I am a stickler for routine, because if I deviate so much as an inch....
Then the whole house gets thrown into chaos. I only have myself to blame, the fact that I dare to attempt to grab those few extra 'hit the snooze' button moments will have an almost astounding knock on effect to the whole stress of 'The School Run'.
Now, I say stress, and anyone reading this will agree that without a shadow of any doubt 'The School Run' has to rank up fairly highly in the stress stakes,and I have had some pretty stressful jobs to compare it to.
Anyone who doesn't agree must never have run the gauntlet. In brief my aim is to achieve the following by 8.55am:
1.Throw/drag/roll yourself out of your bed at least 10 mins earlier than the latest time you have worked out will ensure you won't have to do 'The Walk of Shame' (more on that later).
2.Ignore the fact that although there maybe another fully capable adult ie your husband/partner/boyfriend or whatever nickname,favourable or otherwise (I know someone who refers to her husband as 'it'.) is usually present at a corresponding time, they have no interest in helping you achieve your aim. Other than to bark random, 'get up,get dressed,get in the shower' etc whilst involving themselves with just enough input,that they have done their part before escaping out of the door minus anything other than their lunch and a knowing smile that all hell is about to break loose.
3. Once you have accepted that you are on your own, it gets much easier, really. However, you can only reach that conclusion having experienced the 'alternative' which means them actually involving themselves anymore than is natural. Kids cry, book bags are forgotten and important permission slips go astray. Trust me, you are better off going solo.
4.Ensure that at least two out of three of the following are true for each child:
A. They are dressed in full clean,ironed uniform.
Although generally it's an unspoken,rarely admitted fact that most mums will sacrifice an ironed,dirty shirt in favour of a crumpled clean shirt,but ONLY if worn under a jumper. Likewise trousers, certain marks are permissible,but ONLY if they can be attributed to the journey to school. And almost any random mark can be explained by stray cereal, regardless of when or how it originally occurred. (This can also be used by you,oh and it's very handy if you have a little person under school age,as most stains can be blamed on them).
B. Their hair is brushed. I've got boys,and girls. They only way to achieve tidy hair is to have the following, both upstairs and downstairs preferably on your person,as you have to tackle hair when they least expect you too,or it can become a running battle. You need a selection of brushes clips,bobbles and most important detangling spray. Boys albeit reluctant are relatively easy to do, just concentrate on the sticking out bits. Girls, I usually free style,literally. My ideal would be equal pony tails with no lumps. I settle for a spray,brush and clip to the side,job done.
C.Teeth are brushed. You can go about this two ways, or, not at all. It depends on how your morning is panning out. We only have an upstairs bathroom, so the general rule is dressed before going down for breakfast, teeth brushed which prior to eating breakfast is a sticking point (literally,esp if Weetabix is eaten) but its another box ticked! You can showboat and herd them all back upstairs after breakfast,but that only leads to trouble and just isn't the natural order of things in my house.
The trickiest stage is coming up, leaving the house. Sounds simple. It's not.
There are,in my house at least, 4 coats to get on, 8 shoes (they have to match) gloves,hats,book bags. Book bags which having been tossed to one side after the last school run,which you quickly rummage through moving reading books and quickly doing that fold over and 'guillotine' thing on that permission slip you forgot to calmly sign and put in an envelope, with full details of child,class,humorous smily face, last night. Shove that all back in.
And out you go. Now, you need to be prepared for re entering the house at least three times. That book bag you just had in your hand will mysteriously have planted itself back inside the house by the door, and after all that effort you are not leaving that behind! So back you go.
There will always be a random,but ever so heart wrenchingly sweet request or statement by at least one of your children that in the crazy haze of the School Runnings frenzy,will hit you like a freight train,a little voice from somewhere will say ' mummy, I forgot my ............doll,leaf,empty toilet roll tube and I really really need it!'
Don't ever attempt to ignore such a request,you are only setting yourself up for the worst School Run of all, the Whiny One. Children do not care or understand your fear of The Walk of Shame, so a few minutes retrieving random item can save you from that fate as they will be back on 'your team'!
The Walk is Shame, is, for those not yet accustomed to the workings of school practices basically involves the mild panic that erupts even if the staff on the gate can see your approach, coats flailing, kids running, and sometimes a bit of shoulder barging in an attempt to avoid having to go through the main entrance and sign The Book.
The CLANG of the gate, and I am pleased to say I have only witnessed it from the smug side, knocks the stuffing out of the most experienced parent,it's the point when you realise that all your effort,the stress,the fact you skipped your 1st coffee of the day in order to get the kids to school, on time, was a big fat waste! You might as well had a full English, watched some telly and breezed in at 10 O' Clock, cause the simple fact is, you are late.
The degree of late just doesn't matter. And that is the Walk of Shame. You have to line up with all the other tardies, some veterans that even take a seat, and sign in which is more complicated than it sounds.
The basics you can handle, it's when you get to the Reason For Being Late column, your mind flits between the truth (what is the truth?) it's really hard to pinpoint the EXACT reason, you stole a few extra minutes in bed and hit snooze? Well that, having scanned up the page translates to 'overslept', and that's not the case. Next option, Traffic? Hard to explain when you have walked.
And there just isn't enough space to explain the unexplainable because sometimes you just can't, wrong choice of cereal resulting in 10 min strop by 2 year old,dirty nappy just as was about to leave seeping out of clothing resulting in complete change of outfit? So much to your own disappointment (enhanced by the stern looking receptionist) you opt for overslept. Maybe next time I will put, in the reason column LIFE!
I will offer my Top Tip, as if you have followed my blog you will know these can change lives!
Always, and I mean ALWAYS have in the car or in your possession a pack of baby wipes or tissues as nothing says 'I am an organised,capable mother' than the ability to present your own children with clean,non snot faces in the morning, and even more impressive the ability to pass on that gift to other mothers!