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Get Your Kids Out the Door Without Losing Your Mind

Today’s post is from Reno Moms Blog Guest Contributor Tracie Barnthouse. Tracie is a Reno mom of two, and today she is sharing a few tried-and-true tips for getting your family out the door, on time (!), without showing up to work a total basket case. 

Amelia and "little dude" Elliott.
Amelia and “little dude” Elliott.

I recently went back to work after a blissful 12-weeks of maternity leave. I spent those peaceful days cuddling my new little dude, Elliott, and spending plenty of time with my spunky three-year old, Amelia. It was really, really great. Alas, I know myself, and I know I’m the best mom when I’m working, so I knew those lazy days were soon to come to an end. What I didn’t realize was how hectic and crazy getting two kids ready and out the door would be. We’re talking a whole new level.

First, some background.

My daughter is, shall we say, touchy in the morning. The way she wakes up, how she’s spoken to, and the course of the morning has to be “just so” or she’ll turn into complete demon child. She’s three, and I like to refer to her as a “threenager” because of her mood swings. The thing is, you never know which day is going to be good, and which day will leave you a sweaty mess after wrestling her to get dressed and chasing her with a comb to brush her hair. (Full disclosure: some (okay, most) days she goes to school with some serious unbrushed bed head. I pick my battles.) Every morning, I take on the upbeat, happy mom role, because if she senses even a teeny bit of stress in my voice, she’ll take full advantage. I’ve also learned that for the first 10 minutes after she comes downstairs, you aren’t to look at or speak to her. And that’s if she wakes up on her own. If I have to wake her up, it’s a whole ‘nother story. It’s fun.

My son is a drooly, happy guy who loves to wake up at 4:45 a.m. for a bottle, 45 minutes before my alarm is set to go off. I think he does it on purpose, because at that point what’s the point in trying to go back to bed? But he’s so smiley and truly happy to see me in the morning that it’s okay. For now.

My husband, bless him, commutes to Fallon every day for work, and leaves at 6 a.m. He’s a rockstar, and is such an amazing dad who does so much for our kids, but I usually get the full brunt of the “getting ready” routine in the morning. I’m two weeks into it, and feel we have a pretty solid routine down. Here’s how we’ve made it work.

The night before, we prepare like crazy. My husband or I pack lunches, make up bottles, pack school bags, and lay everything out in an assembly-like line. We let Amelia pick out her outfit, and have found that letting her do that helps tremendously in the morning. She usually chooses something crazy and mismatched but again, I pick my battles, and that’s not one I want to take on. We also lay out our outfits, and my husband loads up the Keurig for the morning shot of java we know we’ll need.

Getting absolutely everything you can ready the night before is the key to a smooth morning.

In the morning, I usually rush like a madwoman to get ready before my husband leaves. He watches the baby while I do my morning getting ready rituals and then we switch. Our getting ready usually wakes up Amelia, so I already have the Disney Channel on so she can do her thing without us bugging her and igniting WWIII. My husband leaves, and I spend the next 30 minutes or so getting the kids dressed and putting bags in the car. Inevitably, Elliott will spit up, ruining his outfit, so I’ll have to get him undressed and into another outfit. Lather, rinse, repeat.

It’s pretty chaotic to be at our house in the morning, but I feel we have a good system down. With a lot of planning and preparation, the morning routine isn’t too bad and I’ve even had enough time to stop for coffee before getting to work early. Totally unexpected.

That being said, there are days that are crazier than others, and days I’ve had to completely scratch an outfit because I could only shave one leg. But if that’s the worst thing to happen, I’ll take it. As with anything kid-related, it’s best to be flexible in your expectations, and realize that it’s not always going to be cookie-cutter perfect. When the morning is crazy and things aren’t going right, I try and center myself and realize that one day, I’ll long for this and miss this, and then my postpartum hormones kick in and I make a note to pick up some waterproof mascara.

Reno Moms Blog readers, what are your tricks of the trade for a smooth morning routine? Share them in the comments!

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