Last night was Sugar Biscuit’s first soccer practice. He was so excited to go, until he got there. I was busy with a late client, so Dozer drove him for me. As soon as he got there, the tears and defiance started. Dozer was texting me that he wouldn’t get out of the car, and was kicking and screaming. I shut down my office and raced to the fields. There were a thousand little kids, smiling and running and kicking balls around. It was like a Disney film, dragonflies and a light breeze and the sun was setting.

And then there was my kid, resolutely ignoring me with his butt glued to the bleachers, tears in his eyes, arms crossed. He was wearing his tiny little shinguards and a look of complete defiance.

There was no reasoning, no cajoling, nothing that would work. The coaches tried, I tried, and Sugar Biscuit staunchly refused to participate. I started to get mad. Really, really mad. Here I’d paid for something he said he wanted to do, made arrangements to get him there, raced over in my work clothes to help out, and he’s flat out refusing to participate. I felt my blood pressure begin to rise.

But then, I remembered my training. I remembered what I tell my clients to do in similar situations. I took some deep breaths, explained to Sugar Biscuit that I was disappointed and frustrated and needed a minute, and I took some time to recalibrate myself and to look at what was really happening here.

What was happening is I had a tired, overwhelmed little boy who was unsure of his new circumstances and surroundings. Pushing him was just going to create pushback, and escalate the situation. I gave us both time to calm down, and then I quietly said, “SB, in our family, we try new things. You told mama you wanted to come, and mama knows you are going to LOVE soccer. So, when you are ready, you are going to go out on that field. I will go with you, or you can go alone, but we are going to try. Would you like me to hold your hand, or carry you? I’ll give you a minute to get ready.”

And so, holding my hand, we ventured out on the field. Sugar Biscuit had a great end of practice, scoring two goals, and was finally able to let go of me, but still needed me nearby. On they way home he told me several times that he was proud of himself.

I was proud of myself too. I’d been up since before six, ran errands, worked, and single parented (Hubs is on a business trip), and I was worn out. What I wanted to do at practice was yell, and threaten, and even spank my son. But I didn’t. I made a different choice. I made the choice to connect with where he was, what was going on with him, and then I gave choices we could both live with.

As the mama, I’m the barometer of my house. It’s my responsibility to my kids to demonstrate compassion, calmness, and most of all, love in every thing I do. Sometimes I fail and fall back on old habits. Just like Sugar Biscuit, I’m practicing and learning new things. Yesterday, we both came out as winners.