Max on the balcony at Wave Resort

Trying to leave the house with a toddler is like breaking out of Alcatraz

Last week we decided to go to the farm.

It took us approximately forever.

We’re still trying to leave now, actually: I’m writing this post somewhere in the indeterminate expanse of time that opened up between us deciding to leave the house and us actually leaving the house. And this happens, without fail, every single time we try to go somewhere, leaving me with only two possible conclusions:

01. Leaving the house with a toddler is like breaking out of Alcatraz, only much, much harder.

02. It also has the ability to warp time. FACT.

Broughty Ferry beach, October 2019In my life BC (Before Children), for instance, the time it took me to get ready to go somewhere would have been broken down something like this:

25 MINUTES : aimless scrolling through my phone

30 – 40 MINUTES: shower and indulgent hair mask

25 MINUTES: makeup

45 MINUTES: blow-drying and styling hair

60 – 90 MINUTES: choosing an outfit

20 MINUTES: just sitting on the edge of the bed with one leg in my pants, staring into space

20 MINUTES: re-styling hair

25 MINUTES: more aimless phone scrolling

20 MINUTES: last-minute change of outfit

Max on the beach, October 2019Now, however, it looks more like this:

20 MINUTES: tidy kitchen, empty dishwasher, put on a load of laundry, make bed, shower, makeup, run comb through unwashed hair, get dressed.

1 HOUR: catching Max and wrestling him into his clothes.

1.5 HOURS: realising that the above step has taken so long that it’s now lunchtime, and Max will have to be fed before we can leave, or he will kick off in the car.

1 HOUR: changing Max’s top, which is now covered in food, then trying to get his shoes on him.

40 MINUTES: filling the changing bag with everything Max is likely to need for the next three years, because that’s approximately how long this is going to take.

20 MINUTES: Unexpected poop emergency requiring chasing down of the toddler, who does NOT want to have his nappy changed, under any circumstances.

20 MINUTES: Complicated negotiations to secure agreement on nappy changing proposal.

5 MINUTES: Change nappy.

2 HOURS: Terry gets a phonecall from a client. Even although the phonecall itself only lasts 20 minutes, the fallout from it lasts a further 90 minutes, as we now need to go back and repeat the previous four steps, but now with the added challenge of ‘Tired Max’ in the mix.

20 MINUTES: Debating whether we should try to put him down for a nap, or nah?

15 MINUTES: Searching for the red car, which Max absolutely cannot leave the house without.

15 MINUTES: Searching for the blue car, which Max has decided he would, in fact, prefer.

20 MINUTES: Trying to wrestle a cranky toddler into his car seat, while determinedly ignoring his plaintive wails of “ORANGE CAR! ORANGE CAR!”

15 MINUTES: Sitting in the parked car while Terry searches the house for our membership passes for the farm, which he says I had last, and I maintain HE had last.

10 MINUTES: Short but spirited debate on the subject of, ‘Who Has The Most Things To Remember Right Now And Thus The Hardest Life.’

5 MINUTES: Explaining to Max that we absolutely, definitely will NOT be going back to the house for the orange car, because he’s already thrown both the blue and red cars into the passenger side footwell, and we know perfectly well that he’s planning to do the same thing with the orange car, too. We will absolutely not be moved on this decision.

10 MINUTES: Going back into the house for the orange car.

5 MINUTES: Reaching the end of the street, only to realise that although the changing bag does contain five tubes of SPF 50 suncreen, which are absolutely no use to us in October, plus a small Jellycat monkey called Clive, it does not, in fact, contain the sippy cup containing Max’s water, or the snack he is now demanding.

5 MINUTES: Debating the merits of returning to the house for cup and snack, and concluding that doing this will likely involve us falling through yet another gap in the time-space continuum, and that, when we finally emerge from it, it’ll be 2035, and the farm will have flooded due to climate change, anyway. Also, as it’s now almost dinner time, we’ll just buy him some food when we get there, yeah?

Max on the balcony at Wave Resort

As we finally leave our street, with Max’s wails of “GREEN CAR! GREEN CAR!” echoing in our ears, I comfort myself with the knowledge that, by the time we return from our outing, the day will be almost over, and it’ll be time to start Max’s 17-hour bedtime routine. Alas, however, as we leave the farm approximately 7 hours later, I check my watch, only to find that, actually, we’ve only been out of the house for 15 minutes, and there’s still 43 hours left until I can go to bed.

Conclusion: leaving the house with a toddler in some way alters the very fabric of time itself, and also kind of sucks, really.

And the best bit?

Tomorrow we get to do it all over again…

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  • Jennifer


    The ‘short but spirited debate’ part made me lol. That part pops up in our house still and our daughter is 8.

    October 21, 2019
  • candice


    Haha I can’t even imagine how hard it must be


    October 21, 2019
  • Amber Mason


    I don’t usually read articles but this just popped up. I’ve been laughing out loud the whole way through (which is irritating my husband apparently) as this is a groundhog day for every morning that im alive now! I have a girl instead though.. Wierdest thing, after explaining to my husband that reading is still a normal concept and that this article is so reminiscent of my life, i find that we have the same name… Spooky, eh?!

    October 21, 2019
  • Myra


    Have you seen comedian, Michael can’t remember his surname, on this topic. Our Max fell off the chair laughing at this one. You will recognise it. It’s hysterical.

    October 22, 2019
    • Myra


      Michael McIntyre

      October 22, 2019
  • hahaha

    October 22, 2019
  • Zohrah


    OMG this is HILARIOUS and 110% accurate!!! It all makes sense now, time warp, space continium etc… Thought I was loosing my mind all this time.

    October 22, 2019
  • Haha, that’s a hilarious post and yet so true. I can totally relate to it being a toddler mother myself. Most of the times I just drop the plan when I think of the efforts I’d have to put in 😀

    October 29, 2019
  • Sissi


    Oh dear, I thought it was just me. You just described in detail my futile attempts to leave the house with a 3-year-old little boy. Mine is neuro-diverse, which makes the gap and loopholes in the time-space continuum extra fun. Thank you for validating my struggle 😀

    January 11, 2023