This morning I had an epic Mum fail. With a 7 year old and a 15 week old in the house, I still managed to oversleep making the dreaded school run a whirlwind of manic proportions. The baby was still fast asleep at 8.40 having slept through from 3am and the 7 year old was happily chilling out downstairs watching TV. I woke up, looked at the clock and that all familar Oh my God we’re late reflex kicked in.
Have you had breakfast? No. Crap! Toast in the car it is.
Clean your teeth (actually we might have forgotten that)
Put your shoes on.
(Thankfully he is so good that I no longer have to ask him a hundred times…he senses the we are really late tone)
Pack the lunch.
Wake and change the baby (still asleep at 8.50)
In the car by 8.55. Forgot the toast. Crap. Back inside.
Arrive at school at 9.00… just on time. The other frantic faces of lastminute.com mums swirl past me as I brush off the crumbs, give him a kiss and send him in.
We get home at 9.05 and I feel strangely energised. That was actually one of the best school runs in a while. I feel awake and ready for the day. So this got me thinking?
Do I thrive on being late? Does the last minute panic actually give me a buzz?
I am always on the last minute. Not actually always late (although it does happen quite a lot) but ALL of the time I am on the VERY last minute where every millisecond counts. And because of this, more often than not I am late.
Add a baby to this and I am completely screwed.
Everyone seems to think that having a baby will suddenly make me an early bird. Yes, I do now jump out of bed at stupid o’clock when my little alarm clock goes off, as unfortunately this one isn’t fitted with a snooze button. But this is not by choice. If she is asleep; so am I! I’ve read the advice Start your day at 7am… urm no thanks. If she’s having a once in a blue moon lie in then so am I!
In my first full time job in a call centre they used to call me ‘Skin of your teeth’. I had it timed to perfection… enter the car park at 8.50 (God help me if there was no space) In the building by 8.55… on the sales floor by 8.58… log on to the phone at 9.00… phew not late. I would have to answer the phone immediately and was a pro at logging on whilst taking details and giving the ‘Sorry the system is a little slow today’ line.
At University I was always late for lectures. I lived with a fellow English student (we are still good friends now) but we NEVER went to lectures together. She is an early bird who would habitually get there in time to find a seat, read through last weeks notes and have a little gossip. I, on the other hand would wake up at 8.50… race across the campus and have to sit in the balcony to avoid the stares when walking in late. The balcony was always full of the same faces… hungover, overslept or just downright lazy? Or all of the above?
I pride myself in my organisation at work. I DO NOT miss deadlines, I strive to get things in on time and never once had an extension at University. At school, my reports are always written on time, books marked up to date and lessons planned. But every day is a genuine struggle to get to work on time.
I am the black sheep of the teaching profession.
I was obviously late for the lecture where they told you that it is expected that you will get to work at least an hour early and that you should secretly judge anyone that chooses not to. Over the years I have felt ostracized from departments as I wasn’t in the ‘early morning’ club. For me, getting to work on time for briefing was my main objective and if I got there on time to make a cup of tea it was a bonus. In my first year of teaching my form would always be lined up waiting for me with the knowing look, ‘Late again Miss?’
Every morning would be the same routine. I tell myself… I have to leave NO LATER than 7.45. At 7.50 I am still in the bathroom. In the car by 7.55 (only 10 minutes behind schedule… we can make that up) Then the dreaded please don’t let there be any traffic journey. I knew every short cut, cheat and manoeuvre to slice a minute off my journey. Every second counts.
I’ve used every excuse over the years. Traffic was awful (I set off late) My car wouldn’t start (I snoozed an extra three times) The bridge was closed and I had to divert (I got up on time but then went back to bed and re-snoozed – seriously this has happened way too many times).
There have been many times I’ve actually been overjoyed when the motorway was jammed or there was bad weather as I could arrive late with others with the genuine excuse The motorway was closed (I would have been late anyway as I only left at 8.15 but they don’t know that.)
When I am in bed, still in the land of slumber I genuinely DO NOT CARE that I might be late. Those extra few minutes are all that matter to me in the world. As soon as I actually get up the Oh my God I’m late reflex kicks in, I do care and the adrenaline gets me through. I curse myself and swear that I am going to start getting up earlier. (This never happens).
I can shower, dress and leave the house in record time. Back in the day I would throw on a cap (meaning I didn’t have to do my hair) this saved precious time – sadly this is frowned upon now I am a supposed professional.
Breakfast is a complete no go. I am NEVER up in time to have breakfast. Occasionally I have time to grab a banana but this isn’t guaranteed as it requires an extra trip to the kitchen which sometimes there just isn’t time for. Since having cats, I have had to factor in cat feeding – this cuts in valuable minutes to my already very tight schedule – hmm I didn’t think that through.
My piece de resistance was being able to just get to work on time. Sliding in with the kids just as the bell goes, entering the staff room for briefing just as the Head says ‘Good Morning’. And every time I would feel like shit and completely ashamed that I was late again.
Why can I just not be five minutes earlier? If I got up just five minutes earlier I would take away some of the stress and would get there on time.
But no. This does not work. Even if I get up earlier I somehow still manage to get to work at the same time. JUST on time. (Or late)
It’s not just work. I am always cutting it fine for Hairdressers, Doctors, Weddings – even Interviews. If it’s something important (like an interview) I am not actually late, but in true form do just cut it fine. I’m sure the other candidates will have been there for an hour prepping. I slide in with five minutes to spare. Again… the adrenaline must help!
Once when I worked in travel, I was really late for an interview … really properly late. I set off late, didn’t allow time for traffic, getting lost and parking and so was gloriously late. I got away with it by making up the excuse that I went through the Mersey Tunnel by mistake. I even got the job. I’m sure they regretted their decision as I was late pretty much every day. I used to park on the opposite side of Liverpool as it was cheaper. Most days I would actually have to run to get to work and sometimes got a taxi from the car park… seriously what is my problem?
Looking back I am actually much better than I used to be. In my current job I have vastly improved my record. I am still on the last minute in comparison to the early bird teaching masses and still choose never to get to work early enough to do any work in the morning, (I do stay late most nights) but I do manage to make it in on time to take advantage of the free tea and toast – now that’s an incentive.
So now, on Maternity leave with a baby in tow every outing is a challenge. Outings now fall into two categories.
Ones where I do not have to be anywhere at a certain time and so I don’t care and get there when I get there.
Ones where I have to be there on time – this is always a rush, race,panic, stress usually resulting in me just about getting there on time – or late.
If I do arrive somewhere on time (or very occasionally early) I do feel that I deserve some sort of accolade… sadly no one else seems to agree.
So, why am I always late? I do care, I do feel awful when I am late, I genuinely don’t like being late but I seem to have no control over it. I just always seem to misjudge how long journeys will take, never factor in time for finding the place, parking god forbid there is traffic – then I am totally screwed.
My boyfriend has assumed the role of Sergeant Major in our lives as he detests my tardiness. I am getting slightly better, if only to try and prove a point that I’m not in fact always late.
But who am I kidding?