When her kids took their time leaving practice, this mom got fed up and drove away
As parents, we spend a lot of time waiting for our kids to wrap up activities while we sit in the car. It can be maddening, especially when it seems like your child is thoughtlessly taking their time while you cool your heels, and one mom decided she’d had enough.
Maureen Paschal is a mother of four and also, a teacher and librarian. She’s the voice behind the blog Raising the Capable Student and wrote recently about the time she left two of her kids at carpool.
Yes, left them.
She writes, “I had been sitting in a hot August afternoon carpool for 27 minutes, watching – watching other moms sitting in carpool, watching the post-practice huddle, watching those other moms’ kids trickling down the sidewalk to waiting cars, watching the clock, watching for my two oldest sons to emerge from the locker room – so that we could GO.”
Paschal’s sons were taking their sweet time leaving football practice and her younger son had a Boy Scout camping trip to get to, so she didn’t have time to sit around waiting. So she didn’t.
“My anxiety level was through the roof, and then, finally, I saw my boys…walking…slowly to the car…stopping to talk with a friend…and…I put my car into drive and pulled away.”
Paschal left her middle school boys at carpool and calls it, “the most intoxicating, liberating thing I had done since they were born.” She says they were perfectly safe — it was broad daylight and there were plenty of people around. She talks about how much of her time as a parent has been spent just like this — waiting for her kids while her own life was put on hold. And she wasn’t happy about it.
“It’s demoralizing to spend your life always waiting for and watching other people – even people you love.”
Luckily, Paschal’s sons learned a few valuable lessons that day as a result of their mom putting her foot down. The first one is to “hustle,” and not just for your football coach. “Don’t just hustle in front of the guy who decides if you play or not, do it because that is the kind of person you are all the time, and you will be successful in life.”
Her sons have taken this lesson to heart and the most tangible example is the ease with which all three boys have gotten summer jobs over the years by impressing adults with their hustling skills.
The next lesson is a little ingenuity. The kids had to figure out their own way home that day, which they did, nabbing a ride with an older boy from their neighborhood. “They had been left to fend for themselves, and they had. Even I was impressed,” she writes.
The last lesson is the one every parent should want their kids to master — consideration. She writes, “The day my sons watched me leaving carpool without them is the day they learned that the world does not revolve around them.” Paschal says her sons found out the hard way that she has a life too. “They learned that while they are a beloved part of my life, they aren’t the only part of my life.”
We had a chance to chat with Paschal and she tells Scary Mommy that the boys in the story are now 22 and 21, both in college, with the oldest about to enter law school. Her youngest son is 18 and her daughter is 13, so she’s got some serious experience raising teens. We asked her advice on how to raise a kid who will “hustle” their way through life.
“I would say set the expectation for hustle by personal example, and by grabbing the teachable moments. If kids can be shown how their behavior impacts others it helps.” She says, “As parents we shouldn’t be afraid to set high expectations for behavior in our kids.”
We couldn’t agree more.