Okay, we are all feeling the 'Wait, where did Summer go?!' feeling right now and I imagine more than just a few of you are dreading getting up at the ass crack of dawn to get your kids to school on time - double or triple that pain if you have to do multiple drop-off's at multiple locations. Bleh.
If you're anything like me you LOVE finding ways to cut time and increase efficiencies, so I made a quick 'Top 10' of my favorite ways to get out the door fast in the mornings for work/school.
Lay out hygienic items ready to go
Lay out every school/work night everyone's toothbrushes, combs, makeup and any other morning hygiene items. If the few things the kiddos and you need are laid out and ready to use you'll spend less time in a half-woke stupor trying to find the pink toothpaste instead of the minty toothpaste your kid hates or loves. Ladies, you know we waste tons of time digging for that eyeliner...just set it on the counter and put it in the drawer/bag/cabinet as you use it. This practice will also help those teenagers to remember the DEO for their B.O. too if you know what I mean ;) (BEST DEODORANT EVER HERE).
Finish cleaning the house of daily chores the night before.
If you're waking up flustered because last nights dishes are haunting you from the sink, the bathroom is a mess and you feel the need to get up earlier and earlier to clean up in the morning you're going to burn yourself out or overdose on coffee. Tidy up the night before and wake up ready to focus on the few things that need to get done to get out the door. Even better, if you can, hire a maid - it's not nearly as expensive as I think people think it is - get a few quotes and find someone you love to come do the floors, bathrooms and harder stuff so you can focus on your family.
Showers and baths the night before
I have ALWAYS been a shower at night person. I like to wash off the daily exposure to the elements, get a relaxing hot shower in and climb into my clean sheets before dosing off into dreamland. I understand the need for a shower to wake some people up, but if you're sleeping in dirt and grime from the day you're adding more work to your cleaning regimen by way of washing sheets alone. Showering at night allows your hair to dry without heat tools and saves you in the Winter from having to add that extra step (unless of course you need to blow out your hair for a certain style, then choose your poison of morning or night). Having your kids have a routine after school of dinner, bath, bedtime also helps morning routines become natural to them.
Sleep in the next days clothes
Hear me out on this one...I promise I only do this to my kids when we have a REALLY early morning or if I know I'm going to be a zombie the morning after an all-nighter/deadline. Since we do bedtime baths, my kiddos are already clean and ready to rock - why not let them sleep in their next day clothes??? This works especially well when we have to catch a crazy early flight...I know it sounds weird, but trust. You'll want to do it everyday once you try it a few times.
Prepare to-go breakfasts
Don't even sit down. Wake up, clothes, brush teeth, shoes. GO. Breakfast ideas for in the car that aren't horribly messy (even for toddlers):
Mini pancakes & sausage links (if they won't eat them plain, bake with chocolate chips or spread a little nut butter of choice on them)
Muffin Cup Eggbake bites
Waffles & Fruit
Apple Sauce Pouch and Granola Bar
Prepare all lunch meals and drinks the night before
I think this was an obvious one but so many people I know still don't do this! Y'all are crazy. I'm talking drinks, portions etc all zipped into tomorrow's lunch sack and ready to rock. Cut, chop, bake, prepare...all of it the night before; Or hell, do it twice a week and call it good. Take back your free time with your family!
Pick out outfits the day before
First off, If you have a baby - send them to daycare in pajamas. NOBODY CARES.
Secondly, stop playing "Do you want your unicorn shirt or your Emoji shirt today" with your kids. They can pick it, but they pick it the night before and there's no arguing the next day. They have a bagillion other days to wear the other one. Don't forget undies and socks! Those are annoying time suckers to dig for too.
Lay out ONLY the shoes being worn tomorrow
If your kids are anything like mine (oh, hey there Tilly) they will have a half-asleep meltdown over shoes; Sometimes adamant to wear mismatched ones or inappropriate for school ones. Here's a big thing I've learned with kids, you give them freedom and choices but in limited quantities to keep the control. All shoes that are not being worn (or approved choices) go in a closet or mudroom.
Create a snack drawer for both dry and perishable goods
This is something that a lot of people love when they come to my home - I have two packed drawers of goodies at any given time. My fruit drawer is stocked always with fresh, pre-cut or pre-portioned fruit. I also love having apple sauce, fruit cups, yogurts or anything I can make into a pouch in there ready to rock. Similarly, I do the same for dry goods - single packs of popcorn, pretzels, raisins, crackers and granola/protein bars galore. Everyone's tastes vary day-to-day, cravings change and if one more person yells "MOM, I need a snack!? Can I have a snack??" I may lose it - so this was my solution. Plus, it promotes healthy habits and responsibility with the kiddos to pack their own snack, but makes it easy for them - just make sure they aren't pigging out on snacks instead of eating dinner.
Do hair the night before
I'm still new to the doing cute hair thing, someone please seriously come teach me how to french braid. Brushing, curling or setting your hair up for success in the morning can save 10-45 mins every day. For those of you with curly hair, the 'Curly Girl Method' seems to be really popular. I am personally trying to learn cute braiding styles for Cora's long locks to keep it under control.
I hope these tips inspire you to kickstart your morning on the right foot or even gave you some ideas you hadn't thought of. Remember, sometimes you are just surviving and need to focus on happiness over perfection when parenting.
Much love on this special week of back to school, my parent allies.