Scroll. Scroll. I searched. More than once. Nothing. Then I thought, “who am I kidding? There is nothing routine when commuting 30 miles every morning with a toddler”. I had been commuting to Timbuktu (as I like to call it) and back for over a year before I realized that if I was going to remain sane as I continue to commute, something had to change. And fast.
Evening after evening I would arrive home, after a long, exhausting day and one hour on the freeway, exasperated and dead tired. If I didn’t stop to grab dinner on the way in, I would have to figure out what would be quick and easy to prepare for the kid and I to eat. Then I would struggle to find something to wear for the next day ( I have clothes, just no outfits). Lastly, I would rush to pack little man’s lunch all while he not so subtly begged for my attention. After my “chores” were complete, it was time for a bath and bed. I would hope to read or write or even catch up on a TV show but 20minutes in, I would be sleep. So, I stopped attempting that.
Enough was enough. And I had had enough. After trying to find a morning routine that suited the little guy and me, I finally came up with some not so morning routine hacks that seem to be working for us quite well.
1. Prepare, Plan and Pack the night before
Makes sense right? Doing EVERYTHING possible the night before saves me so much time in the morning. I actually took this a step further. Sunday evenings, I prepare as much as I can for the week. Well, I actually start on Saturday mornings. I plan all of our meals for the week. Then whatever we don’t have in the fridge and/or pantry, I buy on Saturday. Sunday, I wash and chop all the fruits, making them easier to pack in lunches for the week. Also, I leave some out in plastic containers, placing them in reach for the little guy, for quick grabbing and grazing.
The Libra in me leaves too much room for indecisiveness, especially when it comes to what to wear. So, I started to pick out all of my outfits for the workweek, plus an extra day, just in case, I wasn’t satisfied with how one outfit looked after I put it on and looked in the mirror. Sunday evening, I iron (yes, I actually iron) our clothes for the entire week. This way, I can just grab and go. I have a limited number of outfits I can decide from and they are all ready to go. I don’t have to rush in the morning, scrambling to find an outfit. This also gives my son a little freedom when selecting his outfit for the day. He loves it.
2. Commit to the times set
There isn’t a set time I must arrive at work but the sooner I get there, the sooner I can leave, most days. The later I leave, the worse traffic we sit in. Arriving at work by 7:30 am is ideal for me. Because the way Southern California traffic is set up, I have learned, we have to be out of the house by 6 am to avoid the most morning bumper to bumper. If we leave any time after 6 am we are risking just sitting on the freeway in obscene amounts of gridlock. To achieve this sometimes lofty goal, two things must happen: going to bed at the time I set for us and avoiding the snooze button at all costs. I found that when I commit to our bedtimes and wake up when I am supposed to and don’t snooze, we are closest to our out of the house by 6 am goal.
3. Remain consistent
I am not sure about all the other kids, but my son is a creature of habit. Once we start doing a certain thing a particular way, he likes to do it the same way each time. If we listened to Wreck-it-Ralph while he brushed his teeth 3 days in a row, on the 4th day we better listen to Wreck-It-Ralph or it throws him off. So, I try my very best to stay consistent and do the same things in the same order as much as possible. He’s more cooperative that way. And I am way more appreciative of a calm and easy morning, given the tasks at hand.
Waking up a toddler at 5:30 am is hard all by itself. It’s even more brutal if there isn’t a plan in place. If the kid senses panic, its a wrap. I know he could sense my frustration and his energy responded to it. That was hard. Once I got a handle on our routine, things started to fall into place. He’s pleasant most mornings and I owe it to these 3 hacks. They saved my (mental) life.
Be sure to follow me on Instagram to see behind the scenes footage on how I prepare for the week ahead.
Do you commute to work? What are some of your morning routine tips or hacks?