On the Clock

8.10 am according to clock on the oven, so 8.08 am real-time; I raise my voice slightly. Twelve minutes until 8.20, when we need to be driving out the drive-way. Although really, 8.25 will do it. But aiming for 8.25 would mean being late for sure. We need to aim for the unachievable departure in order to meet the real one.

Upstairs to brush three sets of teeth, and a mental rundown of what’s left to do; school-bags into car, jackets on, quick cup of tea? Any chance I could fit a cup of tea into six minutes? Maybe if I don’t re-boil the kettle, it won’t be too hot to drink and I’ll get two sips? Check the bedroom clock – 8.20, so 8.15 real time – feck it, I’ll fit one in. Priorities.

Kids in the car, check the time – 8.23, so 8.20 real time. I think. Time for one more sip of that to-die-for cup of tea, then go. Minor interlude when the toddler spills the Corn Flakes he has inexplicably brought along in four ice-pop makers. Driving out the driveway at 8.26 on the car-clock, so that’s…oh, I can’t remember anymore, but I think we’re on time.

Traffic’s bad because it’s raining – mental calculation of current time x weather x traffic – the answer is that we can’t risk parking at the school today, we won’t get near it. Gamble on one road up and walk back down. Or should we go the other way – plan C? If the lights change by 8.29, we’ll be fine with plan B. They do – result.

Arrive at plan B parking spot by 8.40, so really 8.37. We’re not late for school. It’s a win. And now I’m off the clock for the next four hours.

12.58 on the oven clock, so 12.56 real-time – definitely time to get in the car. Forget to factor in toddler’s insistence on strapping himself into the car-seat. Breathe slowly, watching him try to close the buckle. Resist urge to help because you’re not supposed to help when they’re trying to do things – I read that in a parenting article somewhere. Twelve seconds later, take over and buckle him in – the person who wrote the parenting article clearly wasn’t on the school-run. Driving out the drive-way at 1.02, repeat the time x weather x traffic calculation of this morning, to pick the best spot to park. Arrive four minutes early! Look at Facebook. Super use of four minutes.

Collect five-year-old and friend, walk back to car in the rain. The plan to sit in the car until the seven-year-old finishes seem a bit miserable now. The bags of raisins and packet of rice cakes don’t seem like playdate fodder anymore, and the car is cold. Could we make it to the coffee shop and back? Do another quick time x weather x traffic calculation – it just might work.

Arrive at coffee shop and order muffins, it’s 1.52. We have six minutes. At 1.58, walk the three kids back through the rain, strap everyone in again, resist all temptation to resist urge to help toddler, then hold breath while pulling out of tiny parking space while waiting driver stares. Do eleven point turn, and join long line of cars to get out of car-park and back up to the school on time. It’s 2.10. So really 2.07. If the bus-driver lets me out, we’ll make it. He does! We’re good. Back at school by 2.20, just as the class come out. Walk through the rain. Strap five children into the car, and drive back to house. Not leaving again. Ever. Days off work are so relaxing.

Clock - Office Mum
image: pixabay


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19 thoughts on “On the Clock”

    1. And there’s just no talking to a toddler who thinks it’s perfectly reasonable to bring Corn Flakes in ice pop maker thingies in the car…

  1. Sounds exactly like my day today…school runs in the rain are my biggest nightmare. The thought of school runs in March with a new baby fill me with fear too!

    Another great read..well done!

  2. Love this, thanks for putting into words my life on my job share ‘off’ days. I think I have time ‘off’ but really spend it all watching the clock. And I managed to be 5 minutes late for school gate yesterday for no reason at all really, don’t know where the time between 1 and 1.15 when I was meant to be laving went and we left at 1.25! To go somewhere google now tells me is 13 minutes away. I love its relaxed manner as it tells me I usually go there at this time of day and it takes 13 minutes. I so would chance the cup of tea too btw. And I love M bringing along the cornflakes, classic!
    laura | dairyfreekids recently posted…10 Tips for Keeping your Allergic Child Safe at ChildcareMy Profile

    1. Ha – I love that google is telling you all this!! I am quite relieved too, to know that I’m not the only one for whom entire fifteen minute blocks disappear. You look at the clock and think “ah, it’s too early, I’ll do something else” and then bam, it’s too late. I mean, what would be so wrong with being early once in a while really… but time is too precious for that!

  3. Brilliant, I do the exact same with my clocks. And then I signed my children up for after school activities just to add a little spice to my constant clock watching!

  4. That’s why I’m so glad I don’t have to do the school run… I can totally understand real time vs clock time, I always do that!! Great post and true reflection of the reality. Maybe we stress a bit too much, over calculate and over anticipate everything… I see my husband every morning, he’s the one who does the daily school run, he doesn’t seem that stressed about the whole thing, and yet, usually makes it to school on time…
    Nearly Irish recently posted…Expatriation vs emigrationMy Profile

    1. Yes – I do the school run once or twice a week, but other days I’m gone before they’re awake. My husband is WAY better at getting them up and ready than I am – maybe it’s a boy thing 🙂

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