This post could also be titled: “That Time I Nagged My Family About WHAT TIME WE HAVE TO LEAVE THE HOUSE for Four Hours, and Then Made Them Late.”
In it, you’ll find a quick system I now use to get dressed and out of the house on time, no matter what ridiculous series of obstacles are in my way.
It’s all about having an “Emergency Outfit.”
It begins with a one-year-old’s birthday party. I pick out a vintage polka dot skirt and white top, and it’s all ready-to-go, in the closet.
I get my toddler ready first. This is a mistake. He is a methodical procrastinator.
Me: We have to leave soon.
Me: Why don’t you want to go to the party?
Him: ’Cause I’m playing with my cars.
Me: Can you stop?
Him: No. ’Cause Blue Race Car needs a tow truck.
Me: (intrigued by the storyline) Oh, did he get in a crash?
Him: Yes! Mommy, come see!
My husband: Why aren’t you two dressed yet?
Him: Mommy wanted to play cars.
Together, we get him ready. I race into my room, breathless at the thought of my lovely outfit, but as soon as I see it, I know. Something in the stars has shifted. I put it on dutifully anyway, and there it is: The skirt is too poofy. How did I miss this before? The skirt is WAY too poofy.
Plus, the white shirt seems risky in a cake-and-toddlers setting. This outfit is all wrong.
I pull on jeans reflexively and realize all my clean tees, besides the white one, are wrinkled. I start steaming a blue one, when I spot my coral tee looking pretty decent on top of the hamper. I ditch the steaming project and lunge for it. Now I need a camisole for underneath.
When I emerge, we’re running 20 minutes late.
The lesson: Sometimes having your outfit pre-chosen is just not enough. Your moon will move into the sign of Gemini…or you’ll feel bloated, or it will rain, and what you picked out will become a terrible idea.
This will happen. You can’t plan your way out of it.
You need a backup. The backup has to be SPECIAL and versatile. It has to be something you can turn to in any “I hate this, and I hate everything” scenario without question and with confidence.
After the party incident, I find such a backup. It is my go-to outfit, always standing by, unwrinkled and hanging up at all times, for just these situations.
Here are the rules for finding your “Emergency Outfit.”
So what am I left with? You’d be surprised.
Take a look through your clothes with these four requirements in mind. I bet you have a lot more options than you think.
It takes a village!
Join ours. Before we were parents, we were people. Sign up for tips and stories from parents who get it.