Won Without Words
winning the marriage you desire through wisdom

Shari Popejoy

Throwback Thursdays

October 26, 2014

Cool Mom’s Day Off

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Written by: Cheryl Oberdieck
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“Five Kids, Two Dogs, and a Man of the Cloth,” by Cheryl Oberdieck

family 2004_edited-1


y adult daughter told me recently, “you are not the mother of my youth.” I’m not quite sure, but I think she meant it as a compliment. Maybe there was even a bit of remorse in her voice that now she is missing out on my “cool mom” years?

Looking back at pictures from 10 years ago, I must have been a pretty cool mom then too though. Just look at the nice family photo. In fact the whole brood looks calm, cool and collected there right outside the church. Not highly posed at all.

birthday snowBut then there is that photo in the same album from inside the parsonage.  It shows another glimpse of the times…

I think it might be the birthday where the kids gave me the gift of “snow”–  a whole box of shredded styrofoam pieces!  The 4 year old is pushing them around the room with the “snow blower.”

(Hey, I just noticed the Dickens village is set up in the background.  It is March, so we are really on the ball for next Christmas!)

Truth be told, some days mom is not even close to calm, cool and collected and is more than ready to hand the whole job over. Here is another memory of this same time period.

Last evening, while I was carrying a large basket of laundry into the living room, I accidentally let the dog into the kitchen. (Champ is not allowed in there unaccompanied — he is totally untrustworthy in a room where food is concerned.) I asked 11-year-old Jonathan to go get the dog, and he protested, “but you let him in there!”

It had been a long day of homeschooling and housework and organizing the kids’ cabinet full of puzzles and making a nice dinner and cleaning up after it and barely even getting a chance to sit down for my leisurely hobby of clothes folding.

Surprisingly, Jonathan got laundry whipped across the room at him for his comment (only a small portion of the 10 loads landed on him). I told him that I would get the dog out of the kitchen and he could take over my job.

Jonathan actually was intrigued by taking on the role of “Mom” (insisting his siblings call him that), and he folded much of the laundry. Then he took great delight in ordering his siblings to put it away. His expression was priceless when I brought him another load after he thought he was done and then informed him there was still one more in the dryer.

He put his sisters to bed, prayed with them, tucked them in and brought them cups of water. Then he snuggled with 4-year-old Christy who didn’t want to be alone.

Jonathan said that he would like to continue switching roles today and be “Mom” for the whole day.  I decided to take him up on it because frankly, some days I would just rather be a kid!

I told the girls to be sure to wake him up early and ask him to make them oatmeal. Unfortunately, today they are all sleeping in. (I think I will go make some noise!)

I am planning to have him teach the two youngest (4 and 6) their school lessons and be responsible for keeping up the house. I think it could be a very valuable learning day!


So Jonathan got to be “Mom,” and I had fun being an 11 year old boy. At one point I got to stomp off to my room and slam the door. I also taught myself some new video games.

By 10:00 a.m. Jonathan told me that he was tired. By noon he wanted to quit.  But I made him stick it out until 4:00 when he finally got the dishes under control.

Though he did the lion’s share of the laundry (you should have heard him say, “oh really, Mom, another load?!”), I still did a lot of the sock matching for which I told him that I would like at least 50 cents, since it wasn’t on my chore list that day, and it was extra work, and shouldn’t I have an allowance?

Christy was demanding and exceptionally whiny all day, so I happily referred her to her brother. Jonathan had to tell Christy at least four times to put her socks and shoes on so we could leave for music lessons. She never did get her socks on, but at least she had shoes.

Katy (9) did her school and chores, but did not want to do one bit more.  There was a lot of complaining when Jonathan told her she needed to do extra to help him out.

For my part, I did some of Jonathan’s chores. (Come to think of it, I never did get those bathroom trash cans emptied, and the dog’s water froze over outside because I forgot to change it.) I guess the “mom for the day” apparently didn’t do too good of a job of checking up on me…

Today he will gladly be himself again — not sure I will be so excited to switch back though! And for his English lesson he gets to write an essay on ways that he thinks Mom’s life could be made easier.

Yes, I probably took way too much pleasure in that day. I know I lost my cool for at least a little while and was a bit hard on “firstborn.”  Perhaps he has been warped for life. He has his own place now, and I have to say, every time I have visited, at least it has been pretty clean!



About the Author

Cheryl Oberdieck
Lutheran pastor's wife and Army chaplain's wife (same man!) Homeschooling mom of three and occasional young adult consultant for two more. Homeschool group drama department interim co-chair, (cause “president” sounds too scary). Youth group leader, computer IT guy, church historian and honorary trustee. Wannabe gardener. Most importantly, a redeemed by the blood of Jesus, daughter of the King who spends an inordinate amount of time learning, and re-learning what it means to walk in God's grace!


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