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My Anxiety Riddled Battle with the Clock

I have always been a prompt person. I’ll count backwards from when I have to be somewhere, and then try and plan accordingly. I used to look down on tardy people and secretly judge them for not valuing my time. This, of course, was all before having kids of my own.

My own tardiness hit a new low last week when my family and I were two hours late to a friend’s BBQ. Yes, there were extenuating circumstances involved, including an hours’ worth of traffic, and a car-sick child’s vomit explosion, but I felt terrible none the less. I have become that tardy mom that can’t get anywhere on time no matter how much I plan or obsess.

My anxiety over being prompt not only affects me, but also those around me. My husband dreads vacations for the simple reason that he knows how bossy and ornery I’ll be the hours leading up. Even if we are on a loose timeline, I know what time we were supposed to exit the house in my head and can’t stand the fact that we missed our deadline. My kids surely feel my negative energy, with all of the orders being barked.

Not only am I late for social engagements, but I am always running late for work too. There’s always another hug to give, another ponytail to fix, or a pair of shoes to find. Luckily my office is pretty lax, but none the less, my internal countdown clock is always running.

My twins are turning three this summer and I’m finding this age particularly challenging. It’s great that they are potty trained, except for those times somebody has to go number two after they’ve already been buckled into the car. Three year-olds have opinions about their clothing, which means I’m often forced to participate in a last minute scavenger hunt for someone’s favorite shirt. Their new-found independence means resisting my help at every turn! I’ve never seen red like when watching my daughter put her shoes on the wrong feet for the eighth time in a row!

A few of the other reasons as to why we’re late…….

• My daughter wouldn’t get out of bed in the morning (takes after her Daddy!).
• We didn’t have the right kind of muffins, yogurt, (fill in the blank) in the house for breakfast so a tantrum ensued.
• Twin A got to play with the buttons on my key fob, start the coffee maker, (fill in the blank) so Twin B now must do it too.
• I used the “wrong” sippy cup so I have to clean the dirty one.
• I carried someone down the stairs when they really wanted to walk, so now we have to go upstairs and start the whole process over again.

This list could go on for pages, but I’ll spare you the details. I know enough about raising toddlers to expect this behavior to carry on for a while longer. What I do have immediate control over, however, is my reaction to the delays and my relationship with the clock. I don’t think I’ll ever be okay with being late, but I am staring to realize that so much is beyond my control. I am working on being able to let things go and be the kind of mom that my family wants to be around.

So if you are waiting on us for a play date or a party, know that I’m sorry! I am probably more upset about our tardiness than you are!

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