The morning grind of getting out the door and to work is, by far, the low point of my day every day.
I never set an alarm which is probably mistake #1. But, I have a toddler and I go to bed by 10pm-ish every night, so there’s really no “oops, I slept in”. I’m also naturally a morning person, so regardless of what’s going on in life, my body naturally rises by 7am. What helps make my morning go more smoothly is when I’m up before Shea with time enough to get my hair and make-up done. Even better, is my hair and make-up plus feeding the dog and making my coffee. That’s a perfect morning. And it happens…about 1 day a week. Otherwise, I’m generally getting out of bed around 6:30am and Shea is rising within 10-15 minutes after me. However lately, she’s been sleeping until closer to 7am and while that’s lovely, it can sometimes set us behind…especially if I have an 8am meeting as I did yesterday.
I throw on Mickey Mouse Clubhouse downstairs while I whip together breakfast for Shea. After a few minutes, I call her in for “yummy yummies” (breakfast). While Shea eats breakfast, I make our lunches (and feed the dog and make coffee if that’s not already done). Making Shea’s lunch is BY FAR what takes the longest, even though it’s generally a fruit, vegetable, snack, “entree” (leftovers, usually) and 2 bottles (yes, we’re still on bottles 🙂 ). It’s all the little individual containers and halving grapes and yada yada. I also pack my lunch (and often breakfast) which is also leftovers, fruit, yogurt, etc. This process + clean-up and dishes takes 30-40 minutes and I swear to you, I’m hustling the entire time. So, morning mistake #2 is that I should just do all the lunch prep/packing at night and I just never do. I justify it by saying Shea’s eating anyway and it’s not like I can go get ready myself or be out of the room, so…yeah.
Then it’s on to making sure the dog gets out before we leave which she may or may not do willingly, and then we’re off to finish getting ready upstairs. I change Shea out of jammies and into clothes, hand her her toothbrush, and she “brushes her teeth” while watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse in our bedroom while I throw on clothes and most days, pack a gym bag (mistake #3 – should do this the night before or at least lay it all out), and also brush my teeth. I’d say this process takes 10-15 minutes, or closer to 20-25 if I hadn’t already done my hair and make-up.
Since I refuse to lug around Shea, I zoom down the stairs and let her come down on her own. I generally throw everything in the car (purse, 2 lunch bags, gym bag, anything that needs to go to daycare such as diapers, wipes, and clothes), put on my own shoes, and then chase down Shea to come get on her shoes and coat by the back door.
I load her up, drive to daycare, and drop her off….another 20 minutes or so. Thankfully, my work is 2-3 minutes from her daycare and only takes that long because of a few stop lights.
Some people give me the side eye for not wearing a coat half the winter, but my mornings are chaotic and I am far from cold by the time I arrive at work. Yesterday morning, I lost track of time and ended up SCREAMING at the dog to come inside – she decided to sniff every square inch of the yard for the perfect spot to christen and then I was SCREAMING at Shea to come get her shoes on, that it wasn’t time to be pokey. I was running way, way late.
…And then I sit back and imagine what it will be like adding a baby to the equation and I get all sorts of anxious. Sigh. My goal for this coming week is to prep lunches on Sunday so I can make mornings a bit easier. I also plan on packing my gym bag and laying out my clothes the night before…especially as my belly grows and not all clothes will fit right or comfortably. It’s all easier said than done but seriously, I cannot have too many repeats of yesterday. I felt like a mean, stressed, terrible mother to both my baby and my furbaby and that is no way to start a morning!
Parents, what are your best time savers in the morning or short-cuts to make the work week less chaotic?
I’m not a parent but I always have my coffee ready the night before! Then I just turn it on and off to shower. I even set out my coffee cup, haha.
I try really hard to make even 1-2 lunches for the week ahead of time. Or at least set aside a bunch of pre made stuff (yogurt, oatmeal packets, apples, bananas, cheese sticks) so it’s all within my eyesight in the fridge.
Laying out my clothes the night before is my most challenging task, but I also try to do 1-2 outfits a week.
Even a couple days planned ahead makes my life easier. But I don’t have a kiddo, so it’s already easier than yours 🙂
Definitely having lunches packed, or at least having the snacks/fruit/veggies cut ready to grab and go. I also lay out a weeks worth of outfits for my 6yo so she can just grab it and dress herself. I’m lucky in the fact that my husband is home in the morning though, not sure if I could get it done without him!
Love your honesty and realness! How about HUSBAND packs lunches the night before 😉
I love that idea! We’ve tried…they’re just not dietitian-approved :-/ Maybe he just needs some guidance 🙂
For my lunch, I always put leftovers directly into to-go containers so that I can grab them quickly in the morning. I’m an RD too and we wear scrubs. Not thinking about what to wear to work is awesome. Is that an option? Definitely prepping all your bags at night will save time and make things less stressful.
I raised 2 kids as a single parent, and know exactly what you mean about stressful mornings! I’m now in my 50’s and I’m finding all kinds of ways to save time that I wish I had implemented years ago. I share this because I wish someone had shared it with me back then!
Here’s a few tips …
* Investing in lots of single serving storage containers allows you to prepare food for lunches way ahead of time. I do it when I come home from the grocery store. Leftovers that freeze well, and snacks that require a baggie or container can be quickly stored in single servings and ready to go. EXTRA PERK: This helps me even now to eat in healthy proportions, so I still do this!
* Any chopping or preparation on cold veggies is also done ahead of time, right when I get it home from the grocery store.
* When cleaning up the kitchen at dinner the night before, it’s a great time to put in the front of your refrigerator the food you want for lunches the next day. It’s like laying your clothes out the night before, but for food. The next morning is a breeze, just throw it in and go!
* Have your gym bag ready and in the car if possible. This is easy to do and a lot less hassle!
* BEST TIP EVER: Have a checklist in a drawer or on the fridge for your daily “pack up”. Don’t waste precious time and energy trying to remember everything and becoming stressed and short on patience. Time related stress limits our ability to be calm to loved ones near us, and we often regret that. Instead, let yourself breathe and refer to your checklist knowing it’s all there to reference. You’ll find that you never forget a thing, plus you may enjoy playing with the dog outside which will get her to christen the yard even sooner! 😉 Win-Win!
These years will pass sooner than you know, the next baby will bring more chaos again, but with a good morning routine that works for your family it will get easier with practice when you implement small time savers along the way.
You’re definitely not alone in this struggle, my life has been a complete “work in progress!”
I remember those days!!! And I had three in 5 years – so getting out the door with 3 – most days was a challenge.
I still procrastinate making my lunch and now what I do – and what you could do – is while making dinner – pack her lunch and your lunch while you are doing it – OR – take a portion of what you are making and pack up a serving for you – or throw together Shea’s stuff – since you probably already have a cutting board out and other cooking stuff doing it the same time you are making dinner – then you are all done before you even eat!
Don’t stress too much about adding another baby to the mix, I have two that are 20 months apart and I’m not going to lie, the mornings are even more hectic, but you manage.
I would pack anything you can the night before, or at least try it for a week and see if it makes a big difference in time savings.
I also think putting anything you can in the car the night before is what works best for me…the gym bag, the diaper bag (not if you are adding bottles though), etc…if it’s already in the car that one less thing that I have to lug out there the next morning.