Just Happy To Be Out the Door
Can I bring Yseline? asks my daughter as she drags her doll towards me.
” Umm…ok,” I answer.
“ And my wagon? “ As on cue, a toy wagon full of bits and pieces rolls towards my foot.
“ But I neeeed it!” Cries erupt.
I am momentarily distracted by the boys now fighting over a hat. ”That’s my hat!” yells Aaron as he tries to squish the too-small hat on to his melon-sized head.
“No, it’s mine now!” yells Sam as he tries to grab it. Aaron flicks him off with a desultory slap. My daughter’s cries are getting louder as I try and force her foot into her boot while trying to find the mitten that has fallen under the bench.
‘Auggh… the puppy stole the hat!” yell the boys in unison. I ignore them as I am now scrambling for my wallet and trying to find my phone.
It’s just an average day in chaos, trying to get the three kids out the door. Doesn’t matter what our destination is, exiting the house remains one of the most difficult tasks of the day.
A friend of mine who is a stay-at-home dad of three-year old twins and a baby says that women often stop him on the street to congratulate him for being out and about with three young kids. “I take their congratulations but they don’t realize it took me an hour to get there!” he says.
I told him they do realize because it takes everybody an hour to get there.
I find that after a particularly bad exit I am still steaming while we are walking down the street or in the car but the kids have moved on to some other discussion, or more likely argument and they can’t understand why there is still smoke rising out the top of my head.
In my informal survey parents agree that after the Big Three (sleeping, eating and pooping) the most aggravating thing about parenting is getting out the door and the thing that can set off a parental temper tantrum.
This is a perfect example of when your agenda and the kids’ agenda are at odds. Kids just don’t understand our need to be on time and we don’t understand their need to screw around, bring their wagon, slam their sibling and just generally be dawdlers and pains in the ass.
Yes, pre-planning, letting go of expectations and an overall zen approach helps to getting out of the house. But It doesn’t matter how much preplanning you do the baby will still poop once you get him into the snowsuit; the toddler will still refuse to put on her boots; the preschooler will want to bring every pretend phone and marker in the house; and the siblings will still practice random violence on each other. And you will still yell, lose your mind and it will still take an hour. But you are not alone, every other parent out there knows what you just went through.