How to Get to Church on Time with Small Children

I once read a very simple piece of advice to help with tardiness: simply figure out what time you need to leave to be at your destination and then add 15 minutes to cover any unforeseen circumstances that might arise: traffic, misplaced keys, etc etc.


So I decided to apply this principle to our Sunday mornings to help us get to church on time.

Our church starts at 9:30 and it takes us 8 minutes to get to there. Add 15 minutes and that makes 23. So we need to leave at 9:07. So far so good.

I need about 30 minutes to get myself ready, start to finish (including, shower, hair, makeup and clothes). So I should begin getting ready at around 8:30.

Only the baby woke up just as I was getting ready to get in the shower so I’ve got to add 5 minutes to change his diaper and put his clothes on.

Except he had a blowout in his crib so add an additional 30 minutes to clean up the mess and give him a bath.

Now my three year old is awake. Add 30 minutes to help him with breakfast and teeth brushing and help him change his clothes.

Luckily, I laid out his clothes the night before so everything was ready. Only now one of the shoes is mysteriously missing. Add in an extra 20 minutes to do a fruitless search for it, only to have him put on his snow boots instead.

The baby also needs breakfast so I feed him oatmeal, to keep him from getting dirty and needing another bath. Only he grabs the spoon while I’m trying to feed him and gets oatmeal in his hair, behind his ear, on his shirt and, mysteriously, in his belly button. Add 7 minutes to give him a mini sponge bath with a washcloth while he squirms to get away from the washcloth every time I come near his face. An additional 10 minutes to change his shirt, most of that time being spent trying to button the 473 buttons on his shirt before he crawls off the changing table. (Take 1 minute to make a note in my phone to never ever buy button down shirts for a baby ever again).

Gratefully, my 9 and 7 year olds are capable of dressing themselves and getting their own breakfasts. But add in an extra 5 minutes to do their hair. And then an extra 5 minutes to redo my daughter’s ponytail because it was “too bumpy”.

Finally, time for me to shower and get ready. Add 10 minutes to clean up the foundation the baby squirted on the floor when I was blow drying my hair. Additional 10 minutes because it takes longer to get ready with a baby hanging on your leg. Ten more minutes to find new clothes and change his outfit again after the makeup spill.

Amy, House of Grace
I’m Amy. I’m a wife to one handsome man, mama to three beautiful children, and recipient of extravagant grace. These are our adventures in building a home – the beauty, the messes, and everything in between. Find me at House of Grace.

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