Last Updated on March 20, 2018

Have you ever seen one of those movies where the good guys are running from the bad guys through the woods and the good guys burst through the woods, teeter on the top of a cliff and look down at the water below? Then comes the moment where the good guys must make that crazy decision: face the bad guys or jump to a possible painful death.

That was me just a few days ago … minus the bad guys and the jog through the woods.

I found myself standing at the top of a 30-foot cliff looking down at a large body of water. Rather than facing bad guys I was facing teenagers. “C’mon, Mom! You can do it!”

So I did it.

And I liked it.

I even did it several more times.

Oh, yeah—I jumped off of a cliff, on purpose, without being chased. Whoa, I’ve come a long way baby.

When my children were toddlers I was exhausted all the time—all moms of toddlers are exhausted all the time. I remember all too well that every day was the same: a blur of cleaning, cooking, helping, fixing, teaching, correcting, organizing, planning, inviting, wiping, reading, soothing, redoing, over and over and over again.

Due to my exhaustion, if I was able to take a break I would go outside set my children up for playing something and then sit and watch. That started a bad habit, though. I began to use their outdoor play times as my rest times, parked in a lawn chair so I could just do nothing.

I distinctly remember my son saying to me, “Please, Mommy, come and play,” as he and his sister created works of art on the driveway with some sidewalk chalk. Then the following words floated through my head, “I have become a Sideline Mom”—one of those moms who sits and watches, rather than participating. God placed on my heart that day the importance of me playing with my children, not just watching them play.

Since that day I have made a concerted effort to be a Fun Mom and do things with my children more often than not. As they have gotten older they still ask me to play with them and I realize now that creating that habit and sticking with it is now allowing me the privilege of having teens who want to do things with their mom. That is an amazing gift in itself.

So the age old question has been answered at our home: If your friends jumped off of a cliff, would you jump too? If the friends are my teens … oh, yeah … and I would giggle the whole way down!

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  1. Debbie Schulz says:

    Just last night my 17 year old daughter asked if I would go play tennis with her. I was thrilled. We had the best time. Everything else that needed to be done had to wait,no way I was passing that up.

  2. Loved this post! It was convicting as well as encouraging. I’ve caught myself doing that same thing recently and although there’s alot of different reasons(er, excuses?)I could give for sitting on the sideline the truth is I could just as easily push myself at times to not. And I know in doing that I would leave a much better impression on my kids for the future. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Woo Hoo! Love to hear from "fun moms" who make time for their children! Any more of you out there? Blessings, Tracey (FLMB)

  4. Really needed this wake up call. I guess I just feel that if my house is not clean (or at least toys, blankets are not all over the house) I am not being a good mom. But I do have to stop and think about the future, do I really want them to exclude me from "their" activities because that is what I have trained them to do? No Way! Thanks, sideline mom no more!

  5. Justina Owens says:

    Ok this has been me lately for sure …”a blur of cleaning, cooking, helping, fixing, teaching, correcting, organizing, planning, inviting, wiping, reading, soothing, redoing, over and over and over again.”
    But that’s why God gives us friends like you, to help him send friendly wake up calls to us.:)
    Time with our little ones is precious and short. So Thank You! I will try to snap out of “mommy robot mode”, and HAVE and BE more fun more often!

  6. Happy to know that “Am I being a Sideline Mom?” resonates with you friends out there! Pass it on – we want homes filled with happy, fun moms who put relationship building before “doing”! I said it once…I’ll say it again, Woo Hoo!!!

  7. With all my energy and pain struggles, NOT being a sideline mom has been a constant struggle. I’m on a new medication now and actually took my daughter to a water park the other day. We had a blast, and I felt like a much younger me! Thanks for the encouragment. I love when I can get in the game. 🙂
    Jenn (FLMB)

  8. Barbara Rainey says:

    you are so right. sitting and watching kids play does become rest time for most moms. good challenge for all of us to participate in life with our kiddos and grandkids too.