Faith Spilling Over… Into Everyday Life

When You Feel More Like a Drill Sergeant Than a Mother


Faith in Action Fridays

No one ever told me that motherhood was sometimes like being a drill sergeant. Someone’s got to get the troups organized. I easily fall into a mode of barking out orders when I’m trying to get everyone out the door: “It’s time to get going!” “Get your shoes on!” “Could you PLEASE turn off that computer!”

Between orthodontist appointments, piano lessons, grocery shopping, preparing meals, house cleaning, and ministry, I can fall into a pattern of rushing myself and my kids through the day. My kids would be the first to tell you that Drill Sergeant Mom is no fun.

A thoughtful comment on my blog the other day stopped me in my tracks. Lisa (from Me Too Moments for Moms) said this:

“I am learning to leave busy things undone so that I can slow down and be fun to be around. I want my kids to see me as a happy mom, not just as a busy mom. When I get too busy I am one agitated person that no one wants to be around.” 

Yikes! I wondered if somehow Kim had gotten into my house and seen agitated me on the busy days.

I’m asking myself some questions.

Do I want my kids to remember me as a happy mom who enjoyed life or as a busy drill sergeant mom?

What can I let go of?

My kids won’t remember how many Bible studies I led, how many blog posts I wrote, or how clean the house was. Instead they’ll remember trips to the beach, goofing around, and playing games together. I want to evaluate what activities I can let go of in my schedule to have more margin time in my days for fun with my kids.

Can I let go of control and say yes to spontaneity?

This morning my kids continued with their daily karaoke dance routine even though it was time to start home school. Because I bit the bullet and danced along with them, we began the day on a happy note.  Did it really matter that we started school three minutes late?

What are easy ideas for simple, quick fun?

My reality is that our family rarely has time or foresight to plan “perfect” fun like a wilderness day or a game night with special snacks. We mostly settle for simple fun that fits into daily life. For us this looks like a walk around the park or a few hands of gin rummy after dinner. Some nights we sit on the couch with hot chocolate to watch our favorite TV show. I’m hoping to get some new ideas from my readers.

 So now it’s your turn. What is your favorite way to have fun with your kids? (And do you ever feel like a drill sergeant at home?)

I’m linking up today with Equipping Godly Women.


On “Faith in Action Fridays,” I write practical posts about living out our faith in our families and communities. I want to learn more about putting feet to my faith in everyday life, and I invite you to grow along with me!

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Author: betsydecruz

I want to enjoy the everyday life God is giving me as best I can, even when the road gets bumpy. I love having fun with my teenagers, learning almost anything, and drinking dark roast coffee with my friends.

16 thoughts on “When You Feel More Like a Drill Sergeant Than a Mother

  1. Oh I frequently feel like I am barking out orders…that often go unfollowed…I have honestly been trying to slow down and let it go too. It’s not easy. We do the same thing too though. Cards after dinner, or another quick game…my girls like Left, Right, Canter, and these dinner question/conversation cards we have, they are fun. We also like to watch Dr. Pol on Saturday nights (wild times) occasionally we hit a state park or free museum…I think we have learned to appreciate all being together…I think.

  2. Hi there, Beth. You have some great ideas. I like the dinner question/conversation card idea especially. Yes, we occasionally hit museums or state parks too. One of the highlights of our year was one day at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

  3. Betsy your post helps me realize that there is not enough margin in my schedule to be flexible and spontaneous. My home school plan is packed. This is where I get myself all stressed out and I get anxiously bossy. Over this weekend I am going to re-set some goals and ease up on filling every minute of our school time on a planned activity. I want to slow down and read the book that my child is interested in My kids like to act out stories from a book. Both of them like to do creative art and climb on the big tree in our front yard. I yell at them way too much to get down from the big tree because we have to go. I think our days would flow so much more smoother if I would stop being busy all the time. They would love for Mommy to climb the tree with them.

    • May the Lord bless and guide you as you plan your home school, Lisa. I know just what you mean. Some programs have lots of extra workbooks, etc. Lots of work. I’ve focused on academics, but let some things go just to be more relaxed. Home school is tricky since you have to have them disciplined, but you don’t want to be the drill sergeant. At least I find it so… 🙂

  4. Betsy, how can you read my mind and know what I am going through. Although I am not a mom, as a teacher I have been asking the same question in these last days. I feel like a sergeant and not like a loving, caring teacher who wants to make a difference in their lifes, while at the same time be able to have good classroom management (in Middle School kind of hard to learn). Thanks for being so vulnerable and also sensitive to the whisper of the Spirit in what we all need. I have been recently experiencing more engagement from the students when I lower my desire of control for a perfect class and focus on connecting with students. Praying has been key in this and giving to God the control.

  5. Betsy,
    My children are both grown (though you are still a mom no matter what their age). I asked my son, now 22, what he remembers most and he immediately said that he liked when we used to get our lawn chairs out (mine full sized – his pint sized) and we would take them to the end of the driveway and we would simply sit and “watch the world go by” as we would say. We’d wave at passersby, gaze at the clouds and look for shapes, talk about everything and nothing. I believe it is the unstructured time of simply being in relationship with us that our kids remember the most. Great post!!

    • What a BEAUTIFUL memory, Bev! That really touches my heart today! Yes, after I finish homeschool in the afternoons, often each one of us are off to “do our own thing.” (Teenagers) But yesterday, as I wrote this post, I called everyone back to the kitchen at 4:30 for a snack and tea time together.

  6. Dear, you are speaking my language. I recall that exact feeling… of being a drill sergeant not that long ago. It’s heartwarming to realize I’m not the only one who has felt that way! Now that my children are grown and almost-grown, I find myself being more spontaneous and “fun-loving.” Why wasn’t I more like that a few years ago?? I’m glad you have this perspective now before your kids leave home. I’m doing all I can to make up for lost time. 🙂 Great post, dear friend!

  7. It was so much easier planning fun things and/or spontaneously doing something unexpected and fun when my kids were little. Now everyone has different tastes in movies and entertainment, different interests and activities. With teenagers, it’s very difficult finding an activity that we all enjoy together, but I have two ideas that work for me. One is simply being silly. Acting goofy always gets my kids laughing and feeling positive. The other is planning activities around animals. Interactive zoo exhibits, horseback riding, those hands-on tanks they have at aquariums, etc. Next weekend we plan to visit a wolf preserve!

    • You are always so practical, Deborah! I also find it harder. Last night I wanted to watch a tv show we’ve loved together with my kids, only to find that both of them are tired of it now! Go figure. Sometimes I settle on something with ONE of them. Like playing monopoly with my daughter last night although my son hates it. I’m like you, I go for spontaneous silliness. Have fun at the wolf preserve! That sounds exciting!

  8. Betsy, I had to laugh about the drill sergeant analogy. I’ve felt that way many times! My two youngest are right in the heart of the busy tween and teen years, with many school and extracurricular activities. This past summer, I purposely kept all of our schedules very light, so we could have a break. We called it our summer sabbatical. We slept in, went to the pool, watched entire seasons of TV shows on Netflix, planted a garden, played board games and video games, and did a lot of baking. I also made a point to read some of the same books my daughters were reading, so we could {enthusiastically!} share our opinions about the different characters and plot lines. I took a little heat from a couple of family members about not having the girls in more organized activities this summer, but it was exactly what we needed coming off of one of the busiest school years we’d ever experienced. In fact, the girls and I enjoyed it SO much, we decided to cut back on evening activities this year so we could continue to spend quality time together. Totally worth it! 🙂

  9. I think she snuck into my house too! I am in the process of letting some of the extras go, but it isn’t always easy! Thanks for sharing on Equipping Godly Women Fellowship Fridays!

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