Petit Fours » A group blog of authors writing in different genres

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by:  Sandra Elzie

Blog-10-commandmentsThere are a lot of adjectives that could be used to describe me:  Female, retired, Christian, romance fiction writer, wife, aunt…and the list goes on and on.  But there’s one that I’m very proud of that I’m focusing on today.  Mother.  Aw, yes, and now that I’m on the “other side” of those challenging years of rearing offspring, my temper is almost non-existent and I’m a much more likable person…most of the time.  But looking back over the years, I realize I had rules that had to be followed in order to avoid the dreaded “Mother Look,” as my daughter called it…or, in general, facing the wrath of mother.

Of course, there were house rules about doing their chores and homework before playing, being polite and putting their dirty clothes in the hamper (or run out of underwear since I refused to pick up said garments from the floor or from under the bed), but today I thought I’d focus on the rules I set up for myself.

  • Say “I Love You.”     Children need to be told how much they’re loved along with the discipline that is dished out to instruct them on how to become a productive citizen and a potentially better spouse for their future mate.
  • Bite Your Tongue.  Everyone knows that children learn to walk, speak, etc by imitating those around them.  Well, if they’re around people who lose their tempers and yell a lot, they learn to be angry and have little self control over their mouths.  In years past, I found that if I got upset or angry, it was better to “bite my tongue” and wait to dole out consequences or discussion until I was calm again.
  • Laugh Often.  The old adage about everyone being happy if Mama is happy has a ring of truth to it…but I don’t feel that it’s everyone else’s responsibility to cater to mother all the time.  I think the mother (or the wife) has an equal responsibility to be a happy person by nature (or by choice) and thus easier to live with…and thereby making it easier for hubby and the kids to contribute to the happy household without having to walk on egg shells.  Also, reread the prior bullet about children learning from their environment.  As cute as kids are, we don’t want our children to grow up thinking that the world revolves around them and everyone else should cater to their every whim to keep them happy.  (I think this is called being a spoiled brat…or a Diva when they get a bit older)
  • Say You Are Sorry.   This is huge in keeping the household on an even keel.  Besides, we, as parents, aren’t always right and there might be some times when we should show respect to our children by telling them we made a mistake or overreacted, or whatever…and tell them we’re sorry.  It also teaches them that they need to do the same and that you won’t think less of them.
  • Eat Chocolate.     Naw, I’m kidding…that was never on my list…BUT maybe it should have been.  (g)
  • Order Out.     Since I was a working mother, I learned early on that there were going to be those days when I just didn’t feel like cooking…and I refused to feel guilty about it.  I remember the time I picked hubby up after work (this was after our kids were grown and out on their own) and I was bushed.  I slipped into the passenger seat while he slid in behind the steering wheel and we leaned in to kiss…as we always did.  Then I gave him a big smile and said:  “I love you so much.  In fact, I love you so much, I’m going to let you decide which restaurant we’re going to for dinner tonight.”    No arguments…he knew the signs…and wanted to keep Mama happy.  (Just don’t abuse this one, okay?)
  • Control Your Crazies.    Now, can you imagine why this was on the list?  Yep, there are times when nothing seems to be going right and you just want to scream at someone…but it’s not the fault of anyone in the house.  It’s time to control my crazies.
  • Enjoy The Moment.  Life is short.  I’ve made it into my sixties and been married for decades, so I can tell you that one thing I’ve learned is to not sweat the small stuff.  Life is for enjoying and we shouldn’t waste time being upset about things that aren’t important.  And the big stuff?  Well, some of those things are beyond our control anyway, so all we can do is deal quickly with the things we have some control over…and dump the rest.  Leave those out-of-our-control problems to the one who can actually handle them and choose not to worry about them.  Instead, make it a point to enjoy the moment…especially if you’re with family and/or friends at that moment. /

So, that’s my list.  Come on, share items you would add to the above list and you just might be the winner of a $5.00 Starbucks card.Blog-Starbucks-ogo





About The Author:

Sandra Elzie was challenged by her husband in 2001 not to wait until retirement in 2005 to start writing the book he’d been hearing about almost since they had been married. Picking up the gauntlet he’d thrown down, Sandra spent the next eight years honing her craft and published in 2008.  She now lives in southern Georgia with her husband and cat and enjoys reading, traveling.   Oh yeah, and she loves getting pictures of her kids and grandkids.   To learn more, go to

Her books are available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

She also writes as Sandra McGregor.  Amazon and Barnes & Noble




Marilyn Baron - April 10, 2014 - 7:41 am


Loved this list (especially Eat Chocolate) and my all-time favorite, Order Out or in my case,Make Reservations. I think you’ve about covered it. Somehow I’ve managed to raise two wonderful daughters so hopefully I’ve done something right but these are good rules to live by.

Piper - April 10, 2014 - 7:43 am


A truly excellent list. I cannot think of a single thing to add to it. I love the one about laughing. That is so important. My mother was one of the funniest people ever, and her laughter was a reminder that we take ourselves too seriously for much of the time. I try to make my son laugh as often as possible–when warranted of course.

I don’t order out as often as I should–so I’m going to take that one up–starting with tonight’s dinner. Thanks!

Pamela Varnado - April 10, 2014 - 8:12 am

I totally agree about eating out as often as possible. As for adding to your list, which is excellent, I would include never criticize your child. Hurtful comments destroy self-esteem. Parents can nurture without calling their child lazy or stupid. And if you are blessed with more than one child, please don’t compare them to each other. This often shatters the bond siblings share. Each child is special in his or her own way. Cherish them and give them the same unconditional love they give to you.

Maxine Davis - April 10, 2014 - 8:56 am

Sandy, Excellent list. I totally agree. I bet you were/are a good mom. I truly believe in complimenting them when they’ve done something that shows their heart is in the right place or when they’ve truly tried.

SUsan Carlisle - April 10, 2014 - 9:35 am

What a great list. I’m going to take a number of these to heart. Thanks for sharing.

Debbie Kaufman - April 10, 2014 - 10:17 am

Love the list. One of my rules was, “Bake often.” Kept me sane because it was an activity I enjoyed, kept the kids happy because they could eat the results, and chocolate was usually involved.

Carol Burnside - April 10, 2014 - 11:37 am

Excellent list. The only thing I’d add would be positive reinforcement or Build Self-Esteem. Others have mentioned this also. It’s important for a child to hear “You can do it.” and “Good job!”

Connie Gillam - April 10, 2014 - 1:26 pm

An excellent list, Sandy. The only thing I can add is ‘listen to them.’ Give them your full attention when they’re discussing their day.

Trudy - April 10, 2014 - 4:13 pm

What a great list! Can’t think of anything to add – I’ll try to remember it when things get hectic.

Mary Marvella Barfield - April 10, 2014 - 4:16 pm

Sandy, you are a wise woman! Your rules resonate with me!

Sandy Elzie - April 10, 2014 - 4:48 pm

Hi Marilyn,
Yes, chocolate helps in times of stress. We didn’t eat out very often (where reservations were required) when the kids were younger. It was more like Taco Bell or McDonalds, but they loved it…and I loved not having to cook that night.

You have two beautiful daughters who love their parents, so you must have done a great job.

Sandy Elzie - April 10, 2014 - 4:53 pm

Way to go, girl! In fact, pizza sounds pretty good right now. I love to laugh. One day our three put on a skit where they all bent over in a row, put a sheet over themselves and had one of their cousins act as MC…bringing them out as a trained worm. Then the MC got one of their uncles to lie down on the floor so Henry the Worm would jump over him. Well, the first two stepped over, but the last one poured a glass of water on their uncle….at which time the MC apologized and said that Henry The Worm needed a bit more training.

I think the kids laughed more than anyone else. It was a great evening.

Sandy Elzie - April 10, 2014 - 4:56 pm

Hi Pam, You are sooooooooo right about not criticising. Of course there are times when you have to explain that certain behavior isn’t acceptable, BUT there’s a right way to do it…but it needs to be done in a calm voice, explaining what’s is acceptable…And in private. Thanks for commenting.

Sandy Elzie - April 10, 2014 - 4:59 pm

Hi Maxine,
My daughter once had a teacher that told her class that they all had 100% in her class. She told them that they all had an A. Then she explained that not doing homework or disrupting the class would result in them getting a lessor grade. I thought this was a different, yet innovative way to show kids that they were good, but there was a consequence for not following the rules.

Sandy Elzie - April 10, 2014 - 5:01 pm

Hi Susan,
Since you had four little darlings…and since they’ve all turned out great…you must have been a fantastic mother. And chocolate MUST have been on your list of Mom Rules since I’ve tasted the fudge you make from scratch (and from memory). Yummmmmm

Sandy Elzie - April 10, 2014 - 5:02 pm

Hi Deb,
Yeah, bake often…but then the girls got older and they started baking, so it took some of the stress off me….well, except cleaning up behind them in the kitchen after they had “cleaned.”

Sandy Elzie - April 10, 2014 - 5:03 pm

Great “rule” Building self-esteem is vital to kids. The world will try to know them down and it’s part of our job to try to make a difference…try to build them back up and show them how to succeed in life. Thanks.

Sandy Elzie - April 10, 2014 - 5:06 pm

Oh Connie, great rule! Listen to them. We all want others to listen when we talk…and the kids are the same. I’ve watched children struggle to get their parents to watch them jump into the pool or spin in a circle, or whatever and the parent is just too busy talking with someone or reading or whatever to be bothered.

Sandy Elzie - April 10, 2014 - 5:08 pm

Hi Trudy,
The Mom List can work for just about anytime in our lives…even when dealing with adults. It could just as easily be entitled The Wife List….or The Friend List.

Sandy Elzie - April 10, 2014 - 5:10 pm

Hi Mary,
Thanks for dropping by and commenting. The list was something I did many years ago and I recently ran across it. Maybe I should have added…Plan to Take Care of Your Elderly Parents…or something like that. :) Of course, all our kids are in their 40s, so it’s probably a bit late.

Walt Mussell - April 10, 2014 - 5:47 pm


Great list! Eat chocolate definitely belongs on it. My other favorite is “Enjoy the Moment.”

Sandy Elzie - April 10, 2014 - 5:58 pm

Hi Walt,
I enjoyed adding chocolate to the list when it really wasn’t on it before….even though it should have been ! And yes, Enjoy the Moment means a lot to me. I enjoyed supporting their trying new things (even tho they weren’t very successful at a few of them). Life was just a lot of fun with the kids in it.

Bruce - April 10, 2014 - 10:36 pm

As I knew way back when (but didn’t realize,being young and dumb)that you would excel at everything in your life, and now I have no doubts, that you not only thrived but became one great Mom, a friend to many, a loving wife,and a great long time friend. I hope that all the good that you have accomplished over these many years will remain with you for all eternity, YOU DESERVE IT.

Don - April 11, 2014 - 4:45 am

A very good list indeed. I found that dad also needed to follow such list to help keep mom on track and to stay on a parallel course with her. Work together within the same rules.
One rule that I took on as a personal issue was that even though I worked in some rough environments with lots of “colorful” language; I found that I did not need such language to prove I am an adult. I later found out that the kids (not just ours) really respected me for that self control.
And Bruce’s comments are spot on!

Pam Asberry - April 11, 2014 - 9:03 am

Great list, Carol. Enjoy the moment, indeed. What I wouldn’t give to have just one day back with my children when they were small.

Sandy Elzie - April 11, 2014 - 9:26 am

Hi Bruce,
Ah, gee, you make me blush. You’re a sweet friend and I appreciate all the nice words. I try hard to do well at each thing I do…but nothing was ever as important to me than being a good wife and especially a good mom. It’s not for the faint of heart, that’s for sure. :) Thanks for coming by and commenting.

Sandy Elzie - April 11, 2014 - 9:32 am

Hi Don,
You are sooooooo right. Parenting is so much easier if both mom and dad are on the same page. It’s also less confusing to the children and keeps them from playing one parent against the other. If one of ours said he/she had already asked the other parent and the other parent had left it up to the parent that wasn’t present at the time, we ALWAYS checked with that other parent first before giving a final answer. No games. We tried very hard to be a united force.

And you make an extremely valid point about the language. They hear enough of that stuff from their peers and sometimes join in when around those kids, but it might surprise parents to know how much kids look to them for direction on the proper way to act the rest of the time. And, BTW, thanks for the kind words.

Sandy Elzie - April 11, 2014 - 9:33 am

Hi Pam,
I’m with you girl…there are times I wish I could go back (but only for a day or two) and enjoy a special time with them while they were young. Times are tougher now…so new moms & dads really have their hands full to raise kids properly.

Sandy Elzie - April 11, 2014 - 1:51 pm

The winner of the $5.00 Starbuck’s card is Don. Don, if you’d send me your e-mail addy or your street address, I’ll send along the card right away.


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