This morning feels a bit rushed before I even begin the day. We’ve made arrangements to meet friends at an animal park about a 20 minute drive away. We’re meeting at 12 and then – well, pretty much hanging out for the whole day. It’s always longer than I want it to be. In my mind 2 hours would be the perfect amount of time, but it will be 4 hours at least. We’ll be lucky if it’s only four hours. And then the kids will be over-tired and craft fnky by the end of it.

I already resent it before we begin and so I’m trying to set my expectations ahead of time. I know that we’ll rush to get out the door on time and then I’ll be cranky and frustrated and feeling like I’m responsible for herding everyone out, and we won’t be “late” but maybe scraping up against the agreed-upon time and feeling stressed and rushed and cranky even by the time we arrive.

Then we’ll get a message – either on the way there or after arriving – that someone else is “just leaving now” so we’ll be waiting half an hour anyway for the next person. And I’ll be okay about that because I’m okay with other people’s lateness (within reason – so long as it’s not making me miss a plane or a movie or something), I’m just not okay with being late myself.

So what if I didn’t do that? What if I said “okay, we need to leave by 11:30 to be on time” and do my best to make that, but don’t get stressed and cranky when we invariably end up in the car at 11:45? What if I try a little bit harder to remember that we’re going out for a fun day and even if we were an hour late, we’re meeting in a confined location and we’ll be able to find our friends within a reasonably short amount of time after arrival.

Okay. I’ll try that.

Part of the time pressure is that on a weekend morning I have three main priorities (outside of the health and wellbeing of my children and failing any emergencies of course): 1.) Sleep: I want to sleep until at least 8 am on a weekend morning because I will not get to do so all the rest of the week. 2.) Writing here: again, school on weekdays sometimes put this in jeopardy because it’s start-time is non-negotiable and we just have to get out of the house on time. 3.) Running: “luckily” due to recent illness I’m only doing about 7km today, but it still has an hour cost before I even shower and dress. And it’s an hour out of the day I’m willing to spend on myself, but when we’ve a start-time for something else at a location for the whole family, I end up feeling like I’m selfish for asking everyone else to put up with my hobby.

And when I feel bad about something in myself, whether it’s selfish behaviour or some other kind of poor behaviour, then I respond in the least logical way of all – blaming and lashing out at the others in the house.

I will feel like my run is the reason that we’re late but then I don’t enjoy that feeling and I   start twisting it to be about all the stuff the others in the house are doing wrong – if they’d been packed and ready to go out the door the moment I’d gotten in from my run, for example, then we wouldn’t be late.

Oh hell, I’m acting like my dad, doing something I hated as a child – even still hate as a grown-up when we visit. The moment he is ready to go somewhere everyone else has to be ready to jump up and go. And woe betide anyone who needs to use the loo – he would literally drive off. Or if he didn’t, the filthy looks we’d receive for daring to make him wait even 30 seconds for us are still seared into my memory.

But us waiting for him? That was fine.

And that’s what I’m doing when I am thinking that my run is fine to make us a minute or two late, but Twin1’s quest for the bear that he left at the bottom of his sleeping bag (and is important to him, if not to me), or G’s need to download some of his work files to an iPad because he also knows we’re going to be in this place for four fucking hours – all of that stuff is important too.

So instruction to self: Chill the fuck out. About casual meeting times anyway.

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