"Dear school: Please stop asking me for a reason why my kids are two minutes late."

Is there anything that can make you feel more like a naughty child than being asked by your children’s school administration officer for a reason why you’re late when you ask for a late slip?

Before I go on: there is a very good reason for the existence of late slips. In Queensland at least, the attendance roll is marked at 9am, and if any students arrive after that time, they need to report to the school office to fill one out.

This means that any absences can be picked up quickly and parents contacted to ensure there is no untoward reason their child isn’t there. It’s a safety thing.


Now I’m not saying we’re late every single day, but I’m human, and getting three kids and myself ready with all our sh*t – homework, swimming gear, lunches, brain break, drink bottles, instruments… you get the picture – isn’t always easy, and sometimes we just don’t make it on time.

When this happens to us, I usually send the kids off to start unpacking their bags while I get the late slips and bring them to the classroom, but I dread it every time because they insist on asking for a reason for our lateness which makes me feel about an inch tall.

I mean, I’m late, and my kids are late. It’s pretty obvious from that fact alone that I’m not having the greatest morning, and being asked “why?” just doesn’t help, and I honestly don’t see how it’s necessary.

Maybe if someone is late every day, it could be called for, but if I could diagnose exactly why we were late, we probably wouldn’t be. I always get the feeling that honesty in this situation is never really appreciated either.

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“Sorry we’re late; the dog decided to make his morning ablutions on the walk to school and I had to stop to pick it up (UNLIKE ALL THE OTHER PADDINGTON DOG OWNERS PLS).”

“Sorry we’re late; we were already a bit behind so I thought ‘f*ck it; can’t get any worse’ and decided to make eggs and an extra coffee and catch up on social media.”

“Sorry we’re late; I pressed snooze 15 times because one of these jerks slept with his feet wrapped around my head last night.”

“Sorry we’re late; we were about to head out the door when that second coffee struck and made my morning poop come early.”

How about, “Sorry we’re late; I’m a terrible mother and just can’t get my shit together”?

We’re never more than a few minutes late (and sometimes the roll is already marked when we run in breathless and sweating at 8.59am, so who’s at fault there, Mr Overzealous Teacher?), and a few minutes really doesn’t call for this level of scrutiny.

Let me be this flawed human who just isn’t a goddamned morning person, and don’t ask me why, because you won’t like the answer.

Do you struggle to get your kids to school on time? Does it make you feel like a “bad” mum?