Leaving the house on time, looking presentable and ready for a day in the office is easier said than done when you have babies/toddlers/children to get ready and out the door too. Indeed, it’s not unusual to end up late, crumpled and covered in sick come that all important morning meeting. Welcome to working motherhood! The truth is, it can take a while to work out your own personal system based on the various demands of your particular family and working life, but to help in the process, we’ve shared some of our own top tips for a smooth and efficient morning routine (hint: do most of it the night before).
1. Wash and dry your hair… the night before.
For those who treasure those extra minutes in bed in the morning, and are happy to make do with a splash of water on the face to wake up, washing the night before makes a big difference to the efficiency of your morning routine. A bath at the end of the day is also a great way to ease away the stresses of work, not to mention the big demands of tiny people, ahem.
2. Choose and iron everyone’s clothes… the night before.
Discovering that you’ve run out of tights, or that your child has run out of everything is the last thing you need first thing, and you certainly can’t afford to waste time dithering over what whom is going wear. Pick everything out the night before, make sure it is clean and ironed, and everyone will (hopefully) get up and dressed quickly the next morning (toddler battles not included).
3. Check the weather forecast and pack everyone’s bags…the night before.
If it’s going to be cold and wet tomorrow, it’s good to know about it the night before so you can dig out waterproofs, wellies and any other kit your child might need for nursery/ the childminder/ the nanny share etc. Make a pile for each child with nappies, wet wipes, dummy, and whatever else he or she will need, then go through your own handbag to ensure that Oyster card, wallet, car keys, phone, tickets, and those important documents you need the next day are packed and ready for the morning.
4. Make sure you have everything you need for breakfast… the night before.
How many times have you opened the fridge, bleary-eyed, only to find that there is no milk. Or no bread. Or no cereal. There’ll be no time to run to the shop in the morning, so make sure it’s all there the night before.
5. Make lists
Make a list of the things you can’t pack the night before (like favourite teddy, sleeping bag, bib, sippy cup etc) and put it on top of the bag into which these things need to go the next morning. You might think that you’ll remember these things the next day, but come 6.30am, we can assure you, you won’t.
Remember those things that 60s housewives used to wear? Sort of a long shirt that they wore over their clothes? They were a really good idea. Basically, if you have your smart work clothes on, don’t risk doing breakfast or breastfeeding unless you are adequately protected from flying porridge/sick. Simply slip on a house coat (or baggy shirt) à la Betty Draper and spare yourself the stress of an outfit change when you are already running late.
7. Leave extra time
However long you think it will take you to leave the house, add an extra 15 minutes on to that. Someone is bound to have a dirty nappy as you are about to walk out the door, be unable to put their wellies on, refuse to get dressed, or need comforting, and so on, and so forth. Fact: there’s always something and it’s wise to leave time for it.
Are you a working mother? What’s your morning routine? We’d love to hear your tips!