Getting out the door on time feels like a race every damn day. I am sweating. I am looking for the car keys. I am yelling for everyone to get in the car, and my hands are overloaded and I have to pee — again. I drop my purse and water bottle on the kitchen island and run to the bathroom, trip on a shoe, and wonder why the hell no one can refill the toilet paper roll as I hear my kids beeping the horn reminding me we are, once again, late.
I always used to be on time — early even — to everything. Appointments, meetings, gatherings, you name it, and my ass was there on time. I have no idea how I managed to be so prompt; I just know it was easy for me to be on time, and other people’s lateness pissed me off.
Then I had kids and that kind of fucked it up for me. I’ve been in the corner eating humble pie ever since. It feels like now I am not able to make it on time for anything even if I am sans kids. Because once chronic lateness sets in, it doesn’t go away. In fact, just the other day my ex said to me, “You are always late now, always.” Yeah, no shit. I have three kids and two dogs under my feet all the time. It’s a miracle we even got here at all.
But he’s right. I am always running behind. Usually my lateness ranges from 10 minutes (minimum) to a half-hour (okay, that is slightly more accurate). I just can’t seem to pull it together and arrive on time, let alone early. It’s not because I can’t estimate how long it takes me and my tribe to get ready. I can. It’s because even if I allow more time, even if we start getting ready early, that extra time somehow gets soaked up by doing other things that pop up along the way.
I’ve tried setting the clock ahead by 10 minutes. It doesn’t work. I mean, we all know when we set the clock ahead we check the time and think, Oh great! I still have 10 minutes. I could stand around for 10 minutes or arrive early like I did back in the day, but — you know — I have other shit to do. I’ll just make that grocery list really fast. Except that writing out a grocery list takes, like, 20 minutes. And looking for a damn pen (before you settle on a broken crayon) takes at least 5. And now I’m 15 minutes late.
The truth is, contrary to what some think, people who are late aren’t rude, lazy, or selfish. In fact, Diana DeLonzor, author of Never Be Late Again told the New York Times that people who are late are producers who get “an ego boost from getting as much done in as little time as possible.” Did you hear that? We’re producers. Do I get a rush when I know I have exactly 3 minutes to make my bed and get dressed? Maybe. Do I feel accomplished when I can squeeze one extra chore in before a meeting? You bet your ass I do.
So really, those of us who are always running a bit behind are hopeful and believe we have time to fit more things in. And being an optimist is good for your health. In other words, running late equals happy, healthy, and super-productive.
Moms need to milk every last second so we can get it all done. It’s hard to keep one eye on the clock when you are combing out your daughter’s hair, your son can’t find his left shoe, and everyone decides they are starving two seconds before you are about to load them all in the car. I would rather be a few minutes late because I had to grab a snack for my kids (and then take a pee) so we can have a quiet, comfortable ride without doing unintended Kegels so I don’t pee my pants or listening to my kids whine about how they’re starving.
I know it comes off as being self-centered or that I don’t value other people’s time, but I do. I truly do. It’s just that there isn’t a day that goes by when I’m not trying to fit it all in (and then some) and put out the fires which seem to ignite exactly 2 minutes before we are supposed to leave.
I’ve made peace with the fact we are going to be late… indefinitely. And we don’t mind one bit if you start without us. Deal?