I Used To Wonder Why It Took Parents So Long To Get Out Of The House, Now I Know

by Amber Leventry
Originally Published: 

I finally got all three of my kids packed up and in the van to head to summer day camp when the sun broke through the clouds. Shit! Damn you Mother Nature! Alexa had told me it was going to be a rainy day, and it had been wicked cloudy all morning. I took these as signs to not put sunscreen on the kids—because what a fucking gift. Applying sunscreen to three squirmy kids bitching about how cold the water will be for lessons is about as much fun as it sounds. But now the sun was out and they would be in the pool first thing for swimming; the right thing to do was to at least put sunscreen on their faces.

As I went back inside, I thought, this is why we are never on time. I was a fool for once judging other parents for taking so long to get out of the house. Because here I am, running back into my own house to grab roll-on sunscreen. Sigh…

But this was just the beginning of several more attempts to leave the driveway. Two of my three kids were happy to use the roll-on sunscreen, but my third child decided she would do things her way. As I was putting the van into reverse, she was apparently putting about a quarter cup of sunscreen onto her face via the tube she had in her bag for camp.


I turn around and see what looks like a child who didn’t just apply sunscreen on her own but tripped and fell face first into a pool of it. My daughter was squeezing her eyes shut while waving her arms around and screaming that her eye stings.

I had already dealt with a meltdown that morning, served breakfast, cleaned up breakfast, packed three lunches with snacks for the day, packed three backpacks, and was told I was the worst because I wouldn’t allow screen time. I finally had three kids out of the door and now I was cursing Mother Nature for her sliver of sun, which of course disappeared a few minutes after said sunscreen delay. I was not in the mood for the stubborn foolishness of a 6-year-old.

“Well. This is what happens when you don’t listen to me. Instead of waiting for your turn with the roll-on stick, you get lotion in your eye.”

I then took baby wipes to her face to get rid of the mess she had made. But she fought that, rubbed her other eye, and started screaming again.


I had zero sympathy.

“I don’t know. But I have a feeling you will be fine. But keep crying. That will wash out your eyes. I will also get a wet cloth.”

I went back inside, realized I had left the coffee pot on, rinsed cereal bowls because no one wants to deal with hardened Frosted Flakes, found a wash cloth, ran it under water, and took it out to her. I told her to dab her eyes on the way to camp. It wasn’t even 8:30 am, and I was done. I looked at the clock as we finally left and realized that the last ten minutes had been spent in absolute fuckery.

And this was just one day, one attempt to leave, and one of many reasons why it takes so fucking long to finally go anywhere. I gotta say, though, at least we were all out of the house. We were actually in the car and buckled up, which is more than I can say on most days when the delays begin. And there are always delays. If it’s not a day-long project that a child thinks can be started and finished in a matter of minutes, or a request for more time to do whatever thing has to be done right that second, then someone has to poop.

Seriously, what is it about me saying it’s time to go that makes one or all of my children have to go?

And then the socks aren’t right. Shoes disappear. Toothpaste got on the wall behind the toilet. I probably have time to send this email while unloading the dishwasher and putting in my contacts. I am pretty sure I started the dishwasher without any detergent. I better go back in and check.

It never fucking ends.

Did I turn off the oven? Did I lock the back door? OMFG why are all of the lights on? JFC, the dog is still outside. Can someone please shut the door? I don’t know why your sister has that toy. I guess you can bring Optimus Prime—just go outside. No, you don’t need to pack a bag full of Pokemon cards, 17 stuffies, homemade slime, and a change of clothes for your imaginary monkey. Sure, bring the cards. Of course you dropped the cards. I would be happy to help you clean them up. Are you seriously asking me for a snack while I am the only one cleaning up this mess? And why are YOU back in the house?

It’s a miracle that we get anywhere, really. And if we are there on time, then someone give me a high five. And please forgive pre-kid me if I ever judged post-kid you or made you feel bad for being a few minutes late. I was an unknowing asshole, because holy shit, I get it now.

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