Explore. Imagine. Love.

Purposeful parenting amid a world of sugar, screens and schedules.

Why Oh Why Am I Always Running Late?!

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Am I the only one who just can’t seem to figure out how much extra time to give myself to get somewhere with kids?  I really hope it’s not just me.  But really…I’m terrible at it.  I am not consistent at all.  Some days I’m right on time.  Some days I’m 5, 10, even 20 minutes late.  So ridiculous.  Sometimes I’m early.  One time we were 25 minutes early to gymnastics class and I had to chase my toddling baby all over the lobby as we waited.

After some trial and error I can usually figure it out if we’re going to the same place each time…although there are always variances.  Such as…

On their way to the van, they manage to get soaking wet and need to change their clothes.

My three year old took her pants off without me noticing and although we we arrived on time, I had to wait in the parking lot as she took her socks and shoes off, put her pants back on, and then put her socks and shoes back on.

Many times Little Sis gets out of the van without shoes.  Usually she has taken them off while we drive, but there have been times when she got into the van without shoes and I just didn’t notice.  Luckily, I usually keep some in the van for just that reason!

Sometimes everyone will get ready to go surprisingly fast.  I actually gave us more than enough time to get ready.  We’ll have thirty minutes before we need to leave.  So I let them play for a bit.  Sometimes that works out fine.  Other times my three year old decides that this is a good time to take everything off that we just got on her and, instead, put on a fairy costume.


They can’t find socks. They can’t find shoes.

I want them to wear hiking shoes for a specific reason and they want to wear dress shoes or flip flops.  Reasoning with a three year old doesn’t work well.

One time my alarm went off and my husband and I got everyone up to get ready for church.  Little Bear was so tired and crabby that I laid him back down to get some more rest while the rest of us got ready to go.  The girls commented on how dark it was outside and we gave them a little homeschool lesson on winter days vs. summer days.  Then we looked at a clock and realized it was two hours earlier than we thought it was.  Someone (my one year old who likes to push buttons) had changed the time zone on my atomic alarm clock and we didn’t notice until we were pretty much ready to go.

They are hungry.  They are thirsty.

There is a sudden, excruciatingly painful injury that has come out of nowhere and it has greatly affected the five-year-old’s ability to walk.

Someone needs to go potty.

The baby has pooped even though I just changed his diaper.  Or worse….pooped on his clothes and has gotten on me.  That hasn’t happened lately but is not uncommon with new babies.  haha

The only coat in the whole world that is worth wearing is the coat we cannot find.


They want to bring a toy.  They can’t find the toy.  They are afraid the toy is lost forever.

Suddenly the three year old does NOT want to go to the place we are going and she does NOT like our friends.

Just as I’m about to buckle her, Little Sis realizes that her hair is in a pony tail instead of a messy bun and wiggles and kicks and refuses to be buckled because she wanted a bun…even though she never told me that she wanted a bun.

She does not want my help.  She needs my help.  She does not want my help.  She needs my help.

And then, of course,  there are my own flaws.  I’m up most of the night because kids keep waking me up and I can’t get back to sleep so I oversleep in the morning.  I can’t find the diaper bag.   I can’t find my keys.  I can’t find my water bottle.  I just remembered that I was supposed to pack a lunch.  What was that address again?  Ugh, I fed the kids but forgot to feed myself.  Oh shoot, I was going to run this errand while we were out…do I still have time?  Why isn’t the van starting?!

THEN on top of all THAT, there’s…

Agh, we’re just barely on time but now we have to walk all the way over here and juggle kids, bag and wallet and pay for parking!

Traffic!?  It’s 10am on a Tuesday….

Oh no…I forgot to give myself time to set up my stroller.  (I have an awesome stroller that is a bike trailer and a stroller.  It comes apart and lays flat but takes quite a bit of time to set up.)

I’ve been a mom for almost six years.  You’d think that I’d have it down by now.  You’d think that I’d remember that even though it only takes twenty minutes to drive somewhere doesn’t mean I can wait until twenty minutes before we need to be there to say, “OK!  Everyone to the van!”  But you’d be wrong.  That still happens.  And then how late we are depends on all the variables.

Sometimes it all goes smoothly and we are right on time.

I think that’s the problem, really.  If we were never on time I’d realize that I really need to change something.  But when we’re on time about 50% of the time, it messes with my mind!  🙂

All this being said…I do not think it’s cool to use my kids as an excuse for always being late.  I do try hard to be on time and think others should, too.  But kids sure don’t make it easy!  As important as I think it is to be on time, I also don’t think it helps to get bent out of shape about it.  It is what it is…apologize and do something different next time.  Let’s remember to give others, and ourselves, grace.  I wrote this post because I think it’s good to be able to laugh about it, rather than just feeling frustrated.  I hope this post gave you a chuckle and maybe some of you out there are nodding your heads because you experience these things as well.

WHAT ABOUT YOU?!  Any funny stories? Any tips for being on time?  Are you the kind of person who is just always on time no matter what?  We don’t want your kind here.  No need to comment.  😉  



Author: Explore Imagine Love


One thought on “Why Oh Why Am I Always Running Late?!

  1. I still often run late, and I have no children to blame it on. I find myself trying to be as productive as possible until the very last moment. Unfortunately, I tend to overestimate when the very last minute is. If you leave late, you’ll get there late. That’s my struggle. BTW, I laughed hard and long about Big Sis’ mysterious leg malady. The whole article was entertaining, but that part really got me.

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