Inside: Tired of driving teens everywhere? This simple solution will ensure they appreciate the time we spend behind the wheel.
You walk in the door and are just about to fling off your shoes and possibly your bra, when you hear these dreaded words, “HeyMomCanYouDriveMe to Johnny’s house?”
Or you sit down to pay bills, to plan meals for a week or to [gasp] just sit down and you hear, “Since you’re not busy, HeyMomCanYouDriveMe to the mall?”
And the list goes on.
While I enjoy connecting with my teens in the minivan, it is easy for me to grab my keys without setting any boundaries on my time.
And when I hop up and hop into my well-used ubermobile, without giving it a second thought, what am I modelling to my teens?
Matthew Wilson reminds us:
If others see you don’t respect your time, they won’t, either…For example, you might develop the art of saying “no” more often… It shows you’re not an all-you-can-eat time buffet.Entrepreneur.com
That’s exactly how I had been feeling lately. Maybe especially as a stay-at-home, work-from-home Mom. I’m always around and it is so convenient for my kids to HeyMom me. (love you boys!)
It’s like this new stage snuck up on me. Not long ago, I’d set a playdate, buckle the kids into the same vehicle at the same time and we’d head to the same destination. Simple, right?
But then our kids make different friends. And develop different interests. And don’t always need to go to the same place at the same time. I tried to implement the rule that all friends must live on our street, but it’s not sticking….
So suddenly we’re driving in every direction, without pausing to consider our options.
So what’s a Mom to do? We could say no constantly. Or we could try this.
If you’re tired of driving your teens everywhere, this is for you.
LIGHTLY FRAYED PARENTING TIP: Ask the kids to help you with a task before you drive them to ‘extra’ destinations.
It’s simple economics, really.
If you need to drive them 15 minutes away, they must complete a 30 minute task for you (there and back, right?). And if they moan, “This job is taking soooo long” just remind your child it is the same amount of time it will take you to be their driver.
Now this isn’t for regular trips like sport practices or youth group, but it is a fabulous system for those extra requests.
But does it really work?
One of our boys just explained the system to his cousin: “Yep my Mom makes us do this new thing before she drives us places. It’s a bit annoying but it actually works.” I’ll take it.
Here’s my latest win. Tonight my son asked me to drive him to a friend’s house tomorrow. Estimated travel time for drop off and pick up = 1 hour.
And because he knew tomorrow would be busy, he earned his Mom Minutes one day early. So we worked on this Lightly Frayed website together for one hour.
One hour of help. No questions asked. And I was able to chauffeur him the next day feeling like my time had been valued.
This may require a bit of an adjustment period, but it has delicious potential.
What are the benefits of kids earning Mom Minutes?
- They are encouraged to plan in advance
- Tweens are reminded that our time is valuable too
- We won’t roll our eyes every time we hear another driving request
And if they don’t want to earn Mom Minutes, they may come up with a creative alternative (ride their bikes, take a bus, carpool….).
Suddenly your teens may be looking at apps for the city bus. Or biking to a friend’s house without complaining. Basically you are nudging your teen to become a problem solving genius.
All because you set some boundaries on your time and implemented Mom Minutes.
My new motto?
HeyKidsCanIDriveYouAnywhereToday? Anywhere at all?
Cuz I’ve got a list a mile long I’d love help with…
Action Step: What else could require Mom Minutes? Baking last-minute cupcakes for a fundraiser? Flying to the store to buy black pants for tomorrow’s concert? COMMENT BELOW.