Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Beat the Clock

Not only is Beat-the-Clock a handy motivational/discipline technique for young children, it is also a game I seem to play every morning as I try to get out the door to go to work.

It would be great if I could leave the house by 7:45.  That way, even on bad traffic days, chances are pretty decent that I'd make it to the office by 8:30.  But this very rarely (i.e. practically never) happens. 

Making tea and breakfast
Fortunately, we have flexible working hours at my office.  But I always wish that I could leave the house sooner so that traffic would be better so that I could finish work earlier so I could be at home in time to make dinner without rushing so I could relax a little and enjoy spending some time with the kids.


I've tried getting up earlier.  I've tried getting myself ready first.  I've tried getting the girls ready first.  I've tried showering first while my hubby helps with the girls.  I've tried helping with the girls while he showers first.  I've tried leaving breakfast completely to the nanny.  I've tried having the girls fed before she arrives.  I already skip breakfast at home and wait to eat at the office.  I usually pack my breakfast, lunch, and snacks before I go to bed.  I shower fast.  I don't wear make-up, except for a smidgeon of lipstick that I put on at my desk.  My hair is low maintenance, and I sometimes forget to wear jewellery.  None of this seems to make a difference. 

Teeth brushing and getting girls dressed

I don't want to make excuses.  So these are not excuses.  These are the reasons, in chronological order, for my routine difficulty in leaving the house promptly and getting to the office early each morning: 
  • Three little girls who have hair that needs brushing and styling, and three little girls who usually resist.
  • At least two little girls who need help brushing their teeth.
  • At least one little girl who needs help getting dressed.
  • My irrational need to have the beds made and dirty clothes put into the hamper.
  • A nanny who, instead of coming in and helping me finish getting breakfast for the girls, sits down at the table and seems to spend at least 5 minutes telling me about the bus driver, the weather, her landlord and/or her husband.
  • Me forgetting either my phone, keys, lunch or tea, requiring me to come back into the house and therefore receive another round of good-bye hugs and kisses.
  • If my hubby is almost ready to leave as I'm heading out the door, I usually wait and drive him to the subway station.  It is, after all, one of the few moments we get to spend alone together during the day.

I'm working to find solutions to these problems.  I usually spend some time thinking of ideas while I'm stuck in traffic.  But I sometimes wonder: do I have some inner, natural resistance to leaving the house each day; a subconscious desire to stay at home?

Nope.  Don't think so.

So, I'll keep trying to make it out the door before 7:45...  Question is, how will I reward myself if I ever successfully manage to Beat-the-Clock?

Just getting myself dressed now.

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