Mom's rant about being late to school gives comfort to 'trash' parents everywhere

A mom of four in Tennessee has earned enough tardies to land her in detention — and TikTokers are raising a fist in solidarity.

“I was seven minutes late dropping my five-year-old off at school today,” Katlyn Whittenburg, 35, began a now-viral TikTokk video.

“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?” she asked. “Because my daughter painted a mural using toothpaste this morning, and I apparently I support the arts. Because my other daughter had a bloody nose and sneezed and now I gotta get a crime scene cleanup crew to come.”

Whittenburg, who lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee, noted that most parents list “traffic,” as their reason for not being on time. She can relate — sort of.

“I mean, yeah, in that I wanted to walk out in front of traffic this morning because my 5-year-old didn’t want to wear a coat, she wanted to wear an unsanctioned bee costume for warmth,” Whittenburg quipped.

Not only is Whittenburg’s video comedy gold, so are the comments.

“I’ve written “I’m trash” three times this year,” one person shared.

Added another, “My mom used to say ‘car problems’ because we weren’t in the car on time and that was a problem."

Other relatable excuses included:

  • “I was super sick one morning and I wrote down ‘moms stomach was wrecked/kids can’t drive car.’”

  • “spilled yogurt drink down pants and purposely sat on 8 blueberries.”

  • “because the lines on the socks, they can feel them..... THE LINES!”

  • “The sleeve was touching his wrist.”

  • My dad used to always write “snow in the driveway” we lived in Florida.

Whittenburg and her husband, Tavo Zambrano, share four daughters, ages 12, 10, 7, and 5 — and none of them take the bus.

“Every morning, it’s something,” Whittenburg tells “One of our daughters always has to poop right before we leave. I would say 80% 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.”

Whittenburg says she’s “grateful” that her 12-year-old wears a uniform to school — one less decision to make— but she’s quick to add that her 5-year-old is “bougie.” The kindergartener has been known to run back into the house to apply lip gloss.

“I’m glad so many people are relating to the video,” Whittenburg says. “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. 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.”

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