Being Sh*t at Prioritising and Other School Morning Chaos

Things were trundling along nicely this morning.

The regulatory minimum of 3 bites of toast had been achieved by all children and I found just one clambering round the cupboards in search of biscuits.

We were focused, adhering to ‘the schedule.’

I use the word ‘schedule’ lightly. It’s not so much that I’ve downloaded a weekly planner from Pinterest and detailed each and every task with military precision and excessive colour coding. No. Rather, several years of me growling, ‘You need to get your teeth brushed NOW!!!!!’ at the precise moment Postman Pat is over, has resulted in the kids eventually learning that once they’ve seen Pat cock up yet another important delivery, it’s time to brush teeth.

You’ll appreciate my fear and confusion when I heard, ‘Come on Flop!’ echoing from the TV. I leapt at the remote like a springbok, before the kids became entranced in a twatty Patty-replacing, double helping of whatever the clumpy, irritating, dungaree-wearing rabbit was asking to be forgiven for today.

‘TEETH!!!!! LET’S GO!’ I cried bustling everyone towards the stairs, trying desperately to act like nothing was afoot.

The children obliged and I breathed a sigh of relief having dodged the Bing-shaped threat to our sacred morning routine.

‘I just need to write a story before I clean my teeth,’ declared the 7-year-old, jauntily heading off to her bedroom clutching a pen and notepad.

‘WHAT??!! Wait, no!!!!!!!! No, no, NO!!!!!!! It’s teeth now, TEETH!!!! You can write a story when you get home!!!!!!’ I implored, glancing at my watch and feeling my precious routine sliding down a metaphorical cliff face.

When no answer to my pleas came, it was either launch into a mammoth argument about the virtues of time keeping or admit defeat and focus on getting at least 2 out of 3 sets of teeth brushed. I chose the latter on the weak logic that 2 sets of clean teeth was better than no sets of clean teeth.

30 minutes, a tantrum about the face cloth being the wrong colour and some quick tumble-drying of a jumper left in the washing machine overnight later and the younger two were dressed and ready.

The eldest then emerged triumphantly from her room waving a piece of paper festooned with a pink glittery scrawl.

‘I’ve finished my story Mummy!!’

‘Super love, that’s really really SUPER but now could you just be a delight and get your teeth brushed and uniform on?’

‘OK mum, and then I can read you the story I’ve written!’

Because I was obviously the best mum ever having managed to factor in some creative writing time before school, I decided to treat myself to a cup of coffee.

I imagined us all arriving at school looking pristine and regaling the other mums with ‘Oh dear my daughter’s hairband that matches her uniform so wonderfully is sitting ever so slightly too far to the left!!! Oh crumbs! That’s because she wrote a delightful story this morning and we therefore didn’t have time to to fetch the protractor to ensure her hairband was PERFECTLY centred like we do most other mornings!’ I would then laugh haughtily before going to an artisan coffee shop to relax with a herbal tea and start writing my novel entitled ‘You CAN Have It All, Mama!’

The morning sunshine streamed in through the kitchen window and glinted off my watch. My watch……my watc……..

‘HOLY SH*T, IT’S HALF EIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!’ I part choked, part screamed.

‘CAR!!!!!!!!! NOW!!!!!!!!!!’ I bellowed in the direction of humans.

1 child obliged, the other was in the tea towel drawer and the third nowhere to be seen.

I wanted to interrogate the man child on why the toddler was in the tea towel drawer while he watched on and ate toast in a calm manner but there was no time so I muttered a cathartic, ‘F**ksake’ under my breath and went to hunt for the AWOL child.

I found her. Sitting on the floor of her bedroom. In. Her. Pyjamas.

‘Oh hi Mummy!! I was just practising doing a cartwheel so I can show my class at Dance next Wednesday!’

Next Wednesday. Next f**cking Wednesday.

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