Maybe I’m Kinda Sorta The Reason My Child Is Often Late To Preschool
In the years leading up to motherhood (as in my late twenties), I sucked at sleeping late on weekends. I consistently popped up between 6:30 and 7 a.m. every morning because my body was conditioned for the weekday wakeup. And I was a middle school teacher! If that’s not almost as exhausting as motherhood, I don’t know what is.
If I was able to sleep past 8:30 on a Saturday or Sunday morning, that was a victory. Then I had a child and my body suddenly thought it was back in college, where it never wanted to get out of bed before ten in the morning, ever. Okay, maybe noon. The one that couldn’t get its ass out of bed for those 8:15 a.m. Italian classes. The one who never picked classes if they met on Fridays.
Too bad preschool doesn’t work like college. Drop-off is at 8:50 every day and there is class on Friday. Thank god there is class on Friday! My almost four-year old has no problem getting out of bed by 7 every morning, even though his mommy could use just a few more minutes in hers. Okay, maybe hours. And even though I don’t pride myself on being a morning person like my son, I hate missing drop-off. It’s my right to be able to stay in the car, unshowered, without a bra, and possibly wearing the clothes I slept in the night before.
Every night I go to bed with the same aspiration—to drop my son off at preschool on time—meaning we pull right up to the carpool line, a teacher unbuckles him from the car seat and takes him out. This requires no effort on my part, except to excitedly wave and blow kisses at him as he climbs out of the car, leaving me to the few hours of me time that go by way too quickly.
And many mornings we fail. Okay maybe I fail. It’s easy to blame showing up late to school on my kid. Three, almost four-year olds can be difficult. They are slow. Sometimes they refuse to do the few jobs they are responsible for before leaving for school: putting clothes on (No, I don’t care which ones. Yes, you know how to get dressed by yourself); eating breakfast (No, goldfish doesn’t count as a breakfast food.); going potty (I know you have to. Of course you have to go potty now that we are about to walk out the door and yes you have to wash your hands); picking one toy to take in the car (I didn’t mean give every toy in your playroom a thorough two minute examination before choosing and I certainly didn’t mean pick the biggest truck you own).
But then I’d be lying. There are mornings when I pop right out of bed at 7ish, throw on some sweat pants, run the brush once through my hair, wash my face, brush my teeth, make a smoothie, pack my kid’s lunch and backpack, make sure he is properly dressed and fed, and leave on time to make it to drop-off.
Most of the time, what actually happens on the mornings before school goes as follows: My son wakes up before me and if my husband hasn’t left for work yet, he gets him set up on the couch for a Paw Patrol mini marathon and leaves him with some milk and a meal I like to call pre-breakfast. It’s at this point I should get up, but my son is so quiet and well-cared for so why not just snooze for 10 more minutes. Okay maybe 20 minutes. Shit, I fell back to sleep for almost 45 minutes! I now have 15 minutes to get dressed, get my kid dressed, pack his stuff up for school, and convince him to eat a proper breakfast in the car because he barely touched pre-breakfast due to being completely engrossed in today’s Paw Patrol mission.
And so we arrive at school close to 15 minutes late. I have to walk him into his classroom and take his lunch box to the kitchen. He is late for circle time. The other kids lose focus. I swear his teachers are silently cursing me and I start to feel intimidated so I quickly say good bye, put my sunglasses back on, and walk back to my car, hoping no one else notices we are late again and I’m wearing pajamas.
When I pick him up later, we talk about the importance of getting to school on time. We commit to getting to school on time tomorrow. The next morning we both wake up at 7:30. I get him breakfast and he continues his Paw Patrol marathon so I can get myself ready and pack his bag. I have an hour to get all of us ready which is plenty of time. Drop-off here we come.
Since we have so much time, I decide why not get today’s shower out of the way. Before I do that, I of course read all the emails and text messages from while I was asleep. Then I turn on the computer to set my social media posts for the day and see what everyone else is up to on Facebook and Instagram. Fuck! It’s almost 8 AM. How did that happen? I shower anyway. I get dressed and even dry my hair. I choose leggings over sweatpants, but I still decide against the bra because what’s the point. I’m just going right back home to work.
Then I remember I’m the only one who is dressed to leave the house and rather than leaving on time like planned, I enter into heated negotiations with my kid so he can be dressed and ready to leave too. We finally get in the car at the same time we should be arriving at school because I just had to take that shower and indulge my iPhone and social media addictions.
Yes, once in a while my son’s refusal to do anything in the morning causes us to be late but if I’m being completely honest, it’s mostly me who can’t get her shit together in a timely fashion. And every morning I walk him into school and interrupt circle time, I swear to do better the next day. Also, his teachers intimidate me a bit. They don’t mess around, which I love about them. It reassures me they are teaching my son to be a good human who is kind, compassionate, smart, respectful, and prompt! It’s so rude when people are repeatedly late. Don’t you think?