Usually, I don't do it. I give them 2 freebies, that is, they get two times a semester where I'll bring them money, or a uniform, or homework they left on the dining table, but past that, it's just too bad. Learn from the consequences and be more responsible next time. If they know that I'm not there to be their safety net all the time, the theory is that they'll get their crap together by themselves.
Unfortunately, teenaged boys have some sort of disconnect that prevents their metaphorical crap from all sticking together. Their crap is all over the place, and it DRIVES ME NUTS.
It's a short trip.
Ethan forgot his choir shirt today. They're going on a field trip, so he needs it, and he called and asked, "Please, Mom, I'm sorry, I swear I won't ask you to do this again, I know this is my second strike..." blah blah. And so I brought him his stupid shirt. THEN, not ten minutes later, he calls AGAIN. I look at the caller ID, say a prayer that I don't throttle him the next time I see him, pick up the phone and do not even say hello. I just clear my throat. He says (charmingly, he thinks), "I suck. I'm sorry. Really sorry. Can you bring me money for lunch? I know, I suck. I'm awful."
I set down the phone, put down my coffee cup, put on a hoodie, and took the kid some money. Now we have a tacit agreement that when these phone calls happen, that I just drive up to the entrance to the middle school, and he hustles his narrow butt outside and collects whatever he has forgotten. The first time this morning, with the shirt, he did this. The second time, he did not. I sat there for 5 minutes. When the tardy bell rang, I put the car in park, slipped on my flip flops, and marched my unkempt self into the school. I didn't even sign in like you're supposed to (she's a rebel, folks). I went directly to the choir room, where my little blondie is surrounded by six or seven GIRLS, ostensibly giving them some 13 year-old equivalent to a pick-up line. THE POINT IS, I was waiting, and HE WAS CHATTING UP GIRLS. I stood in the doorway, and he flung open his arms and said, "There's the best mother in the world!"
I hissed, "I haven't even brushed my hair this morning!" (I wasn't wearing a bra, either, but I didn't want to scar the kid for life.)
He returned, "Aw, you look beautiful. (I did not.) Thanks Mom. You're a nice mom."
HMPH. I'm not a nice mom. I charge them $1 for every towel I find on the floor and make them do their own laundry when they don't bring it down in time to be included with ours. I don't allow TV until all of their homework is done, and I make them do all the yard work without any monetary compensation. I've given them PLENTY to talk about in therapy when they're older.
So there. Me. Not nice. Pththththt.