You know the score. You're in a rush to get out the door. You need to drop the kids off at school, pre-school or childcare. Then you have to make it to work or to an appointment on time. Or you just generally need to be somewhere.
You've been up since the crack of dawn ensuring that the kids are fed and dressed, lunches are made and bags are packed.
Despite the early start, you're still running late. There's practically no chance of making it to your destination in time unless you leave the house at this precise moment.
It is at this precise moment that I will invariably hear one of the following seven things from my daughter:
1. 'Mummy, I need a poo!'
Seriously? She's had all morning to cook that up and I've given her about five reminders. And did she just take a book into the bathroom with her?
2. 'Mummy, the baby stinks!'
I.e. the baby has done a poo. Despite his innocent looking face, he is standing in 'his corner' and we all know what that means. And of course it's not a small nugget; it's a squirt-up-the-back-and-out-the-sides job.
3. 'I don't want to go to school/ pre-school/ Nan's house because I'll miss you'
This statement is accompanied by sad eyes similar to those of Puss In Boots from Shrek.
That's very touching but we don't have time for it.
This normally translates as 'I've just spilled something all over my clean school uniform and you're going to have to change my entire outfit - knickers and socks included.'
5. 'I've got a tummy ache/ sore throat / headache / body ache'
Can you be completely sure that this isn't a made-up illness? Nope. But you can be damn sure you will spend all day feeling guilty about the fact you ignored it.
6. A loud crash followed by the sound of rapidly retreating footsteps
What has she broken this time? As long as it's not something that will cause fire, flooding or a burglary it will have to be left until later.
7. 'I'm still hungry!'
Really? Even after a five course breakfast? The only thing to do is grab a packet of chocolate biscuits from the cupboard and hope other parents won't assume they are her actual breakfast.
After dealing with one or more of the above, being late is inevitable. It's time to admit defeat, munch on one of the chocolate biscuits and resolve to try harder tomorrow.