I am, by nature, an extremely punctual human being. Being late stresses me out, and can actually ruin my day. Being on time isn't just something I prefer, it's something that MEANS SOMETHING TO ME.
Before I had kids, I used to be genuinely baffled by other people's lateness. Why is it so difficult for some people to make it places when they're supposed to? As someone who previously required at least a 5-10 minute early buffer zone prior to all appointments, I just could not understand it.
And then I had kids.
I knew before getting pregnant that I'd end up having to scrap a lot of my pre-baby views and behaviors out of sheer necessity once the little ones arrived, but I didn't think that being on time would be one of them. Yes, I'd have more work to do to get out the door on time, but you just build that into your getting ready time-frame and plan accordingly right? Right?
These days, with two toddler tornadoes to wrangle, I am never, ever on time.
It's the worst and probably super annoying to anyone who's ever counting on me to be somewhere at a particular time, but I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who has this problem. After all, nothing throws you off your daily game like being someone else's mother, and there are a few very challenging reasons why.
You Really Do Have To Stick To Your Child's Schedule
Before I had kids, I distinctly remember having a conversation with a bunch of other non-moms, saying something stupid like, "I just don't get why some moms are so crazy about their baby's schedule. Babies need to learn how to adjust to your life!" Uh. Hmm.
It turns out that's not at all what it's like to have a baby. (Imagine that.) A baby is a person with its own needs who is completely dependent on you to not screw them over. Babies need to eat when they are hungry, they need their diapers changed when they've pooped, and most importantly, no matter what anybody says, they NEED TO SLEEP AT A CONSISTENT TIME. They just do!
That's why, two years in, if you schedule something that isn't 100% completely essential and my kid is still asleep when we were supposed to leave to get there on time? Yeah, we're going to be late.
The Amount of Work Involved Is Exponential
Before we had kids, getting ready for stuff looked something like this:
Doctor's appointment at 10:30. Leave the house at 10, sit in waiting room quietly for 15 minutes reading People Magazine.
Now it looks a little more like this:
Doctor's appointment at 10:30. Get dressed quickly while the kids are watching Daniel Tiger's Neighbourhood. Pack diapers, wipes, Goldfish crackers, and some extra clothes. Change Reid's diaper and put clothes on him. Change Maddie's diaper and put clothes on her. Turn around to find that Reid has undressed and taken off his diaper. Chase him around the house to put it back on. Bring kids upstairs and attempt to put shoes on their feet. One of Maddie's socks is missing. Reid wants to wear Maddie's boots even though they don't fit his feet. Get the kids in the car finally, and then one of them poops. Take them both back in to change the pooper's diaper. Now Reid wants a cup of milk. HOW IS IT ALREADY 10:20?!
It's Hard To Be On Time Even When The Kids Aren't Coming
Trying to bring children with you to anything with a definitive start time is a nightmare, but even when the kids aren't coming, being punctual is still a challenge. Usually it's because the act of dropping the kids off at Grandma's or with the babysitter has put you behind schedule, but sometimes it's because the prospect of a kid-less night has lulled you into feeling like you have more time than you really do.
At first, you think the two hours you left yourself to get ready after leaving the kids is plenty of time. And then you realize you haven't showered in three days, have no nice clothes to wear, and that your hair pretty much has a permanent indent from your perma-ponytails. Do you even remember how to put on makeup?
Don't get me wrong, being late for stuff all the time is super annoying. But it really doesn't happen for lack of trying. Next time you're tempted to make plans to be somewhere at a specific time, really think about it. I think we both know you're probably not going to make it.