How to leave the house with a toddler

I remember a day when I used to get up, have a shower, eat breakfast, get dressed and be out of the house in less than half an hour. On a bad day it would be an hour.

That doesn’t happen anymore. Ever. Now if someone invites us out to meet them at 9:30am this happens

– 7:30am: Toddler wakes up and starts shouting help and ouch at the top of her voice. Without even stopping to rub the sleep from your eyes you get up and dash out of bed and into her room. Toddler is sat in bed smiling knowing that once again she’s totally played her mother and will be forgiven if she says hello and gives me a cuddle.

– 7:45am: Open toddlers wardrobe doors to choose what she is wearing for the day. Have a 10 minute argument about why a swimming costume / wetsuit / party dress / nighty isn’t appropriate clothing for wearing outside in the cold. Go to drawers and have a similar conversation about why she has to wear socks and a vest. Toddler outright refuses to wear anything that isn’t what she classes as pretty. Then spend 5 minutes brushing teeth – actual teeth brushing time is more likely a minute though the rest is spent giving her a wash. Or watching as she splashes water everywhere…..depends on your view point I guess.

– 8:00am: Having finally agreed on what the toddler is wearing today I stop by my room to pick up (probably yesterdays) jeans and a clean plain t-shirt from the drawer. On a good day I’ll even wear matching socks.

– 8:10am – 40 minutes after waking we finally make it downstairs.

– 8:15am: Sit toddler down in front of TV to eat her breakfast while I shower. Yes I totally let the TV babysit her while I shower and I refuse to feel sorry about it. Our shower is next to the living room so I shower with the door open so I can see her all the time and she knows where I am. Fairly often once she’s finished her breakfast she’ll come and bring me her bowl while I’m still in the shower. Which is helpful.

– 8:20am:  I get out of the shower and rinse the remainder of the cereal from her bowl out of the shower, dry myself off and get dressed. Brush teeth, deodorant on and put hair back in a ponytail. If you are lucky I might achieve the holy trinity of teeth brushed, deodorant on and hair brushed but 2/3 of these key points is much more likely.

– 8:30am: Take a deep breath and using my most cheerful voice announce to the toddler it’s time to get dressed. Toddler promptly runs to hide under the table.

– 8:40am: Tempt toddler out from under the table with the promise of a banana.

– 8:45am: Toddler is now out from under the table. I change her nappy and take the opportunity to put socks and leggings on her before she realises what’s happened. I turn around to pick up her top.

– 8:47am: Turn back around to put top and vest on toddler. Toddler has removed her trousers and her socks while I turned around.

– 8:50am – Toddler is back under the table

– 8:51am – I text my friend to say we are going to be late

– 8:52am:  Toddler is told she has to be out from under the table by the time I count to three. It’s only when I’ve got to two I realise I don’t have a consequence in place so I start counting in fractions.

– 8:54am: Thankfully toddler emerges once I get to 2 and 7/8ths and we head back to her clothes.

– 8:57am: Toddler is dressed but sees me with the hairbrush so goes back under the table. The hairbrush is apparently evil.

– 9:00am: I go and make tea in an effort to not play up to the toddler like all the books tell me to. They say that’s what she wants. I will not budge or give in. I’m in charge here.

– 9:08am: Toddler is still under the table and we’re officially involved in a stand off to see who will budge first.

– 9:11am: I win. Because I’m an awesome parent in full control of her child. Not because I rustled the biscuit packet and she came to investigate.

– 9:14am: Toddler is eating a biscuit while I brush her hair and put it in a ponytail

– 9:17am: Toddler is dressed, washed, clean and fed. Now just to put her in the car.

– 9:20am: Spend five minutes looking for shoes while toddler goes off quietly to a corner.

– 9:24am: Victory at finding shoes is short lived when it becomes clear toddler has been busy.

– 9:26am: Change toddler nappy

– 9:30am: Toddler is dressed, washed, clean and fed. Now just to put her in the car.

– 9:32am: Spend a few minutes arguing about which toys are coming with us – eventually agree that 4 cuddly toys is the minimum acceptable number. Phone beeps as friend asks me exactly what time I’ll be arriving.

– 9:35am: Toddler is dressed, washed, clean and fed. Now just to put her in the car.


– 9:38am: Toddler has screaming attack when she realises she’s clipped in and can’t get out.

– 9:40am: Can’t find house keys to lock up

-9:44am: Keys found and door locked. I’m in the car. Write text to friend saying I left five minutes ago and will be with them in 10 minutes.

– 9:45am: leave house

– 9:46am: Return to house to pick up forgotten purse

– 10:10am: Arrive at destination 40 minutes later than intended. Toddler decides 10 minutes after arriving that she wants to go.

– 11:30am: Arrive back home needing chocolate and tea. Toddler says she’s bored and wants to go out.

– 11:31am: Start counting down the hours till bedtime

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