My morning routine is a work-in-progress, but having a framework has saved me from complete a.m. insanity.

For starters, I usually leave all but the absolute basics of my own routine until last, knowing that I won’t always have time to for the finer details. I make sure I’m dressed and have my hair somewhat under control before I wake him up, because from there, anything could happen.

I may not get a chance to put on makeup (I keep a minimal stash in the car to put on in the office bathroom in this case), try a second pair of shoes, or in some cases feed myself (I keep snacks for me in the car, too), but the repercussions of those misses are far fewer and less severe than leaving my toddlers shoes off until the last minute, forgetting his nap mat, or misaligning his sippy cup’s lid.

Parenting is all about putting others first, right?

 

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That said, I give myself every opportunity to look presentable with a few shortcuts I’ve tested out. Here is what works!

Bribe yourself to “Outfit Plan”

After working all day, having dinner, packing lunches, and getting my son to sleep, the last thing I want to do is choose clothes for the next morning. TV, books, bed… they all look so much more appealing than my closet, but I know if I wait to decide what to wear until morning, I’m going to end up spending more time in there overall. Everything moves faster with a plan.

Instead, I bribe myself to choose, steam, and hang up an outfit (or outfits for the week depending on my energy level) by streaming an episode of a favorite no-brainer show, like HGTV’s Fixer Upper on my laptop, while I get to work.

Once I start I’m usually done before Chip and JoJo even get through the first house showing.

I also keep an emergency outfit on standby for the really bad nights.

Don’t contradict what your hair is saying

If I sleep with wet hair, then it’s wavy when I wake up, and I use a curling iron to amp up a few of the waves. If I blow dry it, I use a straightener on the front few pieces to get it polished. If it’s doing something completely wacky, I have a fancy headband on standby.

Whatever the case may be for you, try to work with your hair, not against it. This requires a little creativity and quick thinking in the morning, but it saves a boatload of time.

Choose one feature

It’s a general makeup rule to focus on one area at a time: eye or lips; cheeks or eyebrows, etc. I now take this to the next level by choosing one thing to focus on for the week. I generally do some foundation to cover flaws and under-eye circles, and then choose one more product to add: mascara, blush, lipstick, or this cool highlighter I have.

If there’s extra time I’ll do double duty where possible, such as also using the blush on my eyelids. There are plenty of products out there that are created for just this instance.

Use a cosmetic organizer

I have a ton of makeup that sits in a cute baby blue vintage travel case, but I only bust the case out for special occasions. For day-to-day, it’s much faster to put everything I need in a pretty, clear cosmetic organizer, right on the sink. This includes my face wash, moisturizer, toothpaste, floss and toothbrush. It’s all right there and visible. No digging through pouches or drawers, and no veering away from the products I already decided to use.

Have a giant tote at the ready

No matter how much preparation I do, somehow I end up holding all sorts of unexpected items on my way out to the car: a stuffed cat, my coffee cup, a sippy cup, a permission form, lunch, the list goes on.

I always keep a huge canvas tote (the bigger the better) by the door to catch all of these extraneous items, allowing me to only make one trip to the car before leaving (most of the time).

It also comes in handy for gathering the debris of the day, moving it out of the car (snack wrappers, kids’ art work, loose Cheerios), and getting it inside for sorting and tossing. I love the Lands End Extra Large Tote for this purpose. It’s ridiculously big, very sturdy, and has a key holder and front pocket, which I always seem to need.

Here’s to getting out the door on time!