“Sorry I’m Late” seems to be my catchphrase since becoming a mum. No matter how hard I try to be on time I can never quite do it.
Take this morning for example. I was up at 6.30am and washed and dressed ready for the day by 7am. The boys had breakfast and were washed and dressed by 8.20am. So, why was I not walking out of the door at 8.30am like all the other mums in my street? I was late again!
Well, let me give you just three of today’s reasons.
One, my eldest and my third child decided that it was time to sit in the lounge and start watching cartoons instead of putting their shoes on.
Two, my second son realised that the strap on his school shoe had snapped off and was having a melt down over the fact that he would have to wear trainers to school. Rule breaking at home is almost a hobby to him but rule breaking at school fills him with terror! (I really must ask his teacher if she can come to spend the weekend with us some time!)
And three, my youngest son decided that as our cute little puppy is currently being house trained and likes to leave little puddles on the floor, he too would follow suit and leave his own little puddle. (Maybe I should add that one to my potty training book. “Once you have mastered the art of potty training, do NOT get a puppy just two weeks later as your toddler may conveniently forget his new found skills and may instead find it fun to mimic his new little playmate.” Grrrr!)
So as you can see, there are a lot of factors affecting my ability to be places on time! But surely other mums have similar dramas, so how do they all do it so well!?!
Over the past four years of taking my boys to school I have become well accustomed to the sympathetic smiles from other more organised mums who get their children to school at the exact time the gates open. I have perfected my nod of solidarity to other parents racing in consistently late alongside me as we battle to win the race not to be last. The teachers don’t even attempt to reprimand me and advise better time keeping anymore. Although, at a parent teacher group chat when my four year old started reception last year, the teacher did say ‘Just to let you all know the school day starts at 8.45……….Mrs Gibb’. I have to admit, I did feel like I was back in school myself as my cheeks flushed bright red in front of all these new mums who I was yet to get to know. Although in fairness I was quite glad she mentioned this as I had thought that the school day started at 8.55 and if you got there between 8.45 and 8.55 then that was just a bonus. I’m not sure how I managed to get through three school years not knowing this, but there you go!
At the start of this school year though, I set myself the challenge of being at school on time for at least two weeks. I did so amazingly well at this for the whole of the first week that I even celebrated by posting a little ‘woohoo, check me out’ message on our local mums facebook page. This tempted fate of course as the following week we missed the school bell on four days out of five! It was only at the end of the week that I realised my husband had corrected the kitchen clock that I purposely set ten minutes fast without telling me!
I never used to get too het up about running late but lately I have been putting more and more pressure on myself to get to school on time. This in turn leads to a lot of shouting and moaning and generally getting off to a bad start to the day. After marching my boys to school this morning at a pace my four year old struggled to keep up with and making them all feel miserable, I decided to change my outlook. I asked myself, what’s the worst that can happen if we are late? We aren’t going to miss our flight to an exotic country. We aren’t going to miss an appointment that we have had arranged for months. Worst case scenario, the boys will miss the initial chit chat in the classroom and get a slight telling off from the teacher. It is not the end of the world.
So rather than vowing to be on time whatever it takes this year, I am now vowing to do my best to be on time and if I can’t be then c’est la vie. I will just try again the next day. I will do my best to organise school uniforms and bags and drinks and shoes the night before but extraneous variable such as children not getting the concept of urgency, shoes breaking and toilet training issues can’t always be avoided. I would rather be a little late and send my kids in to school happy rather than thinking what a moany mum they have.
And as for my friends, well they are quickly learning to add half an hour on to whatever time I tell them I will meet them! 😉