Mornings can be very stressful if you are a working mom. I know! Some mornings go perfectly. The kids stay asleep until you wake them up, and everyone gets ready on time with no problems. Some mornings aren’t so great. The baby wakes up in the middle of your shower and won’t go back to sleep. Your son or daughter decides they don’t want to eat breakfast or go to school that day. You hit the snooze button too long, and now you are running behind. So many things can go wrong! Here are some tips for making the morning routine with kids go as smoothly as possible.
1. Pack bags before bed
In my house, I am in charge of packing the kids’ bags. Big C has a backpack, and Little C has a babysitter bag. Each night I go through both bags and take out what needs to come out (i.e. school papers, dirty clothes, sippy cups, and bottles). Then, I reload the bags for tomorrow. The bags go in the hallway with their coats and shoes.
My husband and I pack lunches for work. (You save so much money and tons of calories that way!) We pack everything we can in advance the night before. I usually take soup or salad. I go ahead and put that in a separate container in the refrigerator, so it is easy to grab. In addition, we prepare the coffee-maker before bed so that it automatically turns on at 5:00 in the morning for us. We also put our work bags, coats, and shoes in the hallway. Everything we need is right there and ready to walk out the door.
2. Set out everyone’s clothes the night before
Remember, you want your kids to sleep as long as possible while you are getting ready. The last thing you want to do is go rummaging around in drawers in their room while they are asleep. Set out their clothes the night before. Don’t forget diapers, underwear, and socks.
If your baby still sleeps in your room, I recommend setting out your clothes and your husband’s clothes the night before as well. (Yes. I have to set out my husband’s clothes too!) Otherwise, you or your husband will be opening and shutting drawers, turning on closet lights, digging through clothes, and waking up the baby. Avoid that by setting out your clothes too.
3. Set your alarm at least 15-20 minutes earlier than you need to. You may need extra time
Even the best-laid plans don’t always work out. One of both of your kids might wake up before you and/or your husband have had time to get ready. Then, you will still have to get ready with either a crying, clingy kid on your hip and/or a demanding, needy kid on the couch. (Mommy, I want juice. Mommy, I want a blanket. Mommy, I want to watch my cartoons.) Some mornings you will need the extra time.
4. Don’t waste time
Enjoying that cup of coffee is now for the morning commute. Long showers are for weekends. Get ready as quickly as you can in case your kids wake up. (I can’t stress enough how much that will really slow you down and frustrate you.)
5. Divide and conquer
My husband and I really show off our teamwork skills in the morning. I shower first while he packs his lunch. Then, he showers while I pack my lunch. Then, I make juice drinks for the girls while he gets up the oldest. After potty, I get her dressed and do her hair. My husband gets her cereal and puts on her shoes while I get the baby up. He loads up the cars while I get Baby C dressed for the day. Then, it’s time to go. That particular routine may not work for you, but I encourage you to find one that does. Work together to be more efficient.
6. Sans help? Something to consider…
Sometimes my husband has to leave extremely early for work. It’s doable; however, I really dread those mornings. One thing I’ve found to be helpful is to shower the night before. It’s not my preference, but it still gets the job done.
7. Know some simple ways to do your hair on stressful mornings
I have learned a few cute updos that are fast and easy to do, yet still look professional for the workplace. Only you know your hair. Learn a few simple ways to style it in the event of a difficult morning. (Note: Did you ever wonder why so many moms have short hair? Now you know!)
Q: If you work outside of the home, what are some tips you have for successfully getting reading in the morning?