I always hated that word. Tardy. Yuck. See, I was the annoying “always on time” girl in school. In fact, I often showed up earlier than I needed to for class simply for the reason that getting a Tardy Slip seemed to me like the most embarrassing punishment known to man.

(I don’t know what my parents did to instill that little gem in my conscience, but you can bet your sweet bippy that I’m going to try and replicate it with my kids.)

Over the years, I have learned that being late isn’t necessarily the end of the world, nor is it a completely inexcusable occurrence. Everyone has good reason to be late.

Some people have several good reasons.

I have four. And they all kicked the crap outta my insides for the greater part of 9 months.

My husband and I had nursery duty at the church yesterday, which meant we had to bust booty to get out the door and to church on time. At 7:29am, we were up and immediately began the necessary church-day prep: Shower for Clint (I decided to take a baby wipe shower and call it good), breakfast for kids, make coffee, knowing full-well that it wouldn’t be consumed while hot, change twins’ diapers, weed through laundry baskets in search for church-appropriate (read: no holes in the knees) clothing, weed further for 6 pairs of socks, curse the fact that we don’t fold laundry more often, dress children, brush hair, put on makeup (for me), brush teeth (if time), hunt down 12 shoes, curse the fact that we always seem to lose one stinking shoe, find keys, change a poopy diaper (“Why didn’t you poop when you had the yucky diaper on earlier?!”), pile kids into van, forcibly restrain 18-month-old twins in car seats when they’d rather not be, set house alarm, back out of driveway…

Realize that it has been an hour since the charade began and the church service had already started.

Fortunately, we only live about five minutes from our church, so our tardiness wasn’t catastrophic. Earlier last week, I had to be at church by 10:00am, but was leaving from about an hour away. I gave myself ample time to get there, and ended up getting to the church well before my 10am deadline.

These two events made me wonder about my ability to judge time. I fully admit, I’m a time optimist, especially since I’ve had kids. I assume that I can change diapers, dress and clothe kids and myself and drive to a destination in 30 minutes. It’s almost always 30 minutes. Yet, when it all comes down to it, I end up 30 minutes later than I anticipated.

Every. Single. Time.

With one exception: When I am travelling long distances.

And so, because I’m a total nerd and I really want to be funny like Demitri Martin, I decided I needed to analyze my data in line-graph form:


As you can see, the closer the destination is to my house, the higher the number of minutes late I am, up to 30 minutes. So, if you want me at your house at 9:30am and you live within 5 miles of me, you can expect me around 10am. On the other hand, if you want me to travel approximately 90 miles or more, I’ll likely be early to my destination. (Either that, or I had one too many vodka and Cokes while I was concocting that there graph and my line went a leeetle off the edge.)

Of course, there are other variables that enter into the data behind this graph.

Four uterus-hogging variables, to be precise.

Therefore, the greater the number of children I’m responsible for toting along with me, the later I will be, assuming the desired destination is less than 90 miles from my house.

I tried to create a graph of that.

Even Googled “3 Variable Graphs.”

I came up with this:


Analyzing mathematical data is not my strong point. Doodling is much more my style.

My husband pointed out that there are other variables, too, including weather and the need to stop for Starbucks on the way to any given destination, among others.

I didn’t even Google that type of graph, for fear of brain implosion.

So, I will continue being late, but trying to be on time until my kids can finally clothe, wash, zip, tie, and buckle up for themselves. Then, I’ll probably have to find something else to blame my tardiness on. (I’m looking at you, Facebook.)

Lindsay Maddox is the author of Silly Mom Thoughts and does not encourage drinking while graph-drawing. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter. Or don’t. (But really, do.)


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