Today is one of the few days in which I am thankful my mother does not really know how to operate a computer. She would be laughing her head off.
You see, as everyone (and I do mean everyone...look two blog posts back) returns to school, schedules and routines become quite important. I didn't say we all do a good job with them, I just said they're important. Sigh.
One of my mantras is "20 minutes per kid." Meaning...you'd better stick an extra 20 minutes per kid into your morning routine. So, for me, I needed an hour for the kids to get up and around for school on top of however long it took me to get ready. This is where my mom starts laughing. And my youngest son's second grade teacher...she's laughing, too. And the nice police officer who once gave me a warning as I was driving my kids - in a mad, late rush - to school.
"...however long it took me to get ready..." doesn't mean much once you've seen the Cavewoman wearing her pajamas to drop her kids off.
There are times when I try to bring you encouragement and it comes from a place I perhaps did well in. As a mom. This is not one of those times. To cut myself a little hindsight slack, I got things way more under control when my three boys hit third, fifth and eighth grades, respectively. More on that later.
In another life, I think I would have made a great jazz club singer. Sing at the 8pm set, followed by the midnight set, bed by one and sleep the next day until noon. But, in this life, I'm not a club singer.
Many of you feel my non-morning person pain. It was so rough in the boys' early years. Fortunately, none of them were super early risers either. The middle one is quite the happy morning kid, but we're talking 7am, not 4:30am. So, we were good there.
But, when school started, we struggled. My oldest has my club-singer DNA, and getting him up in the morning was a nightmare. We missed the bus often and so I had to drag his two, small brothers into the minivan so we could haul ourselves across town to his kindergarten. It was ridiculous.
You see, a few years later, I had a realization...thanks to my laughing mom. She loves me and tries to see the good in me. She knows I love my boys like crazy and I really, genuinely care about others. So, that's why she thought she'd better speak up, "KyAnne, you know when your kids are late to school, they miss valuable instructional time. In addition, it says something very hurtful to the teacher. It says that you don't care about her...about her time."
I was devastated. My mom is good. Real good. She knows that if she brings the possibility of hurting someone's feelings in - not to mention something I may be doing to hinder my kids - she can get my attention. So, did I instantly become the gal that gets everywhere 20 minutes before everyone else? Um, no.
I did, however, start compensating for my weaknesses. Weaknesses. I said it and it's okay. We all have them and we all have to let the Lord help us compensate for them. I started using a filing system for the boys' things...I set clothes out the night before...I packed lunches the night before...I made the boys bathe the night before (until middle school)...I signed and returned papers ASAP. Second nature to some of you naturally-organized people...extra, extra purposeful planning for folk like me.
Am I ever late now? Um, occasionally. But, I'm a better? Ask my husband. A man who hates being late in a very big way. I learned to compensate because I did care about my kids' teachers. And my kids. (Being late hurt them, too.) Now, as a teacher, I feel compassion towards my "late kids," but more towards their parents who struggle. The kind of compassion that allows me to speak into their lives from a place I know well in hopes to help them they way I've been helped.
If you've been a tardy parent, please know that I pray you find the encouragement, tools and strength this year to make the change. Because, as always, your kids need you to be your best. And honestly, there aren't a lot of openings in life for club singers.