There are people who have it all together. They arrive at school drop-off on time with makeup applied and their hair in place. They have showered and are wearing a bra. They return permission slips two days early and send birthday cards four days in advance just in case the post office is a little slow. And they’re five minutes early to everything.
And then there are the rest of us.
Lest there be any confusion, here are some surefire ways to tell if you are a procrastinator parent:
1. You wait until the gas light comes on and then drive another 20 miles before pulling into a gas station on fumes.
2. Your car has actually run out of gas—more than once.
3. You put off vacation planning for so long that by the time your scheduled time off rolls around, you take a staycation by default.
4. Your hair is still wet at 5:30 p.m. when your husband gets home from work because you didn’t get into the shower until 5:25.
5. The kids in your carpool know you as the mom who wears slippers and swears at all the red lights.
6. By the time you get around to buying Valentine’s Day candy, the store shelves are lined with Easter candy.
7. You only buy belated birthday cards.
8. You forget to mail the water bill until you come home to find that pretty pink “discontinuation of service” notice on your front door.
9. By the time you get around to taking down your holiday lights, they are covered with new leaves and spring blossoms. So you decide to leave them up because you’re six months early for the next holiday season.
10. By the time you get around to wearing the latest fashion trends, they are considered retro.
11. You clean for guests when the doorbell rings, at which point you run around the house tossing stray items into the nearest closet or drawer.
12. You do laundry after everything has been worn twice, then Febreezed and worn again.
13. You finish reading each book after the book club discussion.
14. Five minutes late means “on time” to you.
15. Thanks to Amazon Prime, you order everything from birthday gifts to toilet paper about 30 minutes before you need it.
16. You spend hours researching things like “best tweezers for rogue chin hairs” and “most popular song in 1986” when you should be finishing the work project that is due tomorrow.
17. Your daily exercise routine is the five-block sprint to the commuter train every morning.
18. You call to schedule your annual gyno exam after you’ve run out of birth control pills.
19. The library fines you have accumulated for overdue books are more than your latest credit card bill.
20. Opening the fridge to find only a half-empty jar of strawberry jam, some pickles, and a container of moldy cottage cheese is your sign to go grocery shopping
21. You celebrated your 10th wedding anniversary 11 years after you were married.
22. By the time you get around to making date night dinner reservations, the only time a table is available is at 5:15 for the early bird special, which is fine because you will both be asleep by 9:30 anyway.
If you’re the kind of person who is prepared and has it all together, we salute you. We appreciate you. We are in awe of you. But if you’re a procrastinator parent, fear not. You aren’t alone. You’re among good company. And there are some pluses to being a procrastinator. For instance, you can… Oh shit, look at the time! I’m late to pick up my kids from school!