Being a working mom of two is a recipe for slowly going crazy some days. I’m quickly learning that the secret to making it work and showing up feeling mildly put together is cobbling together a series of life hacks to fake it.
That’s right: we’re all secretly faking it.
I don’t make the extra effort of looking put-together for anyone else’s benefit. I do it so when the crazy is happening all around me I feel grounded and good about myself.
While it serves a purpose, I also think faking it does a disservice to other moms when we all walk around acting like this mom thing is easy.
That’s why I’m sharing my daily tricks for showing up to work looking like I took more than 5 minutes to get ready.
Shower the night before.
It’s not ideal, I know. However, even when there was just one child to get ready and out the door in the morning, I always seemed to be the last one home (my husband does daycare drop off most days), frantically trying to shower and get dressed while watching the clock. The minutes ticked by and I would kick myself that – yet again – I would be leaving work after five and getting stuck in traffic and showing up late to pick up my son.
No matter what else I tried, nothing seemed to shave enough time off my morning routine. I’m not a morning person by nature so getting up even earlier wasn’t happening.
When I shower at night, at least I know one major component of my mornings is already checked off the list. But what about the inevitable funk that seems to settle back in overnight, especially when your hormones are all out of whack from nursing/pumping? That brings me to tip #2…
Use a baby wipe.
Hey, if it’s good enough for my kids, it’s good enough for me, right? If I need to freshen up in the morning, I grab a couple of baby wipes for those few strategic areas that need my attention. That, plus a few spritzes of perfume, gets the job done enough that nobody is going to be sitting next to me in a conference room wondering what on earth crawled in and died last week.
Put your shirt on last. Absolutely last. I mean it.
The other day, I was getting Peanut ready to leave. He’d been fed, burped – everything. All I had to do was change his diaper one last time. I thought about grabbing a burp cloth, but then decided, “What the heck – it’s just a quick pop into the car seat.”
Then, I changed out of my brand new shirt.
Seriously, don’t finish getting dressed until the kids leave, or are at least safely strapped and ready to go and – in the case of the toddler – free from any peanut butter or oatmeal residue.
And for times when this doesn’t work…
Keep a spare work shirt in the car.
I stole this tip, and I wish I could remember where it came from! Hopefully, I won’t need to use it for a while, but knowing I won’t have to walk around all day with the inevitable spit-up badge is reassuring.
Keep your makeup in the car, and keep it simple.
I’m not a huge makeup person, but I’ve discovered that a little bit of foundation, some eye makeup, and some lip gloss make me feel pretty and adult after dealing with the kiddos all morning.
I’ve also discovered that the morning seems to move faster when I actually get in my car, get going, and beat traffic, even if that means I arrive at work a few minutes earlier and do my makeup while listening to a podcast in the parking lot. For that reason, my makeup bag tends to live in the car on weekdays.
Keep one or two sets of cheap earrings – the kind that will match just about anything – in your car. If your very little one is a grabber, or if you just suffer from mom brain and forget, you can slip them on before walking in to work, and stash them again before daycare pickup.
Keep a toothbrush in your desk drawer.
Brushing your teeth is another few minutes you can easily shave off of the morning routine. I take the extra time to enjoy my coffee (to go, if necessary), then grab my toothbrush and make a quick dash into the restroom when I arrive at work. You’ll feel refreshed and ready to take on any challenge.
Every day, indulge in at least one thing that’s just for you and will make you feel adult and spoiled and happy.
It doesn’t even have to be something expensive. Yes, maybe that $5 latte is a great way to start the week, but you can easily fill the rest of the week with a quick walk after lunch, or taking the long way home to enjoy an extra podcast or some music.
One of the biggest drains on my time and energy since adding to our family unit and returning to work has been that feeling of going and going and never getting it all done. When I treat myself, I slow down and take care of me, which re-energizes me to take on everything else.
I hope you find at least one tip or trick on this list that makes your mornings easier. If I left out something big that you’ve discovered through your own trial and error, add it to the comments below!