Do you remember the days when your kids were little and you had to tie their shoes and it took them exactly 8 minutes to tie their coat? You had to start planning hours before you wanted to go anywhere, and many times you just stayed home because the very thought of suiting everyone up to go somewhere took so much out of you that you knew you couldn’t do it in real life.
You wanted them to be independent and couldn’t wait for the day when they could get themselves ready and get in the damn car on time.
But to my surprise this hasn’t happened. Nope, I’ve over here almost fifteen years later still waiting for my kids to get ready in a snap and I’m realizing it’s never going to happen.
My three teens take longer to get ready now than they did when they were small. The other morning, we were on a roll and I thought for sure we’d be on time, but then my son couldn’t find his favorite sweatshirt.
It doesn’t matter that I told him it didn’t matter and he could find something else to wear– he had to have that one. Then he couldn’t find his belt and his pants were hanging down and you could see the entirety of his boxers.
He was fine with that, but I wasn’t. Telling him to find a belt too put us back a few more minutes and we were both frustrated. I told him to get his butt in the car, but the fact he’s over 6 feet tall, and has 40 pounds on me limits me from forcing him to get in the car sans sweatshirt—believe me, I’ve tried.
I wonder if it’s worth it to take his device away to get him in the car faster, or just take a moment and allow him to find his beloved sweatshirt while I rest my eyes in the car. Some may call this lazy parenting; I call it survival and learning to choose my battles. Remember when you were a teen and had to have your outfit just right before you went out? I do.
When the kids are younger, you could use snacks and toys to get you through the day in one piece. When they are older, you let them tear the house apart looking for the perfect thing to wear even if it makes you a few minutes late.
The fact they are tall enough to see in the mirrors and care about what they look like now also makes getting out of the house a bit of a chore. The hair has to be just right, the makeup needs one last check, and just when you think you are in the clear to make a beeline to the car, they snap a selfie and plaster it on their SnapChat but it takes a few tries because, you know how selfies can be.
And last Saturday, I got my hopes up really high after I told all my kids to be ready to go run errands at 9am, and didn’t get any moans or groans from them. Silly me, I just assumed they were up in their rooms getting ready and were just as excited as I was to hit Home Depot to pick out some plants and paint, then gorge on donuts.
Only they had no clue about the day’s festivities because they all had their earbuds in their ears, jamming out to their music in their room and didn’t hear a thing. It wasn’t getting dressed and making beds I heard above me– it was the sweet sounds of them dancing and ignoring their mother.
Who knew getting teens out of the house would be harder than it was when they were little.
I know time isn’t of the essence for them like it is for me, but I’m almost missing the days when I could pick them up, strap them in and head down the road. Despite the sweat and tears it all caused, it somehow seems easier than waiting for my kids to find their favorite outfit or make sure their hair looks okay, or they have their phone, phone charger, and earbuds because God forbid we go anywhere without all that gear.
Oh, and I’m realizing missing shoes will always be a problem whether they are 5 or fifteen. If a mother is late, it’s usually because someone couldn’t find their shoes; this will be the story of our life until they move out.