Believe me. It is difficult. Very, very difficult.
So much so that I have a near panic attack every time.
There are so many variables to consider. How fast will traffic be traveling and will there be any construction or car accidents? Do I need to fill up the car with gas? Did I remember snacks and drinks for the kids, and if not, will I drive through somewhere to quickly grab some? Will the kids fight while I try to strap them into their carseats? The possible deterrents really are endless.
Time management becomes essential, but is difficult. The problem is that my time isn't always mine to manage. Especially with children. Some days are better than others and cause less anxiety, but I despise the feeling of time management being out of my control. With kids though, I have come to expect that they do control a majority of my time. It's another one of those aspects of my life that I have had to work to let go of.
But that really is another blog topic altogether.
Getting back to my daily one hour afternoon nightmare... To demonstrate, here is a recent example of how one afternoon went this week:
2:55 I lock my office door and shut off the light. I walk quickly toward the kindly part-time receptionist down the hall that always talks (and talks and talks and never let's me go), even when I always tell her that I am in a hurry to pick up my kids from school. I look down at the ground as I approach her trying to avoid eye contact.
2:56 Ugh. She smiles and waves me into her office. Darn we made eye contact. I stop and talk to her out of the kindness of my heart. I think she is lonely and I am a softy. Her kids are grown. I empathize.
2:58 She is still talking. I tell her I have to go. I edge toward her door.
3:03 Come on woman, stop talking. I start sweating a little.
3:06 She is still talking. I continue to edge toward the door. I tell her again that I really need to get going. She apologizes and tells me "just one more quick story."
3:08 Finally got away from the talker by literally saying I have to leave Right Now. Conceding though that I will stop by in the morning so that we can continue to discuss this topic. Walk across the parking lot to my car, get in and drive across campus to the preschool.
3:10 Arrive at the campus preschool to pick up the younger two, devastated because by now the kids are eating snacks and it is like pulling teeth getting them away from snack time.
3:11 Youngest had his 2nd wet accident of the day. Great. I help his teacher change his clothes. He goes back to his snack.
3:13 I keep reminding the kids that we need to go get big brother so if they could just please finish eating quickly that'd be really helpful for mommy.
3:15 Standing there. Sweating more. Still reminding kids to hurry up and eat.
3:17 I drag screaming kids into the bathroom to wash their hands (per preschool policy) singing the ABC song as quickly as I can (they are required to sing that so that they wash their hands long enough). I sing it so fast the kids can't keep up.
3:19 Put coats and hats and gloves on the kids, still dragging them while walking across the parking lot to our car.
3:20 Strap kicking and screaming kids into their state required, very complicated car seats.
3:22 Finally on the road with 28 miles to go.
3:28 Call husband and have a small emotional meltdown about how I'm never going to make it to pick up the first grader by 3:40 dismissal.
3:31 Look at the clock. Youngest kid is screaming because I won't let him have the iPad as punishment since he peed his pants twice at preschool.
3:35 Look at the clock. My heart starts racing a little.
3:36 Look at the clock, yell at the kids for being so loud, say a quick prayer asking for calmness. Focus on slow breathing for a few minutes.
3:40 Look at the clock. Notice that I am still a good 10 minutes from the elementary school, even though school is getting let out, Right. Now.
3:41 Scream at a fellow driver who insists on driving the speed limit in a school zone. Yell again at the youngest kid to stop screaming. I notice that he is getting really upset.
3:43 Look at clock. Yell at another slow driver while displaying the "come on" arm gesture.
3: 45 Yell at a red stoplight. Daughter asks me why I am yelling at a stoplight. Stoplights aren't people.
3:46 I start crying real tears. Son is now screaming uncontrollably.
3:48 Glance at my phone to make sure the volume is on so I'll be able to hear if the school calls to remind me that my son needs picked up. Panic starts really kicking in. Chest feels constricted. Breathing becomes harder.
3:50 Just when panic is about to solidify, I see cars in line by the elementary school! I am finally in the pick-up line. Somehow dismissal is going slowly on the perfect day! Quickly my joy disappears as the youngest is still screaming so hard that he is now gagging. Husband texts to ask if I made it on time. I text him back yes.
3:52 The line is moving. This is good. Thirty seconds to pick up! I see my first grader waiting, I made it!, I smile. Then I hear more gagging and look in the rear view mirror. My screaming youngest son pukes up the crackers, string cheese and peaches that I just had to wait for him to eat at snack time. He pukes everywhere. All over himself. All over his car seat. All over his coat on the floor. Daughter starts screaming about how gross the car smells. She starts gagging.
3:53 Door opens to my first grader's smiling face. He stops. He immediately starts yelling about how gross the puke is and refuses to get in the car. A teacher helper looks in, visibly gags and then asks if I need anything (stupid question lady). Oldest son still refuses to get in car. The teacher volunteers to go get paper towels. I decline. I need a hose.
3:54 We are now holding up the line. Oldest still refuses to get in the car. In front of many teachers I scream at my oldest son to "get your butt in the car." He does so, Spiderman-like sprawling against the inside of the car door window, refusing to sit.
3:55 I give up and drive the one mile to our home like this. Once in the driveway I send a helpless text to my husband briefly explaining that the youngest son just puked all over the car. He offers to come home early from work. I decline. The hardest part is over.
Eventually we got into the house (although I did strip down my youngest son out in the driveway before bringing him inside- very classy, I know). Eventually baths were had. Eventually clothes and carseats were washed, and eventually the car smelled normal again.
Yep, just another typical day.
See why I have thrown time management out the window?
*reposted from earlier this year