Why The Good Enough Mother Taxi Service Is Over…
Yesterday, I added the latest chapter to my new book, “Things My Kids Will Tell Their Therapist About Me!”
The tipping point was the perpetual issue of walking versus riding to school. Here’s what happened…
When I went to pick Casey and Cole up from school, Cole informed me he was going to hang with his buddies, so I told him to call me when he was ready to be picked up. I know, I know, mistake number one, I should have had him walk home. In his defense, it’s really not safe right now due to the record snowfall we’ve had and mounds of SNIRT (snow and dirt combined, as my friend calls it) are now lining the roads, obstructing views and making passage by car or foot, more precarious.
So the call comes in to Mom’s Taxi Service (“You beckon, we come”) at 3:57pm and I told the client, aka, Cole, I’d be there in 5 minutes. I put on my coat, jumped in the car, drove down the road, avoiding kids, a slow cyclist, SNIRT and other drivers and pulled into the CVS Parking lot at 4:04pm. Of course, before he even got in the car, he was shooting daggers at me through the Yukon windshield, shivering in a thin sweatshirt with a bag of candy the size of a basic training duffel bag.
“What took you so long? I’ve been standing out there freezing for 15 minutes!” Yes, I’m bad at math but even I can figure out that was not 15 minutes. But forget about that, OH HELL NO! This child did NOT just jump in the car and without a “Hi mom” or “what’s going on?” launch into attack! No freakin’ way! Oh yes he did. (Side note, I tell him everyday to wear his winter coat. In Good Enough Mother fashion, I figure he’ll grab it when he gets cold enough).
Frequent readers will know that Cole and I are very similar. We have the same warped humor, the same passion for life and the same fiery temper. The ensuing “debate” was so incendiary I’m shocked the front seat of the Yukon wasn’t dotted by shrapnel debris and singe marks. I’m not going to go into detail of the “discussion” but the upshot was us bickering all the way home. Halfway up the driveway it hit me; these kids have too much damn stuff. They have so much that they don’t even know they have so much, not to mention constant access to a mom who works from home. Yep, she is part of that “stuff” just like the XBOX and iPod.
In the idling SUV, I turned to Cole and said, “I have a solution. You want a schedule? You can take the bus from now on, starting next week.” “NO!” “YES” “NO!” “YES!” “NO!” “YES!” and it went on in that manner until we got inside. Cole was not only wearing a thin sweatshirt but sweatpants that were several sizes to big (actually his father’s, don’t ask me why) tripped on them and fell. Now every mother has seen this before; let’s just say Adrien Brody’s Oscar winning turn in The Pianist paled in comparison. Cole fell on the floor, candy went flying and he started to wail. Mommy instinct told me he was more pissed than hurt so I kept going. I marched right upstairs, unplugged the XBOX, took his laptop, closed the door to my room and the closet doors that separate Good Enough World Headquarters from the rest of the world and I let him carry on.
Casey came in and asked what was wrong with the unhappy camper. So I calmly explained to her what he was upset about and what started it all. But I took the time to explain that no one, moms included, likes to feel like they are being taken for granted and unfortunately, she does it too. She’ll call to have me pick them up from school. In an effort to avoid the “Mad Mommies in Mercedes” AKA carpool line, I say I’ll be there in 15 minutes. If I am half a minute late, she sends me a text “r u on ur way?” Casey teared-up and apologized because she knew I was right. Our Kumbaya moment was only interrupted by the piercing wails of ‘HELP ME!” Okay, it was time.
The man-child had been throwing a fit for a solid hour so you can imagine what a teary, snotted-up mess he was by the time I got to him. His eyes were swollen from crying and I helped him up to his room. “Cole, look around you. You see all this stuff you have? You think all your friends have big rooms like this to themselves? Your friend, Sam, who you hung out with today, rides his bike everywhere because his parents work. You need to be thankful for what you have, including a mom who will drive you where you need to go.” I think he understood. Either that or the crying left him too tired to protest.
I’m not sure what the lesson here is and I’m big enough to admit I wish it had gone down differently yesterday. Though we made up with heartfelt hugs and apologies, Cole and I were both exhausted and traumatized. The laptop and XBOX are still on lockdown and Mom’s taxi service looks to be replaced by the big, yellow bus. Even if it’s not, it will be running a few minutes behind schedule on each and every call.
What about you, have you ever felt like your children take you for granted? What did you do about it – and how did they react… start sharing your stories!