Why Moms Should Stop Feeling Guilty About Running Late

by Ashley Trexler
Originally Published: 
A blonde newborn with watery eyes sitting in a yellow chair and holding his bottle with a brown liqu...

You’ve tried every trick in the book. Laying out clothes the night before, lining up bags, purses, and snacks so they’re ready to grab on the way out the door.

You’ve showered the night before. Set your alarm to wake up before the kids. You’ve prepped and organized everything you could think of so you could be on time.

Just one freaking time, you’d like to arrive clean, calm, and on time.

Give it up.

It doesn’t matter what you do – you are just not that mom. The On Time Mom.

Nope, you’re the one in the driveway, texting, “Running late. Sorry! Be there in a few.”

It’s OK. Take a deep breath and quit the guilt trip. We’re not judging, because most of us are that way. We know how the last-minute dash always turns into an hour.

I am always late. My lateness isn’t caused by genetics, habit, or laziness. Pre-kids, I lived by the “considerate people arrive 15 minutes early” rule. Except for the occasional I-can’t-decide-what-to-wear-and-I’m-not-leaving-this-closet-until-I-do drama, you could count on me to arrive early, or at the latest, on time. (Blame my parents. I know now how annoying this is. Don’t show up early. It sucks and we hate it.)

Then I pushed some babies out of my hoo-ha, and my internal clock was pooped out in the process.

Someone could have warned us moms about that.

Post-baby, I could be led out of the house, blindfolded, naked, and penniless, but some random occurrence would still make me late. From the new car that won’t start to my kid hiding my keys in a sauce pot, I went from on time to always late.

Now, I’m always ready to go … as soon as life cooperates.

Life never cooperates. The other morning, after waking to a swarm of fruit flies who had staged a revolution in our kitchen, I was determined to ignore the problem until after my appointment. I would be on time today, dammit. Attempting to get to the front door, I tried not to breathe any of the little bastards in, but I took the tiniest breath of air… and smelled something rotting.

The smell gave me hope, since it meant I might be able to quell the uprising.

Ten minutes later, a ten-pound bag of rotting potatoes was discovered. (My bad.) Potato juice dripped through the holes in the bag, because the potato bag makers thoughtfully punched air holes in the bag so my non-rotten potatoes could breathe. FYI, potato bag makers – air holes are drip holes once potatoes become mush.

I cleaned up and raced out of the house.

I was 30 minutes late.

What in the hell was I supposed to do?!? If there was a better way to handle that, please let me know. (The potatoes were hidden for a reason. I just can’t remember what it was – don’t judge.)

This kind of thing happens to moms all the time. Maybe your partner’s doing jumping jacks at the front door as you pull out of the driveway, because he can’t find his wallet – which is two inches left of where it normally lives. Yeah, you could pretend not to see him … but then he’d ask you to come home and help him search for it.

Or your neighbor tackles you on the way to the car, wanting a detailed update on how your dog’s anti-anxiety treatment is progressing (aka when will your dog STFU?).

You know what? It’s not our fault. I’m hereby declaring an end to the Running Late Mom Guilt Trip. I want the world to know why moms are always running late.

We’re late because we care.

We want our kids to look halfway decent, because it’s a sign of respect. We want to bring something special to the party, because we know how hard you worked to organize it. We don’t want to be rude to chatty neighbors. We want to come home to a semi-clean house (fruit fly-free is an acceptable condition), because we work hard to pay for it.

And there’s just not enough time. So give us a damn break. We’re not chilling on the couch, eating bon-bons and catching up on the newest Netflix series. Moms are in a never-ending scramble to get to the next place.

I’m going to say what every Running Late Mom wants to say: I’m sorry, but I’m trying. It’s just that life always seems to get in the way of my missing watch, and I cannot get my shit together.

We’ll get to where we’re going – eventually. In the meantime, look for our text, “On my way!! :-)”

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