Ways you can help yourself prepare better and prevent being that mom who is always running late.
The baby is crying and tired from a missed nap and your 3 year old is running circles around the kitchen island singing baby shark at full volume. You’re frantically searching for your kid’s shoes while trying to remember where you put your cell phone last. The dog’s waiting by the back door because you forgot to let him out earlier. You check the clock for the nine hundredth time and realize that no matter how much you hustle, you’re still going to be late. Again.
To me there’s nothing worse than being tardy to an appointment/meeting, etc. I find it a big disrespect when other people waste my time so I’m always striving to be sure I’m not wasting theirs. And being kept waiting is a drag, especially once you become a mom and you’ve got whining kids in tow. But in being a mom, its also now substantially harder to get everyone out of the door on time, let alone without forgetting something or losing your cool completely.
Here are some quick tips that can help you get yourself together faster, all without causing an epic meltdown along the way.
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Plan as far in advance as possible
This may mean only a from the moment you wake up that day, but ideally, have a plan put together the night before on all that you need to take with you and what time you’ll need to leave based on traffic. And that being said…
Map it out
If you’re going somewhere new, be sure to look up your location before hand so you know the best route. I like to map things on my iPhone during rush hour the day before so I know how traffic may affect travel time. This may not be applicable if it’s a place you go to frequently, like play group or your child’s preschool.
Keep a packed diaper bag in the car
I use a backpack-style diaper bag like this one. I wanted something that would last and I could wear comfortably if I needed it on my person for long periods of time. I keep it fully loaded with a change of clothes for both kids, extra diapers and wipes, a few small toys and a small first aid kit. That way if I do forget something, I at least have the bare essentials already in the car.
Lay out kid’s clothes beforehand
If I’m lucky enough to have my husband around to help, I often set out everything I need for each child the night before so it takes less time getting them ready. Then I’m also not screaming instructions up the stairs at the last minute. Also, many 3 to 4 year old children can dress themselves if given the opportunity which can really save time while you’re getting the baby ready to go.
Plan the baby’s next feeding
I was an exclusive breastfeeder for most of the first year with both our children but I never had a specific feeding schedule. Instead I knew the general times the baby was expected to nap and eat again by following the eat/wake/sleep cycle. I was never very comfortable nursing in public and my kids were always super distracted eaters, so I typically avoided having to breastfeed away from home. This helped me to plan my appointment times to better work in my favor, by putting them during the block of time I knew the baby was just fed and felt satisfied. Then she could be awake and happy during the car ride, or just about ready for a nap if it was going to be a long drive.
Get yourself ready before the kids wake up
Set an alarm if you have to but be sure you are showered and dressed by the time chaos begins to break loose on your household. What is it about needing to get out the door that suddenly turns your toddler into a shrieking, distracted squirrel? It can be difficult getting them to focus so instead…
Make it a game
You’re baby might not be ready to participate but your toddler will likely love a fun activity to get him going. Play Red Light, Green Light or Simon Says while doing the tasks you need to get on jackets, shoes and bags. Little T loves when I start a timer on my phone to see how fast he can get dressed. Or you can just count loudly while your kiddo runs to the door to find his shoes. “Wow! Only 9 seconds! You’re sooo fast! Way to go!”
Use positive enforcement
I’ve found that yelling at my preschooler to hurry only seems to make him take longer to do things. Instead I take a deep breath and say “ok, let’s find your backpack together.” While I’m bundling up the baby I encourage him to attempt pulling on his sneakers while also reassuring him that I will help when he needs it. This is the age where kids can be easily frustrated and defeated when they aren’t getting something done right.
No matter how long you think it will actually take to get everyone and every thing into the car, you might as well plan to add at least another 15 minutes of leeway time. Inevitably your young child is going to need to pee and the baby will probably have some kind of massive diaper blowout seconds before you turn the doorknob.
Take a breath
Over time, you’ll continue to nail down this whole busy mom routine and be basically a rockstar. But that doesn’t mean there won’t still be some times that you’re lagging behind. Take a few breaths and know that your anxiety and desire to rush, rush, rush often just slows others down. Especially children. They can read your moods and feed off of your emotions so the more you try to remain calm, the more relaxed your kids will feel and therefore be more likely to listen and participate. I learned this the hard way, as running late is a big anxiety trigger for me.
As much as you can, try to live in the moment, take a step back and make things fun. Don’t be afraid to occasionally laugh at your own mistakes and don’t take yourself too seriously. Life is better when you smile. Besides, you can at least be comforted by the fact that every mom has known the same struggle. We’re all in this together!
What are your awesome mom tips for getting out and on your way in a timely manner? I love to hear from other moms, comment below!