I used to arrive on time for things. Early, even. I knew that if I was cutting it close on time, I would be frazzled, no matter where I was going. I valued my time, and I assumed everyone else did, too. The old adage that "if you're on time, you're late," resonated heavily with me.
Then, I became a mom, and along with my new role I became perpetually late. Whether it was a result of not getting enough sleep, or underestimating how long it would take to get a baby/then toddler/then child ready to get out the door, or seemingly urgent things that occurred right as we were trying to leave the house, it became a daily struggle.
From the beginning, I had the luxury of working from home, and I have always had the pleasure of educating at home, so it's not like we were rolling into school or jobs late. But story time at the library, play dates, classes, birthday parties, you name it: late, late, late, late, late.
Despite the stress that lateness caused me, I never got that groove back. Even now, almost eight years into my parenthood journey, Pip and I arrive nearly everywhere squealing in sideways, at the last minute. Or two minutes late. Or more. It stresses me out every time. Rushing into her gymnastics class as the students are already starting their warm-up equals stress. Running to the car to head to co-op when I know the announcements are already starting equals stress. Knowing we might miss a game or activity because we didn't get ourselves together in time to be present at the beginning of a party equals stress.
Well, we recently and accidentally arrived at one of our commitments early. It was not lost on me how calm we both were and how much we enjoyed the event. So the next day, I decided we'd shoot for early arrival for another commitment. We made it, and it was great. And so we did it again. And again. Our calm, easy arrivals were setting the tone for our entire experience. And it was wonderfully pleasant.
I don't know why I'm just realizing this now, after so many years, but being early is worth it to me. I am determined to arrive early, going forward, as often as is possible. Not only will that lend itself to calmer days for us now, but I hope it will instill in Pip the same respect for time--hers and other people's--that I felt as a teen and a young adult, and that I'm rediscovering now.