How do you think this affects our kids?
The answers make me feel squeamish. I get a knot in my stomach that reaches up through my throat and chokes me. Years and years of either being late or feeling late has taken a severe toll on me.
Let me quantify “late”. Late is anything other than being early. Only in being early are we comfortable enough not to feel late. On time? That’s really late. It’s too close to the wire.
These are words we need to internalize when it comes to planning time.
Here are examples of encouraging the comfortability of being on time as a mom:
Getting Kids To School: (some of you have already broken out in hives thinking about this. Grab the Benadryl)
If school starts at 7:30, anything later than 7:20 is late. Why? Because kids need to be ready for school when school starts, not just getting there. Ask any kid how they feel walking into a classroom just as the bell rings and they will tell you–it sucks. That’s it in a nutshell. It’s just not comfortable.
This stress sets our kids up for a day’s worth of angst crammed into a 10 minute span of life. Feeling like this on a regular basis makes kids feel insecure and tense. Trust me. I have been both the kid and the mother in these equations. My pulse is racing just thinking about it.
Anything you do to maintain any sense of consistency to getting to school on time is worth it. It can be radical (getting up 2 full hours before school starts) or simple (putting everything short of perishable lunch boxes into the car the night before).That’s right. Finished with your homework? Put it in your backpack then the car, not just in your backpack.
Getting To Appointments: (Some of you struggled with this today.)
When anyone gives you an appointment time, do you think it’s “approximately” at 3:00 — give or take 30 minutes? They say 3:00. Whether the office is running behind is irrelevant, our job is to get there when we are told. Showing up to find out that the person I am supposed to be meeting decided to bale due to my tardiness, makes me feel like I owe them something I can’t repay. Again, it sucks. It’s just not comfortable.
Getting To Social Occasions: (I am personally thinking about the birthday party for my nephew that I showed up 1.5 hours late because I wrote in my planner as 2:00 rather than 12:00. There is nothing like a phone call from my mother-in-law asking, “Where are you guys?” to send me into a PTSD fit.)
Anyone who has given a party, thrown a shower, planned a wedding knows that the starting time is a hinging point of the whole event. Even broadly timed “Open Houses” have starting and ending times. When we show the folks that planned the event, we care enough to be ready to participate and happy to be there, it affirms their time and energy. Sliding in the back door to be noticed by everyone and stealing the spotlight from the intended focus is really a bit selfish. It just sucks. So uncomfortable.
The phrase “better late than never” is very misleading. It’s not a lesson that kids want to learn. They just don’t understand rushing when they are little. They see mommy becomes a raving maniac every time we go to that building. Or worse, they think they did something wrong.
There is grace here. We just can’t see it when we are late everywhere we go.
It doesn’t matter what strategies we use. We just have to use them.
Please lovingly share with us your strategies for being on time in the comments section.
You never know who it might help get to some kid’s birthday party on time.