Shoes. Teeth. Sunblock. Hats. Glasses. How hard can it be?
I suppose when you see it written down like that, it's quite a lot for a 5 and a 7-year-old to remember without being reminded 400 times.
Sometimes we expect too much of kids. If I was being kind, I would appreciate that.
But I am too grumpy and frustrated to be kind.
And it's only week four of the school term.
Is it any wonder parents forget appointments and who they even are when this kind of mental listing is going on, not just once, but multiple times a morning, every morning … forever?
You would think preparing the night before or getting up early in the morning to sort it all would help. It doesn't. In fact, early preparation often leads to more problems.
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You can have the bags packed with swimming gear, hats and book bags with completed homework ready the night before and yet, at some point in the morning, you will find these items unpacked and in another room.
The main issue is not necessarily the 5 and 7-year-old, but their 16-month-old brother who refuses to wear his own hats but likes to take everyone else's.
You return from sorting that to find that once again no one has their &%$#ing shoes or uniform on! FFS – what the hell have they been doing since I last asked?
You're not just sorting everyone's stuff, you're checking and asking and checking and asking and checking and asking multiple times a morning.
I know this is what being a mum is. I know this is my role. But it doesn't make it any less maddening, or me any less unhinged.
Can anyone hear me? (Apart from the neighbours). Am I invisible? Do I even exist? I ask myself often.
"You don't need to yell," our girl, 7, will say in a scathing tone. Yes, I know that tone is passed on directly from me.
I didn't yell the first nine times I asked!
Some days, like today, I have mental imagery of my head exploding with the sheer amount of things it takes to get out the door.
And I have the luxury of not having to mentally list all the things that have to happen at work for the day as well. How do people do it?
Some people have go to work and manage even more people. How?!
Today, I yelled at the kids and told them to enjoy their sunburn. I am a horrible person. I reminded my daughter that she would be blind in one eye if she continued her game of "not remembering" where her glasses are. It's harsh but the absolute truth and after three years of this recurring battle, there is only so far you can go.
The hats are simple because they have short-term impact. They forget once or twice and remember after they miss out on playing at school at lunchtime.
But kids don't really understand or care what it means to have fillings or get skin cancer, or go blind in one eye because they didn't wear corrective glasses when no one else has to.
And so here I am preparing a little chart with their names and the things they need to tick-off before they leave home every morning. Again.
It probably won't work but it is helping channel my frustration - for this brief moment in time.