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Getting five kids out the door for school in the morning is not without its challenges. So when Seth King, a dad from Salt Lake City, Utah, grew tired of his kids waking up late or taking too long to get dressed in the morning, he decided to write excuse notes that he describes as a mixture of public shaming and parental love.
The hilarious notes are compiled on his Instagram account, @latenotes, and are providing plenty of laughs for his kids’ teachers, as well as the general public.
“I was getting bored with writing the same old excuse note, and it got to a point where I also wanted my kids to understand the shame they should be feeling for being tardy and putting on-time attendance at their school as a second-tier priority,” said King, who charmingly signs every note "Hugs, Seth King."
The notes — which are for Isabella, 15; Carson, 13; Sophia, 10; Nolan, 6; and Liam, 3 — run the gamut of entertaining, fabricated, lateness excuses. For example, Carson must be excused for getting tied up at his early morning boy band rehearsal. Isabella is late because she was staging a sit-in with her vegan friends at the grocery store to save frozen turkeys.
King says the notes have taught his kids a few things about real-life consequences.
“I love my kids dearly, but I understand also that the world is sometimes a harsh place once you get out of that cocoon of adolescence,” King told TODAY Parents. “I think preparing them for a life of public shaming and consequences early on is probably a good thing. At the same time, I let them know that they’re loved, they’re cared for, and I’ve got their back.”
Humor is the parenting tactic King calls “the only arrow that we have in our quiver as parents.” The father-of-five, who is vice president of event planning for an outdoor gear company, says that in addition to note writing, he’s also been known to do other things to embarrass and humor his kids.
“My kids are very hot and cold with it, too,” he said. “Some days they think it’s really funny when dad dresses up like a leprechaun on St. Patrick’s Day and picks them up early from school for their orthodontist appointment, taking to everyone in an Irish accent. Then, when I enter a parents-only dance competition dressed as a llama, it’s not as funny.”
Regardless of his kids’ reaction to his antics, King says he and his wife, Angela, share a comedic relationship that helps them cope with the daily stresses of parenting.
Angela has even stepped up to write their kids’ excuse notes in her husband’s absence, when he’s had to travel for work.
“She’s even funnier than I am,” said King. “I probably should outsource my notes more to her. I think I will.”