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Morning Rush

This morning could have been a disaster. Here is what happened five minutes before it was time to leave the house to drop the boys off at school on my way to work.
Son: “Hey mom, do we have a USB port”
Me: “huh?” (this was kind of a weird question)
Son: “A USB port, do we have one?”
Me: “Yeah, you have one on your netbook. “
Son: “Oh yeah, I forgot”
Me: “WHY” 
Son: “I need to print a rough draft of my paper and I need to save it on my flash first.”
Me:   “When”
Son: ‘Now”

I immediately thought, What, we have to leave in five minutes. You should have done this last night! Why didn’t you do this last night?” This is what I wanted to say. I am sure we would have spent at least 5 minutes arguing about all of this. I may have then went off in to a lecture and 15 minutes later we would finally be printing the paper and rushing to school late and angry. That is what my parent’s would have done. That is what good parents do; take advantage of every single teaching moment. This was a teaching moment right? Kids have to learn somehow.
I never really liked this kind of situation when I was a kid. As a parent I don’t like it either. I never feel too good after reacting harshly to such minor (but important) things, even though I know that is what good parents do. I want to be a good parent. I don’t want undisciplined unruly kids but I don’t want to scream and yell all the time either.
I know it is my job to teach and train but I was feeling a little tired and didn’t want to start my day off badly. It also wouldn’t be fair to make my other son late to school because of something that had nothing to do with him. At least that's what I told myself. So, I let this “teaching moment” pass.
What I decided to do instead was say, “Okay, your flash drive is on the table. Grab it and save your paper while I turn on the computer.” After I took a deep breath, of course.
We had a whole five minutes, remember. We got the paper printed and still made it out of the door at our regularly scheduled time, 7:00. On the way out the door my son says, “Thanks Mom!” the stress immediately left my body.  Then he added, “Next time I am just going to print it out the night before. It was done all I had to do was print it. I really need to work on my procrastination. What if something went wrong? ”
What? He still learned a lesson? How did that happen?
The boys made it to school on time with no yelling, fighting, or me driving like a crazy women to get to the school and no unnecessarily upsetting kid number two. I wasn’t on time to work but not because of the boys. There were a lot of accidents along the route I take. If I had reacted differently I would have been extremely upset, stressed and distracted, I may have been on the side of the road with my car bashed in like those other people.
I have had my moments of overreacting in situations like this morning, especially when the kids were young. Thankfully these incidents are few enough in number and happened long enough ago that the kids don’t remember them. But I do and it still upsets me. 
Approaching everything in a confrontational way SUCKS! At least to me it does. I don’t want to constantly be battling my kids. Yes there are times I have to put my foot down but sometimes I can jump in and help them figure things out on their own, especially now that they are teenagers. Right? I hope so because I like this way much better.

Call me a softy if you like, but my son still learned a lesson, I still have my voice and we all had a great day.

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