Single Mom’s Summer Boot Camp

Summer Time Fun

If you’ve followed my posts on boot camp, you already know that I am running summer boot camp. Okay, so it’s probably not really like boot camp. There is no marching, and I’m the only one doing push-ups (because my wonderful new trainer makes me!) but the theme is “discipline and structure”. My eldest monster- ahem- darling made the swim team and is taking karate and my youngest is doing soccer. Between practices and library and grocery runs, both boys have to make their beds upon waking up, and clear their dishes after eating! We are still working on picking up toys up and putting them back in a designated location. There is also a stricter limit on screen time. I’m trying to get more academics in but so far Reading is the only thing I’ve pushed. I need to step it up with the Math and Science. There are some really fun summer Math and Science activities that I’ll have to discuss in my next blog post.

You Have to Earn It Soldier

The other piece of my discipline and structure regiment is that they have to earn their ice cream/toy/etc… money. My guys are constantly sneaking Oreos, popsicles, and Klondike bars (Mommy’s guilty pleasure) until they are all gone within in two days rather than the seven to ten they were meant to last. Well, no more! Each boy starts with four quarters. They can lose a quarter if they sneak food, or commit other infractions such as fighting, using inappropriate language, etc… However, if they fulfill a request and Mommy does not have to ask more than once, more money can be earned. The money can then be used for ice cream at the pool or a toy  when we go to Target or some other desire. By the end of the first week, everyone was in the negative. Overall, behavior was better, but I guess I needed to start with more than four quarters. I still haven’t made it to the bank. So much for consistency.

Boot Camp Was Going So Well…

Still, everything was going pretty well until Monday when we were getting ready to leave for soccer. I wanted to get the dog walked before we left. We were half way around the block when my eldest just started running and my youngest took off after him. I called for them to come back. No response. I could hear their voices so I knew they weren’t too far off so I counted which usually causes them to rethink whatever choice they’ve just made. That didn’t work either. I threatened. Then I no longer heard their voices. I took the dog back to the house and started walking around looking for them. I finally saw them in the distance near what we’ve dubbed the “troll bridge”.  As soon as they spotted me they ran in separate directions. It got to the point where I felt foolish for running around like a lunatic, angry, and hurt simultaneously, so I gave up and went home, quietly rehearsing how I would relay the incident to our behavioral therapist the following afternoon.

I’m a Mean Mom

By that time, soccer (which is a 12 minutes drive) was already starting. I figured if they were smart, they’d come back. Ten minutes later, they returned. I let them in the house and read them the riot act. Those little punks had the nerve to get mad at me and threaten to run away. Apparently, I’m a really mean mom and I should have tried harder to find them so they didn’t miss soccer. Really?!

They went upstairs to pack, while I locked the secret deadbolt to the door that they can not figure out, then hid the key. When they came back down, backpacks stuffed to the brim with a seasonal assortment of clothing, they reminded me that I’m super mean and they would have to make their fortunes elsewhere (i.e. Daddy’s house).

“Well, I wish you both the best of luck. Don’t let the door hit you…” I said, “that is if you can get it open.”

Imagine my surprise when my oldest threw his arms around my neck in a big hug as he continued to tell me how mean I was. Huh?

“If I’m so mean, why are you hugging me?”

“This is your good-bye hug,” he said gruffly. He let go and headed down the stairs.

My youngest came over and squeezed me tightly.

“I’m angry,” he said in his deepest voice, the one he uses when he’s trying to be an adult.

“And yet you’re hugging me,” I said.

“This is my angry hug!” he barked, then spontaneously kissed me on the cheek and followed his brother down the stairs.

Mom wins Again

At this point, they realized the weren’t going anywhere.

“Where’s the key?” The older one asked the younger.

“She probably hid it again,” was the reply.

They both turned and looked at me.

“What key?” I asked innocently.

“Are you hiding it again?” My eldest asked suspiciously.

“Are you hiding it again?” I asked just as suspiciously, “Because I’m pretty sure I saw one of you playing with my keys earlier. I’m going to be seriously angry if you’ve lost my keys.”

The kids decided they better go look for the keys before I blew my top. A minute later, my eldest returned and said,

“I think we’ll stay with you, mommy. We’re sorry we ran away and missed soccer. You’re a good mom.”

It may not seem like much, but Moms everywhere, you know how huge that one statement is. I may go to bed every night exhausted, and sometimes feeling defeated, but if my six-year-old told me that I’m a good mom, then I know that I am.


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