When you have four kids including teenage girls who don’t drive (yet!) you spend more time behind the wheel than a super-surge Uber driver. In fact, I am printing business cards (uh, do we still do that?) where my title is “Chief DUber”. (Dad+Uber). What DUbers do is run their mini-van operation like a Special Forces platoon. While the kids are quietly eating Lucky Charms at the breakfast table I get right up in their little grills and yell: “Spoons down! Gear up! Backpacks on! Deploy for school in T-minus in 5 minutes!! Boo-yah!!”
They love that. Especially when I do that while they’re FaceSnapTimeChatting with a boy-who-is-their-friend.
“Go! Go! Go!”, I’m yelling as I’m packing battle provisions (ie: lunch boxes) and putting away six boxes of cereal.
After the school deployment in the Domestic Strike Vehicle (aka: the mini-van), the DUber will then commence troop resupply operations (aka: grocery shopping) and then execute up to a dozen sorties late into the evening (aka: drop-off & pick-up after school activities). And DUbers like to run a tight ship. Schedules must be followed. I’ve given all the kids temporary tattoos that say “Five Minutes Early Is On-Time!” depicting a child warrior’s face clinching a grenade clock between their teeth! Their teachers love that too.
But, the #1 enemy of Chief DUber is a teenage girl with Snapchat. The so-called “plan” starts with a simple request, like… “Dad, I’m planning on going to Chloe’s house after school to do homework.” OK. Permission granted. Proceed. Then, around 4pm Chief DUber gets a text that says…. “Dad, change of plans, I need a ride to Chipotle to meet up with Ella”. Then, while Chief DUber is navigating thru heavy battlefield resistance (aka: rush hour traffic), I get another text…. “Dad, change of plans, I’m going to stay at Chloe’s. Can I sleep over?”
OMG!! STOP.THE.MADDNESS!!! Seriously, for the love of Pete, first stop using the word “plan” because the sh!t you are doing is a complete insult to ACTUAL plans everywhere! A plan is a friggin’ PLAN!!, people!! It has a start time. End time. Objectives. Resources. And doesn’t change every goshdarn 17 minutes because you’re Snapchatting with your friends and are like… “Wait!, I think I can just text my DUber and he’ll take us to get smoothies across town with the boys!”
The best defense against this type of blatant mutiny is simply saying “No”. Applied consistently, it can certainly help keep DUber’s actual plans on-track. But, it’s not completely foolproof. Don’t forget, the teen trooper’s memory is short and their willingness to stretch boundaries is long.
Wait! I’m getting an incoming text: “Dad, I know I said I was going to the Library but can you take us to get mani-pedi’s instead? Oh, and I need some money.”
Mutiny in the ranks!!!! Lord help me!!