Mornings are nuts. We’ve all been there. Anything that can go wrong, probably will. You’re rushed and frazzled, and it’s barely 7 am! You feel like you’ve run a marathon, and your day is only beginning. I’ve come up with 3 tips for getting out the door on time, every time. Without all the stress!
Here’s 5 minutes of a morning at our house:
“Come on Sweeties, we need to finish getting ready! Guys…? Fellas…? Are you listening? Come on, we’ve GOT to go! Where are your socks?! Brush teeth – no – put the iPad down and come brush teeth! Did you find your socks? We are running late – we have got to go! Let’s go potty before we go. You do have to go potty – you are doing the potty dance as we speak. Socks? Where are the socks?
Yes, you do have to wear pants to preschool today. Because you need pants! Let’s get your backpack and lunchbox. Oh! I should probably grab the icepack for the lunchbox! Oh good, you found the socks. What do you mean you need to go poop right now? Ok, let’s go. Ok, now, where are your shoes? You don’t know where your shoes are? Let’s look. Nope, stop watching Disney Jr and let’s go find your shoes. Because you need shoes to go to school!!
No, Batman can’t go with you to school today. Maybe on a show and tell day. Mickey can’t go to school either. Certainly, you can take your blanket with us in the car. Oh good – here are your shoes! Wait – what did you do with your socks? Where are the SSSSOOOOOOCCCCCKKKKSSS! We have got to GO!”– Taken from the real life of the Supermom Shuffle
Sound familiar? The above is a five-minute sound bite of a weekday morning at my house. I don’t think there’s much worse than that horrible rushed feeling you get as you are fleeing around your house in the mornings trying to get everyone ready for the day and out the door. You feel rushed, like you are forgetting something, you lose patience quickly and all the way around, it’s just not a fun time. I’ve been a morning rusher all my life. I have no idea why I would choose this – it’s awful!
And then I realized…
Finally, as I was driving my oldest to school one morning, trying to calm down from the crazed getting-ready-routine of that particular morning, I thought – almost all, if not 100%, of the chaos of this morning was completely avoidable. And the reason it’s all so chaotic is because I didn’t take time for a few quick strategies to give myself a leg up for the next day. (Also note, by calming down, I mean I was debating if I was getting donuts, Starbucks, or both…but I digress)
Back to the chaotic morning rush. No more of that junk! With these few quick steps I’ve discovered, you can have a nice, calm and relaxed morning every day. (Fair disclosure: Socks will STILL be lost and not have a matching mate – it’s just the law of the universe. I don’t make the rules – this is just how it is. Furthermore, my only solution to this problem is to buy an excessive number of matching socks to slow the burn of losing them… and your sanity.)
Here’s the 3 things to do to make the morning go smoothly:
Night Before Prep
Do as much as you can the night before. I totally get it, you are exhausted in the evenings. I’m just trying to conserve enough energy to hurl myself up the stairs and into bed. But this won’t take long, I promise. Just take the 15 minutes and give yourself the advantage to make your entire morning so calm and collected!
Step 1: Night To Do List:
Try to do as much as you can the night before. I totally get it, you are exhausted the night before. You are trying to conserve just enough energy to hurl yourself up the stairs and into your bed. But this won’t take long, I promise. Just take the 15 minutes and give yourself the advantage to make your entire morning so calm and collected! Here’s what I suggest for the night before preparations:
- Make sure all the backpacks/baby bags/purses/briefcases are accounted for and that everything that is needed in them is there. If your kids are old enough, by all means, have them help or even be totally responsible for their parts! Make sure all school forms are signed, folders are in backpacks. Double check the extra clothes or diapers depending on the age of your kids.
- Go ahead and lay out clothes. Down to underwear, diaper, socks (this avoids the SOOOOOCCCCCCKKKKKKKSSSS moment altogether), shoes, hairband, etc. For everyone! Not just the kids! And if it needs ironing, do that now too!
- Jackets! Don’t forget everyone’s jackets! We are fortunate enough that we have an attached garage to park in, so I always just stick the jackets for all in the car the night before. But grab the hats, mittens, coats, boots… whatever you need for those cold winter mornings.
- Get all the breakfast and lunch components ready. I don’t pack the lunches the night before because the containers go a little stale, but I get all the containers, bags, plates, pans, etc. out and ready to assemble.
- Keys. For the love of all that is pure in the world – locate any and all car keys needed for the following day. And wallets. We weren’t great at finding these in the first place. (I’m looking at you, Husband.) We have a hard enough time keeping track of them to begin with, and add in a 3-year-old that is mischievous and curious that takes stuff and hides it. Mmmmmmhmmmm. It took us a few 30 times, but now we look for the keys and wallet the night before.
Step 2: Get Out of Bed a Little Earlier
Get up a smidge earlier. Stay with me on this! I promise I’m not insane. At least not for this idea. Whatever time you think you need to get up and start getting ready – just do it 15 minutes earlier. Trust me, don’t question. Just do it. Wake up 15 minutes earlier than you think you need. If I’m wrong, you end up with extra time to relax and enjoy your morning. If I’m right (I’m right, trust me), then this gives you the additional time you actually needed to get everything ready. Personally, I seem to live in some kind of private time warp where I truly think I can do things quicker than I actually can. It’s taken 38 years, but I’ve learned, my estimate is just wrong. I always need 15 more minutes. Just try it. Add the time. You won’t go back.
Step 3: Make a Reverse Schedule
Finally, make a reverse schedule. You don’t have to do this every day. Just one time, for ten minutes, sit down and do a reverse schedule. All you do is start with your desired departure time and simply back into the times everyone needs to be doing what while we get ready. As a result, you can build in the time you need to make sure not to rush the kids. I always feel awful if I have to do that. I don’t like to rush them or miss the morning snuggles!
My youngest son springs out of bed and into action and needs no time for transition in the morning. But my oldest is just like me and he needs a few minutes to snuggle up on the couch, gather a blanket or 5 around him, ponder why he’s awake at this hour and maybe take in a few minutes of iPad or cartoons on tv. He just needs that transition time, so I schedule time for him to make sure he gets that.
Our reverse schedule looks like this:
7:10 – Backing out of driveway for school
7:05 – Loading up in the car
7:00 – Gather coats and backpacks, put on socks and shoes
6:55 – Comb hair, brush teeth
6:45 – Potty break, get dressed for the day
6:30 – I’ll offer breakfast – most likely to be declined. School Baby loves to eat in the car on the way to school. I’ll assemble the lunches as well.
6:15 – Sleepyhead Oldest Child wake-up. I keep the lights low in the living room and turn on his favorite cartoon and snuggle up with him. Snuggling up on your warm, sleepy little one? Oh – that’s the good stuff of life right there. Don’t miss that!
5:30 – Mom’s wake up alarm – Mom showers, gets ready, dressed for the day, coffee, maybe a few minutes of quiet time.
Make it work for you.
Maybe it took me a really long time to realize my morning and out the door routine needed a makeover, but I’m sure glad I finally figured it out. Also, our mornings are so calm and collected now that we have a plan in place! (I realize that seems like bragging – it’s totally not! I stand in amazement that it can go so smoothly!) So, I knew I had to share my strategies with you too. Take this framework and create a morning plan for your family to help everyone get out the door on time, free of stress. Above all, if any of this helps out your morning even a little bit, then my mission here was accomplished. Us Supermoms have to stick together!