It is a source of daily stress and distress. I start every single day unhappy.
You are going to judge me. Tell me it's rude and disrespectful. It disrespects the school, the teacher, the class, the other kids, and my own kids' access to learning. Tell me it is undisciplined. A necessary life skill, failed.
You think I do not know this?
You are going to assume I do not know what to do or how to fix it. You are going to tell me about sticker charts, incentives, punishments, egg timers, consequences, school talks, how you fixed it (therefore you understand but you also know it CAN and SHOULD be fixed), how your neighbor's mother's cousin's daughter fixed it.
You think I do not wish I had the magic fix?
You are going to think you know what our deal is. You are going to suggest I put my kids to bed earlier or wake them earlier. You will tell me we ought to make lunches the night before. Create schedules. You may offer websites, books, magazine articles, or what your child's teacher told you.
You'll express some kindness, maybe, try to get at what is happening, how and why it is not working. You'll suggest that perhaps expectations are too high or we're trying to do too much. You'll offer advice about shifting this and that and altering the schedule.
You might dissect us. Tell me how this is open rebellion on my kids' part, a reflection of something inherently wrong in our family and relationship or in the school or life in general. You'll figure this is a symptom of a bigger problem. You'll let me know how this is reflective of my own lack of discipline or how I am doing it all wrong or how my kids have been let loose to go awry.
You think I do not want to understand why it happens, no matter what?
Trust me. I've heard, seen, read, had it said, and been told it all. At least four times.
There is nothing you can say to me that is worse than what I have already said to myself, and to my kids.
Whatever you are thinking is the solution is probably something I've already tried. At least twice.
And yes, I did it right.
I have tried sticker charts, incentives big and small, consequences minor and dire, egg timers, shifted schedules, buying lunch, making lunch the night before, organizing charts, talks by the school and so on and so on and so on.
We've been dealing with this for the five years of school.
We've tried something to work it out constantly.
Each time we try something, it works for a bit and then the kids backslide. So we try it again and it fails, so we try something new.
We don't like it. We know it is rude. We know everyone hates tardy people. We know everyone thinks poorly of us. We hear it all the time, in general. Not to us directly, but about late people, in general.
I am tired of hating myself. Hating my kids. Hating time.
I wish we fit better into this construct.
But we do not.
All I want you to know is...you do not know, not really, all that we do; but we do try, hard.
All I want to know is...you do not hate me, or us, or judge me or us, and that you think that being late is not the worst thing a person can be--there is much, much worse a person can be. You know I try.
But somehow, something always happens on the way to the forum.