Wednesday, 22 February 2017

The Benefits of Being That Mum Who's Usually Late

And we're off! Charging down the street with the wind in our hair, a walk-sprint with a waddle.  Baby in the carrier, toddler finally in the buggy, merrily rolling along the pavement.  I'll admit that we've left the house a little too late, but it's a miracle that we've made it out the door after a broken night of milk feeds and night-terrors, fully clothed and well fed, and I still think we've got a chance, however tiny, of actually making it on time.  A short-cut across the grass should do it.  I manage to push a heavily laden buggy up a hill while singing the baby to sleep *mini fist-pump*. The class starts at 10 and it's now two minutes to.  One more corner and then it's straight along for the sprint finish.  I'm unclicking the buggy straps at 10:03 as there's a buzz of introductory chatter at the open door.  We've made it. Just.

I don't mean to cause offence or show disrespect. I'm not even talking about big sod-off-in-your-face-more-than-fifteen-minutes late. Just a cheeky five minutes, or the occasional naughty ten. Even though I know we should have left earlier, there really are some benefits to being a tiny bit late. So, if you're like me and struggle to get yourself and the kids anywhere on time, stop beating yourself up and reap the rewards.

  1. Optimism.  Even though I leave the house late, I always think I can somehow make up the time and be punctual.  There may be a hint of delusion, but I’m definitely more of a cup half full kind of person.  This is the same optimism that guides us to try new classes, playgroups, or to discover and develop new skills or make new friends.
  2. Organisation.  Don’t laugh.  It’s true.  Knowing that we’ll be rushed leaving in the morning has actually made me a more organised mamma.  My happy-go-lucky last-minute sprints rely on a pre-packed nappy bag and keys/wallet still in the coat pocket from yesterday.  N.B. This doesn’t apply to weekends or Monday mornings.
  3. Risk-Taking.  Okay, so I’m not talking about taking preschoolers scuba diving or babies base-jumping. I like to risk a last-minute short-cut and have consequently discovered some lovely cobbled streets, new picnic spots and cafes to return to at a later date.  Being that mum who’s happy to cut it fine also goes hand-in-hand with being content not to belong to a mummy/nanny clique; it doesn’t matter if the last chair’s taken in the mamalicious circle when you chat to a range of folk.
  4. Exercise.  There’s no better way to get your feet moving quickly than when you’ve prepaid for a baby class that starts at 10 and it’s already quarter to before you’ve got everyone fed, clothed, changed and out the door and strapped into the relevant buggy/carrier.  Racing twice daily through suburban England, pushing a toddler in a buggy and jiggling a baby in the carrier has kept me far fitter than my old weekly aerobic class.
  5. Automatic Body Warmer.  Icy days don’t put me off leaving the house as within a few minutes of buggy-bolting we’ll be peeling off the hats, gloves and scarves.
  6. Humbling.  Despite always leaving late, my determination to arrive on time leaves me truly ashamed when we’re late!  My apology is always so genuine and heartfelt that it strips away any pride and maybe makes me more approachable to other rabbit-in-the-headlights mammas!
  7. Mindfulness.  The great thing about trying to make up time means that every swift step is fully focused on arriving as soon as possible.  I’m not looking at my phone, or day-dreaming about a tropical getaway.  Every nanosecond is dedicated to the cause.  I’m fully in the present.
  8. Practical.  There’s nothing worse than arriving early, especially when the class/playgroup/whatever has been unexpectedly cancelled.  On the odd occasion that this has happened to me, I’ve never felt so cheated by the tragic waste of time.
  9. Minimal Time Wasting.  I routinely leave fifteen minutes to get to a class almost a mile away.  I hate the idea of using the car and since making it on time in twelve minutes, I know we can enjoy that extra slice of toast or read that book one more time, rather than hanging outside a locked church hall in the wind and rain.
  10. Maximum Child Entertainment.  When you’ve got a couple of tots to keep seated and/or entertained, arriving too early for anything can be bad planning.  We've all watched the early kids get fidgety during rhyme time at the library, before sprinting laps around the fishing section or tunnelling under the counter to the staff room.  Better to be late than early.  Always.
P.S. I was lucky enough to have my parents with us today so I only needed to transport one portable child to the baby class. Despite walking in the face of Storm Doris, we made it eight minutes early. It was kind of nice with nice chats about the best reusable nappies, but I couldn't help thinking about that second cuppa I could've had or that game my two year old wanted to play. We didn't get started until ten past anyway. Nope. Being early just isn't worth it.

"RUN! Don't walk!"
Photo- author's own 

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