Do you ever find yourself running out the door feeling behind in the mornings? And that feeling follows you throughout the day? I do especially when Jordan is out of town during the week. It’s hard enough to coordinate and get all of us out the door before work, but add in occasional work travel and it’s enough to set any busy mom in a tailspin! Luckily there are several strategies that you & I can use to make getting out the door faster so much easier in the mornings!
I am fortunate to have a spouse who always contributes more than his “50%.” He does the daycare drop-offs, pick-ups, and the pediatrician’s appointments. He does this since these places are near his workplace, about 25 miles from our home. I work another 25 miles in the opposite direction from our home. Our intention wasn’t for him to do it all, but the financial cost of having the kids in that location is better than where we live.
My husband travels often. Sometimes its several times over a period of two months, and then there is a lapse for a few more. Then it picks up like it never stopped. While he may protest the number, I can count the number of bedtimes away. I know it is odd that I count the time away in bedtimes, but I do so anyway.
Moving on… in order for us to be on-time in the mornings AKA me being on-time for work at 8 am, we need to leave the house by precisely 6:16 am. YES. 6:16 IN THE MORNING. Two toddlers, one adult, looking somewhat put together and out the door before the sun rises. That’s right, I have a 90-minute commute each way when my husband travels. Eek! It can be tough. But over the past 2.5 years, I’ve learned a few tricks along the way.
7 Ways to Get Out The Door Faster In the Mornings
These strategies make dealing with an out of town spouse, but you could definitely use them for every morning!
Prep the Night Before
This seems like common sense, but it really helps. If your other half is already traveling the LAST thing you want to do post-bedtime and clean-up is do more work. However, it’s a must-do in our house. I am much more efficient and way less distracted when it’s just me in the evenings. The first thing I do is tackle our breakfasts and lunches. I label all the items with kids’ names and set them in their lunch bags (mine too!)
Even my toddler’s sippy cup of milk is packed up. Have you ever left a toddler at daycare without her sippy cup? No? You’ll never make that mistake again. Next, I prep all the baby’s bottles. Each bottle is measured out, mixed with formula, and labeled with the name and date. A huge time saver here is to use the baby bottle bands that I purchased from Etsy.
One trick I’ve learned after both kids are to prep more than just the daycare bottle. I always make the wake-up bottle AND the evening bottle. With three packed bags, I set them in the refrigerator overnight. It may seem silly to pack dry goods in the fridge, but then you don’t have to worry about remembering to merge them in the morning.
Wake Up Early
Again another simple idea. When it’s just me, I like to be entirely “done” with myself before the kids wake up. Lofty life goals, right?! But, it takes a load of work off of you if you feel confident in your timing of you know that you are already taken care of in the morning. When my husband travels, I give myself 45 minutes before the kids wake. This gives me time to shower, do my, hair & makeup, and hopefully dress before anyone makes a peep.
Dry Shampoo is Your Best Friend
Washing, blow-drying, and styling long hair is major time drain in the mornings. Avoid the hassle and save yourself 25+ minutes and find a dry shampoo that works for your hair! I can go 2-3 mornings using dry shampoo before I need to wash my hair. I’m sure I could go longer, but I haven’t braved it yet! On the last day before washing, I do a quick up-do and can have my hair in ready to go in less than 2 minutes. Perfect for busy mamas!
Stick With Your Classic Outfits
Mornings with kids are stressful. An area of stress in my life is finding an outfit for the day. The idea of adding the “what am I going to wear today?” stress to the kids’ morning can be tough. Therefore, before my husband leaves on his trip I will write down on a scrap piece of paper what outfits I can wear for the week. Do I get crazy inventive and try out new combinations? No, way! I like to choose something that I know I feel confident in and don’t need to convince myself looks alright. Depending on my mood for the morning, I’ll change up the jewelry.
This follows up with #4. I love a good wedge and heel. However, if I am making 3 trips out to my car and into daycare, then heels don’t have a place in the wardrobe that week. I’m not perfect, heels occasionally make an appearance, but it’s either at the beginning of the week or at the end.
Everything Goes By the Garage Door
Set of all your items for the morning by the back door. Seems silly, but you will not forget the baby’s diapers if they are in your walkway! By our door, you will find my purse, coats for the 3 of us, shoes nearby, and extra goodies needed by daycare or work.
Prep The Kids’ Clothes
If you’re lucky and can still choose your child’s clothing, pick them out before your spouse leaves for the week. Even the socks and undies. We all know getting little people dressed for the day can be a challenge. So if you’re able to pick ahead, it takes a lot of confusion of looking for someone’s’ khakis or jeans only to waste 5 minutes before you realize they are in the dirty clothes.
To encourage older ones, plan a 30-minute outfit party to pick out the best outfits he or she loves. Then, lie them on the floor in the order you plan on wearing them that week (ie Friday’s outfit is at the bottom of the pile). Not only are they more involved in the process which leads to fewer arguments, but you’re making the week more of an adventure. Anything to keep their mind off mom or dad is gone.
What are your go-to methods for making sure you are out the door on time? I hope that you can use a few of these tips to keep yourself on time when you’re husband is out of the town, too. I’d love to hear your tips!