So far, one of the hardest things for me about having two kids is simply getting out the door to do anything!! I can’t even count how many times I’ve gotten in the car sweaty and exhausted trying to get Sam to school, make an early morning doctor’s appointment for Nora, etc. Whew. I’m a little overwhelmed just thinking about it. 😉 Luckily, now that I have a whopping eight weeks of experience with this juggle, I’ve found a few things that help make this almost daily “event” a little more manageable…
1. Give yourself A LOT of extra time. I’ve never been particularly good at being on time, but now it is even worse! (How long can I use the “I just had a baby” excuse anyway?) Without fail it seems like Nora wakes up starving or has a diaper blowout right when I need to be walking out the door… Combine that with the inevitable seventeen bags that need to be packed, keys that need to be found, car seats that need to be loaded, etc., etc., etc., and I’m looking at an extra thirty to forty-five minutes easy. In general, I’ve found that things take me about TWICE as long these days, so I’m trying to be disciplined about allowing myself LOTS of extra time by waking up earlier, not squeezing so much into my schedule, and starting the “get ready to leave” process well in advance of when it’s time to go.
2. Pace yourself & set alarms. This goes along with my first tip, but I have found that counting backwards from the time I NEED to leave to make it somewhere on time and then pacing myself to get everything done goes a long way. For example, on the mornings that Sam needs to be at school at 9, I know I need to wake up no later than 7 and be in the shower by at least 7:30. I need to wake Sam by 8:00, start loading everyone up by 8:30, and pull out of the drive way at 8:50 at the very latest. One thing that helps keep me on schedule is to set and label an alarm on my phone for each of those “milestones” and then hold myself to it. That way, if fall back asleep, cuddle Nora, or err get caught up reading blogs for a little too long, I have a tangible reminder to get back on track.
3. Prepare the night before. This is a classic piece of advice, but it really does make a big difference. Before bed at night I try to make sure everything is completely ready for the smoothest morning possible. This includes laying out clothes for myself and both kids, cutting up fruit for breakfast, stocking the diaper bag and Sam’s backpack, etc. Sometimes, when I’m feeling particularly “with it,” I even go so far as to set the table for breakfast. (Let’s be real, that doesn’t happen often.)
4. Enlist the help of “big kids.” In my case, Sam (age 3.75) counts as a “big kid,” and you’d be surprised at how much he can help with when I ask him. He is a champ at retrieving clean outfits or pacifiers for Nora, grabbing a water bottle from the fridge, and putting on his own shoes. Even though these are little things, they keep me from running up the steps for the fortieth time that day and save precious moments. Also, as a bonus, he feels helpful and proud which is huge these days as he adjusts to being “Big Brother.”
5. Multitask. Every busy mom knows the value of multitasking… While I haven’t quite mastered the fine art of make-up application or pumping in the car, I’m pretty darn good at meals on-the-go. 🙂 Sure, I prefer a meal around the table, but sometimes, that just isn’t happening… Kellogg’s Cereal In A Cup makes breakfast and snacks in the car (or the stroller, waiting room, etc.) especially easy, and I feel a lot better about it than I would about a drive-thru. The individually portioned cups of cereal come in a 4-pack (sold at Walmart and other retailers for $3.68) and are available in Frosted Flakes, Froot Loops, Raisin Bran Crunch, and Frosted Mini Wheats. The latter have been a favorite at our house since Sam first started eating cereals and our pediatrician recommended it because of its high fiber content. I love that Kellogg’s Cereal In A Cup can easily be eaten by little hands in the car (it even fits perfectly in the cup holders), can just be thrown away when it is all gone (no dirty dishes!), and keeps my boy happy and his tummy full on even the busiest days as breakfast or an anytime snack. (So far, I’ve only let Sam enjoy it dry since I don’t really trust him with a spoon and milk on his own yet, but adding the milk right into the cup is perfectly convenient for older kids and grown-ups.) I’m definitely keeping one of these in the diaper bag at all times!
Even though I’m back at work (for a few weeks) now, I’m already thinking about how I can get the most out of my time off with both kids this summer. One thing I already know is that getting up and out of the house each day is going to be CRUCIAL… Whether it’s a trip to the library, a playground play date, a stroll on the greenway, or a road trip down the interstate, my family does better when we GO. In order to make the most of my summer, I’ll be adding Kellogg’s Cereal In A Cup to my “get out the door” strategy! What are your best tips for early mornings or jam packed days? I’d love to hear!
P.S. Want some extra spending money to help make your summer the best ever?!? One of you can win a $100 Walmart Gift card!! To enter for a chance to win, leave a comment below answering this question: How are you #MakingTheMostOfSummer?
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