It’s Friday evening and you just got home. The clock is flashing 5:10 pm and it has completely slipped your mind that in a few hours you are invited to another princess-themed birthday party. The chaos part of your brain is activated; that same part that dreads every invitation to a party that involves bringing the kids. You can either scramble to get ready, fumbling through the fiasco, or you can organize and plan ahead. Nothing takes the fun out of going to a party more than feeling completely stressed out and under pressure to be there on time. Besides, you don’t want to be known as the fashionably, I mean obnoxiously late one all the time. Below I’ve listed four ways of arriving on time to a party with kids, every time. 1. Take out clothes the night before. Getting three-plus kids and yourself prime and proper for a party can be like trying to get through a timed obstacle course while being chased by a bull. If you find yourself rummaging through a sea of formal, semi-formal, and casual party dresses you will find yourself standing at the edge of the boat, ready to fall over. The solution is to pick out the kids’ clothes the night before. Take out the bows, tights, shoes and everything in-between, do the ironing, and set everything out. When you come home from a long day and see everything prepped and ready to go you will be ecstatic and so relieved that you took these steps. 2. Get the kids completely ready first and then yourself. Once the kids are all dressed now it’s time to get yourself ready. I have discovered the perfect scenario that will enable you to create a flawlessly lined cat eye and stick straight hair while listening to some mellow music in the background without an ounce of disturbance. It goes as follows: bring the kids downstairs, give them their favorite snack, and put on a cartoon or movie. Yes. I am a mom who allows screen time in small doses—don’t judge. You can even turn this precious time into a game—and what kid doesn’t love a good game? Here are the rules: whoever can sit down nicely without getting up, wins! Now you can leisurely doll yourself up and not worry about mascara flying everywhere or burning yourself with a curling iron. It’s like the college days, so carefree and independent. 3. Keep miscellaneous gift related items at home. Although this might sound a tad silly I’ve gotten into the habit of stocking up on cards, gift bags and wrapping paper. I can’t count the times I’ve been ready to go to a party and realized I would have to make a pit stop at the local pharmacy to pick up a gift bag. After all, it’s not worth the hassle of loading and unloading three kids out of a car just to get a simple bag to carry your gift in. That’s why it’s great to keep these last minute items at home. 4. Give yourself extra time to handle unforeseen situations. Whatever time you’ve allotted to get ready for the party add twenty minutes for unforeseen situations. It always seems that when you’re going to a party you can’t find your keys, which the toddler put in-between the sofa or maybe under the bed, or you can’t find your sunglasses which happen to be on your head. That’s why it’s essential to have a window of time dedicated to the last minute stuff. More importantly, with three kids, there are always spontaneous situations that need attention. Whether it’s dealing with a wardrobe malfunction, an unforeseen tantrum, or simply making the potty rounds. Also, if you know your child is not going to eat properly in public, now is the time to feed them a little something to hold them over, which of course you had the foresight of preparing ahead of time. We have all hosted parties and understand the hard work and exhausting dedication that goes into pulling them off. We expect our guests to be there and partake in the festivities, so if you made it on time, you have done your host a great honor. Although excuses like my kids were fighting over the iPad or you were waiting for your nail polish to dry may be pardonable, it’s always best to apologize for being late.