It is REALLY hard for me to be on time for...anything, really. For example, I am almost always a few minutes late to pick up my son from Kindergarten, For me it is mostly due to a lack of planning my time correctly, but tardiness can also be due to a variety of things, especially when children are involved. I am very guilty of this thought "I have a few minutes before we need to leave, so that gives me time to do one last thing...", which inevitably puts me over the time edge and causes me to be late. I'm not sure why I don't learn my lesson!
When it comes to church, I really hate to be late. I hate being that mom who rushes in with her kids after it has started. I want to be on time to get a good seat (especially when we have 8 people to fit into a row), as well as to have a calm, reverant attitude as the meeting begins.
Our church just moved to 9am and in order to be on time, we had to plan ahead. I took some of the principles I was already using for being on time to church, and then added a few new ones to adjust to the early time. Then after following our plan, we made it there exactly when we wanted to.
I figure that there are probably a few families out there that could use a little help in this category, so here are a few ideas to make it to church on time:
1. Plan out your time in a backwards fashion. Today we wanted to leave the house at 8:15. We wanted to have breakfast last and I wanted to allow 30 mintues for that, so I knew that breakfast needed to start at 7:45. Then I knew that I wanted them dressed in their church clothes before breakfast and I figured 30 minutes for getting dressed would suffice, so I knew they needed to start getting dressed at 7:15. There was no reason to get them up any early than that, so wake time was 7:15; they had 30 mintues to dress and do their hair; then they had 30 mintues to eat.
And as for me, I set my alarm at 6:20, although I accidentally slept an extra 20 minutes. That gave me enough time to dress and do my own hair and makeup (I had showered the night before). I just wanted to have myself ready by the time I woke the kids up at 7:15.
For us today, these time allottments worked out perfectly.
2. Bathe and shower the day before. When our church was at 1pm, we did about half of the showers and baths on Saturday and the other half Sunday morning. But with the 9am meeting time, I knew that we absolutely HAD to do all of them the day before. This meant that when they woke up on Sunday morning, they were already clean and all they had to do was to get dressed.
3. Lay out everyone's church outfit the day before. Late yesterday afternoon, I quickly ran from room to room, putting together church outfits for the 3 youngest kids. I planned their outfits all the way from underwear to shoes, leaving out no detail. Then I asked the 3 older kids to do the same. They were a little reluctant to do it at first, but I was firm in my request and they eventualy did as they were asked.
I even laid out my own outfit! Including my necklace! This was necessary for me because sometimes choosing my own church outfit can take me way too long.
I'm telling you, having all of the outfits ready to go was a HUGE time saver.
4. Pack the church bag the day before. Our church bag generally stays the same from week to week, but there are just a few things that need to be done every week. This includes packing snacks, making sure there are diapers and wipes, and adding a water bottle for the baby.
I did this yesterday afternoon, and then I set the bag near the front door. All we had to do this morning was grab it and go. Easy!
These principles helped us to get to our new early church on time and I know as we continue to take these steps, we will continue to be on time throughout the year. There is no need to be intimidated by a 9am church time! It just takes planning and preparation. In fact, these principles can be useful in any situation, not just church. In reality, I have no more excuses for being late! But that is good, because being on time feels so much better.