Christina M. Currie: Tomorrow will be better

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I've been awfully lucky that I have a job that's so flexible. It doesn't matter if I'm working at 6 a.m. or 9 p.m., as long as I get done what needs to be done.

I've had that luxury for the past 10 years.

Now that's ending, and I have to admit, I'm not dealing with it well. Once my girls started school, I lost everything that was flexible about my life. No longer can I fit my day to my schedule. Now, I fit my schedule to match theirs.

So far, I've been lousy at it.

Katie has been to the office five times this year. Every visit has been my fault. The office is where children wait when their parents are late/forget them.

The first time it happened, I was aghast. Even worse was when 5-year-old Katie greeted me by saying in a sad little voice, "You forgot me, Mom?"

I told her I got lost.

The last time it happened, Katie used the opportunity to tattle on me. She told the principal that I'd taken away her toys. She didn't get as much sympathy as she had hoped once the principal wormed out of her that the reason she lost her toys was because she didn't pick them up.

That's not the only place I've dropped the ball.

For the past three days, Katie has had to enter the school through the front doors as opposed to the kindergarten door because we've arrived after they were locked.

The first two days, I told Katie to tell her teacher that she was sorry for being late. On the third day, I told her to tell the teacher that her mother is sorry she's late.

I just haven't gotten the hang of arranging my schedule to fit Katie's. I've got alarm clocks all over the place, but they're not always the solution. There was no alarm at the 10 a.m. meeting that ran long or the quick telephone call that runs past 11 a.m.

I'm thinking that soon I'll be called into the principal's office.

Another problem is that one alarm clock comes equipped with the much-loved snooze button.

The girls even have an alarm clock, but they either sleep too soundly to hear it or they (like their mother) manage to ignore it, because it doesn't make a bit of difference.

I don't wake up because of the alarm, I wake up because of the time. I push snooze a couple of times, roll over lazily and look at the clock and then shoot out of bed like it spontaneously combusted because I finally realized there was no way to accomplish what I need to and get out of the door on time. I can take shortcuts in my morning routine, but there's nothing I can do -- short of sending them to bed already dressed -- to speed up the girls.

By the time all is said and done, I'm shoving breakfast into their hands as I'm shoving them into the car and telling myself "This won't happen tomorrow."

And then ...

My days now fit into chunks. I can schedule appointments between dropping the girls at school and picking them up and dropping them off at the babysitter's (a process that I've not yet managed to accomplish in less than 45 minutes).

Evenings are just as difficult (probably why mornings are so hard). By the time we get everyone together and stop at the grocery store (or whatever other miscellaneous errand) it's 7 p.m. And it's still not time to rest. Cook dinner, eat dinner, clean up after dinner, take a bath, wrestle through the after-bath routine, read a story and wrestle through the going-to-bed routine.

That means we're also late meeting our pre-established bed time.

So, at 10 p.m., I get to pick up and take a shower (just to shave time in the mornings). Bed after 11 p.m.

It's just another excuse for my love affair with the snooze button.

Tomorrow will be better.

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