Sometimes I get insanely jealous of people who don’t have children and their ability to just leave the house whenever they feel like it, most times with just one bag and a set of keys in their hands. I love my kids to bits, I do, but god they make life hard sometimes – so hard in fact, there are days when it’s just too much effort to go anywhere as a collective unit.
When it comes to exiting a building at a set time I often feel as though I’m living a horrible nightmare, where time passes quickly yet I’m doing everything in slow-mo. No matter how hard I try, something, or someone, always hampers my efforts to just get out of the bloody front door. From last minute poos, to common assault (none of which I’m guilty of), it seems as though the universe is constantly conspiring against me and my bid for freedom.
As a rule of thumb, I generally turn up to wherever I’m meant to be about two hours later than planned, incredibly apologetic and looking like a completely harassed, sweaty mess.
The nightmare unfolds…
Make a list of everything you need to take with you (don’t forget to include the actual children in this list, very important).
Spend 20 minutes looking for the list, only to discover a child has part-eaten it. Scrap the list. You’re going rogue.
Pack the emergency bag – clothes, dummies, Calpol, milk, first aid kit, thermometer, snow shovel, flares etc – don’t forget to pack litres of sterilised water too, just in case where you are going for three hours is ripe with typhoid, or you’re off to outer Africa.
Pack the snacks – I’m talking about a ‘bag for life’ size container of food. Apples, bananas, raisins, half-eaten packs of now-soggy rice cakes etc. DO NOT FORGET THIS BAG OR THEY’LL LOSE THEIR SHIT.
Dress the children – seems like a relatively easy task, right? WRONG. It takes at least half an hour to pin them down, force rigid arms into ridiculously small armholes and convince them to wear socks.
*Allow another 15 minutes for redressing the toddler, who, for no reason other than just to irritate you, is now buck naked and running around the house using their trousers as a cape.
Locate their shoes. Have a 10 minute debate about which shoes they are wearing and which feet they actually go on. Lose debate spectacularly and allow them to put on shoes two sizes too small, and on the wrong feet, just because it’s quicker.
Pack a variety of coats, wellies and spare shoes (for when they can no longer feel their toes in their current shoes). You now have enough stuff with you to go on holiday for a week. To clarify, you’re going five miles down the road and are planning to be out for three hours.
Loading the car
Discover your keys are nowhere to be found. Immediately blame the baby who has previous for this sort of malevolent behaviour.
“WHERE ARE THEY KEYS?”
“Yes, keys. WHERE ARE THEY?!”
“Keeeeeeeeeeeeeeysh bye bye”
Text the people you are meeting / visiting – tell them you are on your way. That is a lie. You are nowhere near the car. You still can’t find the bloody keys.
Eventually find keys in fridge, next to all the things you threw in after breakfast. Apologise profusely to the baby.
Baby metaphorically sticks two fingers up at you by having the world’s largest shit. It’s of epic proportions. You’re 30 wet wipes in and it’s just EVERYWHERE. Cut your losses and head to the bath.
You should have left the house 45 minutes ago but now you’re in a hot sweat and dousing a screaming child with Johnsons No More Tears, which is pretty ironic considering they are going bat-shit crazy. WHY, WHY, WHY is this so HARD?!
Wrestle the baby back into clothes and head downstairs to load the car.
You are greeted by your toddler, who, inspired by the baby, decides they too now want a poo. Spend the next 15 minutes shouting “Have you finished yet?” through a door.
“No, it’s a big poo mummy!”
Make a mental note to cut their portion sizes down.
You finally get the whole contents of your house into the car. Now, time for the kids…
The toddler, now half a stone lighter, decides they can’t possibly leave the house without a toy. A toy that hasn’t been seen in over SIX months. Stupidly ask them to consider taking another…
“NO. I. WAAAAAAAAAAAANT. THAT. TOY!”
Bribe them with a biscuit and shoo them towards the front door.
Toddler, not appeased by your idea of a compromise, then assaults the younger child in a fit of rage. Out of principle, you CANNOT let it slide. Jo Frost, aka ‘Supernanny’ would consider this ‘unasseptable’ behaviour… Toddler gets sent to the naughty corner. Younger child is hysterical and will only be calmed by an all singing, all dancing, completely over-the-top rendition of ‘Under the Sea.’
Text the people you are meeting and say you are stuck in traffic, whilst doing your best crab impression.
Tear-stained and shamed, finally the motley crew is at the front door. It’s there you realise you haven’t brushed either kids’ teeth yet. Have an internal debate about the fact they are going to lose those teeth anyway, you are so, so late now – it surely doesn’t matter just the once? You then remember the older one is pretty good at talking now and will probably drop you and your inadequate parenting methods in it at the first opportunity…
Bribe the older child with a biscuit if they promise to brush their teeth super fast. Pin the youngest down and spend five minutes brushing their lip and tongue. You get absolutely nowhere near a tooth.
Put everyone’s shoes back on. How the hell do they do they manage to do that so quickly?
This is it, the end is in sight – you’re ready to get everyone in the car, again. You’re only an hour or so late at this point. New PB.
Time for car seats. The little one is starfishing and is as stiff as a board. “JUST BEND YOUR ARMS!!!”.
After repeating the words “wriggle your bum back!” twenty times to your toddler, they too are now restrained and ready to depart.
It’s then you hear the words every parent, who is in a rush, dreads…
“Mummy, I need a wee!”
“You’ve just been to the toilet. Didn’t you have a wee when you had a poo?!”
You’re now doing that thing where you are smiling but also shouting through gritted teeth.
“No… MUMMY, I NEED A WEE NOW!!!”
Take several deep breaths and fight back the tears. Unload everyone again and take them back into the house.
After waiting 10 minutes for the toddler to squeeze out two drops of urine – you’re finally back in the car, albeit sweating and with slight heart palpitations.
You’re off – you’ve done it! You can totally pass this lateness off on some sort of traffic related incident – animals in the road, that sort of thing. Five minutes into the journey, a little voice pipes up, “Mummy I’m hungry, where are the snacks?”
Good question. They are still on the f**king kitchen work top. Chuck a U-Turn, and leg it back into the house to retrieve a month’s worth of fruit and biscuits.
With the children happily munching on fluorescent, carrot flavoured crisps you cry all the way to your destination and vow to never bother leaving the house EVER again. It’s just NOT WORTH IT. You also really need a wee.
Eventually arrive, two hours late, and stay for half an hour before heading home to put the little darlings in bed / have a giant gin, and a sob.