I got through my first week back at work since having my second baby. It was hard enough getting one baby ready, but now we're getting an extra person fed, changed and prepared to face the day. Getting out the door everyday with all my bags, my kids and sanity (well, that might be up for debate) can be tough, especially when I haven't had a full night sleep since... heck who knows. And there is still a dog, a house, chores, food that needs to be purchased, dinners that need to be made, dishes to clean, millions of bottles to wash, poop stains to get out, laundry to get done, I could go on and on.... Sound familiar? Well, for me it is the little things that add up to make my world go round a little bit smoother. Here are a few things I do (or try to do) to make my mornings and days a bit easier. I'm still learning how to make the most of our crazy mornings and trying to get my husband on board, too, so this is a work in progress!
1. Prepare the night before! I'm a big fan of doing as much as possible the night prior. For myself, I usually shower at night and pack all my bags - even putting some of the unimportant things I may need to take the next day in my car (less to haul or forget the next morning). For the kids, I get Nora's bottles ready and set out each of their clothes. Around the house, I pick up toys, do the dishes to let the dishwasher run over night and start/move laundry. My husband and I are not morning people, so I like to do as little as possible come morning and am usually grateful for all I prepared the night before and totally regret the nights I don't.
2. Forgo looks. Welcome to the bottle factory. I can't worrying about the looks of the kitchen counters these days... because having a process and the things you need the most available and visible helps keep everything running smoothly. I keep dirty bottles and pump pieces on the left side of the sink and clean parts on the right. These grass countertop drying racks are cute and perfect for piling all our clean baby items from the dishwasher, making it easy to grab, assemble, and pack up.
3. Laundry days - more like weeks! There isn't much more I hate spending time doing than laundry (could also be because our laundry room is in the basement, not convenient at all), especially with two little kids to add to my own piles. All those little pieces are even harder to get clean (hello poop stains) and put away than big people clothing. Proctor and Gamble's Tide Pods and new Gain Flings allow me to just throw - or fling - the detergent in and go! Extra bonus is that each comes equipped with extras! Tide Pods are made up of detergent, stain remover and brightener, while Gain Flings are packed with 50% more scent, Oxi boost and Febreze, so find your preference! I am using both right now. Each are available at Target, and you won't regret the few minutes you get back from this easy switch!
4. Avoiding hungry monsters. This may sound weird - but we often make dinner after the kids go to bed! The next day we eat the meal we made the night before or other leftovers. This allows me to get home with the kids and feed Liam (the hungry toddler) right away after simply warming up the dinner that's already made, so that I can tend to Nora (usually needing to be nursed) or unpack that day's bags while my husband is still at work. This way we avoid meltdowns when it's just me trying to balance two very different needs among the kids.
5. Strike when inspiration hits. Sort of along the lines as preparing the night before, but don't limit yourself to just the night before. For example, on the weekends when I might have a few spare moments and am surfing the web, pinning away on Pinterest or perusing my fave blogs, I might get inspired to style some outfits. I strike when I feel inspired and pull outfits together, hanging them together to easily pick from in my closet.
6. Use an interactive calendar. My husband and I each use Google Calendars and share them with each other so that we can keep things scheduled and see what each of us might have going on. I pretty much live out of a calendar these days and toggle between using it on my PC, phone and tablet.
7. Follow a schedule. All you free birds out there might hate this advice, and I like to consider myself spontaneous, but truth is, when kids and two working parents are involved, there is a time and a place for schedules and processes. The morning is that for us. Going back to work has proved nothing if not that we need a process to get ourselves and the kids ready in the most efficient way to get out the door on time. So, write down your ideal schedule that can get you to work on time and give it a try for a few days. You might find that you revise it and tweak it until you get it right, but work towards something that helps you manage your time better and then stick to it. After awhile it will become the norm and your body will adjust to waking up earlier or whatever it is that is making you late. Of course... a schedule is nothing if you don't follow it - so get everyone on board.
What are little things you do to save on time and help your hectic days run a little smoother?!
This post is sponsored by P&G. Save on NEW Gain Flings and Tide Pods at Target. Text CLEAN to Target (827438) for mobile coupons*.