It happened again. For, like, the millionth time this week, if that’s even possible.

You had been up since 6:30 and we didn’t have anywhere to be until 9:15. That’s almost three hours of prep time. An endless amount of minutes to shower, get us both dressed, eat breakfast, and head out the door.

This may go over your head, but that’s plenty of time to complete the usual routine.

Yet, my brain once again underestimated the amount of minutes these daily tasks take. So we spent the first part of the morning playing with toys, eating a leisurely breakfast on a blanket in the living room, watching our favorite show, and gliding through our morning. Your sweet little giggles drew me in and I wanted to do nothing more than sit and watch you explore and play.

A glance at the clock let me know it was time to get serious, time to really rev up our pace and get ready to head out the door.

But that glance came far too late, and I once again found myself impatiently scrambling with you, shoving your little arms into sleeves and pulling socks onto your wiggling feet.

As I strapped you, now thoroughly flustered, into your car seat, I caught myself saying under my breath, “You’ve made us late once again!”

But as soon as the words came out, I wanted to shovel them back into my sassy little mouth.

Because the truth is, it’s not your fault that we’re late. Toddlers, like you, tend to take the blame for perpetual mama tardiness, but this blame is being placed where it doesn’t belong.

You have no concept of time, are unable to read a clock, and don’t even have a clue that we have somewhere we need to be. Sure, every once in a while you do something really unexpected (like smearing peanut butter all over the kitchen floor) that delays our departure, but the majority of our lateness is my fault.

As much as I sometimes don’t want to be, I’m the adult. I’m the one with the logical, problem-solving brain. I’m the one who knows I need to always factor in at least a 20 minute buffer when deciding how long it will take us to get ready.

It’s me who knows that the more I try to rush, the more resistance I will receive from you. By now I’m fully aware that you’re going to want to put your shoes on yourself, even though it takes an extra ten minutes. We’ve gone through the whole leaving-the-house routine enough times for me to realize that whenever it’s time to go somewhere, something will come up that will delay our exit from our comfy home.

And yet almost every single day, I repeat my same mistake and try to quickly push you through the motions of the morning. Then you dawdle and I become impatient, which is no surprise. And once we start that drive down our familiar neighborhood road and out onto the main highway, I internally chastise myself for again losing my patience as I struggled to get both of us out the door.

And quite frankly, you don’t deserve any of this mama drama. So here’s my promise to you:

Today, I choose to take accountability and stop blaming you for my lack of time management skills. And when we stroll into playgroup late, or show up at the doctor 20 minutes past our appointment time, or quietly shuffle down the chapel aisle trying to find an open pew halfway through the service, I will no longer whisper to the adults around me about how you’ve once again made us late. Because how unfair is that to you?

I won’t place a burden upon your shoulders that you never deserved to take. Instead of blame-shifting in order to avoid judgement due to my own insecurities, I will say, unashamed, “We’re late again, thanks to me!”

And then I will try harder tomorrow. Because my dear sweet toddler, life isn’t meant to be a chaotic rush to get out the door, day after day.

And it was never your fault.

You may also like:

So God Made a Toddler

The Secret No One Told Me About the Toddler Years is How Much I Could Absolutely Love Them

I’m Just a Toddler and I’m Still Learning

Ellie Messler

Ellie is a wife, mother, writer, and outdoor enthusiast. After the birth of her first child, she left a career in Human Resources in order to fully immerse herself in motherhood. She loves cycling, spending time outside with her family, walking her dog, and eating her all time favorite food - cold cereal. Throughout her days at home, she finds herself continually recording voice memos about motherhood on her phone. In the evenings after bedtime, she winds down by compiling her memos into inspirational writings about life, parenthood, struggle, and success that she hopes will resonate with you. Her blog, Bright Blue Stone, began shortly after she spent a summer working as a wilderness therapy backpacking guide, and she knew she wanted a place to record all that she had learned out in nature and in life.