Confessions of the Perpetually Late coParent
I’m not the most punctual person. It’s not that I’m grossly late or even always late, but compared to my coParent who is routinely early, my track record is not good. Now some studies show that running late is a sign of creative and successful people, but I realize what a pain this causes when you’re sharing a kid schedule with another person. So to shed some light on those of us who run fashionably or embarrassingly late, check out these five truths:
I know it’s a flaw.
I’d like to think that I’m a pretty self-aware person, which is a trait I want my kids to have as well. So when I have a not-so-flattering part of my personality, I try to own it. Lateness definitely falls into this category, and I believe it’s better to recognize it than to ignore it. By acknowledging that I have a tendency to run late, I’m giving my kids permission to talk about it, too. This even helps from time to time because they’ll give me that extra push to be on-time!
I don’t do it on purpose.
On behalf of most of the late people everywhere, I’d like to go on record to say that it’s really not on purpose. As a working mom with a jam-packed schedule, I try to make the most out of every little minute I can get. This means getting off that one last email or trying to quickly throw the last of the dirty dishes into the dishwasher. I also don’t really factor in things like traffic delays. I try to plan for just enough time so I show up on the dot. I realize this is a flawed plan. By doing this, if any one thing gets off schedule, there’s a snowball effect. This pretty much sums up why I’m late – to slightly late – about 50% of the time.
I really don’t like being early.
Personally, I don’t like showing up 10 or 15 minutes early to places. When you do, it seems like you mill about doing nothing or aimlessly checking your phone. When I’m uncharacteristically early, I always have regrets. “I could’ve quickly changed the cat litter!” As I’m writing this, I know how silly it sounds. And I recognize the importance of giving our brains more downtime. It’s tough to do it in the moment, though! I also know this is a pain to my coParent who does like to be early to everything.
I know I need to set a better example.
I might run late from time to time, but I’m not one of those people who are horribly late, cancel at the last minute, or just don’t show up at all. Yet, I know people like that, and they can drive me bananas! Since I realize my mediocre lateness can look irresponsible to others, I’m well aware of the importance of teaching good habits to my kids. I want them to give good impressions and build trust with others. Being ready and on time is one of the best ways to do this at any age, so it’s a good reminder to practice what we preach.
I can do better.
At the end of the day, I can make excuses for being a creative person or just really busy, but I know deep down that I can improve. This is another good teachable moment for kids. By promising to do better or leaving five minutes earlier than I usually do, it can make a big difference to my kids and my relationship with my coParent. Communicating with my coParent that I’m working on my flaw and they see the progress defuses any unneeded anger from them.
If being late is something you struggle with, make a pact with your kids to work together to be on time. Maybe your kids need to start getting ready five minutes earlier! By making it a team effort, you can all hold each other accountable. Plus, showing our kids we are committed to personal improvement is definitely a worthy cause!