Works For Me Wednesday- How To Be On Time

wfmw I was raised to believe “on time” meant 10 minutes early. For most of my life I have been a very timely person and being late drives me crazy. Plus I once heard Dr. Phil say that people who are late are incredibly selfish and his voice haunts me whenever I am even a minute late to something. I have enough selfish tendencies I don’t need anymore.

Kids suck the life out of a person who likes to be on time. I have one child who can never find her shoes (which my mom finds delightful in a karma-even though we don’t believe in karma-sort of way), one child who delights in being on time and one who seems to spit up or blow out a diaper every time I put him in his car seat. Seriously, Hannah is constantly (CONSTANTLY) asking me if we are late. She is my human stopwatch.

I get knots in my stomach when we are running late. It goes against my very nature. With 2 out of 3 kids working against me I have got to find a better system. Then I read an article in some magazine (sorry magazine for not giving you credit) that said one of the keys to not being late is to change the time you leave.

Well duh. That sounds obvious, but hear me out. Typically when I am trying to get someplace I think about what time I need to be there and then get ready to leave my house in however much time it takes to get there. But if you have kids you know that actually leaving the driveway can sometimes take days. Seriously it is a nightmare. So half the time I am just closing up car doors when I should be walking in the door of where I need to be.

So now I am trying to bake in some “get out the door time”. This time increases with how many kids I am actually getting out the door. At this point I need to factor in about 5 minutes per kid (maybe an extra 10 if the hubby is involved-JK babe…..kind of). I can subtract 10 minutes if my parents are going with us because, just as I was raised, they show up 10 minutes earlier than the time I tell them they need to be there and they can help with the kid wrangling (seriously would be easier to wrangle feral cats). Even then we usually have a missing shoe or a “I have to go to the bathroom right this second….no I can’t hold it….I didn’t have to go 5 minutes ago” moment.

I keep praying that when my kids are out of the house I will be an “on time” person again. One that Dr. Phil can be proud of. But by that time I will be old and worn out from raising these kids and I will move very slowly. Or the stress of being late and feeling awful about it will send me to an early grave. Dang, the future ain’t looking too promising.

For more, possibly more helpful tips, head over to We Are That Family.


  1. There is a magical time warp that deletes 15 minutes out of the time/space continuum in between leaving my kitchen, walking to the car and getting into the car to go to Church. Happens EVERY Sunday. I’m flabbergasted…
    .-= Amanda – VintageDutchGirl´s last blog ..Laundry Advice From My Forgetful Brain… =-.

  2. My mom always blamed me for making her late to work (she had to drop me off at school first), but now that we are both adults, whenever we have to be at the same place I am consistently there first. Even when she has less distance to go!
    Not that I am an on time person myself, I try, but usually I fail (and I have my clocks set 5 or 10 minutes ahead!). But my mom can’t blame me anymore!

  3. Funny you mention that about your husband … I promise I can always get out quicker if he’s not involved!! :)
    .-= mandi @ it’s come to this´s last blog ..Conversations with a four year old =-.

  4. I struggle with the getting places on time too. Just this past Monday I was saying that before my oldest came around I was a SUPER early person. As in I would sometimes have to drive around the block a few times before entering out of fear of being too early. Then my son came around and I was a more normal kind of early – 5 to 10 minutes. Then my older daughter came around and I started to be EXACTLY on time. And even that made me uncomfortable. And now that number three is here I am CONSTANTLY late. I am trying to do the leave earlier thing but so far it is still a struggle.

  5. I was also raised to be an on-time if not early kind of person. Hubs is fairly punctual, but throw a toddler in the mix? Lord have mercy! So, yes, I have learned to factor in extra time to get out the door to help ease my anxiety about being late.

    And my in-laws are the opposite of your parents. I need to tell them 30 minutes ahead of when I actually want to leave. They’ll be late to their own funerals. ;-)
    .-= Heather @ Not a DIY Life´s last blog ..Top Ten Cute Things that Ladybug Says =-.

  6. I can completly relate to you right now! If Im not there 10 mins early I am late. I don’t allow myself to get to a place “at the reserved time” I have to be early and it literally stresses me out if I dont get there AT LEAST 10 mins early! So I am with you 100%. I need to just sit back and be late a few times!!
    .-= Meg @ Manic Mommy´s last blog ..Post-It note Tuesday – Slideshow! =-.

  7. I’m like you- HATE being late. Even being on time feels late to me :). I’m finding that it does get easier as my kids (6,4,3) get older.
    .-= Candace´s last blog ..Giveaway Time =-.

  8. My family was like yours…if you are on time you are late! lol My dad was always in the car honking the horn way before he told me I had to be ready! I am still like that today. I agree with doctor phil! Being late is totally selfish! We threw my parents a surprise anniversary party and a few guests almost ruined it..as we pulled in they were just showing up. How rude! Anyway..I think planning extra time is good. In college I was president of my sorority and always had to tell the girls we had to be somewhere like 30 minutes before we actually did….worked like a charm! Now I do it to my husband! :)
    .-= Jen-After the Alter´s last blog ..Christmas Traditions =-.

  9. Carrie says:

    I bake in the 5 minutes to get out the door per child too. So far, I am still a pretty on time person. (Meaning about 10 minutes early too!)

  10. I am really trying to be better about being on time. I’ll have to make an effort to leave earlier. That way by the time I find my keys, purse, and cell phone, I can actually leave on time and then be on time!
    .-= Lisa´s last blog ..Crocs Deal of the Day: Buy One Get One 50% Off Boots (Ambler, Haley, Claire, Nadia, and Nadia Girls) =-.

  11. Great minds think alike, Jill. I am perpetually late, and I was thinking yesterday about how I need to start building five extra minutes into my schedule for “getting out the door time.”

    In the morning, my daughter wants 47 kisses and hugs before I leave for work – 5 minutes. In the evening or on weekends, getting her into the car WITH me is like herding cats – 5 minutes. (And there’s just ONE of her!) I guess if there’s ever another little kiddo in our family, I’ll have to add 10 minutes?!
    .-= Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect´s last blog ..No more robbing Peter to play Santa =-.

  12. We were just talking about this last night. We went to dinner with some friends and dropped our son off at my inlaws’ house. I was very early in getting ready, so much so that we ended up being late because we thought we had ‘so much time’ to get there! Ugh. I always feel rushed and uneasy when we’re late.
    .-= Michelle´s last blog ..WFMW – Meals for New Moms =-.

  13. I have found this to be necessary too. If I want to get somewhere at 11, and it takes 20 minutes, I better be planning to leave NO LATER THAN 10:30. And starting to move towards the door by 10 or 10:15 is an even better idea. It’s really hard for me because I’m the type of person who waits until the last possible minute then dashes out the door and barely makes it on time. That does NOT cut it anymore! I just get lucky that most of the places we go (playgroups and such) are casual so if we’re 10 minutes late…well, they all have kids too, they understand. :)
    .-= Kate´s last blog ..Health News Tuesday: Health Care Plan Update, BPA Ban, Tamiflu Scandal =-.

  14. I am SO like you, and I get very stressed when other people make me/us late to arrive somewhere. Thanks for the tip!
    .-= Melissa´s last blog ..ALWAYS Read the Medication Labels! =-.

  15. LOL! This made me laugh out loud (especially the side comment about your hubby – its the same way at our house!). Its like you’re describing me – I have always been an early person, but now with 5 tag-alongs, its becoming more and more rare. *sigh* That’s good advice – to factor in x amount of extra minutes of prep time per person! Thanks for sharing

  16. Theresa says:

    I was raised to be on time too. We would be the family sitting in the empty church parking lot waiting for the pastor to get there…LOL!!!!!!!!! Unfortunately I married someone who is NEVER on time!!! He is for work mind you, as being late is the same as not showing up period. I work with some people who are habitually late as well. And I work for an evangelical organization. They clearly are in no way convicted. It is selfish to make others wait on you or to be late for something because of you. Thanks for the post! Love your blog.

  17. haha, I have to plan to start getting ready 30 minutes earlier than I otherwise would. I plan time for briefly feeding the boy if he gets hungry unexpectedly and changing some part of my clothes b/c inevitably either the shirt I chose won’t fit over my nursing self, my pants won’t fit over my post-maternity self, my shoes won’t fit, or I will put a run in my stockings… If none of those things happen, then baby boy will blowout :)
    If all of them happen, then daddy had better be home!

    But then there was that one day I was going to a Christmas Tea and taking little, and ALL day I had time for NOTHING but nursing that boy, making cookie dough, and I did get a bath in the morning.
    So in the 45 minutes between when dad got home and when I had to go, I dressed, fixed my hair, put on make up, and made a couple dozen sugar cookies.
    I think the Lord God stalled time just for me :) Seriously this going places with baby stuff is hard to get used to!
    .-= Lana´s last blog ..now this is more like it =-.

  18. Actually half and hour does give me extra time most of the time. But there is nothing so wonderful as being all ready to leave and getting to just relax for five minutes before heading out and being early :)
    .-= Lana´s last blog ..now this is more like it =-.

  19. Meghan says:


    That’s probably the article you had read.

  20. Man, this is life-changing. I used to be one of those annoyingly earlier than necessary people B.C. (before child). Now I am the chronically and famously known late person. So embarrassing…
    .-= niki´s last blog ..Tweet, Tweet! =-.

  21. I enjoyed your post. But I must admit that I am the guilty one in my household; I am almost always late. My husband quickly realized two things.
    1. He needs to tell me to be ready 10-15 minutes before we need to leave (30 if we’re going out of town)
    2. He needs to always have a book so he can wait for me patiently. When I feel rushed everything seems to take me twice as long.

  22. I totally relate! It drives me nuts to be late. One of the first times my in-laws went to church with us, they congratulated me because it was the first time they had gotten there early (and I’m sure it was only very slightly facetious)! But now with two toddlers… the world is ripe for emotional meltdowns when you’re heading out the door.
    Did I mention I have a 9:30 appt to be at tomorrow morning, with the two toddlers in tow and no hubby to help? Fun times :)
    .-= Jeannette´s last blog ..Ouch! =-.

  23. Being on time with kids in tow is HARD. If we have an actual appointment, I’ll plan to leave 15 minutes before we really *need* to leave, to take care of all of those last minute shoe-finding, coat-zipping, baby-spit-up things. Sometimes I find myself getting stressed out about the time even when we DON’T have an appointment…in which case, I need to take a deep breath, tickle the kids & listen to them giggle, and carry on.
    .-= Jeni´s last blog ..Hi, Pot, my name is Kettle =-.

  24. I don’t like to be late but I also don’t like to be early — I want to be right.on.time! Let me tell you that can be a trick with 8 children. Sometimes I am successful sometimes not. I am getting better about arriving early – I just hate it when guests show up to my house early and I am not ready because I thought I had 20 more minutes —
    .-= Christy´s last blog ..5 minute Bread – Really =-.

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