The morning goes like this.
Eight minutes ‘til the bus. Where are my keys?
“Finish your breakfast.”
These pantyhose look snagged. Pull that bit around the back. No-one will notice. Diary, charger, pens, forget lunch, I’ll buy something there, bus card, oh no, I didn’t top up.
I put my notes down somewhere safe and now I can’t find them.
“Put your coat on. Yes, it’s raining. Tie up your shoes. Tie up your shoes. Here, I’ll tie up your shoes.”
I’m sure my keys are in my bag. It’s pitch black in there. I can’t see a thing. Stand under the light.
“Coat. On. Now. I mean it.”
Give it a shake. I can hear keys rattle. Must be them. I need one of those things that when you say ‘Keys’ it whistles.
“What do you mean, toilet? Didn’t you go when you brushed your teeth? Okay, go. Hurry. Come on, come on. Hurry up!”
Here’s my notes. I hope it’s all of them. I’ll arrange them on the bus.
“What are you crying for? I’m not shouting! Sorry, sorry, here, have a cuddle. I’m sorry.”
I was shouting.
“Please put your coat on because we have to catch the bus, and it won’t wait. Okay? Okay, you can carry it. If you put on this hat. Here’s a tissue.”
Give the bag a shake. I can hear them. I’m sure they’re in there. Phone, purse, packet of hankies, I know I’ve forgotten something.
“Never mind, we have to go. Quickly, out the door, skippety skip.”
Good hard slam, now we’re off. … oh no.
House keys are on top of the fridge. These are car keys.
I feel sick. The landlady is going to think I’m a crazy tenant if I ring her again.
“Mommy is not crying. It’s just the rain.”
What would happen if the night before, I set the timer for ten minutes?
Just ten minutes. In an ad break. Mute the television.
Empty out my bag (with the pitch black interior), and put it on the coffee table. Line up meeting notes, phone, charger, diary (check what’s happening the next day – just run my eye over it, no drama). Keys. Tissues.
Lay it all out. Look at it. Think about it. Gently. Very gently.
If I was being Super Corporate Mom, put in a spare pair of pantyhose.
Mentally run through the day. Is there anything missing? Is there anything that I can add that will make things run smoother? Even, fun? Nice hand cream. A new pen. Lip balm. A snack bag of nuts and dried cranberries.
Don’t say a word. Slowly, quietly and gently, under the fascinated gaze of the child(ren), pack it all.
Small things tucked in the side pockets, the folders flat. Zip it up. Put it by the door. Ready to go. Just like a bought one.
The keys safe in the side pocket.
The timer buzzes. Done and dusted. TV unmuted.
The next morning, observe. See if there’s any difference.
Super Mom strikes again.