I used to ask myself this question, pre-Mushroom, as I stood on the underground platform before or after work, waiting for my train. I’d think ‘Why is everyone in such a hurry? What difference does it make if they’re a few minutes early/late? In the morning, I kind of got it. Depending on what you do/your boss, you might not want to be late for work. I once reported to someone who waited until a performance review to tell me she noticed I sometimes hadn’t logged on until 9.05am some days. Despite the fact I used to regularly work through lunch and stay late, my whole review became about those five minutes, but I digress… Before Mushroom, I was particularly laid back about getting home from work. What did it matter if I had to wait two or three minutes for the next train? Why was everyone in such a hurry..?

What difference would ten minutes make?

Well, ask me the same question now and the short answer would be… Possibly none. But possibly £10 and a call to social services.

A £10 fine

These days, I run to the tube, having invariably stayed at least half an hour later than I intended at work, then stand there tapping my foot impatiently until it arrives. Once I’m en route I’m relatively calm – if I’m on the train I can’t make it go any faster – then I walk briskly/run to the nursery to make sure I’m there to collect him before it closes at 6pm. I am generally there around 5.45pm but there has been the odd occasion it’s been later. There is a £1 per minute fine for lateness, which is standard across most nurseries but rarely enforced at Mushroom’s unless you’re a repeat offender so if I were, ten minutes tardiness would lose me £10.

A call to social services

The week the difference ten minutes can make really hit home was when, after I’d been late once or twice, there was a day when the tube stopped in a tunnel for what felt like an eternity, and, on exiting my local tube station, I called the nursery to say I was on my way. When I arrived, dreading a fine, I was told that it was ok, I’d done all I could, but could I please let them have more emergency contact details?

It turned out that Mr B had been called when I hadn’t arrived and was unreachable. In the absence of any other contacts, they had been about to contact social services just as I called saying I was on my way! I have since given them several alternative contacts should the same thing happen again.

On a more positive note…

The above episode is what triggered this post but there are plenty of other ways in which that ten minutes can make a positive difference too!


An extra ten minutes means that if the evenings are lighter and he’s not too tired, Mushroom and I could stop by the park on the way home from nursery for a bit of playtime before heading home.

More relaxed bedtime

I’ve noticed when I pick Mushroom up before 5.30, he’s a lot more relaxed in the evenings. I don’t know whether that’s because I’m more relaxed as I’m not rushing, or because he has a ‘crazy’ cut off point before which I need to collect him or he becomes overstimulated from staying too late at nursery.

Time to transition

If I get close to the nursery with time to spare, it gives me ten minutes to sit in the park and let go of work before collecting Mushroom. This really makes a massive difference as I miss the downtime I used to get coming in after work, when I could take off my coat and shoes and even had time to get changed to transition out of work mode. Obviously I still take off my coat and shoes when I get in but it’s not the same with Mushroom demanding his dinner and playtime from before we even walk through the door.

Time for a bath

Unrelated to transport issues now, if Mushroom sleeps an extra ten minutes in the morning I can have a bath. Yep, a ten minute bath feels like forever to me now!

Time to write!

Ok, I’ve never written a whole blog post in ten minutes but it is enough time for an idea to form! If I let Mushroom nap for an extra ten minutes then I can write basic drafts for future polishing. I have written poems in ten minutes before though, it happens! Some of my poetry is over on Honest Speaks if you’re interested.

And more…

An extra ten minutes a day adds up to just over an hour a week. I could do so much in that time… Or even, just do nothing. Which would be equally rewarding.

The pre-Mushroom me looks a little smug from where I’m standing now..! What difference does ten minutes make to you?