Written by Kelly Kannar
“The struggle is real.” That’s what one Mum said to me at day-care this morning as she wrangled her two children through the door, no doubt trying to get to work on time. She was running late because her toddler had wanted to take his father’s toothbrush with him and when she said ‘no’ he’d had a Chernobyl sized meltdown. Even as I write this I can feel many of you nodding in sympathy. Yup, the struggle is indeed real (our own car was filled with toothbrushes at one stage).
When I started back at work after having Jack, each morning as we would finally make it to the car, I would collapse into the driver’s seat and silently salute working Mums everywhere. I’d always been punctual, but when it came to getting ready for work I was never organised in any kind of regimented way… until I had a child. The truth is, our little people are novices when it comes to many things but somehow, they are absolute experts at delaying exits from the family home. So, if you’re a working Mum who feels like you’ve run a marathon by the time you get to work each morning, you are in good and abundant company.
And, while you can bet that there will often be a last minute curve ball thrown at you, there ARE things you can do to make your mornings as stress free as possible AND get to work on time. I asked some of the most amazing, rockstar, professional working mums I know and here are some of their top tips:
1. Prep the night before
Do as much prep as you can the night before.
Pack all bags – including yours. Locate elusive items such as hats, shoes, keys, drink bottles etc.
Decide what you’re going to wear the night before and have it all hung up ready to go.
If you want to take it one step further, have your child also choose what they are going to wear the night before while things are a bit less frantic (or pick it for them if they are still little). Locate backup outfits just in case.
Prep lunches and snacks the night before – yours and the kids.
2. Take turns in the morning
Tag team with your partner (if you’re able to) for morning breakfast, showers, etc.
3. Do breakfast on the go
If breakfast is the most time-consuming part of your morning, prep some freezable ‘breakfast on the move’ options that the kids can eat in the car. Toast or bananas in the car works well for us.
4. Get dressed last
This will minimize the possibility of a last minute spit up, nappy blow out or breakfast spill ruining everyone’s well-chosen outfits (a lesson I learned the hard way).
5. Save time on your make-up
Keep a makeup bag in the car and do your makeup in the bathroom at work. (Or, if you’re like me, in the car itself).
6. Save tricky tasks for the car seat
If your children are still little, use the car seat to your advantage. I find it’s quicker to put Jack’s shoes and sunscreen on when he’s in his car seat – he can’t run away from me then!
7. Keep things light
Play music, sing songs about brushing your teeth, pretend to be aeroplanes zooming through the hall to get dressed – kids pick up on stress so the more relaxed you are, the more likely they are to get moving.
8. Keep your manager in the loop
Something will always pop up last minute, so if you are running late don’t forget to be courteous and let your manager know. Then make up the time during lunch or after work.
If you do all these things (and more!) but find you are still running perpetually late, perhaps having a candid chat with your manager to negotiate an alternate start time is the way to go. Punctuality is so important and so highly regarded – you want to ensure you are always protecting your personal brand.
Do you have any secrets to getting out the door on time? We’d love to hear them!!