Now that I’m back at work, getting everyone out the door in the morning is sometimes a challenge. It’s definitely a tag team effort as one parent helps or plays with one kiddo while the other one is getting ready. Some mornings are easier than others, but they’re not usually the ones when one of us needs to be in the office early for meeting. Fortunately, I can work from home on occasion, so nobody knows if I don’t shower until lunch time. I’m also really lucky in that I have a great milk supply and only need to pump while I’m at work. So I don’t have to worry about pumping in the morning or pumping again at night after Alex is asleep. With all that in mind, here are 10 ways to make the morning rush a little easier.
One of the best ways to make the morning routine easier is to go to bed early. We never know how often or early the kids will wake up, so we’ll start getting ready for bed around 9:30 with lights out by 10pm. That doesn’t leave much down time between the kids going to bed around 8pm, getting things ready for the next day, and going to sleep myself. But when I get more sleep, I’m more patient and can manage meltdowns, toddler stall tactics, and car seat blowouts with a bit more grace.
In the same breath, some parents recommend waking up earlier than your kids. At this point, we need all the sleep we can get, and a certain toddler has been waking up earlier now that she’s sleeping in a toddler bed. Sometimes she calls for us or climbs into our bed around 5:30 or 5:45am. And even if we tried to wake up early, at least one of them would also wake up early.
My next biggest tip is to prepare as much as possible the night before. On Sunday nights, John makes our lunches for the whole week while I’m doing the laundry. Then it’s just a matter of popping a sandwich, yogurt, granola bar, and piece of fruit into our lunch bags each night.
I also get all of Alex’s bottles and my pumping parts ready the night before. This bottle accessory washing basket is super helpful and makes cleaning bottles a bit easier. And the Medela Quick Clean Micro-Steam Bags save so much time and effort in cleaning pumping parts. It’s also helpful to have multiple sets of pumping parts and bottles at the ready if you’re too exhausted to wash the dirty set at the end of the day. Another mom recommended having 3 sets of bottles: one clean, one filled for the next day, and one in the wash. I also have 3 sets up pumping parts and a slew of bottles to pump into (I suppose this warrants a separate post about pumping at work).
We haven’t gone so far as to get everything ready for breakfast the night before (like pulling out bowls, spoons, cereal boxes, or juice glasses), but I try to at least get the coffee pot ready.
In addition to needing extra time for transitions, Monica is in the “I do it” phase and wants to be independent. So it’s helpful if we give her choices. For example, which cereal she wants to eat. Or would she rather eat cereal or a granola bar? Buns or braids in her hair?
Monica is also very opinionated about the clothes she wants to wear. Some days she’ll choose from the outfits we pick out, but other days she wants to pick her own outfit. So I’ve reorganized Monica’s dresser a la Oh Joy! so she can see all of her available clothes at once. Then it’s just a matter of putting on something clean and weather appropriate. Matching outfits need not apply ;) Some parents will lay out their kids’ clothes the night before or even let their kids sleep in the outfit they’ll wear the next day.
In the same vein, I try to pick out my outfit the night before. Even if I don’t, I have a limited wardrobe of what currently fits properly. So I just need to pull on something that’s clean, work appropriate, and fits fairly well. Thank goodness we have a casual dress code! I could wear jeans and blazers for days.
I also a tend to shower the night before and lately I’ve been washing my hair every other day. #mombun
Finally, sometimes we give the kids a bath at night if we know we need to get out the door early. But their bedtime routine tends to get pretty lengthy, so we usually just give baths in the morning, alternating days for Monica and Alex.
What are your secrets for getting out the door in the morning?