I rush out the door and head to the school to pick my son up from basketball practice. I am always rushing. Rush rush rush. Lots to do with a full time job, a husband, three active kids, a household to run, and life in general to live.
Practice gets over at 5:15. The clock reads 5:40. I’m one of few parents still in the parking lot waiting. I text him, “Where are you?”. He responds, “Sorry”, and within a minute jumps in the car. He and a couple of friends were playing a game after practice.
In my head, in my high-pitched scary voice, I am screaming… Don’t you know someone is out here waiting for you? That is so disrespectful! I have learned that whenever the high-pitched scary voice is speaking, I need to keep my mouth shut. Nothing good comes out, nor is a lesson ever learned.
The next morning, I tell him that he needs to come right out after practice as we have somewhere to be at 5:30. He succeeds in obeying my request and we make it to our obligation on time.
Now, a lot is going on here. In my opinion Ayden is being disrespectful by making me wait. But, at the same time, I don’t think it is intentional… I don’t think he THINKS about it. Very much like my husband misses the laundry hamper and leaves his socks on the floor… I don’t think these boys even think about what’s happening outside of the bubble of themselves sometimes. Just stating fact. I’m sure I can pick something out of Dr. James Dobson’s Bringing Up Boys book to back up my theory (Excellent book. Every mother of boys should read it!!!). What else is going on? Ayden is excelling at basketball, and is not at home watching YouTube videos on his phone. He is also socializing, and building friendships with boys on his team. What else you ask? Mom is sitting in the car several days a week, being irritated that Son is lollygagging and being disrespectful. Lastly, no consequences are being handed out, and no behavior is set to change on either of our parts. Good things and bad things.
A couple days ago, I read a great blog about goals and expectations and the madness, frustration, and satisfaction of motherhood. It really got me thinking about my own outlook on the circumstances that arise in life. The Better Mom blogger, Misty Krasawski, wrote of being fed-up with messy rooms and kids who don’t keep them clean. She went on to share her self-discovery. It’s great to have a goal that the kids will keep the room clean. But to expect little ones to do that, may not be realistic.
If it is unrealistic to always expect my husband to THINK about little things outside his bubble, can I really expect my 14-year old son to?
Yes and No.
It is my God-given duty to raise my son to be a responsible, respectful man that will someday make a woman a proud wife, that will someday be an attentive and devoted father, and that will every day choose to be a contributing member of the community he is a part of. How I handle these small situations is important. Each one of them is a learning experience.
The way I see it, I have two choices. Either change my expectation or give a consequence… or a little of both. Misty’s article was titled, Angry, Mama? Try Lowering Your Expectations. I thought that sounded horrible… why in the world would I lower my expectations? She felt us all cringe at her title, and later clarified that she isn’t suggesting we lower our standards or our goal, just adjust what we EXPECT. When we do that, the outcome changes.
So, what would happen if Ayden and I expected each other at 5:40? That gives him some time to do whatever it is he does between practice and the car. And it will give me an opportunity to relax, to listen to the rain pitter-patter on the roof of my car and to take a few minutes to read… alone… unbothered. I could even take a nap right there in the parking lot! Or, more realistically… gives me 25 more minutes at work, or cleaning the kitchen, or whatever it is I am doing before dropping that activity to go pick up Ayden.
This is teaching him consequences… if he gets outside before 5:40, he may have to wait. It provides him additional time to nurture his friendships and get in some extra basketball practice. And as long as we keep the communication lines open on whether he needs to move his butt after his practice or if he needs more time before he gets picked up, we are practicing mutual respect… look at the benefits of this simple change! Mommy mind blown!
I just want to go hug the boy right now.
Life calls for us to be conscious. To recognize the big deals, and the small blessings. It’s not that big of a deal that my son wasn’t making it to the car 3.5 seconds after practice ended… I just needed a new way to look at it. And now I just might finally get an official nap time.