How long does it take parents to get a child out of the house? Forty minutes, unless they forget the gym kit

Name: 40 minutes.

Appearance: A still-damp shirt blasted with a hairdryer; a butter-stained consent slip; a single shoe; a silent scream. Two-thirds of a clock face. Look, darling, the big hand is already at eight!

Age: About 10 years older than when I got up today.

What’s going on? You seem frazzled. We’re talking about how long it takes children to leave the house in the morning.

A-ha. And that’s 40 minutes? On average, yes, according to a survey of 1,000 parents. It’s thanks to rows about cleaning teeth, hairbrushing and what to wear.

That seems quite speedy, frankly. I assume they are not including the time after the door finally closes: the HIIT workout that involves trying to fold an ironing-board-rigid, screaming child into a buggy, or carrying a “no bones” floppy one down the street. The meditative scrutiny of every discarded Tennent’s can and condom. The “who presses the crossing button” row and the enforced stop every time you spot a good-looking lorry.

You’re forgetting the book bags and gym kits. Yes, quite right, we are forgetting them, and having to go back for them.

Hey, no one said parenting was a picnic. No, indeed 91% of the parents surveyed said they had daily battles with their kids about the likes of homework, vegetables, and sunscreen.

What on earth are the other 9% doing? Lying, perhaps. Or outsourcing.

Is there a better way? There are plenty of helpful suggestions out there for a successful morning routine; some are sensible (always put your keys in the same place), but most seem optimistically predicated on not being reduced to a human puree of despair by the daily grind. Get up earlier! Prepare packed lunches the night before! Make a to-do chart with sticker rewards! Invent a time machine before breakfast!

What does the fashionable “gentle parenting” movement say? Oh, you know about that? Well, gentle parenting is all about validating your child’s feelings and avoiding blame and coercion, so rather than saying: “Don’t put your toothbrush in the dog’s bowl, you’ll make us late,” you’d go with something like: “Hey, you seem to be having some emotions this morning!”

Aren’t we all. Of course, you could do everything right and still get hit with “Are you going to die?” just as the school gates come into view. A classic. Factoring in the last-minute requests for £13.34 in exact change, a sugar-free snack for 30 and a scale model of Cologne cathedral made of sustainably sourced matchsticks, it’s a wonder anyone bothers to get up at all.

Do say: “I see you’re cleaning my iPad with the toilet brush because putting your shoes on doesn’t feel good today! Sometimes mornings are tough, aren’t they?”

Don’t say: “For #!¢£$ sake put the %*€!?& cat down, we’re !@¡#?!* late.”