I have a serious question. (This rarely happens. *wink*)
When did it become okay to be late? Maybe I’m old-school or am just imagining it (I’m not.), but it seems these days it’s becoming more and more typical for people to casually stroll into meetings 10-15 minutes late, blow off dinner plans for an hour before finally showing up, or even rush into playdates with other kids and moms behind schedule. It seems everyone (and I’m not talking about just moms) has some sort of excuse to why they weren’t in attendance at the designated start time.
Yes, there are extenuating circumstances that can delay us – I get it. I’m a mom of littles and have been late more times than I’m proud of. I can, and should, extend grace to certain situations. But ladies, these situations are no longer the exception – they are the norm.
And it’s not okay.
Your time is not more important than my time. And my time is definitely not more important than your time.
The lack of consideration of someone else’s time can be summed up in one, four-letter word: rude.
As moms, we often really do have the best excuses for running behind (leaking diarrhea diapers, anyone?). But I say this in response:
Moms, let’s do better. Let’s make it the norm to once again be on time. Let’s take take a stand and say “no more” to the trend of casual lateness. Let’s lead by example (especially for our kids!) that all time is valuable and it’s inconsiderate to take a lackadaisical approach to someone else’s time.
We can do this. Because we’re moms. We’re basically superhuman. And we can do anything. *fist bump*
Here are 5 practical (and simple!) ways to take a new stand:
*Warning: Some of these may bring on a “DUH” moment, but hey – we can all use the reminder these days. I know I can!
1. Pre-pack. Keep all necessary items for you and your children pre-packed and in the car at all times. This includes a diaper bag, change of clothes, diapers, wipes, snacks, bottles, strollers – you name it. This way if you become rushed, you will be able to jump in the car with out the need to scavenge for the necessities.
2. Build time margin into your day. We don’t want to live in the margin, but on the main page. However, margin is necessary, especially with children. I recommend to build at least 30-45 minutes of it into your time. That means all activities in your days should have some room around them. I recommend setting that amount of time based on the age of your children. With my toddlers, for example, I would try to build at least 40 to 45 minutes of margin time in there. Teenagers may not need as lengthy a time slot (or maybe they do? I wouldn’t know yet.). While this may seem like wasted time, it will provide you both the peace of mind and a lack of franticness leading up to getting out the door.
3. Set alarms! Okay – remember the “duh” moment I mentioned? This is probably where you may experience one. However, minutes slip away without us even realizing they are gone. Set an alarm for the start of your margin time, then another one halfway through, and then another for 10 minutes until departure. If needed, go ahead and set one for the actual departure time. In the hustle and bustle of wrangling kids and speeding out the door, we can lose track of precious minutes. Alarms are a simple, audible and reliable reminder to get going. With today’s smart phones, you can set a limitless number of alarms for each day. And label them with titles, like “Get Out the Door NOW!” This could even be a fun, race-against-the-clock game for your kids.
4. Live by the motto “on time is early.” This means if you have an 8 o’clock meeting, then you need to be there and ready to participate at 5 to 10 minutes before eight. Start practicing this mental dialogue with yourself immediately. The dinner is at 7 o’clock? This means dinner really is at 6:50.
5. Embrace bribery. My personal favorite. Mama, there is absolutely NO JUDGEMENT here when it comes to the often necessary bribery of your children. (I keep a few snacks and candy in my car for JUST THIS REASON.) Many times children cannot be reasoned with, and it may take a little outside motivation (candy, anyone?) to get them to do what needs to be done. I’m all for it. And you will be too, once you are peacefully on your way to an on-time appointment.