Thursday, January 5, 2017

Five Life Tips for Toddler Moms from Mom of Teens

By Jenny Dean Schmidt

For the toddler moms...

Hold on, mamas of toddlers.  Hold onto your toddler and enjoy the days of innocence.  Treasure the dirty hands and wet kisses.  Camp in the land of scribbled drawings and teachable moments.  Love those little ones hard... while they let you.

It's gonna get harder.  And, your love will hurt.

I'm a mother of two teens.  Recently, my teenage son said something like, "It's time to cut the cord, mom."  I felt horrified.  I've been holding onto that cord, metaphorically, even though it was snipped, physically, the day he left my womb.
mom of teen son 2
The cord cutting isn't limited to my son.  My daughter is now easily embarrassed by me in public.  She corrects me.  And, tries to help me be more cool.

What is it about our kids growing up that hurts a mom?  I mean we want them to grow up healthy and strong.  We work for it.  We pray for it.  But, when the days of independence come hard and fast, many mamas are left bewildered and bemoaning the precious moments that quickly pass.  Many mamas would pay good money to return to just one more day of "look at me, mommy."  Or, one more gleeful hug when she picks up her child from a play date  Or, one more long, bedtime snuggle.  Yep... those were the days.  And, they ARE the days for you, mothers of toddlers.

Georgia and Otis teens 

5 Life Tips for Toddler Moms

Here are 5 Life Tips from a mom whose farther down the trail… having left the land of toddlers and entered rocky teen terrain:
  1.  Unless your toddler is in jail, his or her “issues” are probably less serious than they will be when he or she is 17. Enjoy that.
  2. Seek out teachable moments, so you can pass along the habits of forgiveness, generosity, kindness and service while your kids are young. So, they get many years of practice.  Examples BELOW.
  3. If they like to hug, hug for a long time. Soak it in. Hold onto the sweet scent of a toddler hug…. for the hard days.
  4. Forfeit time at work or social functions to spend time with your “littles” instead.
  5. Pray with your little ones at a time in their lives when they’re most open to a generous and loving God. 
Examples of Teachable Moments:
  1. Tell your child when you find out a neighbor or friend is suffering and ask your child what they can give or do to serve that person.
  2. When your child is angry with a friend, teacher or coach, help your child recall something they’ve said or done wrong and remind them how God promises to forgive them, as they forgive others.
  3. When your child is in elementary school, challenge him/her to find a student in the lunchroom (or on the playground) whose alone and invite that student to join his/her friend group. You can be creative with this idea if you home school.
Love these teachable moments, even when there are tantrums. And potty training. And biting siblings. And fevers in the night. And… those dreaded car seats. Enjoy the moments when their demands seem almost overwhelming, but they need you so much. Cherish the innocence and love that comes naturally to a toddler.
Otis & Jenny Dean Schmidt (1)One day you will have teens. There are some great rewards in teen-dom. Your hugs may manifest as confidence on their first job. Your teachable moments will bear out the first time you witness your teen help a little, old lady with her groceries. You’ll be able to have rich conversations that don’t involve naming their latest stuffed animal. You’ll get to plan and prod about what they’re going to DO in the world to make it better…. how they’re going to take your loving training to the next level. And, you’ll laugh at their humor because it’s actually funny.
But, you will see them less. You won’t hug them as often. You will feel less necessary in their lives. The innocence has receded. The teaching is close to an end. They will walk away… and make their way… in a world that often doesn’t include you.
If all goes well… they’ll come back sometimes or often. For advice. For encouragement. For a hug from mom. And, finally, they’ll bring you new babies and toddlers to hold onto… for as long as you can.

The author of Ecclesiastes seems to understand the shaking that goes on for a parent of teenagers. To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heavenA time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8). 
Can you live in the moment with your toddlers and anticipate the blessing of who you can shape them to be as teens?
CM Podcast JennyBy Jenny Dean Schmidt
Wife of Mike
Mother of two teenagers, Otis and Georgia
1 Corinthians 13 Team Member
Executive Director, ChannelMom Media & Outreach and Host of ChannelMom Radio on 94.7 KRKS FM in Denver and also at

Four Things I'll Tell My Kids about The Election

POSTED October 25, 2016  By Jenny Dean Schmidt

I know.  You've had enough.  You're absolutely OVER the Presidential campaign of 2016.  You're sick of him.  You're tired of her.  But, the fact is, your kids are still watching.
trump-and-clintonYour children see the video clips of screaming candidates.  And, whining commentators.  They hear the radio hosts poke fun.  They see the memes, the viral videos and the virtual cyberspace mess that portrays our ailing political system.  And, your children need something better... from you... their parents.

In fact, American Founding Father, John Adams, once advised parents like you and me, "Children should be educated and instructed in the principles of freedom."  And, that is exactly why I want my kids to know more than they see on their screens this year.

As a former political press secretary, who worked for various campaigns in southern California (before I knew better), I've come to know a bit about political messaging.  And, as a former TV reporter who interviewed politicians for a living, I know a bit more about political media coverage.  So, below are the four things I will tell my kids about this year's Presidential campaign.  I'll tell them because I want them to have respect for our political past and hope for our political future.  We need our children to grow up and do it better... than this.

Four Tips:
  1. Remember our Forefathers  While they were flawed men, Jefferson, Washington, Franklin, Madison, Hamilton, Paine and Adams had altruistic ideals that weren’t completely mired in power-brokering, agenda-setting and wooing the donor base. Ironically, George Washington once warned: “Arbitrary power is most easily established on the ruins of liberty abused to licentiousness.” Hmm. Remind anyone of this year’s election? And, this quote from Thomas Jefferson is chilling, considering what’s unfolding in 2016: “And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that His justice cannot sleep for ever.”
  2. The Media can be Malicious  There is a commonly used phrase about TV news (and now web-based news)… “if it bleeds, it leads.” When I was in TV, this was mostly true. If I had to “tease” a story I was covering for the evening news, I was told to think of what would “scare people into watching.” If the media is paid to scare us by showing us the worst, then by default, it’s not giving us the best of both candidates (some would argue that several stations show only the best of her while one other station broadcasts mostly the best of him). The news folks usually lead with the most lascivious, salacious, lecherous and outrageous. While the 2016 candidates have made this kind of coverage easier, we’re not getting the whole story. We’re getting the horse race. We’re getting the scandal count. We’re getting the boxing match.election
  3. Don’t Act Like Them  I fear my kids will witness the unfolding campaign of 2016 and think it’s OK for adults to act like this. These candidates regularly utilize slander, gossip, lies, lewd references and verbal warfare like it’s normal. I want my children to know it’s not OK to talk like that. It’s not acceptable to gossip about people. It’s not right to spread something negative about someone that might not be true. I want them to know that it’s better to choose kindness over cruelty. election
  4. Political Promises Spring from Political Dollars  In the end, so much of what modern politicians say springs from the well that quenches their thirst for campaign dollars. While not every political position can be tied to a political dollar, there is a provable connection. If this teacher’s union gave a hefty donation, follow the money trail to the promises the politician makes about educational reform. If that gun lobby gave a huge contribution, translate that into the candidate’s stance on the Second Amendment. If Planned Parenthood made multiple donations, look at what the candidate says about “reproductive rights.” Sometimes, I’m not even sure the candidate had a political stance that inspired the donation from a particular cause… instead, I’ve come to think some candidate positions are born purely from money. Avid supporters of Donald Trump claim he’s immune to the influence of money because he isn’t as reliant on campaign donations. That may be partly true; however, we must remember “the Donald” has corporate interests and friends just as Hillary has influential, high-dollar donors. By the way, I will NOT tell my children that all lobbies, unions or corporations are bad… but I will warn them that their money has tainted our system. Sam Adams, cousin of Founding Father, John Adams, had this to say about the money trail: “If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.” 
I am happy to admit that not all politicians require the parental warnings I suggest above. But, I think most would agree this particular presidential campaign requires parental guidance, whether your kids can vote or not.

By Jenny Dean Schmidt
Wife of Mike
Mother of two teenagers, Otis and Georgia
1 Corinthians 13 Team Member
Executive Director, ChannelMom Media & Outreach and Host of ChannelMom Radio on 94.7 KRKS FM in Denver and also at

Jim Daly Challenged on Gay Marriage & Sexual Revolution