For working parents, mornings are easily the most stressful time of the day. Once the kids are awake, it’s a full-on circus trying to get everyone out the door on time. For me, on a bad day, it takes two straight hours to get the kids up, fed, dressed and dropped off at school before I have to head off to work. On a good day? About an hour. In between there’s a whole lot of breakfast spills, whining, clothes flying, multiple trips to and from the bathroom and … did I mention whining?
Over the years, I’ve learned a few tricks to get me through these hectic mornings without being completely wiped out by the time I get to work.
First, forget the PJs. I outfit my kids at night with the clothes they’ll wear the next day. Since most kids’ clothes are comfy, it’s not like they’re sleeping in fitted suits and ties! This works especially well if your child takes forever choosing his or her outfits or is overly picky about clothes. At the very least, you can have kids pick out their outfits and lay them out next to their beds. Time saved: 5 to 10 minutes per child.
And the same goes for you! Invest in a nice pair of daytime PJs that can pass as an actual outfit. Boom, no need to change in the morning! Or, sleep in your workout clothes. I’m always impressed (and jealous) of moms wearing workout clothes when they drop off their kids because they had the time to work out. But, who knows, maybe those are their daytime PJs!
If you have to go to straight to work right after you drop your kids, lay out your clothes the night before. Or get dressed once you get to work by keeping some of your clothes and heels in the office. Take a look under any working mom’s office desk, and you’ll see what I’m talking about. That’s another 10 minutes saved.
Feeding your family
Next, skip the sit-down meal and eat breakfast on the go. Foods that work great for this (whether you walk or drive your kids to school) are breakfast bars and bananas. For parents who drive, keep a good supply of non-perishable foods stocked in your backseat so that all your kids have to do is buckle up and munch. Time saved: 10 more minutes.
If you pack your kids’ lunches, make the main sandwich and let your kids finish packing the rest of their bags from ready-made snack bins in your pantry. My sister-in-law does this and stocks up her pantry with ziplock bags filled with chips, crackers, dried fruits, fruit snacks and more. Trust me, they won’t forget to do this, and it’ll save you another 5 minutes.
Divvy out household duties
Last but not least, before we rush out the door each morning, I ask my kids if they did their jobs. Each child has a task they’re responsible for, such as turning out the lights and TVs or picking up the newspaper. They’re simple chores, but your kids will love having a responsibility that makes them feel big and important. My kids take their “jobs” very seriously—and it saves me an extra 5 minutes.