My child was still eating breakfast this morning when we were supposed to be out the door. I set the alarm for 6 am so we could get out of the house by 7. He sleeps in his clothes for the next day (weirdo), he doesn’t spend a lot of time on his hair, the television wasn’t on, and no one fell or got hurt. I have no excuses here — I sincerely don’t know what happened in that block of time — but we were late. Again.
And you know what else? My son is 14. He’s not a 2-year-old who doesn’t really understand why his mother is making him get up and get dressed when he’d rather stay home and play with his Hot Wheels. He gets it. He tries, and so do I. We just can’t pull it together.
We’ve been doing this dance for years now and it always goes like this: “Addison, we are going to be late, you need to hurry up.” Then he makes an effort to hurry up, but it’s like he doesn’t really know how to move efficiently and things get heated, he gets frustrated, walks into things, spills the entire contents of his backpack on the floor, and I clench my butt cheeks together even harder because there is literally nothing I can do to speed things up now.
“Let’s move it, Add. We are late again,” I say for the millionth time in my life.
His response is always the same: “You yelling at me isn’t going to make me move faster.”
This never goes well, especially now as he stands at 6’1″ and has about 30 pounds on me, so I can’t physically move him like I could when he was small.
I have two other kids and myself to get ready, too. When there’s that many people fighting to get out the door, something is bound to happen — someone has to use the bathroom, someone needs a drink, and there is never a day when everyone can find their damn shoes, coat, or book. My son’s socks will feel weird, or I will forget the dog as we are pulling out of the driveway headed for her vet appointment.
Yes, being a parent is my excuse for being late, and it’s a damn good one. Some think it’s rude, I get it, but I’ve always wondered what magic elixir these parents who are always on time dole out to their family. I’m glad there are people in this world who are more together than I am. I’m over here sweating trying to get my youngest to put on a damn coat while I hunt for his permission slip.
Maybe someday I can be like those parents who manage to be consistently punctual, and not feel like I am rushing to the next thing and always 10 minutes behind. Maybe there will come a day when I can stop apologizing for my lateness and not feel like I am speeding through my day and in slow motion at the same time.
But today is not that day.
Most parents I know who are late don’t sit back and sip their coffee while watching Good Morning America and think, It’s cool, I can be late because I have kids.
No, they are racing around in a panic, watching the clock, beating themselves up because they are going to be late again, and they are yelling at their kids to hurry the hell up. No one is having fun, and it’s not done on purpose to make anyone wait.
When you’re a parent, shit happens. Sometimes, literally.
And being late more often than not is where we are at right now despite making an effort to be on time. It’s not due to the fact I feel entitled, because I don’t. We have prepared, and organized, and planned for this, but something always goes awry.
Being late doesn’t mean you suck as a human. It doesn’t mean you don’t care about other people’s time. It means life and your kids are throwing a lot at you and you are trying to keep up the best you can, and if people want to coin you as a selfish person for being 10 minutes late because you broke your back looking for your kids pacifier that fell under the car seat so he doesn’t scream during the whole car ride, let it be and don’t let it get you down.
Not that you have time for that business anyway, I’m sure you’re too occupied trying to get your damn family somewhere on time.