time and schedule – “I like being able to help you out, I just don’t like it when you assume I don’t have plans and you plan something for me.”
  • Communicate Family Plans – “I actually like family time, I just want to be able to plan around it, otherwise, it makes family time feel like frustration rather than fun.”
  • Positive Reinforcement – “ I need to be told when I do something right, not just when I do something wrong. I need to know you are proud of me”
  • Love – “I know you love me when you support my ideas and when you tell me you love me.”

My 16 year old son, Casey said, “What I need from my mom is”:

  • Communicate Family Plans – “I really like our family time, but I don’t like canceling my plans because I wasn’t told family plans have been made.”
  • Support – “I need your support when I have a new idea! I need encouragement and you to help me not quit when I want to give up.”
  • Support – “I also want your support by you going to my school functions and my orchestra concerts and me. It makes me feel like you are proud of me.”
  • Hugs – “Believe it or not, I like it when you hug me….even in public!! It doesn’t embarrass me, it just lets me (and everyone else) know that you love me.”
  • Positive Reinforcement – “I need to be told when I have done well. It encourages me to repeat the good stuff.”
  • Love – ”When you tell me you love me I know that you do…actually, everything you do for me tells my you love me!”

My 15 year old son, Chase said, “What I need from my mom is”:

  • The Basics – “I need you for a place to live, food, money, and presents!”
  • Support – “It means a lot to me when you go out of your way to go to my band stuff. I like that we have that in common. I also appreciate your help paying for all of my band trips and going on them with me!”
  • Advice without intrusion – “Basically, don’t get involved in my love life! It’s embarrassing!”
  • Sometimes a hug – “(it’s ok if it is all the time, not sometimes) I like that you hug me in public, my friends are actually jealous, cause you’re a cool mom!”
  • Obedience – “I know this will never happen but you asked what I need from my mom so….I thought I’d try to slip this one in.”
  • Love – “Making time for me and my activities shows me that you love me”

My 12 year old son, Cameron said, “What I need from my mom is”:

  • Advice – “I need your advice on how to handle situations at school…but not about girls!”
  • Support – “I need you to help me pay for my band trips (of course) but I also really like it when you go on the trips with me. I like seeing that you are proud of me.”
  • Hugs – “Any time, anywhere, in front of anyone! I know you love me when you hug me!!”
  • Communication – “I need you to tell me when family stuff is planned ahead of time. I don’t like getting ready at the last minute.”
  • Time – “I need you to spend time with me alone, just you and me!”
  • Love – “I know you love me when you give me hugs, time together, and gifts….I like gifts…”

My 11 year old daughter, Savannah “Savy” said, “What I need from my mom is”:

  • Cuddles – “I just like to cuddle with you and talk about my day! Hugs and kisses are always needed too!”
  • To be taught things – “I need you to teach me to do things that I don’t know how to do, like doing my own hair and putting on make up.”
  • To be available – “I need you to be available for me to talk to you about school and about my day.”
  • Time – “I need time alone with you. It doesn’t matter what we do.”
  • Love – “I know you love me when you help me with my homework and you make time for me.”

My 10 year old daughter, Sydney said, “What I need from my mom is”:

  • Money – “I’m too young to make enough myself so I need you to pay for stuff for me.”
  • Hugs, Kisses & Cuddles – “I like this all the time but especially when I am upset! You are my “happy place” when I am sad or upset.”
  • Time – “I like it when we spend Mom/Syd time. I get all of your attention that way.”
  • School Lunch – “I like it when you come to my school and eat lunch with me.  It makes me feel special that you go out of your way for me for lunch.”
  • Love – I know you love me when you tell me you love me and when you hug me and rock me….I’m not too old for that!!!”


As you can tell, I didn’t filter their lists…. I was amazed at how easily these answers came out of them as if to say, “of course I need you mom”, all the while I am telling myself a story that they don’t need me. Their needs change as they get older but they don’t go away. I still call my mom when I’m sick for her to tell me what medicine to take and for her to say, “I’m so sorry you feel bad.” Even as an adult, that still helps!

I have shared these insights from my children not to tell you that these are the needs of your children, rather, to show you what you can find out if you ask! Sit down with your kids one on one and ask them what they need from you as their mother. Tell them there is no wrong answer and let them have fun with it!

The last thing on each of their lists was answering the question of how they know that I love them. Be sure and ask them this question. Listen carefully to this answer from your children and you will hear the answer to the greatest need they have for you….your love!

The book “The Five Love Languages for Children” (or teenagers) by Gary Chapman, is a great tool that tells you how you can “tell” your child that you love them through a language that they understand.

So, do my kids really NEED me?  If you are like me, and you wonder if your kids need you or if they know you love them… ask them! It is the only way to know.


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