The curse of being a punctual Mum

Sometimes, I feel a little alone in my understanding of the concept of time. Sometimes, I am alone, literally…the first at the pub, the park, the restaurant, for the meeting, standing outside Costa Coffee, sitting in the car in the car park.

I think I’ve always been this way, on time, that is. It certainly isn’t something I choose to do – it’s just that I cannot (no matter how hard I try) be late.

Growing up, as a teenager in particular, I was definitely a black sheep in the area of being on time. My best friend was my nemesis of time management, and we still laugh now about how I would walk to her house every morning before school, turn on her light, wake her up and tell her to get out of bed.

We were, after all, learning to be sociable in the days before mobile phones (OLD) where ‘I’ll ring you as I’m leaving’ wasn’t an option. Being at the prearranged meeting place at a set time was pretty imperative to have any kind of friends and social standing. In all honesty, I think it’s just part of my make up.

During my education and early career days, it certainly paid dividends, and landed me some amazing revision timetables, great grades, a reputation for being reliable and some networking brownie points.

But, it also wasted a whole load of hours of my life, mostly in my outside school / work circles; waiting for other people to wake up, to be ready, who were absolutely, most definitely not ‘on their way’. If we arranged to meet half way, I’d be knocking on your door before you’d left the house. If we arranged to meet at the restaurant, I’d be there, bagging the table. If we were all being picked up, I’d always be a safe bet to be collected first. It hasn’t helped that a good handful of my best friends are all pretty shocking at being on time, and even though I know this, I just cannot resist the need to be there on cue.

I thought becoming a mum would fix this little imperfection of mine; so I was told on good authority anyway, that all Mums are late. Hopping along like white rabbits, trailed by overflowing nappy changing bags, push chairs, half dressed children and general disorganised chaos. I actually quite liked the idea of other people waiting for me for a change. But it wasn’t to be.

Being late? Not this Mummy.

Somehow, it’s made my unfortunate condition, immaculate punctuality, a whole lot worse. Now, I just have to be so much more organised, nine times out of ten, it makes me earlier still.

I guess I just don’t do approximation. To me, ‘in the morning’ is before 12.00. Not everyone seems to agree. Meeting at 1.30 means half past one. I will therefore be ready to leave the house by 1.00, and be out the door by 1.15. I know – what an arsehole. Believe me, I know it, especially when everyone else rocks up at 2.15 because ‘the baby was napping’ or ‘we were having lunch’ whilst my baby is nodding off in her car seat, and TG had her lunch at 11.45, so we’d definitely be ready to go, and has the remainder of it in her pocket.

We have been regulars at a singing group since TG was a little tiny one, and due to the fact I was told ‘it gets really busy’ I always made sure I was there 10 minutes before it started. I got to know the receptionist pretty well, and it became a bit of a joke how I was always so early – especially on the days the group was deserted. I really, really tried to start going later, but it seemed every clock in my house was set at a different time, and we’d still always manage to be ridiculously awkwardly early and I’d cringe as I signed in my arrival time.

I have been on many a play date where I have been pretty much ready to leave by the time my co-mums have arrived, or I have honestly believed I have been in the wrong place. Only to be met by a frantic looking Mum with a huge smile on her face and barely an apology, just a ‘knowing’ mumble about how hard it is to get out of the house.

But I’m not cross. I’m jealous.

I wish I could let go a little. Go with the flow. See where the wind blows us. Be there ‘when we are ready’, not at the rough time we agreed. Put us first.

I’ve found some tactics to manage my condition; meeting at your house is a good one. Also, I’ll pick you up. Or even forming an alliance with someone most likely to show up, so we can get on with the good stuff while everyone else misses out. These aren’t bullet proof though, and I have been known to be told to drive round the block a few times until someone gets out the shower (with the kids in the back…honestly).

I think maybe I worry too much about letting other people down – the thought of someone else stood waiting for me mortifies me. Why, I don’t know, as quite frankly it has NEVER happened. I’m not sure what I think the consequence of this would be? Friendships burning in hell? My children starving to death at the knock on effect of not being home in time for dinner? Missing all the fun? It’s all quite unlikely. In 100% honesty, I guess being late stresses me out way more than getting ready. Mr G would probably disagree, poor sod has been rushed out the door to many a family gathering with despaired cries of ‘it doesn’t matter if we are late’ and ‘no one else will be there yet’ falling on my deaf ears.

So, there you have it. I’m a bit of a freak in the world of latecomer Mummas. But maybe this was one element of my very being that motherhood wouldn’t change.

Just to finish…I did recently tell some of the mum gang I’d meet them at a summer park date when we’d done some bits we needed to do first. Are you proud of me? Don’t be…I decided in the end it wasn’t worth going as everyone else would probably be on their way home. Maybe next time…

x MMT

Are you like me? Or the total opposite?! I’d love to hear how you manage your time with kids in tow. Leave me a comment to share your thoughts x

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14 thoughts on “The curse of being a punctual Mum

  1. jermbarnes Reply

    I’m right there with you. It can be pretty aggravating sometimes

  2. Alice @ The Filling Glass Reply

    This has made me chuckle, I am exactly the same as you. I remember when my twins were little and I was always ready before all my singleton mum friends and they used to be bemused as to how I could do it, and I was bemused as to how they could take so long! I find with 3 now I can be so anxious to not be late as I hate how it makes me feel that I end up shouting at the children and I’m not sure it’s really the right way to be that I am trying to be a bit more chilled out about it. But it’s definitely a lifelong condition! Xx

  3. NewMummyBlog Reply

    Brilliant post! I’m the same, I rush and rush to get there then realise I’m 10 minutes early. Swimming starts at 9.30 but if I’m not there by 9.10, I firmly believe we are actually late. It’s a bit different for meeting friends for lunch or coffee as I modify the time we’re meeting depending on who it is… If it’s a friend who is usually caught in a situation (nap, feeding, grandparents popped in!!), I will decide we have to be there 15 minutes later than we arranged so that H has more time at home or whatever else we’re doing. But, if we’re meeting friends who are reasonable with time, I’ll be there on time. I’m also a quick walker so I tend to panic myself that I’ll be late and walk walk walk! In saying all that if I have to get hubby out the door too… We’re more likely to be late! 🙂

  4. Sarah Reply

    Have to admit I’m a bit like you too! The kids laugh when I say we’ll be late for school – they say “you mean only 10 mins early, Mum” I think I have got so used to giving myself a buffer that I automatically change the time in my head now, and bring it forward. #BrilliantBlogPosts

  5. Mrs Tubbs Reply

    I’m not very punctual, but I do try to be considerate if I’m running late and phone to let people know so they’re not waiting around for me. (I’m usually ready, but travel by bus so even I’m at the stop when the bus should be, it isn’t always!) #bestandworst

    1. mummuddlingthrough Reply

      Sounds like you’re a conscientious late mum, that’s ok in my book 🙂 x MMT

  6. helen gandy Reply

    I am without a doubt the opposite, both myself and my husband no matter how hard we try seem to always be late! It became such a regular thing at one point that our friends would tell us a time half an hour earlier than what it is supposed to be so we would be there on time, haha. Great post and thanks for sharing with the #bestandworst 🙂 x

    1. mummuddlingthrough Reply

      I envy you Helen! It takes all sorts eh? Thanks for sharing the post x peace-out MMT x

  7. moderatemum Reply

    I love seeing into the mind of a punctual person 🙂 I’m fair to middling, I’m reasonablly relaxed about arrival times, except when Roscoe was small and friends didn’t seem to understand that when I said I had an hour it HAD to be that hour. I found that meeting at awkward times helped e.g quarter past seems to inspire more punctuality then on the hour. I also add when I’m leaving to the meeting time so that people have an end time in mind.

  8. Cazzarama Reply

    I’m either early or late – I can never seem to get it quite right. I really liked this blog post – a different point of view. I’m going to try and be more considerate now and get better and not being late! Thank you x #brilliantblogposts

  9. Silly Mummy Reply

    I’m the opposite. Though, oddly enough, I have actually improved since having kids. I now tend to be somewhere between on time and 10 minutes late, not the hour to 2 hours I was quite capable of before! I was always a ‘how important is it’ kind of late though. Never late for exams, trains, etc, and at my most late for things like going out for a night with friends where I knew I could meet up at any point & plenty of people were there so I was really only affecting how much I missed. I’ve always kind of thought that the people who are reasonably punctual but not obsessive with it are the ones who have it right. I fully accept that my lateness is not right & must be very annoying for people. But, at the same time, I also find the people who are constantly rushing you & insisting you must be on time in situations where it really doesn’t matter annoying – as I think that is just unnecessary stress. Then you get stuck in the cycle of breaking things, forgetting things, things going wrong because you’re under pressure, and that makes everything take longer! There is a comfortable middle ground between the extremes I think, & I do think it is better now I have got myself closer to that middle ground! #effitfriday

  10. Absolutely Prabulous Reply

    OH MY GOD the line about cannot be late no matter how hard i try… I had to read it three times. I thought it was another language (ha ha). I admire you MMT. Whilst there have been occasions in my life where I have actually managed to get my act together and get somewhere on time, I have to admit I’m terrible (as you may have gleaned from some of my posts!). Thanks for linking to #effitfriday

  11. Kamsin Kaneko (@kamsin_kaneko) Reply

    I can totally relate. I do not u definitely why other people find it so hard to be on time. And my husband is worse than me. He gets everywhere EARLY!
    I actually consider being late a moral failing. We’re totally the ones doing this thing right.;-)

  12. Emma T Reply

    Hmm, I’d be there with you too. It’s got to the stage with 2 sets of friends (not even going out with kids, but in the evening) where we’l tell them an earlier time for meeting in the hope they’ll not be too late.

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