It’s every working mom’s goal: to make mornings easier, both for YOU and for the family/kids. So how do you do it? What hacks and tips have you found? What are you considering?
Psst: you may want to check out our latest discussion on breakfast and the working mom.
In Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg shares the story of a woman who put her kids to bed in their school clothes to save 15 minutes in the morning:
One of the other panelists, an executive with two children, was asked the (inevitable) question about how she balances her work and her children. She started her response by saying, “I probably shouldn’t admit this publicly . . . ,” and then she confessed that she put her children to sleep in their school clothes to save fifteen precious minutes every morning. At the time, I though to myself, Yup, she should not have admitted that publicly. Now that I’m a parent, I think this woman was a genius.
It’s too true! Some tips I’ve tried over the years to make mornings easier (particularly as someone who is not a morning person):
- Sleep well. I’ve been using the Sleep Cycle app to help wake me up at the lightest point of my sleep cycle, and it’s been great. For some reason the need to charge my phone while using the app has always stopped me (it “uses sound analysis to identify sleep states by tracking movements in bed”), but upon realizing that this seemed like a pretty silly reasoning on my part, I bought a 6′ long cord just to keep by my bed. Another trick to try if you feel like you wake up still tired: Take a spoonful or two of peanut butter before bed — it stabilizes your blood sugar throughout the night so you sleep better. You know how in cartoons people greet the day with singing bluebirds and dancing dishes? This is how I feel the mornings after I’ve had a good night’s sleep thanks to peanut butter. Check out more of our best tips on how to hack and optimize your sleep.
- Cut what you can from your own morning routine. I used to be a morning shower person… many, many moons ago. Now I prefer taking my time with an evening shower, which vastly cuts down the amount of time I need to spend on myself when I wake up. I also tend to dress in a bit of a uniform (because I work from home it’s pretty casual — black t-shirt, jeans, a different colorful cardigan each day and a different necklace), and I’ve cut my new-mom beauty routine to the quick, too.
- Do what you can the night before. Set your coffeemaker to go off first thing in the morning, make any lunches that need to be made, pick out outfits (yours and the kids’), set bags by the door…
- Identify and eliminate the bottlenecks. If it’s like pulling teeth to get your kids dressed… then I totally agree with the woman in Sandberg’s example; put your kids to bed in their school clothes. Do what works for your family.
- Hit the ground running at the office. When you finally get a minute to yourself, the urge to dillydally can be strong — Facebook! Websites! Easy reaction-based work, like answering emails! At the end of each day I like to write down three tasks I MUST accomplish the next day, and print whatever I can so there are papers to review — and I do my very best to focus on those tasks first.
- Turn to technology like sunrise lamps, particularly if you’re up against dark winter mornings — check out more of our advice on how to wake up more easily when it’s dark out.
Ladies, how do you make mornings easier in your house? What have you tried — and what do you swear by?