Katlyn Whittenburg hasn’t just accumulated tardies for her one child, but all four. And the Tennessee resident isn’t apologising for her inability to be punctual every day. In her recent TikTok video, the 35-year-old opened up about how the expectation to be on time all the time was impossible to live up to.
“I was seven minutes late dropping my five-year-old off at school today,” she said in her post, which has now been viewed over 1.1 million times. “Seven minutes late? What do you want me to say? What do you want me to say? Because I couldn’t? Because I simply cannot?”
“Because my daughter painted a mural using toothpaste this morning, and I apparently I support the arts,” Whittenburg continued. “Because my other daughter had a bloody nose and sneezed and now I gotta get a crime scene cleanup crew to come.”
While most parents are inclined to list “traffic” as their reason for being tardy, Whittenburg’s definition of “traffic” changes most mornings. This morning’s traffic – her daughter refusing to put on a proper jacket before leaving the house.
Whittenburg joked: “I mean, yeah, in that I wanted to walk out in front of traffic this morning because my five-year-old didn’t want to wear a coat, she wanted to wear an unsanctioned bee costume for warmth.”
With over 5,000 comments from other parents reveling in Whittenburg’s funny yet relatable reality, a community of unapologetically authentic mothers was born.
“The amount of times I’ve simply written ‘socks,’” one confessed, while another added: “More than once I have written, ‘she didn’t want to come here.’”
“I made my daughter a shirt that says ‘Sorry I’m late the floor was lava,’” another parent admitted.
One viewer commented: “My mom used to say ‘car problems’ because we weren’t in the car on time and that was a problem.”
“Our school has the option to select Parent Meltdown! Also, Student Meltdown,” another parent revealed.
“Um no so many of us drop our kids off late and I just sign my initials and my son gets a tardy note, heads back to class,” a straight-forward viewer admitted.
Another viewer proclaimed: “One time I didn’t give a reason and they called me for the reason, that’s when they get the longest story they never wanted to hear.”
“I’ve written ‘I’m trash’ three times this year,” someone else added.
Speaking to Today, Whittenburg went into more detail on how she somehow always drops her children off late to school. “One of our daughters always has to poop right before we leave. I would say 80 per cent of the time, the reason we’re late is because she needs to have a bathroom moment, but not sure the school wants to hear that,” she said.
Although her 12-year-old makes things easy on her with a set uniform to wear every day, her five-year-old always runs back into the house to apply lip gloss before heading out.
Whittenburg told the outlet she was pleased by the outpour of love and support from the community of parents online.
“I think so many of us feel a lot of pressure to be perfect, and there’s a lot of shame associated with being late to school,” she remarked. “It’s like: ‘You couldn’t even start your day off right?’ And so, I think it was a relief for moms to see that they’re not alone. And they’re not a failure.”
In conversation with The Independent, reflected on what it was like to hear that other moms were experiencing the same chaos in the morning as well.
“It’s actually a relief to know that so many other moms out there are stumbling around chaotically in the morning too. Even when I feel I’m completely prepared and ready for the day, a kid can make a mess of it all,” Whittenburg confessed.