Mom, I’m going to make you a deal…

It is a truth universally acknowledged that when a nine-year-old says “Mom, I’m going to make you a deal,” Mom’s end of the stick will be the short one.

“Mom, I’m going to make you a deal,” Connor said to me in the kitchen this morning. “If I don’t have to go to baseball today, I’ll go next week.”

I wouldn’t have had a problem with this if he hadn’t said the same thing last week. And if there wasn’t a one hundred percent chance that deal or no deal, he’d be saying the same thing to me next week.

“Why should I take that deal, Connor?” I asked. “What’s in it for me?”

“Two reasons. One, I don’t want to go to baseball. And two… because… I’ll… go next week,” he said, clearly having not sufficiently planned ahead for what would dazzle me behind Door Number Two.

Here’s what my son doesn’t really get: the person who really doesn’t want to go to baseball practice? Is me. Sitting around on the soggy grass of Central Park watching my child engage with others for two hours on a Wednesday afternoon is two hours I didn’t spend at the library writing. But I plan my afterschool hours shuttling my children from activity to activity because that is what mothers do, because life is easier for a nine-year-old boy who knows how to passably throw and catch a ball, and because my kids like all their activities JUST FINE once they are actually participating in them.

Mind you, I am by no means a Crazy Sports Mom. Parenting in New York City is over the top in many arenas, but one where it is totally laid back is kids playing sports. None of my mom friends who live in the city build their lives around their children’s traveling soccer and hockey teams the way some of my friends outside the city do. In fact, one of the reasons I want to stay a city mom is because I don’t want to move somewhere where sports are more all-encompassing. I’m comfortable with the amount of sports my kids play. However, it’s a lot less than a lot of other kids play, so when Wednesday rolls around and the wheeling and dealing begins, I don’t have it. They’re going to practice.

But. When my kid tells me that he would much much rather stay home and do nothing,

and when I consider what I could be getting done at home if I weren’t enabling his doing what he keeps telling me he doesn’t want to do,

sometimes I wonder if the better mom wouldn’t take that deal.

How about you? Do you ever have to overcome your children’s vociferous protestations that they don’t want to do the activities you build your life around their doing? If they complained enough, would you tune in and drop out?


Now for a real deal: the winner of last week’s giveaway copy of Dan Zevin’s new book DAN GETS A MINIVAN is Leigh Ann from Genie in a Blog, where “you only get one wish and it has to be reasonable.” Mama words to live by! Congrats Leigh Ann. And thanks to all who commented– I think UNBROKEN will be next on my reading list, once I conquer the current tower on my nightstand once and for all.

(image from Classic Show Biz)

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Proud Mommy May 30, 2012 at 6:21 pm

lol… I know how you feel.  And my oldest son is the king of bargaining.  or at least he thinks he is.    If (most of us) were honest… once in a blue moon (even it’s for our own sanity) we go along with it.  Don’t feel bad if you got to enjoy your night off!  🙂


Experienced Bad Mom May 30, 2012 at 8:23 pm

I try to silence my kids with “I paid for it so you’re going.” Even the 5-year-old must see the simmering rage in my eyes because that phrase alone usually works! Til the next day when 1 of them complains.


Heather May 31, 2012 at 12:25 pm

I really thought I conquered this one this year. I can’t stand baseball and my son didn’t want to play, which is fine b/c he’s really not competitive. I told him he needed to run and enter some 5ks. (Did I not think through how early those start?) Now instead of dragging him to practice, I’m nagging him to run. Not sure if anyone wins here.

Unbroken was a great book! The Epilogue is the most incredible part of it.


Gooddayregularpeople May 31, 2012 at 2:02 pm

Oh, laughing. This sounds like our house and my littlest. I say, ” I don’t make deals.” xo


Stephanie Precourt May 31, 2012 at 3:44 pm

I think if Carter didn’t want to go to practice or games I would just say that he needed to drop out altogether. Thankfully he likes it, and thankfully I’ve stopped praying for rain before every game so that it gets cancelled (okay I only still do that a little bit.) I have come to enjoy it, too. But of course there are sometimes when it just works out and you give in and it’s for the best. I am open to those times, too. 🙂 


Leigh Ann June 4, 2012 at 2:36 pm

This is tough. I too fall into the “I paid, we’re going” camp, but I also remember HATING basketball in jr high and wanting to quit so badly. My dad said to me, “I just never thought of you as a quitter.” And I’ve had a hard time quitting ANYTHING since, even if it’s running me into the ground. But if he likes the sport but just doesn’t want to go to practice, that’s a whole other difficult decision.


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