I'm often running late. Not more than five minutes usually, but just a wee bit late. If I set my mind to it, I can be perfectly on time, of course. It's sheer laziness when I time things too finely, not allowing for lost hats, the applying of sunscreen, or the kids' last-minute toilet stops.
My running-latedness extends to school drop-off, too. I'd say fifty percent of the time I'm just 2 or 3 minutes late dropping off Ben (he starts earlier than his sister). Usually there are other kids still arriving, and the teacher is still chatting to parents or children. I tell myself it's not such a big deal.
My children, however, are not impressed when we are running late. They hate being bustled along, and they hate the thought of not being punctual. (Bloody neurotic kids - where do they get that from? Don't answer that please it was a rhetorical question) Laura once asked me plaintively, "Why are we always late for school?". I snapped, "We are not always late for school! And anyway, if you stopped dancing around in your underpants instead of getting dressed, we'd probably be on time!". Suitably chastened (or perhaps just frightened into submission), Laura gave up her protest as we pulled up to the school. Three minutes late.
The truth is that it's usually my fault when we're late. I get wrapped up reading blogs, or I take too long to make the lunches (do these kids of mine really appreciate my fancy salad wraps? I sincerely doubt it), or I just can't get my hair to look fit for public viewing. So I try to admit this to the kids, and apologise.
Last Friday, we were properly late. I'd taken extra time to wash my hair, and to shave my legs (lest I turn into some sort of hairy wildebeest). We arrived to find the class seated, and the roll being taken. I kissed Ben and told him to have a good day. He scuttled in, anxious to be marked as present.
I was chatting quietly with another mother when the teacher aide burst out of the classroom. She was breathless and laughing.
"Ben just told us it wasn't his fault he was late - it was because his mum had to shave her legs".
I think I may have been taught a lesson.
Shave your legs in utmost secrecy.
Last-minute addition: Feeling somewhat shamed by all these very punctual commenters, I must add that I am never late for work (in fact I always get there early to check results etc), and I am never late if meeting someone out somewhere. So obviously I am capable of being efficient, if I only shave early enough!!