When "just leave earlier" isn't enough
I start by asking everyone we know how they get out in the morning. I am swamped with advice. Feed the kids breakfast in the car. Make them choose their clothes the night before. Have them sleep in their clothes. It occurs to me that having them sleep in their clothes, in the car, would simplify a lot, but I cannot find anyone who will admit to doing this.
I tell my dad that we need professional help. He scoffs. "Just leave earlier," he says. "You don't need an expert to tell you that. Jeez." My mom sends me an e-mail that starts, "Daddy says I should be your time-management expert," and goes on to describe the things she used to do to get out the door on time: making a week's worth of lunches at once, getting herself ready before she woke me up, putting out our clothes and packing up the night before. It all sounds good, and it helps -- up to a point. We start strong, as we always do. But by Friday, we are the last car tearing into the school parking lot, barely slowing down to toss Sam out onto the gravel before we race off, tires squealing, to drop off Lily. We are, technically, on time. But it isn't pretty.
The thing is, I have been down this road before, and so has my enabling husband. We have tried all the little tricks and tips, and ended up exactly... here. All of our clocks are set five minutes ahead, and we know it. If we get up early, we happily use the "extra" time to read the paper until it's time to start screaming at the kids to put on their shoes. It isn't just what we do. There is something wrong with the way we think.