"Seatbelts are not optional," I yell to my little one who is always unbuckling to pick up a toy on the floor of the car or retrieve something out of her book bag. I've said it so many times that I sound like a broken record. Even worse, I sound like my own parents. I say other things too, like, "It's against the law, Mommy could get a ticket, or even go to jail" and "If we get in a car accident, you could die."
Somehow, my pleas always seem to fall on deaf ears. Often, I pull off the road if I can, and wait until she refastens her seatbelt before we get back on the road. Usually, this results in a great deal of whining, but she eventually complies.
Recently, my husband was picking my older daughter up from a meeting at church, and he had my youngest one with him in the car. He returned 45 minutes late for the dinner that was now cold on the table with no kids in tow.
"What happened?" I asked aggressively tossing the dish towel over my shoulder to make the point that I had cooked (an unusual event in my house).
"They're walking," he said matter-of-factly.
"What do you mean?"
"I made them get out. I've had it. They refused to buckle up, so I made them walk. I followed behind them the entire way, driving like five miles an hour. They're at the top of the street now, should be here in a minute," he said washing his hands of grime and the conversation.
I looked up the street, and sure enough, there they were with little frowning red faces and blisters from their Crocs, holding hands as they slowly ambled down the hill. At that moment, I wasn't angry. All I could think about was why didn't I think of that.
These days, miraculously, my kids have no trouble buckling up.
Amanda Lamb is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including one on motherhood called "Smotherhood." Find her here on Go Ask Mom every Monday.