Hey Mama! How long does it take you and your kids to get out of the house? Seriously, I’m curious to know. Leave your morning routine average time in the comments below.
Right after having baby number two, our time to get out of the house more than doubled. Which can be expected when you start breastfeeding all over again. But one of the most frustrating things to me as a rusher is feeling like you’re in dream-mode, trying so hard to run but not being able to move. So I’ve tried and practiced and come up with a few great ways to get out of the house within a half hour from wake up to in the car. Got some tips of your own? Leave them in the comments below.
Sorry to say, mama, but getting out of the door quickly in the morning might mean cutting some corners. For you, it might look like wearing those black leggings for the third day in a row because you know nobody notices (or do they??). It might look like the ever so trendy mom-bun; In which case, some dry shampoo might come in handy. I like to use this one. My point is, how long does it take you to get YOU ready in the morning? As much as I believe in self care, I’ve also learned how to make day 2 (and day 3, maybe day 4) hair work in my favor. So grab that dry shampoo, bobby pins, hair ties, and work it!
Does your toddler take 10 hours to eat one piece of toast for breakfast? So does mine. I can’t count the number of times I’ve said, “David, please, for goodness sake, just take another bite!!!” That being said, when we’re in a hurry in the morning, we eat breakfast in the car. Mind you, I drive an old Honda Pilot and I couldn’t care less if food spills in it. That’s what stage of life we’re in and I’d rather have a car that can be spilled in than one I need to stress over keeping pristine. Because that would never happen.
Anyway, I always stock up on travel foods. Things like bananas, healthy (low sugar, etc.) breakfast bars, mandarin oranges. That way, the toddler barely has to leave his room before I say, “Ok, we’re getting in the car! I have breakfast for you! Don’t stop. Just go”
Side note: I realize rushing toddlers doesn’t always work. Not even for my own. There are mornings when all I have to do is look at David (or hear him on the monitor) and I know it’s going to be a grumpy and slow morning. That’s where flexibility and grace come in. But often times, if I keep him busy and on-task, we can get out of the door pretty darn quick. Having grabbable foods helps me to usher him out the door while nixing opportunities to be distracted and go slower.
Lunches and/or diaper bags pre-packed
Just like getting dressed in the morning saves your groggy self a ton of time when picking out an outfit (why is it always easier the night before instead of the morning of???) so does packing diaper bags and lunches. (Need a great diaper bag? Grab one one here). Basically, all one usually has to do to “pack” a diaper bag is restock it with fresh clothes, diapers, wipes, an emergency snack, and maybe a toy or book (extra credit if there’s a snack for mama in there)! A tip a friend of mine had was to simply retock the diaper bag once you get home from an outing. That way it’s never left until the last minute and you avoid finding yourself in a bind or short on time.
Get myself 100% ready before kids are out of bed.
If the whole gang is going somewhere (well, me and the kids) chances are it’s happening first thing in the morning or right after nap (no one goes out right before nap unless they’re a crazy person who likes the sound of children crying). If that’s the case, I do my best to get myself 100% ready. That means hair/makeup done, dressed, SHOES ON, diaper bag (or lunch bag) in the car, coffee brewing in the Keurig, and a banana already in the car. THEN, I either wake up the kids or get them out of bed and start their routine. There’s no sense in trying to get your shoes on after the baby is already in your arms! Do whatever you can to get yourself ready first, that way your hands are free to carry the kiddos (and your to-go mug) to the car.
Do tasks in bunches
Got multiple diapers to change in the morning? Change them all at the same time (love these hybrid cloth diapers!). I will literally lay the kiddos next to each other, try to get them to hold still as much as possible (they love laying next to each other, anyway) and change/dress one right after the other. Put all shoes on at the same time. Brush teeth at the same time. You might feel like a little bit of a control freak, but, for the sake of quickness, sometimes you have to be.
Put your toddler to work
Not sure about yours, but my toddler LOVES tasks and little responsibilities. I think it makes him feel grown up. If I want him to pick out what shoes he’s wearing that day and put them on (by now he can put most shoes on himself), then I ask him to do that. It keeps him out of trouble while I’m finishing getting the baby dressed or feeding her last minute before we walk out of the door. Sometimes I tell him to pick out a snack or one toy that he would like to bring in the car.
The key here is to cut out distractions and room for tantrums/fits. When my toddler is bored, that’s when things slow down. If I can make him take a b-line from his room (or wherever) to the car, then most of the time that’s a winning situation where I get minimal pushback from him.
Pro-tip: Have your toddler or older kids climb in the front seat and crawl back to his or her seat while you get the younger ones buckled. This will keep the bigger kids on task and will multitask for you while bucking the younger ones. The reason I have David get in through the front seat is that I’m afraid that if his door were open while he tries to get himself to his car seat, he might topple out of the car. This way, his door stays shut in case he loses his balance.
Hype it up
Last but not least, I make sure the toddler WANTS to get in the car. I try to do this as best I can without bribing. But yes, there is the occasional bribe. I’m human, after all. At least I don’t feel that bad after seeing the boxes and boxes of matchbox cars that my mother in law (still) has from when she would bribe my husband in the grocery store as a toddler. Cake pops tend to work well with mine.
If you want to create hype without bribing, try letting your toddler climb in the car through the back. We call this “the fun way.” Try letting him buckle himself (yes, this may seem like the opposite of fast, but it’s faster than a tantrum and promotes autonomy). And then (of course) check it yourself when he’s done. I also get David excited about where we’re going, what activities he can do in the car, who we’re going to see, and even what music we’re going to listen to. It helps him to be there with me in the moment and cut out any negative feelings that might cause backlash.
So mamas, what are your tips for getting out of the house fast? Share yours in the comments below and share with a mama who could use this list!