Even though I’d reminded him the night before that we needed to leave early, one morning last week my youngest was running late. As I headed out to the car without him, he assured me, “Five minutes or less, Mom.” I sat in the car fuming until I couldn’t take it anymore. Storming back into the house, I ran into him, laden with all his gear and bags.
“I TOLD you that today was a Stressful Early Day! I TOLD you to put your stuff in the car last night!” That was all I said before huffing back to the driver’s seat. He wisely said nothing.
Once he’d dumped his stuff in the trunk and crawled into the front seat, I backed out almost before he had his door closed all the way. The silence in the car was not our usual companionable I-know-you’re-not-awake-and-neither-am-I peace and quiet. There was definitely an edge to it, and I know he was bracing for a motherly tirade.
But I bit my tongue, despite feeling like my blood pressure was up and needed to be vented. This whole scenario has played out before in our house, with each boy taking his turn (more than once) at being the cause of us running late. Over the years I’ve learned that an outburst has no value, because
- it doesn’t get us to school any faster,
- I can’t turn the clock back, no matter how angry I get,
- the more angry words we exchange, the worse we both feel,
- he already knows how mad I am, and
- it’s going to happen again.
It’s fifteen miles from home to school. It took me about half that distance to calm down. When I finally did speak, it was to ask him – calmly – about his after-school schedule. I could hear the relief in his voice as he replied, because he had braced himself for Ranting Mom (after all, he’s met her before).
Late days happen. Life goes on. In the big picture, it’s not worth damaging my relationship with my son when it’s already too late to change anything.
This week I’ll remind him again when “Tomorrow is a Stressful Early Day.” I’m thinking he’ll be ready on time. I’ll keep you posted.