If you’re the mom of a preschooler, I wonder if you are like me and you sometimes get into “constant-responding-mode” when your kids get into “constant-demand-mode.”

It hit me a couple of days ago when my 3 year old declared, “I have a booger.”

And I realized this had become the norm. “I need milk.” “Jesse is hitting me.” “I’m hungry.” “I’m thirsty.” “I have a booger.” They make a declaration, and I snap into action. And after a long day (or series of days) of declarative needs, you gradually transform into the cheese-stick-getting, sippy-cup-filling, vending machine mommy.

Here’s something very important, just as a reminder: you are a human who needs respect. Yes, you are a mommy. Yes, this is a time of service. Yes, they need you. But you need respect and love. And somewhere along the way, this little person who is now just barely old enough to begin understanding concepts like this needs to be trained up in the way he or she should go.

Teach them that when someone does something nice for them, they should say thank you. Then when you hand them a snack and they don’t respond with appreciation, gently say, “Someone just did something nice for you.” And wait patiently for those little words of thanks.

You are not a robot or a vending machine. You are a beautiful mommy who wants to enjoy your day. And with some thought, gentleness, laughter, and patience, you can help them honor you. And you’ll be training them also to honor others and ultimately, to honor God.

And in the meantime, smile inwardly the next time they give you a command and remember: this season of being a preschooler’s mommy is short! Enjoy the journey!