My working mom friends and I recently exchanged tips for getting to work on time when you've got kids. These are particularly good strategies if punctuality doesn't come naturally to you.
One word can be your mantra: organize. Or, even better, as one of my friends tells herself, "I am going to be on time AND I am going to be a loving, caring mother."
You are probably already doing some of these, and there may be some you would never do. Pick and choose the strategies that will work for you!
8 BIG-PICTURE STRATEGIES...
1) Redefine what being "on time" means. Try to get in the habit of getting to work 15 minutes early every day. That way, when you have a really off morning and you are running late, you're actually technically on time. (If you need an incentive to get to work early, think of it as time for morning tea/coffee/treat at work before the actual workday starts.)
2) Identify anything that consistently slows you down in the mornings. These can be little things that cost precious minutes. Then implement little fixes to the little problems.
3) Turn your car into a nursery on wheels with a travel potty, lots of baby wipes, bottled water, a can of lysol, trash bags, and changes of clothes for each kid.
4) Stock your office with a change of work-appropriate clothes, breakfast food, toothbrush and toothpaste, etc. for yourself. (This is a game-changer for me! Spilling coffee on my shirt while I'm driving, for example, is no longer such a bummer.) In terms of toiletries to keep at work, let me recommend Acure Dry Shampoo!
5) If you take your kids to a babysitter's or relative's house, consider stocking her kitchen with food for your kids on a regular basis so you don't have to transport breakfast or lunch every day. (For example, one friend drops off bagels and waffles on the way home from her weekly shopping trip.)
6) Make lunches every Sunday for the week ahead. (Breakfast food such as muffins, pancakes, scrambled eggs can be prepared in advance too.)
7) Ditch breakfast at home and have your kids eat breakfast in the car. (One friend says she'd have the granola bars ready to go in their car seats.)
8) One friend suggests "purchasing one or more Rosie Reminder clocks (depending on the layout of your house). The clock is a customizable alarm clock, originally intended for people with Alzheimer's but it works great for keeping to the routine. You will set reminders in your own voice for various times (e.g., fix breakfast, leave the house) and build in an extra 3-5 minutes for each task." My friend uses the clock to tell her kids when to start and finish eating breakfast, when to go to the potty, when to brush teeth, etc., and it sounds like it's really working for her family.
AND 4 TIME-SAVING THINGS TO DO THE NIGHT BEFORE:
1) Lay out the morning's outfits for everyone. Or just put your kids to bed in the clothes they'll wear the next day, instead of pajamas. (This tip would not work for my family, because we love the bedtime ritual of pajamas! But it's pretty bad-ass.)
2) Set your coffee pot on a timer so you don't have to brew coffee in the morning and lay out non-perishable breakfast on the table.
3) Take a shower (at night instead of in the morning).
4) Put diaper bags and backpacks in the car. (I love this tip because I'm always schlepping heavy bags to the car as part of my mad dash to work in the morning. It would be literally freeing to walk to the car with just keys in hand.)
Please share your strategies in the comments! What is working for you?
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