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I find that the smoother my day starts, the smoother it runs for the rest of the day. Which is why an efficient morning routine is ESSENTIAL to calm day for my family.
I used DREAD the morning rush to get myself, my daughter and sometimes my husband ready for the day. Until I started creating some shortcuts that made the morning routine easier.
I think every working mum dreads the morning rush to get herself and the kids ready for the day. Hell, I think stay-at-home mums dread the rush of getting kids ready for school or daycare, even when they don’t have urgent errands planned for the day. It’s the stress of making it to school and work on time, with children who feel the need to go slower than snails.
I could sit here and tell you that life’s magic secret to a seamless, stress-free morning is to wake up hours before the kids to get everything done, but if you’re anything like me, you only get up earlier than the kids 10 percent of the time.
Most of the time, my two-year-old is ripping the covers off me at 5.30am, yelling ‘Up mumma. Get up.’Which means, like me, you need a Plan B to reduce the stress of getting yourself, the kids, and maybe even hubby ready for the day ahead.
Here are some of my favourite ways to cut down on time rushing around to get everything done in the mornings.
#1. Prepare breakfast the night before
I’m not kidding. Obviously, you can’t have toast or cornflakes sitting in the fridge ready to do. But you can have a massive tub of Bircher Muesli ready to dish out (see my recipe here).
If you wanted to take it one step further, you could even dish the muesli up into portions for each family member and store it in portion-sized sealable containers.
#2. Prepare your coffee cup
It sounds weird. But making a cup of coffee with warmed milk can take more than 10 minutes if my two-year-old decides that it is also time for her bottle, or for breakfast, or for any other little toddler demand, such as finding her stuffed bunny (he’s normally hiding under her blankets from bedtime). Or the dreaded… ‘poo-ah nappy mumma.’
Before I got to bed, I put my coffee mug under the Nespresso machine (here is the one I have).
Make sure the water reservoir is filled and then all I have to do is turn the machine on in the morning, the pod in and press a button for warm milk.
Then if I have something to do while the coffee is brewing, it can easily be done, rather than trying to sort my coffee out and anything else that my toddler insists on.
#3. Lay out EVERYTHING you will need to get ready
There is nothing worse than running around the house in my underwear, trying to find the right blouse to wear with the skirt I chose on a whim because I remembered at the last minute that I had a meeting with external stakeholders, only to have to iron the blouse.
Oh, and as toddlers do, now is when they need their second nappy change… RIGHT NOW MUMMY.
I save SO much time by deciding exactly what I am wearing to work, the night before. I lay out the clothing, ensuring anything that needs to be ironed has been ironed.I go as far as deciding on shoes, my hairstyle and making sure my brush and hairpins/accessories are ready to go.
Then I take it one step further. I lay out what Ella will be wearing to daycare the next day.
The reasoning is two-fold:
- It saves time finding random pieces of clothing because hubby has ransacked her clothing drawers looking for clothing when he has had to change her and
- It ensures that she doesn’t go to daycare in either ‘spots’ and ‘stripes’ (it’s happened before when hubby has dressed her when I have started work early) and that she is in weather appropriate clothing. (Hubby has also sent her to daycare in jeans…in the middle of an Australian summer.)
Seriously, even if you have older kids, get them to lay their clothes (down to their socks) out the night before. Because who wants to be late for their morning meeting because the kids can’t find a matching pair of socks?
You can easily save 10-20mins, and your sanity, by laying out clothes for the kids and yourself the night before.
#4. Pack lunches the night before
This is the same logic as laying out your clothes for work the night before. And the same logic as pre-preparing breakfast. It’s especially great for preventing stress as kids change their minds at the last minute about what they want in their lunchbox. Or hubby deciding he wants something different.
If you have them pre-packed, they’re ready to go and no last-minute mind-changes. My husband and I usually take leftovers for lunch the next day. I have a problem where I can never cook for just two adults and a toddler. I tend to cook enough for 5 adults and a toddler.
So, we pack up the leftovers, save ourselves a LOT of money, and all we have to do is take the containers out of the fridge and take them to work.What about kids that don’t have facilities to heat up leftovers? Check out my post on healthy lunchbox ideas for school.
#5. Pack school/daycare bags the night before
It’s the same idea as laying out clothes the night before. Who wants the mad rush to find two spare changes of clothes for the daycare bag when you’re already running late? Or the reading journal that needs to be signed
Who wants the mad rush to find two spare changes of clothes for the daycare bag when you’re already running late? Or the reading journal that needs to be signed for the teacher? Or the permission form signed for the school excursion that your child forgot to mention until just now? Sounds like a stress. And it’s sure to make you late for work and feel frazzled for the day.
Go through the kids’ bags when you get home for the day, evaluate what needs to be packed, signed, whatever, and then all you need to do add the lunches in the morning.
By checking the school bags for older kids the previous day, you’re also finding homework that needs to be done. I used to get so irritated at my little sister who would remember her reading homework… WHEN WE WERE DRIVING TO SCHOOL. I vowed I would never be in the same predicament when I had my own children.
You might read these tips and go ‘DUH’ but they seriously help save time in the morning, reduce stress and make you feel like you’re organized as you’ll ever be.
Set the tone for the rest of your day by feeling relaxed about getting yourself and the kids ready for the day.
Have you got any time-saving tips that aren’t on this list? Comment below because I’m always looking for more ways to save on time in the mornings and catch an extra 10 minutes of zzzz’s.