Are you the "Late Mom?" Steps to Shedding that Title!

The Late Mom: You know the one! She’s always running into the PTA Meeting late, saying something about the dinner dishes, shattered plates and a gash on her toe.

She pulls up to the carpool line at school at the last minute, shouting, “Run!”

Her kidssay, “But, we’re not allowed to…”

“Run in the hall! I don’t care! We’re LATE, and next time we’ll get a notice from the principal!”

I hate to admit it, but yes, that was me! I wish I had a dollar for every time I arrived somewhere late. And every time I uttered the words, “I’m SO sorry I’m late.” After a while I stopped giving excuses, everyone knew I was “the late mom.”

I remember a conversation with my worship pastor. He made a statement that being late was a passive aggressive, control behavior. I have heard that before, and I started soul-searching a little bit. Was I passive aggressive? Was I a control freak? I tried to honestly assess myself, but it didn’t seem to ring true.

I started asking some friends, “What do you think is behind “late mom” syndrome? Is it selfishness? Control? Passive aggression? Some more experienced moms I talked to said they thought it was just the opposite. We are so worried about everyone else, that we lose track of what we need to do to get ourselves out the door.

Other moms opined that it might be disorganization, and lack of control. The absence of effective routines can sometimes make getting somewhere on time a harrowing ordeal, that’s for sure! But it still didn’t hit the right chord in me. I may not be the most organized person alive, but I do have some good systems in place.

I began to notice that if I was already out doing errands in my car, I was not usually late to pick the girl’s up from school. However, if I had to actually leave the house, it was almost always the same – LATE! So then, I tried to be aware of what I was feeling and doing right before leaving the house.
Many of you know that I have dealt with Anxiety Disorder for several years. Although it’s mostly under control, I have bouts of really hard times every now and then. As I contemplated leaving the house for an appointment, I would feel marked rise in anxiety, tightness in my chest, and I would walk around the house, stopping to think about what I was forgetting- usually nothing.

And then it hit me. My lateness had nothing to do with passive aggression or control freakishness. It was anxiety. I was subconsciously paralyzed by that ambiguous, irrational feeling!

I mentioned that to my worship pastor, because I had confided in him and asked him to pray for me, as I tried to change that part of me. I was a little apprehensive because of our past conversation, but he immediately bore witness, and told a story of someone he knew that had that same problem.

Ever since I came to this realization, I’ve been aware of my self-talk before I leave the house. I whisper a prayer and feel God with me as I get ready to leave the house. I send the kids down before me to get in their seats so I can gather my thoughts at the last minute, and just go! Now I won’t say I’m never late, but it is a lot more rare these days!

SO here’s my advice if you’re “the late mom”

  • Start to track what you do immediately before you leave. How do you feel? What do the kids do? Could you have more effective routines? How do you prepare for leaving the house?
  • Take that information, pray about it, and make a plan. The plan will differ for everyone, because I don’t believe you can pin one cause for habitual lateness.

Let me know, are you “the late mom?” What do you think is the cause, and what are your steps to shed that nefarious title?

The worked for me, go to We Are That Family for more Works for Me Wednesday

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About Sarah Pinnix

I'm a mom, blogger, vlogger, libertarian. I love Jesus, and my husband, too. Social Media Strategist for a Non-Profit (All statements here are solely my own)

Comments

  1. Maricris Zen Mama says:

    One phenomena I've always noticed is that when you are close to where you're going, you always have this mentality of "yeah I've got plenty of time" thing going which always ends up into being LATE. This is me. I live close to almost anywhere I go including work. I'm still trying to break free from this "habit".

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  2. Real Life Sarah says:

    Oh, totally! Especially if I get up early, I find all kinds of things I "have time" to do!

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  3. Muthering Heights says:

    I am becoming the late mom…I would like to say that is has to do with my lack of sleep due to a colicky baby, but really, I'm just scatterbrained!

    I have PPD, and that can make you indecisive…couple that with the "fibro fog" I sometimes get with my fibromyalgia, and I've lost focus! LOL!

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  4. Lol …I am late so everyone else that is late don't feel so alone…ok so I am really just passive aggressive.

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  5. Great post! I think many people have many different reasons…often "multitasking" is a culprit. "I have 5 spare minutes, I need to accomplish something with it! Or I can check something else off my list if I do it now!" I have watched the "late" dynamic all my life in my own family. I have a family member who IS a control freak and who is always 15 or 20minutes early! I am convinced that it's so she can judge everyone else for being late!LOL!(It annoys me because I'm never ready when she get's here! To me it's just as inconsiderate as being late!).
    Many people see it as "no big deal". Life happens, they always have an excuse at the ready, but as you point out, it affects THEM. It CREATEs anxiety, stress, etc. The mental exhaustion of "practicing" the speech (read excuse) that you'll make when you arrive!
    I know this phenomenon well! To me it's a reflection of integrity. Doing what you say your going to do…My OTHER family member (the late one) doesn't seem to think it matters. Or at least it's never "her fault!" I say that it does. Recognizing the "integrity part" made a big difference for me. It's like breaking a promise, and that's something I don't want to be "known for!" It doesn't mean I'm always perfectly on time, it just means I think about what I am "promising".

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  6. Great article Sarah. I think that most of the people who know me know that I'm the "late mom". I have the same problem as Maricris Zen Mama in that I "think" I have enough time to get there and well honestly I usually leave the house WHEN I need to be there.

    Another thing I've come to realize is that because everyone expects me to be late, I just am. So I guess for me that is kind of selfish that I let people wait on me because I know they expect it.

    Good thought for the day, thank you!

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  7. I'm the queen of "just one more thing." I'm always trying to squeeze in too much before we go somewhere. I work from home and I'll just keep working right up until it's time to go, but then I realize my girls aren't ready yet, and I forgot to brush my teeth or whatever. I'm going to try to set myself a goal time to get ready to go. Stop whatever we're doing at that time, get ready. If there's spare time, I can try to squeeze in some extras then.

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  8. Painter Mommy says:

    Love this post. It sure is hard to NOT be late with a bunch of little ones to get ready in the morning. But I have come up with a plan that really helps. Check out my post:
    http://paintermommy.com/baby_kid_stuff/mom/back-to-school-how-to-make-mornings-a-little-easier

    DAWN

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  9. Lisa @ Stop and Smell the Chocolates says:

    I know you wrote this about me Sarah – LOL!! I am totally the late mom. Now that I'm really thinking about it, I think it's a combination of not wanting to leave the house and some sort of self-fulfilling thing. Hmmm, and I am thinking the passive-agression thing might be right – I don't want anybody telling me when I *have* to be somewhere (stomps foot). Sigh. I do feel bad because I do truly feel that I have "stolen" time from others that have waited for me. OK – I really need to work on this! I would appreciate your prayers! 🙂

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  10. I used to not be a late mom, but the more children I have, the worse it gets. I am trying to get better. I think my problem is that I am so tired that I really just don't want to go anywhere. ha!

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  11. I am really really glad that you discovered this about yourself and conquered it. Unfortunately, I am just a busy mama with not enough time. This non sleeping mama is scatterbrained, and too tired to prepare ahead of time. But you have inspired me to find a root of the problem and work on it.

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  12. Musings of a Housewife says:

    I am SO the late mom. I'm always trying to do "just one more thing". If I'm out and about, I'm less likely to be late. But if I'm at home? Forget it. I hate that about myself though, and I'm striving to change it.

    Great food for thought!

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  13. I am totally the "late mom". I try to do everything at night to give myself extra time in the morning but it doesn't help. My irrational fear is that I will be the first one at my destination. For some reason being the first one scares me to death.

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