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Leaving the House with Kids

Leaving the House with Kids

“Things that you don’t even consider to be ‘things’ will become nearly impossible when you have children. I’m talking about things like leaving the house, for example.”

–Michael Mcintyre

The first time I watched this hysterical video from Michael Mcintyre, I was two weeks away from my due date with my first child. I was in hysterics, belly laughing at his description of how mornings are at his house, but as someone who did not yet have children—as Mcintyre scoffs in the video—I just didn’t know. I’ve watched this video several times since that first viewing, mostly to laugh to keep from crying. Because now I know. Oh mama, do I know how nearly impossible it is to leave the house when you have children.

Let me innumerate for you just a small sample set of what prevents me from leaving the house with my kids in anything resembling a timely fashion.

  • Getting dressed. The one year old is easy. Some days are easier than others, but even when he’s not being cooperative, we can still essentially wrestle him to the floor and pull a shirt and pants on him. P is the kind of dude who just brushes off a kerfuffle like that roughly 5 seconds after it’s over. But the three year old. Oy. Every day is an exercise of: Will I be able to read J’s mind today? Asking questions/being decisive about what she’s going to wear on a given day is like tip-toeing through a minefield where an explosion takes the form of tears or laying on the floor curled up in a ball. Or both. It’s fun.
  • Going potty. I’m not ashamed to say it: The key with P’s diaper is to get him to daycare before he poops. Given that he’s like clockwork, it’s like having a ticking time bomb. An adorable time bomb covered in drool. Getting J to go potty before leaving the house is somehow a 15-minute activity no matter which tactic I use. We were super lucky that she was potty trained at a relatively early age, but I honestly miss being able to change a diaper in 2 minutes and get on with my life.

The only solace I have is knowing I’m not alone. There are so many people out there going through the same lunacy of trying to leave the house with kids. Take, for example, the stories of these fine mamas below.

–Trish


Ann

You know, Margaret Thatcher is definitely a mom because she once said: "You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it." Such is the case with getting my kids out the door. My policy is to start the process 30 minutes ahead of time, calling out "We are leaving in 20 minutes" or "10 more minutes." "Who has their shoes on?!" "2 more minutes, everyone go potty." Only then will I have any hope of getting out the door anywhere close to on time. The hardest part in our house is finding shoes, so my first solution was to put a basket near the door where I throw stray shoes anytime I come across one. Yesterday my 7-year-old son told me that he couldn’t find his shoes in the basket. I asked him where he looked, and he said “nowhere.” I asked him where he last saw his shoes, and he said “on his feet.” Well, at least he’s honest. My new solution: extra shoes in the car. Now we’re good to go!

Holly

Mornings at our house usually start at 6:00. Sometimes 6:10 or 6:20. Okay, usually 6:30. My husband is already on the way to work before I hit the first snooze, so it is up to me to get myself and my daughter out the door. I wake her at 7, carry her downstairs (even though she is getting too big to do so) and put a PBS show on for her. I have her clothes picked and ready for her put on "as soon as the show ends." When I’m done dressing, I usually find her half dressed and jumping on her bed, clothes half upstairs and half downstairs. And we still need to brush teeth! I moved the toothbrushes to the downstairs bathroom as it is right by the garage door, so at least we are that much closer. We leave the house in such a tornado that sometimes I have to go back in to double check I actually turned things off that may burn down the house (coffee maker, curling iron). A "quick" drop off at pre-school consists of "one more hug" and the unprying of little fingers from my jacket and I'm off! Now, how to sneak into work 10 minutes late?

Kristina

“Mom! I had to wear a sweatshirt out of the lost and found AGAIN at recess.” Add to that the *kindly* worded note from the teacher about sending kids appropriately dressed for the weather. Who knew 50 degrees wasn’t balmy enough for them to be coatless? The revolving list of items in our morning departure checklist grows each day: lunches, afternoon snack, water bottle, homework folder, poetry folder (Mondays only), reading log, money for {insert whatever this week’s class newsletter mentioned like the book fair or a field trip}, and gym shoes. Next thing you know, they’ll be expecting me to make sure they’ve actually changed out of their jammies before going to school...sheesh. If I had a dollar for every time my trio left the house in a state that would be considered “unacceptable,” I’d be Kardashian rich. But, we ARE making progress: I finally shoved a brush in my purse after realizing one day when arriving at a birthday party that our girls’ hair hadn’t been brushed since their last shower, which was...well, that’s not really the point. Baby steps, people.

Amanda

With an entryway of about 3 feet by 6 feet, chaos always ensues when trying to leave the house. Patience is tested. Since there is a lack of space for a mini-fridge of margaritas, this mama has to figure out how to get three active boys out of the house and an eighty-pound labradoodle to stay in...completely sober. Our dog, Jake, is able to sneak out the door about once a week, and the three of them bicker about who was responsible. Spoiler alert: none of them. In short, it's a “shoes on the wrong feet, one cleat missing, these shoes don't fit anymore, I swear I hung my bookbag up here yesterday, he's blocking the front door and I can't get out” kinda hot mess. Quick fix: I keep my shoes safely in my bedroom closet and referee the crazy. And guess what? This team of five always makes it to the next game.


So there you have it. There are some days that getting out the door feels like you've won a marathon. And then there are days it feels like you participated, but probably got last place and peed down your leg at about the 12th mile. Days that you are happy that everyone got out wearing pants. It seems like as much as we mamas think we've got this mama thing down, we are humbly put in our place and given a swift reality check whenever we leave the house. Battles are supposed to be won by preparation, but nothing can prepare you for the unpredictable minds of children. You just have to roll with it.

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