Friday, October 15, 2010

...and we're off!

I remember a particular incident when I was in high school and I volunteered to help out at a home school event.  Despite my effort to hustle my family along, we arrived late.  Being an on-time person, I was a bit my mom, at arriving late, at not being there when the event started...and another home school mom had a few words for me.  "Just wait," this other mom said.  "When you have your own family and have to get children ready to go in addition to yourself, I bet you won't be on time anymore!"  I smiled, but for years I wondered whether that would turn out to be true! 

Well, fifteen years and five children later, I am still an on-time person.  If I say I'm going to be there at 10, I'm going to be there at 10.  That's just how I am!  I don't relate to the rabbit in Alice in Wonderland who runs by singing, "I'm late!  I'm late...for a very important date!"  It doesn't necessarily come easily to me to have everyone out of the house on time, but it is important to me so I make it happen. 

I do most of my preparations the night before.  I lay out clothes for everyone, even the older children who are perfectly capable of dressing themselves.  This ensures that everyone is dressed for the weather, is wearing a matching outfit (something I do not insist on if we are at home), and has socks (in the cooler months).  If we need food, I pack lunches or snacks or water bottles the night before, too.  I make sure the diaper bag is stocked with diapers, wipes, and extra clothes for the baby.  Even if I know I will have time in the morning, it calms my mind to know that it is already taken care of should an unforeseen time-snatcher arise. 

Fifteen minutes before we need to be out the door, playtime is over.  All books are closed, toys  are put away, and the TV is turned off.  We go into leaving-the-house mode.  Everyone makes a visit to the restroom or those wearing diapers are changed.  We keep all shoes in a bin in the coat closet so one person is assigned to get out shoes for the group.  Even though it isn't essential to getting somewhere on time, I also use this fifteen minute blitz to straighten the living area before we walk out.  (Coming home to a tidy house is important to me, too.)

I allow another extra five minutes to load up the car since I am responsible for buckling three seat belts in addition to my own.  (Thankfully, the two oldest kids can do it themselves now!)  As we walk out the door, I give everyone something to carry, whether it be the diaper bag or the lunch bag or a letter to drop in the mailbox on the sidewalk.  Whoever happens to be out the door first holds open the door for the others and we walk to the van.  Seems like a such a simple thing, but the boys used to run to the van and inevitably someone would fall and we would have to go back to the house for a bandage or spend time wiping tears. 

At this season of motherhood, I have chosen to stay home more than I maybe would if I had only one or two children.  We do a lot of family outings on the weekends because it is amazing how much one extra set of adult hands can contribute!  I used to feel bad about that and wonder if my kids wished they could get out more, but I've had to tell myself that this is okay.  There will be coming years where we can more easily leave home without such a big production!  And I'll be okay with that, too.


  1. I could have written this post myself!

    I love the picture too.

  2. Great post -- I hate that homeschoolers apparently have a rep for being late alot.

    Just reading about how organized you are about getting out makes me feel more organized myself, LOL.

  3. Encouraging words!!! I have to admit though... I use to be on time for I am late for EVERYTHING! No. 3 really did me in! Your post encouraged me to do better!

  4. As with everything Im consistently inconsistent either Im late or Im early or I'll just be on time for long periods and then not even show up, LOL
    I aspire to your level of organization:)but im pretty sure its not going to happen without an act of God :)
    Its good to be organized it makes things go smoothly and your more calm when you are prepared and not rushing
    (please excuse my rambling comment☺)

  5. Its nice to meet you :) Congrats on the birth of your newest!! Hope to share more in the future... its nice to know there are moms of many out there =}

  6. Oh how I wish this was me. I really mean that. I'm always late, and I hate being like this. But I can't seem to organise myself. Your post has given me some encouragement to organise my life in a more orderly way.
    It is so unpleasant for everyone - I feel bad for the kids so often when I am late in taking them places :(
    Love, (ashamed) Anne x

  7. i always hate hate hate being late....i find it very embarrassing...but nice to hear from others that even with more children, it IS possible to be on time!

  8. Oh, how I love the picture of your kiddos. :) I also really enjoyed hearing how another mama gets out of the house in an orderly fashion. Blessings!

  9. Great tips and ideas! I don't like to be late, and as a homeschool family growing up we almost never were but I find myself cutting it close way more often than I would like to now.

  10. ohhh i hate being late!! except i always am lately. which drives me nuts even more so. i used to be so on time, responsible, etc etc. and for some reason i can't be anywhere on time. it drives me bonkers!!


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