Guest post by Erin Bradley
This is the first post in a two-part series. You can read the second part, which contains tips to help your morning run more smoothly, here.
As a working mom with a swing schedule three days a week, it is imperative for my family to run as smoothly as possible. Although I may not be able to be home some nights, or in the morning for that matter, I try to help my husband and children prepare for everything they will need for that evening or morning before school. Some of my tips I have been implementing for a long time, and some I recently gathered from an amazing book I read titled The Get Yourself Organized Project: 21 Steps to Less Mess and Stress (2012) by Kathi Lipp.
When applied, they can definitely be applied to help you and your family get out the door a little quicker if your family struggles with getting to scheduled activities on time.
1. Keep a family calendar.
Whether you print a blank calendar every month (and print your family pictures on it!), get a free one from the church or veteran’s clinic (which is what we do every year), or buy one at the store, just make sure the boxes have plenty of room to write.
On my calendar, I keep track of the days I’m scheduled to work, my volunteer schedule for church, library story times, girls’ activities and due dates for homework, PTO meeting dates, meals for the evening, what-have-you. So needless to say, we need a lot of room! Just be sure the calendar is placed in a room where it can be viewed daily by everyone without being for forgotten.
Another option is to use Microsoft Outlook for your family’s calendar. “Invitations” can be sent to your spouse, and “Reminders” can be set to alert you of your upcoming appointment. If you have an iPhone, you can sync the calendar on your phone with your computer which will help to keep track of your appointments and commitments.
My husband is very particular about making sure everything is written on the calendar…if it’s not on the calendar, you’re responsible for any mishaps that occur for forgotten activities!
2. The night before school/work:
a. Pack lunches for work and school-if your child is in kindergarten or above, I recommend letting them pack lunch on their own (with your approval) to increase their responsibility and make less work for you.
b. Set out clothes and shoes for the next day. This is a huge time saver! Also make sure you place the clothes in an easily accessible place, such as the bathroom or a spot on the floor in the bedroom.
c. Make sure all items needed for school/work are packed in backpacks or purses. Children should also be responsible for making sure this is complete! Also, make sure any needed items for your day are in your purse…ie keys and wallet. Then place these items by the door so they won’t be missed and left behind.
d. Charge cell phones, laptops and tablets if needed.
e. Check your gas gauge. It’s the worst feeling in the world when you are running late for work or school and realize your tank is on empty! I have gotten into the routine of filling up on Sunday afternoons on my way home from church.
f. Make sure your coffee maker is ready for the morning. Program the timer so you can wake up to the aroma of freshly brewed coffee!
g. If you are planning a freezer meal, make sure the meal is thawing in the fridge or counter. Set out side dishes that can stay at room temperature such as a can of vegetables, rice, or pasta for easy access.
h. Run the dishwasher if needed and try to empty it before bed so morning dishes can be placed inside immediately.
I. My husband is not the best at fixing the girls’ hair so I try and make sure their hair is done after bathing. Sleeping in a braid cuts down on knots and tangles and they can easily leave it in for school the next morning.
j. Plan the breakfast meal and set out needed dishes and utensils. If I leave early in the morning, I will make a plate of French toast sticks before I leave for my oldest child who wakes up starving early in the morning and leave it in the microwave. The syrup and utensils are out for her already. All I have to do is pour her a glass of OJ before I leave.
k. Check your calendar and/or To-Do List for the next day to be sure nothing is forgotten. Remind your family about upcoming activities or responsibilities.
l. Lastly, be sure to get to bed on time! We all know a well-rested mom is a better mom!
So whether you are a stay-at-home mom or work outside the home, applying these tips at night can help get your morning off to a better start!
As a wife and working mother of three girls ages 6, 4, and 2, Erin Bradley enjoys embracing the many life experiences that come with raising young children. Erin seeks to follow and serve the Lord daily while working hard to provide for the needs of her family. Finding new ways of organizing the home and simplifying different areas of her life has become one of her many passions to make more time for the important things.