I always pad our leave times. Always.
We plan to leave 20 minutes before we actually need to. If we have a lot of things to get into the van, if anyone needs fancy clothes, or if anyone needs a hairdo nicer than a ponytail, the leave time gets padded 30 minutes.
Almost always, we arrive on time. (If it’s me and the kids. If my husband is coming, all bets are off. Love the man, but punctuality isn’t something he’s ever learned. Ever.)
Every once in a while, we manage to leave at our padded time estimation. And then. Things like arriving in a town 30 minutes away 20 minutes early happen. That’s when the kids and I look at each other, realize that showing up 20 minutes early at 8:40 am is less than cool, and make a 20 minute trip to Walmart for a padded mailing envelope that we didn’t get during our normal shopping trip. And four children decide they need a potty break. And just like that, we’re running on time or late again, and life is back to normal. Whew. That was close. My cape was showing.
In all seriousness, though, I get asked all the time how I do it all. I shake my head and say I don’t – I just do whatever is screaming at me the loudest. Usually that means cared for children and a less than perfect house. Just about the time I think I might just have my moment together, we get somewhere only to find out Charlotte’s shirt’s backwards and she failed to put underpants under her skirt. Or we back down the driveway before I remember I left the sleeping baby sleeping. In his bed. Not in the van. Or I find out two dear children “finished” school every day this week and yet both “forgot” to do one subject. Or I ask why the zucchini is out on the table and the kids stare at me like I’m nuts and I repeat myself only to get the same blank stares before I finally realize the word I meant to say was pepperoni – at which point I’ve lost all the respect my authority requires and we all dissolve into fits of laughter.
It’s a good thing that every once in a while we arrive 20 minutes early and I feel like I really can do this job. Because most of the time… my depravity is showing.