2. Forget the whole shower / wash-up routine. You're a down-to-earth, real mom about to hang out with real people. It's ah-ight. No sweat. Mostly. Just get in there and show your kids you mean business.
Which, to them, will look kinda like this:
3. Skip breakfast. No not just you; the kids too! Too much of a risk to their already-clothed selves. Besides they eat all the time, and there's probably that leftover box of crackers in the car somewhere. (It got pulverized, but for now it's a place to hang some hope...)
4. Budget a half hour to find the other boot. Oh you know the one. It matters not that the boot is much larger than a shoe and BRIGHT PINK for crying out loud... never mind all that. It will take a full half hour of searching amidst the screaming protests swearing complete ignorance of the whereabouts of said boot because "I put it right there!"
Wax slightly philosophical for a second: the boot was "there." Where is there? Ha! "There" is... well, look everywhere.
And where is your everywhere?
You accept the challenge to "push yourself further" and you find the boot! In the highchair! With a truck and a peel-mostly-on banana (can you say "breakfast"?) inside! Now--like the Visa commercial--you know where you want to be:
5. GET IN THE [DARN] VAN/CAR. Some experts argue that this is indeed the most important and most difficult step of the entire process. Last minute potty visits, a full diaper, and your coffee--spilled over the welcome mat in the search for a glove--will need to be addressed. Set aside 20 minutes for this step, and plan for these 20 minutes to go by in 3.
6. Sit at the driver's seat and find your keys. No not in your hand, not in your purse, not left in the door, yes you just had them otherwise you couldn't have unlocked the van, not in the empty coffee holder (sigh), not under the crumpled bulletin on the floor, not under the seat beside "ohmygoshwhatISthatEWWWWseriouslykids!!!", not near the old apple core, not near the frozen wipes, not in the back seat ("KIDS! Kids, everyone look for Mom's keys. Now. NOW! Yes you! I don't know I don't know...down... On the floor... are you sure you don't have them?), not on the ground outside, where oh where is "there," still not left in the door, not beside the car seat, not inside the car seat, "No, I can't take you out yet" (WaaaaaaAAAAHHHH! Wahhhhh etc etc), not under the floor mat, not on the roof of the van, not...oh wait. Yeah. Back pocket. Got it.
No, you didn't even feel it. No, I don't know how....
7. Insert key in ignition, turn it, and engage in driving. Enjoy that moment. Power. Speed. Control.
8. Look at clock. Panic.
9a. Reminding yourself that "you aren't late yet," resolve to drive carefully. Better late than involving police intervention. Say a quick prayer... hey, maybe you can get in a prayer, "Our Father, who art...."
"Mama! Guess what?"
9b. "I found my pincess! She has a bandage! A boo boo! Is she okay? Can you take it off? Please mom?"
"Well I'm driving honey..."
"OH Myyyy POOR Pincess!!! AHHHHHH....."
9c. Decide that "fixing" a McDonald's "Glinda the Good Witch" would be safer than hearing the screaming. Clamping eyes firmly on the road, you do that dislocating-shoulder-back-seat-reaching twist that accounts for the perpetual knot in your back. Grab, grab, grab, feel the toy and tips of tiny fingers, stretch more, a little more--wince--got it!
Tap toy on the radio knob. This comes on:
Don't listen to the whole thing; just start singing the best part: "Ay ay oh Ay oh, Ay ay oh, ay oh..."
"Mama?" "What?" "Mama?" "What? Yeah yeah I got it...."
Eyes focused on the road, blindly begin to pick at and peel off the melte-on band-aid. Mumble several un-Mommyish words under breath. Now say them out loud as four year old's head pops up beside you.
"Mommy! I love you Mommy. I want to sit aside you because you are my best, nice Mom..."
"STOP! SIT! NO!" Dropping pincess, carefully find a spot to pull over. Remonstrate with weeping preschooler, assuring her of your love while strong-arming her back into her booster seat... how did she learn to undo that... Tell her you'll be very glad to sit beside her later to watch "Caillou." She smiles brightly through her tears. You try to move your lips to an upward curve. You have something to look forward to when you get home...
9d. Resume the driver's seat. Cover dashboard clock with the apple core. Sing along to the radio, "How am I supposed to be an optimist about this? How am I supposed to be--"
"What? Holy.... what?"
"Hee hee...Wanna hear a joke?"
You are a good mom. You are a goooood mom. A darn good one. Tap off the radio.
"Why did the turkey cross the road?"
Gooood mom. Nice mom. C'mon....
"To lay an egg?" You almost sound interested. Good job.
"TO HAVE A TEA PARTY!!!! HAHAHAHA! Mom! MAMA! Yook! YOOK at me! I a TURKEY! Yook!"
Stop yourself in the act of tilting the rearview mirror to look at the turkey. "Aw honey I gotta drive..."
"But I'm a TURKEY Mom! Yook!!! ...."
10. Oh yeah... look! You're here! Only 16 minutes past the time you were shooting for. Now you just have to get a parking spot, find four shoes and three socks and two hats and one glove and put them back on their respective kid, close the doors before the crumbled bulletins fall to the ground, go back and get your key (STAY STILL! STAY!), and your purse and... no wait, there's no coffee. Just get inside.
Adults. Other adults. Smooth hair behind ear. Smile. Smile smile smile.
"So sorry we're late... we..."
Find the eyes of other bleary-eyed moms toting kids who yell "I need to go potty!"
Behold the moms of older kids; ladies who sit chatting in a happy circle, leaning over mug with lipstick-smudged rims...
Oh yeah. Makeup could have been step 3b.
There will be time to be on time. Sometimes. Celebrate those days! For now...
Yeah. Let it go. Go all Disney Princess in your head and....
"Sweetie, keep your sleeve rolled up a little, 'kay?"
Linked to Many Little Blessings
For Jamie F., Jen K., and all my fellow M.O.P.S.