Life with a baby doesn’t always go according to plan. Add a pregnancy, toddler, preschooler, or furry friend (who needs a bath, a walk, and their own dinner) into the mix and you have a recipe for total lateness. Before you give in, give up, and decide that you’ll be the mom who is always showing up 45 minutes after the playdate started, check out these seven simple tips for overcoming the lateness.

1. Cut where you can. The endless to-do list isn’t helping you to get organized — in fact, it’s making you late all. The. Time. Review what’s on your agenda and re-write it in order of importance. Cut the last entry on the list, and keep going until you’ve crafted a day that’s actually manageable.

2. Stop rushing. You’re so concerned with getting your kiddo to pre-K on time that in the mad morning rush you completely forget their lunchbox, mittens, and smock for art class, necessitating a return trip to grab the forgotten items. And now you have a pretty perturbed child who’s refusing to forgive you for causing them to miss a turn at finger painting. Just slow down. Take a breath and give yourself a moment to prepare for what’s next. The less you rush, the less you’ll forget, and the earlier you’ll arrive at your destination.

3. Give yourself wiggle room. Let’s say you think it will take 25 minutes to get your tot to their music class. The class starts at 10, so you leave at 9:35. Not gonna cut it — you’re practically begging to be late. Add in an extra 10 minutes in case of a last-minute diaper change right before you walk out the door.

4. Aim for an early arrival. Obviously, this is the goal, but instead of telling yourself you need to get to swim lessons by 4:00, convince your mama mind that you actually need to be there by 3:45. Planning for an earlier arrival means that being late will get you there on time.

5. Change your watch. If you don’t have one already, get yourself a watch and set it forward according to your average lateness. So if you’re always 30 minutes late, 7:30 becomes 8:00. Live by that watch, using it to choose when to get ready, when to usher the kids to the car, and when to leave for everything you used to be late for.

6. Reward your kids, and yourself. This is not a bribe; it’s a special treat for your family when they’re able to stick to a schedule. Work together to beat the lateness monster and agree on a reward for being on time, such as going out for ice cream or an extra half hour at the park.

7. Set LOTS of reminders. Some moms are constantly late for one simple reason: They don’t remember that they need to be somewhere in the first place. If you’re forgetful (and really, what mama isn’t?), set plenty of reminders. When your phone dings, you’ll suddenly remember that appointment you forgot all about. And if you remember where you need to be well before the event starts, you stand a chance at getting there on time.

What makes you late? Share your top late-maker and tips to beat it with us @BritandCo.

(Photo via Getty)