Thoughtful Thursday: Urgency

September 1, 2011

Thoughtful Thursday

Welcome to the September Intelligentsia, the people who have commented on every Thoughtful Thursday post in August.

#23: Elana from Elana’s Musings
#20: A from Are You Kidding Me?
#15: Strongblonde from Strong Blonde
#14: Ernessa from Fierce and Nerdy
#8: Ana
#7: Tara from Turkey In My Oven
#5: St. Elsewhere

Thoughtful ThursdayThis week we’ll talk about urgency. No, not the urinary urgency we talked about last week. Instead, we’ll talk about having a sense of time.

Last week, some relatives visited. We had plans to go on an outing. I said that we’d leave at 10:00. As of 10:00, I was dressed and ready. Burrito and Tamale were dressed and ready (thanks to me, not their own desire to get ready, as evidenced by the moment when I was chasing an almost-naked toddler around the room trying to put on pants). There were three other adults in the house. At 10:00, one had showered but not finished getting dressed. One was in the shower. One was wearing pajamas, not having yet showered.

I exclaimed, “We are supposed to be in the car now! Am I the only person here with a sense of urgency?!?”

I’ll admit, I can get too riled up against a deadline. In the face of true emergencies, like the car wreck that I narrowly avoided last week when a car in front of me on the highway suddenly hit the railing and flipped over, I am calm. If I’m trying to get out of the house to make a playdate, I become a lunatic. My mother wasn’t a big fan of words of wisdom, but there was one aphorism she used occasionally. When I really start flapping around like a chicken, I can hear her voice in my head: “Haste makes waste.” And then I breathe, and go about my activities a little more calmly.

Our nanny is wonderful in many ways, and one of those is that she is laid back and calm even when two toddlers are screaming. But she also has no sense of urgency. When a toddler is freaking out, I go running; she finishes what she was doing or the conversation she was having. If I know that we need to leave at a certain time to take Burrito and Tamale to an appointment, I adjust meals and other activities accordingly; she just follows the regular schedule.

I absolutely do miss important deadlines and certainly show up late much of the time (though the majority of my lateness is due to other adults, and most of the rest is due to toddler shenanigans). But even when I’m late, I know I’m late, and I fret about it. So many people around me not only don’t hurry, but don’t worry.

How is your sense of urgency? When you need to go somewhere or meet a deadline, how much do you hurry? How much do you worry?


17 Responses to “Thoughtful Thursday: Urgency”

  1. Lavender Luz Says:

    I’m a hurrier and a worrier. When I was growing up, we were ALWAYS late to church. And my parents liked to sit up front. So I felt self-conscious each week displaying our tardiness in front of my friends.

    To this day, my dad cannot get anywhere on time. He always wants to do “just one more thing.” And he hates being early because those are wasted moments when he could be doing “just one more thing.”

    So yes, I have a sense of urgency when it’s time to get out the door.

  2. Two Kayaks Says:

    One of my biggest pet peeves is lateness. I think it is selfish to assume that your time is more important than another person’s time. We are usually the first to arrive at any party or play date at the park because I don’t like making people wait and I don’t like being made to wait. Perhaps it’s the teacher in me.
    So, yes, most times when I finally get into the car with the twins in tow, I am sweaty and frantic, but almost always on time. If I’m late, I am mortified and apologize profusely.

  3. loribeth Says:

    I’m pretty punctual, but my dh is completely anal about it. My mother, on the other hand, has absolutely NO sense of time. She is perpetually following the choir up the aisle at church ; ) & puttering around the house, doing dishes & folding laundry, etc., when we’re supposed to be leaving to go somewhere. This drives dh completely bonkers, especially when we’re travelling with her & my dad, or need to be somewhere (like the airport!) on time.

  4. a Says:

    I believe we may be twins! My husband’s family habitually runs 10-30 minutes late all the time. MAKES ME CRAZY!!! My husband, although he is better than most of his family, always tells me he wants to leave at a particular time. When the time arrives, I’m standing at the door with our daughter and he’s in the bathroom in his underwear. My dad used to do the same thing, but we were usually on time. I can’t even say anything to my husband because then he becomes an absolute turtle, and then I want to kill him. On top of that, we usually end up forgetting something, because I don’t double check when I have to stand around for too long, and we end up having to go back home for something vital. This is a huge source of stress for me.

  5. Elana Kahn Says:

    My sense of urgency comes from my mom’s lack of it. She is ALWAYS late for EVERYTHING and it drives me mad. So I insist on being early. I can’t stand it when I’m even a minute or two late to places, so I make sure to leave super early. When I’m just barely running on time, I get super nervous that I’m going to be late places…even though I usually still arrive on time. So I am a hurrier and worrier, absolutely.

  6. jjiraffe Says:

    I’m someone who’s usually early. Having twins has made me a lot more anxious about getting places on time. If I had a catchphrase, it’d probably be “Let’s get moving!” Sometimes I feel like a Swiss conductor trying to keep the trains on time. Trains with a Hawaiian mentality 😉 How scary about the car flipping over! Glad you’re all OK.

  7. St. Elsewhere Says:

    I am a laidback person too, but I am rarely late for appointments and deadlines.

    I am a worrier and a planner (rather than a hurrier). Once my internal clock is set, let’s say for an appointment at 8 p.m., I will space out everything else that should be done around it, so that I can make it to the thing on time. I might appear relaxed while getting ready and all, but that happens only after I have spaced my comfort zone so. If something happens to mess up the plan I have made (e.g. an unexpected visitor), only then you will see me dashing around.

    Glad you were able to keep your calm, having witnessed that accident.

  8. St. Elsewhere Says:

    One time, I deliberately went late to something and found that the bride’s mom was bugged with me, for she was waiting for ‘someone’ to show up for a certain task to be done. (Why did I turn up late is a very different story altogether). I apologized and did what she wanted me to. But since then, I try to not delay myself for reasons of that sort.

  9. Being late definitely turns me into a lunatic! My husband is constantly late for outings, and we’ve had many a shouting match in the car on the way to meet up with friends because we’re 10 or 20 minutes late thanks to him dawdling. To me, being 5 minutes early is on time, so it drives me nuts to be that late! I also work in a school of 1200 kids, and teachers, parents and others are always late to meetings. I’ve gotten better about it, but I still grit my teeth when we’re not starting our meeting within a few minutes of when we were supposed to start.

  10. Ana Says:

    Ditto almost everyone above—if I’m supposed to be somewhere, I make every effort to be there on time or early. My family is all like that, my dad is a bit overboard. I hate when people keep me waiting for long periods of time without a good reason. Absolute pet peeve; I had a friend years ago (pre- cellphone days) who would just waltz in to the restaurant 40 minutes late, and then mention that, oh, she had to stop by & do such and such. UGH!

    My MIL is like loribeth’s mother. She has absolutely no sense of time or urgency, and it makes my blood pressure go through the roof when we’re trying to get somewhere (especially when we visit and she has to take us to the airport)—she’s always puttering around, drinking one last cup of tea, doing make-up, etc…

    My husband is similarly bad with time (always thinking he can do much more than is reasonable in a certain time frame), but he DOES like to be places on time, so he will hurry things along to make it happen.

    We’re not totally anal about it, though. We have a friend that flips out if we are 5 minutes late to meet him. That is just as obnoxious..

  11. strongblonde Says:

    omg. if you’re on time you’re really late!! just kidding. i arrive early for EVERYTHING. i hate the idea of being late. even being on time makes me a little uncomfortable. i will plan and adjust so we arrive early for everything. and then that bites me in the ass sometimes, too. what do i do with two toddlers EARLY at the doc’s office? sit there. i do have a sense of urgency, but since everything is planned it seems less urgent to me. for example: the kids go to daycare two days a week. the evening before i pack the diaper bag, their lunch bag, lay out their clothes (with new diapers), and premake breakfast. that way the things that i can control are done. it helps to make the morning run smoother. we get out the door reasonably. if b was left to do it he would do everything in the am. THAT is when i have a true sense of urgency!!! lol.

  12. jill Says:

    This is a weird one for me. I’m horrible at time management. I’m late all the time but only because I incorrectly estimate how long it will take to get ready and get to the destination. Usually I’m pretty calm but if it’s really important (like a flight or something else I just CANT be late to) I do worry and rush around.

    My husband HATES to be late and gets so annoyed with me. I now make him tell me exactly when he wants me in the car when we go somewhere so I can comply with his expectations.

  13. Photogrl Says:

    I always have a sense of urgency when I have an appointment, play date, meeting planned. It drives me nuts when others don’t at least apologize if they are late meeting me.

    I think it stems from my Mother’s lack of urgency when I was little…I was often the last kid, sitting with the coach, waiting for her to show up and pick me up from practice. It embarrassed me to no end!

    This being said, after having the twins, I have realized that I have to really pre-plan and start much earlier at getting ready to get us all out the door on time!

  14. I’ve forced myself to become super punctual over the years, but I’m not going to lie, I put in serious effort to become this way. Strangely enough, the age of Garmin has helped. Not getting lost has allowed me to get places in a reasonable amount of time and has killed the sort of magical thinking that said I could get to certain places in X amount of time, when really I couldn’t unless it was like 3am. Now, I know how long it takes to get to certain places, allowing for traffic, so I tend to be punctual if not early. Having been on both sides of the equation, I will say that lateness isn’t the character fault that naturally punctual people think it is. It’s often more about lack of organization and magical thinking as far as time is concerned. But in any case, I notice that as I’ve gotten older, more of my friends have gotten more punctual — especially the moms.

    But let’s move on to urgency. This comes up w/ CH and me a lot. He and my MIL are very urgent people. As soon as our daughter cries, he’s trying to fix it. I’m more a “wait and see if she can self-soothe or figure it out herself” kind of caregiver. There are pluses to both ways of parenting, and as she gets older, I notice that my daughter has assigned us roles: mom’s for play and reading and rules, grandma’s for food, dad’s for general comfort — the equivalent of a human blankie. I used to think (privately) that everyone in the house would be better off if they abided by my theories of caregiving. But as my daughter continues to thrive, I’ve realized that she’s getting something special from each of us, and that’s a great thing.

  15. Mel Says:

    We sound very similar — if I know I need to be there by 4 and it takes 10 minutes to get there, I am preparing around 3:30, possibly wasting the 20 extra minutes, but I stick to my deadlines.

  16. Tara (TIMO) Says:

    I’m horribly embarrassed to be answering this at the end of the month as I hate being late. If there’s one thing having twins has taught me, it’s that everything happens on their schedule.

    Like many of the others, I do my best to have everything planned and prepared ahead with extra time built-in for contingencies. But Nav is usually the one force I can’t control. He’s never early, usually not even on time. He’s always running late and it drives me crazy.

  17. Yeah, I do have a great sense of urgency, often times even when it’s not necessary. I am always way too early for everything – although having a baby/toddler changed that a bit and I’m now often just right on time or on rare occasions (when hubby is also involved, who can’t care less) even a little late.

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