I absolutely adore my children. However, I also really miss only being responsible for getting myself out the door on time in the morning. Before kids I was one of those people who considered “on time” as being late. After kids, ALL of that changed. If you struggle getting yourself and your kids out the door (with everything you need) this busy mom morning routine is for you!
A Morning Routine for Working Moms
Prep the Night Before
Part of having a successful morning routine means being prepared. In order for everything in the a.m. to go smoothly you will want to do a few things the night before.
This will ensure that you wake up to a fresh start and are not left tying up loose ends.
(Yes, I know…the night before is not part of the busy mom morning routine. I promise the night before stuff helps though ;))
Prep lunches ahead of time
One of my first posts was sharing how I make all of my children’s sandwiches in 30 minutes once per month.
This has been a huge time saver.
Over the years I have also created a list of go-to healthy semi-homemade and pre-packaged snack items that can quickly be tossed into their lunchboxes. Some of the frequent flyers include apple slices, cuties, cheese sticks, baby carrots, nuts and popcorn.
You can take the same approach when it comes to your own lunch. One strategy that has worked for me is to use Sunday to make a large batch of a soup, casserole or salad. (I recommend a pasta or rice based salad since they keep well in the fridge)
You can simply split the end result into individual containers and BAM your lunch entrees for the week are done. Then just toss the snacks into your lunch bag and your kiddos lunch boxes at the same time.
Related Post:Easy DIY Uncrustables
Empty the dishwasher after dinner
Previously, our habit was to load the dishwasher after dinner and let it run while we put the kids to bed. The problem with this is that then when you wake up you need to unload it.
This is not a good way to start your day.
Waking up to a full dishwasher also increases the likelihood that you will just put any dishes from breakfast in the sink. That’s exactly what I always did. This just delays the inevitable. Now, you will come home from work and have a chore to do…not fun!
Instead, empty the dishwasher once the cycle is complete after dinner. That way, when you start your morning you can put any dishes from breakfast directly in the dishwasher.
Voila’ – now your kitchen is clean as you head out the door!
Tips for a Smooth Morning Routine
Here are a handful of simple tips for your busy mom morning routine that will ensure a great start to your day.
Wake up earlier
Sure, you might be able to make it out the door on time if you wake up at 6:30am. However, if you are anything like me, you also felt rushed and barked orders at your kids the entire time.
A less than stellar way to start your day.
All the frenzy and rushing also contributes to situations like getting to work and realizing you left your lunch on the counter. Or even better, looking down to realize you are still wearing your slippers.
If this sounds familiar, you need to change your definition of waking up on time. From now on, it’s no longer just making it to school dropoff and sliding into your desk with seconds to spare.
Instead it means waking up at a time that provides you with an opportunity to:
- Take a long shower and thinking through the day ahead
- Have a moment for reflection, meditation, prayer or another restorative practice
- Waking up your kiddos after you are fully ready and can focus soley on getting them ready
- Leave the house feeling calm, prepared – AND wearing matching socks!
What time should that be? Well, that all depends on your schedule.
However, I have been experimenting with how much additional time I needed to make this change and 30 minutes was optimal. 20 minutes wasn’t quite enough and 45 minutes left me feeling like I didn’t get enough sleep. I would suggest setting your alarm to wake you up half an hour earlier than usual and adjust accordingly.
Wake up before the kids
I never realized how helpful this would be until my kiddos slept in late a few days and I was able to get ready in peace and quiet. Not only is it wonderful to have this time to yourself, but it’s also gift to your kids.
By being a mom who isn’t rushed or busy multi-tasking in the morning you are modeling very important behaviors for your child.
As a teacher I see students who arrive at school overstimulated, upset and disheveled from the chaos of a rushed morning routine or a lack thereof.
If you are dressed and prepared to leave before you even wake them up they will reap the benefits throughout their day. It will also give you more time to interact positively and connect in the morning before you all go your separate ways.
No electronics until everything else is done
Depending on your level of social media addiction this will be easier for some than others. No matter what, it will help to cut out wasted time from your morning routine.
Whether you are mindlessly scrolling through your feed or taking a quick minute to check your email, it’s sabotaging your goal of having a productive and calm morning.
I know there are many reasons why you may NEED to use media in the morning.
I am not suggesting that you have to avoid looking at your phone before you leave the house. That could mean missing the text from your boss saying that he is giving you a raise and that you have the day off 😉 Ha!
Instead, schedule your media time if it is a morning necessity.
It should be scheduled once everything else is taken care of. This is because often we end up getting sucked into some sort of project or response that takes longer than anticipated. Then you are back to running around and feeling frantic. Hello! This is what we are trying to avoid.
I believe there are a lot of benefits for children who have parents who are present and not distracted by technology. Due to this, I would suggest you media time be scheduled after you are ready, but before you wake up the little ones.
Toss a load of laundry in
This idea has very simple and selfish roots. As a busy mom, I really look forward to my weekends. I want to capitalize on the opportunity to relax, spend time with my family, and enjoy myself as much as possible.
Doing laundry does not fit in to that equation. However, up until recently that was a task that took up a pretty big chunk of time every weekend.
What changed? First, we remodeled the office in our home and converted it to a laundry room/mud room. In the process we purchased a stacklable washer and dryer that has “speed wash” and “speed dry” settings that we love. The second change was that I began starting a load of laundry as part of my morning routine.
Using the speed cycles allows for an entire load to be done before we walk out the door. No more weekend laundry for me since adding this as a step in my busy mom morning routine.
Related Post: How to Prevent the Laundry from Piling Up
Let your kids watch TV
While it would be ideal to think that we could all implement every change on this list to create “The Most Perfect Morning Ever!” I also know that it’s more realistic that you will each choose one or two ideas to try.
So, let’s say that you can’t possibly wake up before the kids. I totally understand because one of mine is an extremely early riser.
So, instead you need something for them to do while you finish getting ready. In that case, you might need to find a high-quality television show for them to watch.
Now before you go all Salem-Witch-Hunt on me thinking that it’s not a good idea for children to watch TV in the morning – just hear me out. I wrote an entire article about how different types of TV shows impact children’s brains. To summarize, a high-quality program makes all the difference.
I don’t know about you, but in my house it’s much safer to put on a show for them to watch while they eat breakfast and I finish getting ready. I have tried leaving the t.v. off and I have ended up with hair pulled, paint on the floor and all the change from my purse being put in the sink.
The shows that made the cut are mom and teacher approved 😉
Eat the same thing for breakfast all week
Eating a healthy breakfast is essential to regulate mood, assist brain function and provide energy for your daily activities. Unfortunately, it’s super easy to just grab a bowl of cereal and call it done.
One simple way to make sure your entire family has a healthy and nutritious breakfast it to prep it on Sunday and eat the same thing all week.
Think you or your kiddos would get sick of eating the same thing? Well, it’s only for Monday thru Friday, so just five days. Also, you can add different sides of fruit/nuts to make it a little different each day.
Here are a few of my favorite prep ahead breakfast recipes:
French Toast Waffle Sticks from Six Sister’s Stuff (just put them in a bag in the freezer after they cool)
Set up a family command center
Listen to me busy mama – this step is crucial. Having this area set up in your house is going to open up a lot of space in your brain. You are trying to shove too much in there and it’s going to explode!
A family command center is exactly what it sounds like.
A designated area of your home that will help you to run your family with the precision of a military platoon leader.
Ok – maybe that’s a little extreme, but it will help you to not forget your purse or your kids backpack as you head out the door.
It’s best to set it up next to the door that you enter and exit your home from. It may require some minor re-decorating to make it happen, but the benefits are well worth it. I have even seen them set up inside garages for families who were out of inside space and went in through the garage anyway.
This is where you are going to put shoes, jackets, backpacks, your purse, your keys, lunch menus, monthly calendars etc. Here are a few visual examples to help you figure out what would work best in your home.
Next Post :10 Easy Ways to Simplify Busy Mom Life
Success! The perfect busy mom morning routine!
There you have it mama! A handful of simple tips for the perfect busy mom morning routine.
We would love to hear from you! What is your biggest struggle when it comes to getting out the door on time in the morning? Please comment below.