“Sorry, we’re running late – again.” – One family’s battle against the clock.

She says:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

We have a reputation and it’s not a good one. My in-laws are so used to getting a call from us sheepishly saying “Sorry, we didn’t get out of the house when we should have but we’ll be there soon” that they just expect it. In fact, the few times we are on time or even early, it’s worthy of celebration.

It’s not like we’re okay with being late. We’re not. It’s rude. It’s selfish. And it’s disrespectful.

At least we aren’t like those people who seem to exist in their very own time zone and expect the rest of us to work around them. I remember a mom at my children’s elementary school who routinely brought her two children to school somewhere between 9 and 9:30 each day. School started at 8:15. Why? Because she “just didn’t like rushing” or making her children get out of bed so early. Seriously? The school was fit to be tied with her. What kind of lesson did that teach her children about responsibility, schedules and consideration for the rest of their lives? We’re not like that, believe me.

I do think some leeway has to be given to parents with babies and toddlers. You practically have to start getting ready the day before! There’s so much to have to pack to get little ones ready – sippy cups, snacks, diapers, pacifiers, special toys, books, stroller, carrier, bouncy, a change of clothes…And then you have to wrangle them into their clothes which can be like dressing an octopus, just in time for them to need a diaper change. I’m exhausted just remembering those days.

Now that the kids are in their teens, we don’t have those excuses. Now we have NEW excuses! And we’re all to blame. Picture our family of six with 15 minutes until we have to leave to go somewhere. You won’t see six people winding down what they were doing to be ready to walk out the door. You’ll see six people seeing those fifteen minutes as “bonus time” to throw in a load of laundry, pull just a few more weeds, make another change of clothes and watch a little more of a favorite TV show. Of course, we’re not done with those things within 15 minutes and so, again, we are late.

He says:

I don’t worry that much about being late to see my family. After all these years, they do expect it and have made allowances for it like not starting to make dinner until we get there – just in case we’re really late in which case dinner would be cold/dried out/burnt to a crisp. Late to work? School? An appointment? That’s not okay and I do try to avoid that at all costs. On our own, Courtney and I are rarely late but add in the kids and it’s a whole different deal.

Courtney’s right – we just push it to the limit, but don’t know our limitations. I’ve thought of trying that old trick on the family of telling them we need to be there fifteen minutes before we really do. But they’d catch onto that pretty quickly. I’ve also thought of saying “If you’re not at the door in fifteen minutes, we leave without you!” But sometimes, that’s not a threat, it’s a reward when they didn’t want to go in the first place.

No, the better thing to do is for Courtney and I to tell everyone, including ourselves, 30 minutes before we need to go somewhere to stop everything and make it a contest to see who can be at the door first. Maybe the last one to the door is not only a rotten egg but has to do an extra chore. That’d get ‘em!

Like so much in life and parenting, it just takes planning, setting a good example as parents and making being on time the priority…right after I do just one more thing.

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