You guys, yesterday morning had me belting out “It’s like raaiiiiaaiiinnnnn on your wedding day!” alone in the car. No joke, I’ve been preparing to share what I’ve been doing to get out the door on time and then yesterday happened. Things went pretty good until we were about 3 minutes away from daycare when I heard it. The cough that signals that my toddler is about to throw up. And oh.mah.gersh. throw up she did. She was covered from mouth to shoes. My poor little carsick-prone child. I’ll spare you the gory details, but by the time I got her cleaned off, in class and then dealt with the car seat, I was 30 minutes late to work. Alanis was right, it’s a little too ironic.
Yesterday reminded me that no matter how hard you try, things happen. In my case, it’s usually barf, but it could be anything. Still, I am finding that having a better routine in the morning is helping us out a ton. I’m not the most organized person, but my husband started his fieldwork a few weeks ago, which necessitated me getting on the ball a bit more. Our daycare is at his school, so she’d go with him and whichever one of us got done earlier each day would pick her up. He can’t do that with fieldwork now, so I take and pick up. It’s not bad, except that I need to leave the house 30 minutes earlier and don’t have him with me to get her ready. Before, he did most of it while I got ready. He’s a good one. This change had me a little worried about how we’d get out the door and not be late every day. We’re getting the hang of it, though, and these few things are helping make the mornings run better.
It really begins the night before:
Pack the diaper bag.
My husband is really good at getting the diaper bag ready. Me, not so much. If there are toys in that thing, it’s because he remembered. But, I am getting better at putting the snacks in it the night before, making sure there’s an extra change of clothes, enough wipes and extra diapers. Getting it put together at night and leaving it on the table means that all I have to do is add her water bottle in the morning and we’re good to go.
Get my stuff ready.
This one is hard for me in some aspects. I’m pregnant, so planning outfits the night before doesn’t work because half the time I feel fat and change my mind anyways. If that works for you, absolutely go for it, but it’s not in my cards right now. Some things are easy, though.
- Lunch: We generally have leftovers for lunches, which I highly recommend. We portion out our lunches for the next day when cleaning up dinner so I can throw the containers in a bag in the morning and go.
- School work: I study for about an hour and a half after work because I get off right after nap time starts at daycare, so I try to make sure I have all my school stuff ready and in my bag as well. Utilizing those few minutes at night helps me take advantage of study time the next day.
- Weather necessities: Check the weather the night before to have an idea of what you need to wear and if you need to leave a little early. I hate opening the front door to go and realizing we need to add more layers or different shoes.
Go to bed early.
Pre-baby, we were in bed by 10:30 every night. That’s a little harder to maintain now for some reason, but it’s still what we shoot for. Okay, my husband is always ready for bed by 10:20 and I’m the one that makes us late. But generally I’m in bed by 10:45 and working on getting back to 10:30. If the kid sleeps all night, then it’s a glorious thing to get that extra uninterrupted sleep. If she’s up three times, then at least I’ve had more time to try to sleep. There are not many reasons to keep me up late; I value sleep more than most things. If you’re staying up late for some extra “me” time, keep in mind that getting enough sleep is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Everything runs better when your brain is functioning, and sleep deprivation will shut.you.down.
Those three things make a big impact on their own, but there are a few things in the morning that also help.
Get myself ready first.
Before my husband leaves, I try to shower, put on makeup and at least start blow drying my hair if I need to. My daughter really likes being content until I’m doing something. Then she suddenly realizes that if she’s not being held then I’m probably about to abandon her. So if I can do makeup and hair quickly before she realizes, then it bypasses a lot of interruptions and tears later on. Bonus points if I can get dressed before she notices too.
Stop stressing about breakfast
My breakfast isn’t stressful. Toast with avocado, a little cheese, and a fried egg on top. Filling, nutritious, and tasty. My daughter’s eating habits stress me the heck out. She won’t eat. This is a struggle at pretty much every meal with us, but she will eat at daycare. No idea why she won’t eat the same dang thing at home. I know that she will get breakfast at daycare, but she’s typically up for three hours before then, so I want her to eat something at home. It is such a struggle, though, that I have had to make peace with her not eating if she doesn’t want to. If all I can get her to eat is a bite of toast, a bite of a banana, and a bite of my egg, then fine. I can spend 30 minutes begging her to eat while she gets mad, or I can spend that time getting ready and playing with her. She’s growing, happy and energetic, so I keep reminding myself to give her options and she will eat if she’s hungry.
Let her watch cartoons.
I know, I know, I don’t love it either. I do limit her screen time because of developmental concerns, like every parent should. But in the mornings she can drink her milk and watch Teletubbies for a little bit while we finish getting ready and then we can play together. Her attention span isn’t that long yet, so she ends up hanging around me anyways rather than in front of the TV. Lately, she’s really into these Simple Songs videos on YouTube. There are several different playlists of these super cute little songs. She gets up to sing and dance with them, which somehow makes me feel like it’s not as bad as watching cartoons. Plus, I can sing with her while I make breakfast or get other things ready, and in the car on the way to daycare. And what adult doesn’t want “Baby shark doot doo, doot doot do doo” running through their head all dang day?
These tips are super not fancy, but they absolutely make a difference in how our mornings go. The best part is that when we have a smooth morning, I typically get time to play with her before we leave. Those mornings are the best. We get ready quickly, but mostly stress-free–which lets me enjoy time with the coolest kid I know. And whether you’re working or your kids are old enough to go to school, don’t we all want a little more time with our kids?
What do you do that helps you have a good morning and out of the house on time?