Have you ever seen My Fair Lady? It’s one of my favorite musicals. At the very end, Eliza finds that her drunkard dad is getting married the next morning. He talks about all the fun he is going to have that night but whatever happens he insists that he has to get to the church on time the next morning. Eliza’s dad and I have similar goals and, with five kids, we probably have similarly wild Saturday nights.
If you would have told my husband twelve years ago that someone would be asking me for “on-time” tips, he would have laughed. I was habitually late to everything, but getting married changed that. Giffords just don’t arrive late and this isn’t something my husband could compromise on. I had to adopt the Gifford way, and although the process was a little painful, after I had it down I realized is so worth it.
As a mother of five kids, getting to church on time is almost always easier said than done. The odds of one (or more) of my five waking up in the night is high. Murphy’s law says that at least one of my children will be wearing their breakfast to church. When my oldest was two, he screamed and threw a tantrum EVERY Sunday because he didn’t want to go to church. I have had to go to church alone (+ kids) when my husband was working. I have had to attend early ward council, make it home to nurse a baby and try to return to church on time and it didn’t always happen. I know that the struggle is real.
(Go ahead and pin this for later.)
It may not be pretty but here are a few things that have worked for me:
- Arrive time is different than start time. Church starts at 9:00, but you should arrive at least 5 minutes early.
- Estimate travel time then add 5-10 minutes. I’m an eternal optimist and that goes for when I estimate how much time it will take to get me somewhere. Estimate, then add a few minutes.
- Allocate jobs to members of your family. I am in charge of wardrobe selection and hair. My husband irons and assists boys with getting dressed; the boys decide what they want to put in my church bag (see below) to keep themselves entertained.
- Keep packing up simple. I have one yellow church bag that I bring. If the kids want anything added or taken out of it, they have to do it before we get in the car.
- Choose one snack for your kids that they get only at church. They will come to expect it and look forward to it and it goes back to that batching thing I told you about. Making the decision once saves you time.
- We bring books and activities that are only for church. We love Boogie Boards, Dot Games and Magnetic Scripture activities (links are at the bottom of the post and are affiliate links).
- Give yourself some grace. Seriously. You are getting your buns in gear, helping your kids to look respectable and showing up for church. Don’t stress too much. God is happy you are there no matter when you arrive.
Writing this post has been a little painful because I’m sure that if any of you happen to attend the same church as I do, you’ll see me sheepishly leading our parade of children to an open pew AFTER the meeting has begun. But I have the best intentions and with a little bit of planning the probability of us getting to church on time inches upward. I’m prayin’ for you! You got this!
(Go ahead and pin this for later, you’ll thank yourself.)
And now for links: