It’s just all those variables, the most challenging one being the child itself! Even with the best laid plans, they’ll (usually accidentally) find a way to undo all your careful work.
Take the story an old boss once told me. After waiting in his car for 15 minutes, he went back inside to see what was holding up his son. A quick search soon found him fast asleep in bed. He’d got dressed, brushed his teeth, then got undressed again (thinking it was bedtime), and went back to bed. When he was awakened he thought it was the next day!
Then there’s my own sad story of parental disaster! As I was taking off my 5 year old daughter’s coat at school, I was horrified to discover she wasn’t wearing a skirt! ‘What happened to your skirt?’ I yelped! ‘Well daddy’, she said, perfectly calmly, ‘You didn’t give me a skirt, so I thought I’d just go without today’. Oh my! Not the best start to the day for me or my daughter!
If you have a child with challenges or disabilities, it gets tricky in all sorts of new and difficult ways!
My stepson is autistic, and although he now leads a normal teenage life, things were very different when he was young. The school run had to be planned with military precision.
Most important for him was the time of arrival at school in the morning. In his mind, he had a 5 minute window of opportunity, from 8.37am to 8.42am. Anytime before and he would refuse to leave the car; anytime after and he would also refuse to leave the car! Throwing 2 little sisters into the mix, either of which had no concept of time, did make for some very interesting school-runs at times!
A quick survey of friends and family, and our own experience of fun on school mornings, reveals the next big spanner in the works – hair! Especially long hair. Either it’s not dry, or a ponytail has come apart, or the hair clips are missing, or there are no hair bands…it’s endless! We tried everything from keeping supplies in the car to getting up earlier, but it didn’t ever really solve the drama.
The truth is, it’s just family life and it’s probably the same for almost every family, every school day morning, everywhere in the world. Wonderful, chaotic family life. Maybe it’s part of what bonds us together, who knows? But one thing is for sure – we’ll all laugh about it later.