How oh how do you handle being all the time? Am I really the only one is is regularly late to things?? How do you handle the constant, constant stress from rushing rushing rushing?
I am talking about activities where we are meeting other people but also ones like going to events where we miss entertainment like music or dancing or a craft and also places like the zoo where we end up having a quick trip instead of a relaxed ling trip because we were late.
I literally feel the stress in my body. It is dangerous! I need organizing help, mental help, probably, but also how you emotionally handle this.
I'm fairly constantly running late. I have some strategies, but since I'm fairly constantly late, they may not prove useful.
The clock in my van in about 7 minutes fast.
People I care about (and might be meeting me) know that I run late.
I plan an earlier time on my appointments. Made the appointment for 1:30? write down 1:15.
Be honest about how much time it really takes to get someplace. It's not just about drive time. And by be honest, I mean with myself. I'm my worst enemy in this. If It takes 20 minutes to drive it, but 10 minutes to get out of the house and another 5 minutes to get into where I said I'd be, I need to plan 35-40 minutes, not 20.
I very frequently don't feel like doing things in that order (I'm tired after school pick-up and like to have a rest right then), but experience has taught me that things go so much more smoothly when I'm prepared, so it's worth it to spend those 5-10 minutes getting ready.
Also, I just hate grumping at my kids to hurry when it's really my fault that we're running late, so I try hard to avoid that.
How old are your kids? What kinds of things keep you from leaving the house at your planned time?
but everything has pros and cons
You're definitely not the only one. Among the parents I know, it's pretty common to be late to things. Most of us aren't late to everything all the time, but I bet most of us are late to something at least once a week. That's just the way it works when you're doing activities with kids.
I don't think you should be learning not to stress about it as much as you should be learning how to plan ahead to eliminate the stress. You need to figure out (probably the night before an outing) what time you want to get there, how long it will take to drive there, how long it will take to park and get inside the building, and how long it will take you to get ready. Add up all that time, put in a little extra for a cushion, and you'll see what time you need to start getting ready. If you try this and you're still late, you'll know you need to allow more time the next time. If you're on time, but keeping everyone moving to stay on schedule was really stressful, build in more time so you don't have to keep hurrying the kids so much next time. Look at every outing as an experiment that is going to help you plan better next time. See which areas are taking longer than you planned. Maybe you didn't realize that you actually needed to allow 15 minutes for getting everyone out the door and into the car. Maybe you consistently forget to take into account the possibility of bad traffic. Maybe you forget things and have to go back for them often enough that you need to build in an extra 10 minutes every time just for that.
Also, getting things ready the night before is definitely helpful. Then if you can't find someone's shoes or ski pass or whatever it's not a disaster that makes you late, because you have time to look around for it. Making a list of everything you need to remember to take with you or do before you go can be helpful, too.
Part of it depended on the ages and number of my children. When they were in diapers, (one or more of them at a time, including potty training) I kept the filled diaper bag (4-6 diapers, wet bag, 1-2 diaper covers, change of clothes, extra training pants, etc.) in the car at all times. Include a minimum of 5 minutes per car seat to get the children into the car. Keys and purse in same spot at all times so I don't have to go looking for them (now my cell phone is in the pocket of my jeans at all times). Add in time to put shoes on (mine as well as the kids-when needed). I write appts. down as being 30 minutes before the actual time. As they grew up, the time became shorter. They could put their shoes on, collect what they needed, buckle their seat belts, etc. But my girls still call me ahead of time to remind me when I need to babysit or take them to work, run errands, etc. Now I'm late because I get involved and stop looking at the clock.
I think this is an important distinction. Everyone is late sometimes, but if a person is late all the time, then being on time just isn't a priority for them, for whatever reason.
OP, it sounds like punctuality is a priority for you, since it bothers you to be late (I know some people who are always late but don't seem bothered by it in the least). I don't think there's any magic way to be on time except to prepare, and to be realistic about how long things take. My DH insists that it should take us 30 minutes to leave the house, since that's how long it takes HIM to shower, dress, grab coffee, and go. But getting a family of four dressed, fed, geared up, and out the door obviously takes longer, so I set my alarm for 90 minutes before we need to leave.
there are two things here in your post.
and rush, rush, rush.
its not always related but can be.
always late is a state of being. like someone pointed out google map only tells you it takes 25 minutes to get there. it does not tell you about the time getting into the car and the walk to the destination.
if you are always late - you need to look at why. if you have a baby or a toddler last minute things come up. i used to keep snacks and drinks in the car always when dd was little. so you would have to look for tactics to help you get out the door. i now use a timer because how i feel 10 minutes is and what it actually is are two different things. i actually set myself to leave 10 minutes before the time i am supposed to and i noticed between me forgetting something and dd - we leave on time.
first you need to also see if you are overscheduling. i've been also known to do that. cant miss opportunity.
i was like you. feeling so stressed. so what i did was stop looking at the clock in the car. listen to music or an audio book. focus on the conversation between dd and me. if i am late, ah well i am late. i dont want to drive fast or get all stressed out because i'm trying to cut corners. i have forced myself not to get stressed in the car. but its been work. i am a slow moving person. i tend to be more late than early. so i have to work at it constantly.
i have also found it is VERY IMPORTANT for me to have downtime. very. even at the cost of sleep.
if you are late ALL the time - you need to revisit each one and see if there is a common patter of why you are late all the time. have you factored getting the kids in the car and buckle up time?
in general though, i feel rushed all the time. even when i am on time. i hate the feeling of always watching the clock. just to even take a shower sometimes. some days i just want to dilly dally and take MY time. not many opportunities for that.
also when you schedule the activity matters. its easier for me to leave at 11 than say 8 or 9. there is a fun event every 3rd saturday that we have not been able to get to in a year because it starts at 9. its important dd gets her down time on the weekends so we try not to schedule anything till 11 or noon. takes a huge amount of stress off our nightowl family.
For realistically planning how much time (including actual travel time and time to get everything together, out the door and everyone strapped in) and adding in extra dawdle time for kids and also extra time depending on traffic at that time of day and weather and also for one last diaper change/bathroom trip. And with me, I usually build in 5-10 extra minutes so I can be early as I have had it drilled in me that you should be early to things to really be on time
For planning and preparing, with young kids, having a diaper bag (preferably already in the car) with diapers, wipes, change of clothes, etc. For older kids, having a snack & drink & toy/distraction (again preferably already in the car except for maybe the drink). Keeping all my essentials (purse, keys, etc.) in a spot so that I'm not hunting for anything like that at the last minute. Having any items for the trip ready to go (really depends on the activity, but things like paperwork, gifts, food, sports equipment, bookbags, lunches, luggage, etc.) well ahead of time. If I need more than a couple things, I tend to just make a master list and check it off as things are packed up to make sure I have everything.
Overscheduling is a good point too from a PP, sometimes we are just doing too much and it makes sense to drop a few things so you have some time back to breathe!
As far as for when I am actually running late, I try to just accept that I'm going to be late and I'll call and let the appropriate person(s) know while I am driving (hooray for bluetooth) and then just get there efficiently, but safely. I tell myself things like "I'm going to be really late if I get pulled over for speeding or get in an accident!" or "X is only 5 more miles away, I'm going to save myself no more than 30s by driving stupid and it isn't worth it!" to calm myself down and resist the temptation to start driving too aggressively.
Katie - Married to Mike 06/02/01, Mom to Sydney Anne born 11/21/09 and Alice Maeryn & Oliver Thomas born 04/24/13
You don't mention whether part of the rushing is due to running from one activity to another eg. school to after-school playdate and then to dinner and then to an extra-curricular like a sports team. If it is, then reducing the number of commitments you make will help relieve your stress. You can involve the children in planning which activities you all agree to attend.
One helpful thing I did when my dc were involved in a lot of extracurriculars was to keep a separate bag or backpack for each activity. The swim bag was always packed with swimsuit, towel, and shampoo and soap. The dance bag had leotards, dance shoes, a sweater and a book or some puzzles for the waiting room. The soccer bag had the uniform, shin guards and cleats. And so on. After the activity was done each week, whatever needed to be cleaned was put in the laundry and then went back into the appropriate bag right away. This system greatly reduced the daily scrambling around and panic before leaving the house. Once you have the system in place, the kids can help keep it up by being responsible for making sure that the bags are packed and ready to go.
Like the others have said, prep ahead of time.
My car is stocked with a variety of bags, they NEVER come in the house. Once they come in the door, it's all over.
My chair, blanket (or sheet) and umbrellas.
A beach bag with the beach things: Sunscreen, bug spray towels, floaties, little first aid kit with band aids, etc.
Baseball field bag: Sunscreen (yep, a whole different bottle), bug spray, little first aid kit with band aid, coloring books, markers, little toys.
Oh we decided to stay in Chicago bag: meds, contact solution, make up bag, clean socks and undies for all of us.
Weather change bin: (It's WI after all) hoodies, hats, mittens, socks.
First aid kit.
Dont ever take stuff out of one bag for another!!!
We go to 3-4 baseball games a week, ds has his routine down for getting his gear ready. All I do is remind him. Dd keeps her bag in the car so she always has stuff to do. I always have my kids dressed and ready well before we have to leave the house. Meeting someone at 12? Everyone is dressed and ready to walk out the door by 11. Dh doesn't get it, because he thinks walking out the door means 5 minutes notice. But it takes 5 minutes to find a lost shoe! When we have an appt he leaves with exactly the right amount of time to get there. Not park, walk in, check in, get to the right end of the building. It drives me nuts.
I would say planning to do anything you can do early ahead of time, being realistic about how much you can do (maybe fewer activities to run around to is part of the solution), and being realistic about how long it takes to get ready to go out and then how long it takes to get places. I am very seldom late now, but I've had to learn to be on time for things. It really just takes giving myself enough time.
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