My cousin just had her first baby in December, one month after my daughter was born. She just returned to work this week. (We work together. We are both first grade teachers.)
She has a beautiful little boy who seems to be a laid back, fairly undemanding child. He’s letting her get enough sleep at night, so far. But she is having trouble. She is getting up at 4:30 in the morning to be able to get to work at 7:00. She’s having a hard time getting things together to bring him to the babysitter, getting her older step sons dressed and fed, and getting herself ready for work.
She asked me today what time I got up this morning. Well, I happened to sleep until 6:10 this morning, which is late. Too late. But I still made it to work before she did. She wants to know my secret. How do I get ready so quickly?
I know a lot of my readers are stay at home moms, but maybe some of you are working moms. Or maybe you know a working mom who is spastically trying to get out the door in the morning. Or is tired of getting up and taking hours to prepare for her work day.
So, I thought I’d give some of my advice, on how I do things so I don’t have to get up in the wee sma’s to be able to leave the house… just in case any other working moms out there could use another hour of sleep!
Tiip #1 – (For breastfeeding moms)Sleep while your baby nurses.
Rebekah has gotten to where she generally sleeps from 9:00 to 4:30 or 5:00. This is good. But this hasn’t always been the case. Even when she was waking up two or three times a night to nurse, I wasn’t losing a lot of sleep.
Rebekah sleeps in a bassinet in our bedroom. When I go to bed, I pull the bassinet up to my bed so I don’t have to get out of bed to get her. Nursing lying down is an approved breastfeeding position. When she wakes up to nurse, I get her, put her in the bed with us, nurse her and go back to sleep. This takes about twenty seconds from the time she begins crying to the time I’m back asleep. I’m a light sleeper, so I almost always wake up when she’s done. I put her back to bed at this time. If I’m too tired to wake up again, well, she just sleeps with us. No biggie! I get plenty of sleep.
I have a friend who has her baby (same age as Rebekah) in a nursery down the hall. When her baby wakes up, she walks down the hall, nurses in the nursery, burps her, and has spent an hour out of bed before she returns. I’m not knocking having the baby in her own room from the beginning…I’m just glad that’s not what I’m doing.
***Just a note. Rebekah is not a big burper at all. She rarely burps. This may not be as easy with a baby that has stomach issues.
Tip #2 – Dress the kids the night before.
I dress my kiddos as much as I can the night before. Rebekah is always dressed in what she’s going to wear to the babysitter’s house the night before. Then I only have to change her diaper before we leave. If she’s going to wear a jacket or overalls, I put on whatever will be under that and then add the rest in the morning.
I also put my other two kids in the shirts they are going to wear to school the night before. They generally wear t-shirts to school. So far, this works well. There’s always those days the diaper leaks, or for school pictures and you want them in something they can’t really sleep in, but for the most part, this works very well. My older two kids have their blue jeans laid out at the foot of their beds. They can quickly put them on as soon as they get up.
Tip #3 – Do all or most bathing the night before.
Make sure all the kids have had baths the night before. If you have to have a bath in the morning (and I do!) learn to make it quick. But limit the morning baths to the adults, who are better at time management in the shower. (My daughter doesn’t know what a fast bath/shower is!!) All my kids have to do as far as grooming in the morning is brushing teeth and hair.
Tip #4 – Find a quick hair-do for work
I have curly, curly, curly hair. For years I would wear it straight. I had to get up and blow dry it completely dry with a round brush (no dampness at all or it would frizz in a mighty way!). I then had to use a flat iron on it. I loved it straight. I still like it straight. But I can hop out of the shower, slap in some hair gel, and just blow dry my hair until it doesn’t drip, and my hair is done in about five minutes. Tops! This works so much better for work. When I want to dress up nice, or go out for something special, I will take more time and possibly straighten my hair. But not when I’m going to work.
Most jobs just require that your hair be neat. Not model gorgeous. I’d skip any curling irons, flat irons, hair rollers, or anything that takes lots of time to fix for work. Stick with something simple that works with your hair naturally. If you have really limp hair, practice twisting it up in a clip. If you have course straight hair, just brush through it and pull it back in a barrette. This may take a bit of experimenting on the weekends, but find something you can do in under ten minutes. Or under five minutes. That’s even better.
Tip #5 – Minimal make-up
When I go to work, I wear slightly tinted lip gloss and mascara. I like to wear make-up when I go out, or to church, but just this small amount of make-up is good enough for work. It looks like I took time to look nice but only takes about thirty seconds to apply. Also, if you skip the make-up during the week, your complexion will actually improve and you’ll like the way you look without make-up more. Also, you look extra special at church or if your husband takes you on a date when you do the whole make-up deal.
Tip #6 – Pack up the night before
Before you go to bed at night, pack the diaper bag. Prepare all bottles and have them ready to add at the last minute. Pack any lunches for yourself or your older kids and put the entire lunch box in the fridge. Put everything out in a place near the door or on the path to the door to grab on your way out. Anything that can be put in the car the night before should already be there. My kids put their book bags in the car after they finish their homework.
If you have older kids (especially ones that are half dressed the night before and only need a few minutes to get dressed in the morning) have them load up the car while you change the babies diaper. They can pack all bags while you finish getting ready.
Tip #7 – Make breakfast simple
Have the oatmeal packages sitting in bowls near the microwave. Plan simple meals like cereal or pre-made muffins that take little time to prepare. If your older kids can get their own breakfast, let them. If your babysitter will feed the baby, let her. Or send breakfast to the babysitters with the younger kids. Whatever you can do to simplify this time will help. Anything easy to clean up is a plus as well.
Some of these tips will not apply or work for everyone. I understand this. But, if you are a working mother, it is important to manage your time so that you get enough sleep, spend time with your family, and get things done around the house. These are some tips for mornings. I’ll try to post some tips for evenings that will help you be able to work in exercise, family time, dinner, and chores at some other time.
If anyone else has time saving tips for getting out of the house without spending forever getting ready, please leave them in the comments! Even you stay at home moms have to leave the house…how do you get your crew ready to go? What do you do to save time (and your sanity) at this bewitching time?
This post written for Works For Me Wednesdays.