Beating the clock: Working mama morning tips

As a full-time working mum of two kids under three I know how very tough it can be getting everyone up and out of the house on time.

It’s now been five weeks since I returned to work after my second bout of maternity leave and I can report we have reached a reasonable state of normality.

We now have a very vague routine and I have some systems in place that make the mornings go a little easier, although let’s be honest, sometimes matters are totally out of our control!

I’ll admit that on my first two days back I was running about 40 minutes late. Finally I’ve found a routine that makes life easier, and saves my sanity in the mornings.

So when it comes to getting out of the house in the morning and keeping your kids, your bos and you happy, here are my top tips for beating the clock:

Get organised

This part is absolutely crucial.

I don’t mean have a think about what everyone will wear, eat for breakfast, and take with them to nursery, I mean have it all laid out, prepared and packed by the front door the night before.

If you think it will only take 10 minutes, believe me it won’t. There are multiple factors that can come in to play in the mornings that slow you right down.

This could include major separation anxiety, where your baby will not allow you to put them down for five seconds without wailing, a bed full of wee from a leaking nappy, or no clean socks.

Have all of the clothes your kids will wear to childcare ready and laid out, right down to the nappy, socks and shoes. I can guarantee you that whatever you don’t bother to organise the night before, will be missing in the morning.

If your kids are fussy about breakfast, make sure their favourite choice is in the kitchen ready to be poured or warmed up.

Have the nursery bag packed and by the front door. I have a brilliant list of what your child needs in their nursery bag, you can get your hands on it totally free! Just pop your email address here:

Set your alarm earlier

I would suggest that giving yourself an additional 30 minutes of time to get up and out of the door in the mornings is advisable. It takes me 90 minutes to get myself and the children fed, dressed and out of the door in the mornings.

An hour just isn’t enough when you have kids to motivate out of the door on time.

Stop engaging with the complaints

We have a lot of tears in the mornings when everyone is sleepy and emotional.

My toddler will cry over the smallest thing, such as insisting she hates a jumper that she picked out herself only weeks before. This can really slow us down if I then enter into a debate with her about what she wants to wear instead.

If you argue with your kids, who let’s face it are not rational when they go into meltdown, you will get nowhere. Of course I’m not saying you should ignore them, I’m just saying take a deep breath and try not to let this get to you. Reply with calm responses and remind yourself internally that there’s not point arguing with your child when they’re like this.

Often when you engage too much it can cause the tantrums to escalate. Be calm and reassuring, look into your child’s eyes and tell them firmly that it’s OK and to stop fussing now. Of course that doesn’t mean it will stop the tantrums, but you can often head them off by not reacting strongly to them.

Be tactical

If it’s just you getting the kids up in the morning, then you need to think ahead about how you’re going to get yourself dressed and sorted.

With young kids you can’t just leave them alone downstairs while you have a lazy shower and put your make-up on upstairs.

I have a shower and wash my hair the night before work. I then have a quick wash in the morning just before getting my kids out of bed.

I have a caddy that contains all my make-up, which means I can easily carry it into whatever room my kids are in and do my make-up there.

When it comes to getting dressed, have your clothes laid out and ready in the morning. If you’re worried about your work clothes getting toothpaste and cereals all over them, then don’t put them on until you’re just about to step out the door. This could mean having your outfit hung up on the living room door, so it’s to hand for when you’re about to leave.

Allow extra time for brushing teeth

This is still a tricky part of the mornings for us as my toddler is not a fan of brushing her teeth.

Don’t leave it to the last-minute. Get brushing after breakfast.

Prepare for the battle of the shoes

Give yourself five minutes to get shoes on, as if your kids are anything like mine they will run in the opposite direction when they see it’s time to go out of the house.

Try to encourage your toddler to put their own shoes on, as if you have more than one child this takes a bit of the pressure off of you.

Think about the traffic

Rush hour is unavoidable and it happens every day. You need to calculate that into your journey time and have a set time that you need to be out of the door and in the car by.

When choosing a nursery, the distance you need to travel as part of your daily journey should be part of the decision-making process. You don’t want the nursery to be in the opposite direction of your office.

Take a deep breath

When you fall apart, everything falls apart. Try to keep calm and avoid the headless chicken dance.

If you can remain calm and thinking clearly, then chances are you won’t be running late!

Part of giving yourself an extra bit of time in the mornings is to give you that mental as well as practical space.

Do you have any tips for getting out on time in the mornings? I would love to hear from you!

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Working mama morning routine - tips for beating the clock every day

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1 Comment

  1. February 5, 2018 / 1:07 pm

    My tip would be – if your nursery serves breakfast, pay for it! It means that mine just needs a drink and maybe a piece of fruit (ie NO PREP) – teeth brushed and out. Also if you have a partner, if you both have roles and stagger (so one is dressing, the other is getting the kids ready, then switch – like a relay) it helps maximise time.

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