I try. Every single morning, I try. I wake up thinking, today is the day we will be perfectly on time, if not early!
And then, the kids wake up. I’m quickly reminded they’re unique individuals with little understanding of time.
It probably doesn’t help that I’m hopelessly optimistic about how efficiently we can get out the door and always believe today is the day there will be no traffic.
I’m no rookie. I’ve been taking children to school since 2010. We pack our bags and lunches the night before. We pick out clothes and we have easy to grab breakfasts.
There’s no TV in the morning, no electronics to distract. And yet, we still rack up the late marks nearly once per week, sometimes more.
So, why were we late, again? Where should I begin…
10 Reasons We Were Late Today
I wish I could say illness, unexpected serious injury or a flat tyre. I wish I had a noteworthy excuse.
But alas, it’s all the small things. When there’s multiple children in one home, well, you’re reminded just how much of an individual each person is.
You also realise how many little needs each child has that seems like a really big need to them.
#1: I spend far longer than I should contemplating whether I should try to slip out of bed without waking the baby or if I should try to dream feed her so she won’t be hungry when it’s time to rush out the door. Wanting to get dressed and actually brush my hair, I opt for the former. She miraculously stays asleep…for now.
#2: I head upstairs to wake up the older children. They were bright eyed at 6:45am on Saturday, but today, despite going to bed at 8pm, I can’t get them up well after 7am. I try the loving mother approach, hugs, back rubs, gentle words. Then I resort to stern warnings about going to bed at 6pm tonight if they won’t wake up.
#3: My ten year old spends several minutes tearing apart his closet and the laundry baskets looking for a pair of athletic pants. The 10 pairs of jeans in his drawer, well that would just be torture to actually wear.
#4: My five year old spends several minutes crying because I laid out a pair of size 6 pants but he’s five so he needs size 5. It doesn’t matter that these pants fit, they’re not his age.
#5: I manage to brush my teeth and by the time I am ready to brush my hair, the baby wakes frantically realising I’m not inches away from her. I abandon trying to brush my hair in hopes I can change her nappy, dress and settle her, and then return to practicing the most basic hygiene.
#6: The two year old gets dressed, brushes his teeth and seems like the golden child. A two year old behaving perfectly, sounds too good to be true? It is. Soon enough, he decides his socks feel funny, as do the next three pairs his brother offers him.
#7: At this point, when we are nearly ready to head downstairs to grab a quick breakfast, I realise there’s a seven year old still sleeping. That’s right, one isn’t even awake and we need to leave soon. Back up to the third floor (does that count as my morning cardio?) still hoping we’ll leave on time.
#8: Everyone makes it downstairs. I look at the clock and realise we need breakfast on the go. My oldest grabs cereal bars for everyone as we tie shoes and zip up hoodies. Surely we’ll get out the door soon, right? Wrong. There is three of one kind of cereal bar and just one of another kind. Some squabbles, mediation and a “you get what you get and you don’t get upset” talk and we are finally ready to head to the car.
#9: Half of us inside, half already heading to the driveway and I hear it…that dreaded noise…the sound of a newborn blow out. Right then and there, I realise no matter how much I plan, no matter how much I try, sometimes, crap just happens…literally. I can’t schedule poop. I can’t not change her. We are simply going to be late. And of course, after emptying out, she needs a quick top-up breastfeeding session.
#10: I finally buckle the baby into her car seat. Being the time optimist that I am, I think we just might make it on time. Perhaps today is going to be the day when traffic is sparse. Why I’m still optimistic about that, I’ll never know. I am quickly proven wrong when we get stuck in a work zone.
I tried. I was optimistic. I planned ahead. But alas, we are still late.
Why Can’t You Just Plan Better?
Perhaps you’re thinking about how my list is simply a list of excuses. And I’ll let you in on a little secret: yeah, I probably could plan “better”. I could wake up much earlier. I could be sterner about getting my kids out of bed. I could put the baby on more of a schedule.
Maybe you’re thinking I’m inconsiderate. I’d have to agree, sometimes I am. But you know what? As crazy as my mornings can be, as embarrassed as I am about constantly being late, I think we’ve found what works for this stage.
I don’t want to put my baby on a strict schedule. Babies know when they need to eat and when they need cuddles. Being a younger sibling already means tagging along to school drop offs, sports practices and more. When I can, I want to meet her needs on her schedule as much as possible.
I want to try the loving approach to waking kids up first. Sure, the drill sergeant gets faster results, but I don’t want that to be my go-to.
I could be sterner about dressing, I could rush us even more, or I could wake them up sooner. But I want them to get as much rest as possible and know some sense of peaceful mornings.
I will try every morning. I will try so hard. But I won’t make myself too crazy. I won’t be too stern. And I won’t leave my baby in a dirty nappy or hungry. We’re only a few minutes late (though I recognise it can be disruptive for a class). The good news? This stage doesn’t last forever.
I hear teenagers cooperate every morning and are never hard to wake up…