Herding Cats

Let me just start by saying patience is a virtue, but not one of mine.  I am not patient at all.  Waiting the extra 15 seconds for the microwave to beep is so excruciating that I'll take the food out and eat it half cold.  So, waiting for my kids to get ready in the morning does not go smoothly.  Especially when I want to leave NOW and they are still trying to visualize what shoes look like.  It generally goes like this:

Me: "I'm going to take a shower and get ready to go.  I will be ready to leave the house in 20 minutes.  I need you to be dressed, have your teeth brushed and hair combed by the time I get out of the shower."
Them: "ok"
...10 minutes passes...
Me: "I'm out of the shower, are you dressed?"
Them: "I found a shirt but it's black and that doesn't go with jeans and then I found a sock that has stripes and I don't want to wear it with the one that matches it but YOU paired them together."
Me: "Did you brush your teeth? Comb your hair?"
Them: "MOMMY! I can't do everything at ONCE!"

So by the time I've gotten ready, they've maybe gotten dressed.  I then start herding them around the house telling them what to do to get ready while they try and get distracted by anything and everything they can.  The TV, the computer, food, a moth that flutters by, you name it, they'll get distracted by it.

Invariably, Stella will be the more distracted of the two.  Then Sandis will be ready and lord it over Stella by jumping on the computer or something else that will make life completely unfair in Stella's eyes.  "Why does sheeeee get to use her computer when we're trying to leave," Stella sneers, while wearing a winter hat and underwear and carrying one shoe, the mate of which hasn't been seen this decade, "and mommy, I'm going to be a pig today so can you find me all pink clothes including shoes and underwear and can we stop at the thrift store on the way to <insert thing that you'll be late for if you don't leave this instant> because I need a different pink coat because my pink coat has white on it.  Oh, and can you sew my felt ears on to this hat, and find a pattern online for ears so I can cut them out of felt?"

Finally, we'll be ready to leave at which time the girls then remember the 47 things that they need to do before we leave.  "I'm hungry," is a favorite, and strangely,  is totally independent of how much food has been consumed that day.  Other stall tactics include needing different shoes, a less itchy shirt, a drink, a specific toy that hasn't been seen in the last 3 years and, on one memorable occasion, the sudden, driving need to sew a toy for a friend's cat RIGHT THAT MINUTE.

Yes, I do start early (or I'd never make it anywhere.) I also pad the time it takes to get somewhere so if we leave late, we can still arrive on time.  I can have them get their clothes ready the night before but 1) Sandis gets all whiny about having to get ready the night before and 2) Stella will decide in the morning that those clothes are all wrong.

And we do have a morning list of things they are supposed to do after waking.  Still, we repeat this ritual at least once a week.  It exhausts and infuriates me.  In an effort to get out of the house a bit smoother, I've made up a new morning list of things to do.  This one is specifically for days when I know we will be going somewhere in the morning.  It goes like this:

As soon as you get up, before cartoons or anything else:
  1. get dressed, including socks (if needed.) Put shoes by door.
  2. brush teeth, comb hair, deodorant
  3. eat breakfast
  4. feed dogs, fish, mouse. Be sure mammals have drinking water.
  5. pack lunch (protein, fruit, etc) and snacks (2 snacks from cupboard plus 1 candy or cookie.) Put in bag, put by door.
  6. get any car stuff you want that day (sewing, books, etc). Put in bag, put by door.
  7. do not start any involved projects that would leave a mess while we are gone (examples: sewing stuff all over, painting on table, etc)
  8. take meds

    We'll see if it helps.  I'm not optimistic, but I have to try something, because, well, my patience is wearing thin(ner)


  • Kerri | January 26, 2012 at 11:33 AM

    OMG. That's funny! I'd poke my eyes out. I'm glad I 1. had only 1 child and 2. he's a boy. Specifically a boy that doesn't happen to care what he wears. Now if only he would remember that extra strong deodorant every day!
    Thanks for the laugh :)

  • Marie Sexton | February 4, 2012 at 4:25 PM

    I have this issue with my husband! When I say, "I'm ready to go," I mean I am physically ready to walk out the door. When DH says, "I'm ready to go," what he means is, "I'm ready to stand up from my chair and begin contemplating all the things I must do before we can leave, ie, changing my clothes, making a list, going to the bathroom, etc." Makes me INSANE.

    I have a similar morning list for DD, too, although I definitely can't trust her to pack her own lunch. But she does have this item on her list: "Find glasses. Put them on your face." (Because otherwise, she'd say, "there they are!" and walk out the door without them.)

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