Mommy time. I’m not talking about that few precious moments of silence that happen during naptime, or when the kids are tucked into bed at night. Instead, I’m referring to the fact that, since having children, I am late for everything. I like to call this phenomenon “Mommy Time.”
This drives me insane. I like to be on time. I don’t like to keep people waiting. And, as I tell Princess nearly every school day, “School starts when it starts, not when we get there.” I was a teacher, so I know it’s important that my kids be on time for school every day, with all their materials.
But man, is it ever hard to accomplish when you throw two small kids into the mix.
Last week I needed to be somewhere at 10 a.m., which seems easy enough. However, we have some renovations underway right now, and on that particular day everything from the master bedroom was crammed into the dining room, kitchen, and living room. Because children love chaos, the result of this crazy arrangement was that both Princess and Caveman behaved like maniacs. As I tried to get one of them ready to leave, the other was “helping” by getting into my make-up or by emptying all my socks out of my dresser, which was temporarily located behind the sofa.
I finally got both of them ready and clean, removed all traces of my make-up from Princess’s face, turned on the babysitter, I mean, TV, and went to take a shower.
What greeted me when I came out is so painful I have blocked it from my memory. Had there been a camera crew present, I’m sure they could have made a video of the destruction to submit to “S#[email protected] My Kids Ruined.” Let’s just say we were an hour late and my house was a wreck. I have this crazy thing about leaving my house clean(ish), because what if something happened and the fire department had to break in and they saw how we REALLY live? On that particular day I just had to put that neurosis in its own box in the interest of getting out the door. Fortunately, there wasn’t a fire.
I wish I could say this only happens when something unusual like a renovation is going on, but I’d be lying. I am almost never on time. Whether it’s a last-minute mess to clean up or my mommy brain forcing me to run back into the house 15 times for another forgotten item, I just can’t seem to make it on time. I have tried bribery, getting things organized the night before, getting up earlier, starting to get ready earlier, setting timers, and zillions of other things that in theory should be effective but in reality don’t account for small details. Details like the fact that Princess, no matter what time of day it is, always has to poop right when we need to leave the house. Short of strapping Caveman into his booster seat once he’s dressed and clean (which I’m not above), there is no way to prevent him from creating chaos while I’m trying to get everything to the car. How long can your child be in the car seat while you run back and forth from the house before it is illegal? What if you keep the door open so he is sure to get fresh air?
Just once, I’d like to arrive for something on time, having showered, brushed my teeth, fixed my hair AND applied make up. I’d like my clothing to be wrinkle- and stain-free and maybe even stylish. I don’t want to have a dryer sheet stuck to my clothing or a rogue sock fall out of my pants right when I’m being introduced to someone I’d like to impress. I’d like my children to both be clean, well dressed, and behaved, not whining about needing a snack (you JUST ATE BREAKFAST!!!) or engaged in a raspberry war with each other. And I’d like to have left behind a clean house, with breakfast dishes done and no piles of ripped up paper (why do they do that?) or crayons left for me to step on when we return.
I think I may have found my solution. I need a babysitter to come watch my kids while I get ready every morning. Or I just need to take a deep breath and enjoy the kid chaos. It’s hard to remember at times like this, but it won’t last forever.
One day in the not-so-distant future, I’ll arrive on time for a meeting with someone who has young children. She’ll show up 15 minutes late with oatmeal or spit-up stains on her shirt, having clearly skipped showering that day, with one child still in pajamas and another whose hair didn’t get combed. While she apologizes for her tardiness I’ll just smile, remembering what life was like when Princess and Caveman were that small. It’s messy and chaotic, sure, but I kind of like life on Mommy Time.