About Me


  • MoxieTopics
    Short PDF ebooks on specific parenting topics, in-depth and focused

Coaching and Workshops

Click through to Amazon.com

Moxie's reading

The 10-year-old's reading


  • MoxieTopics
    Short PDF ebooks on specific parenting topics, in-depth and focused

« Q&A: getting on the same page with parenting approaches with your partner | Main | Two Follow-Up Questions about WOHMing »



Congratulations on landing a job so quickly.

Transitions are never very easy, in my opinion, but I have one time saving tip that works really well in my life (and I've discovered that some of my friends so the same). I shower at night, and put my damp hair in a ponytail in the shower, wrap it in a towel for a few minutes, and then go to bed. By the next morning it is mostly dry and all it needs is a quick blow dry to smooth it out, or to define the waves. My hair is longer, but friends who have shorter hair run wet hands or a comb through & then do the same with the blow dryer.

I also find that the warm shower helps to transition my mind to "down time" before bed - something that can be hard when you are juggling a lot.


Go Moxie!

On the breakfast front: sounds silly, but lay out your breakfast the night before. I do things like a protein bar and a banana, or a muffin and some cut up fruit. Even though it's not as nice as sitting down to eat, you can get something in your belly to keep you going while running around trying to get the rest of your morning in order. I tend to cut up fruit and make muffins or pumpkin bread on Sunday morning when I want to hang out and read the paper and then the next few mornings are taken care of as well. Added bonus: if you don't quite make it to the kitchen during the morning rush, breakfast is portable enough to be eaten in the car if need be. If you are a coffee person, and do not have one, get a maker with a timer you can set the night before. Yummy coffee smell gets most anyone out of bed and into the kitchen in the morning. You and wee one will find/adjust to your new routine soon-congrats.


I am a morning person, but if you are not, do EVERYTHING the night before that you can - pack lunch(es), pack your work bag, pack the kids' bags (if any), pick out clothes (for you and them, assuming clothes are not a battleground with the kids), bathe (unless you are one of those people who has to have a shower to become conscious in the morning). Depending on your schedule, delegate to Daddy - I am responsible for getting the baby up, fed, changed and dressed before I leave, and the 3 year old is his problem.

There's a reason why a lot of WOH moms have wash n' go Mom Hair, too. I cut mine as short as I've ever had it (because I get post-partum hair loss like crazy, and the inch-long pieces in the front looked freakish) and I LOVE the ease of it. Towel dry and walk out of the house. It's not quite the ideal (to borrow a genius phrase from a friend) "cross between Goth Pixie and Lesbian Soccer Mom," but it's about as close as I can pull off.


I eat my breakfast after I get into work. Depending on what you have for breakfast, this could be an option.


Ditto the "do everything you can the night before" comments. Also, short haircut so only need to towel dry is also one of my tricks.

I have also found that adding a good 20 minute buffer of extra time in the morning is well worth losing that in sleep. That way if one of the kids sabotages the schedule (bound to happen) you know you have some time and dealing with whatever the sabotage was won't make you late/extra flustered. Added bonus of some fun, relaxed morning time if everyone is cooperating.
Congrats on the job!


Ditto to all that's been said. The night before a weekday morning, we get the bottles ready, pump parts washed and assembled, lunches made, coffee ready to go on a timer, and clothes picked out and ironed, etc. In the morning, we kick our asses to get up about 30 minutes before the kids do, which gives us a chance to get ourselves together and get breakfast ready to go (which we always keep very simple on the weekdays). We take our coffee with us to work in travel mugs. It will take a few weeks, but you'll find your rhythm and hit your stride.


Yeah, I'm another "Do everything the night before" person. You've already mentioned that you do the conflict-prone stuff first (boys who want breakfast need to be dressed), so I can't help with that.
The other thing that helps me is to go for solutions that same time in the long run -- leg waxing rather than having, eyelash dyeing rather than mascara, self-sustaining haircut rather than blowdrying/styling. (OK, at the moment I'm doing "Look like crap and don't care." But when I do care, I wax.)
Congrats on the job and on getting childcare to work out!


I agree with eating at work if possible for you. You can either pre pack up breakfast things to take every day or do what a lot of people at my work do bring in a stash and leave it at work. Just keep cereal, oatmeal, granola bars or whatever at your desk it's easy to just bring in a week or two worth of supplies and then they are ready and waiting for you every morning. This is easiest with cereal if they provide free milk for coffee.


Yeah, I'm another "Do everything the night before" person. You've already mentioned that you do the conflict-prone stuff first (boys who want breakfast need to be dressed), so I can't help with that.
The other thing that helps me is to go for solutions that same time in the long run -- leg waxing rather than having, eyelash dyeing rather than mascara, self-sustaining haircut rather than blowdrying/styling. (OK, at the moment I'm doing "Look like crap and don't care." But when I do care, I wax.)
Congrats on the job and on getting childcare to work out!


Most of it's been said already - do everything that you can in the evening. We also have a front hall table where everything that needs to leave the house in the morning is placed. Kid's bag, my purse w/keys, any odds and ends that need to make that day's trip are on the ready so nothing (or less)is forgotten in the morning rush.

Oh - and I can't stress the importance of relying on LOD enough. No one person has to see a specific child through from beginning to end, but it's helpful to have specific roles that each partner performs in a specific order. For example, my husband wakes, changes, and dresses the babe and brings her to our room for her bottle. We get ready while she drinks. When I'm done I wash her face, brush teeth, and comb hair. Dad leaves, having packed the car for me and laid out the outdoor clothing for her. I eat breakfast and babe and I leave together. All in all our morning takes about 1 hour.

Cat, Galloping

Congrats on the job!

I shower and dry my hair the night before. Even if I feel the need for a quick freshen-up shower in the morning and/or a run-through with the flat iron, not having to wash/dry my hair saves a crucial 10 minutes.


Congratulations! I started my full time job in mid-January, and it is definitely an adjustment.

Some things that I do: I TRY to plan a weekly menu. I have a giant white board hanging in the kitchen to track my life. I get up, shower and do makeup BEFORE the kids get up (ideally - sometimes they wake up early, as you know). I eat breakfast after I get to work. I have also outsourced a lot of our duties. I don't try to spend my whole paycheck on it, but we now pay for our laundry to be picked up, washed, and delivered, and our groceries are delivered by Peapod. This saves me precious time on the weekends, when I'd like to just relax with the family, not run around doing errands.


Congrats on the new job.

I'll be the broken record here that says do everything you can the night before.

Depending on what your child care situation is, find out if you can skip some things. i.e. If my son doesn't wake up in time for me to dress him, I pack his outfit with his bottles and my babysitter dresses him. And the more stuff you can leave with the babysitter, so as not to need to bring it every morning, the better - if you're supplying food, see if you can bring it in on Monday for the whole week.

I also keep the non-perishable parts of my lunch at my desk (bring them in on Monday), so I only have to pack the parts that have to be cold each morning.

Some breakfasts you can make on Sunday and have them ready to go during the week pretty quickly. Waffles and pancakes can be toasted in the toaster, yogurt is a pretty quick and easy grab. We've been making pigs in a blanket on Sundays and I just warm them up each morning.

I have yet to come up with a sequence, but in general, I try to accomplish everything I need to do in any given room at the same time. I.e., get out of bed, first stop is the bathroom (potty, contacts, vitamins), next stop is the kitchen (breakfast, lunch, baby stuff prep) back to the bedroom (get dressed). I shower at night, but you can add your shower to the bathroom stop in the morning just as easily.


I am also a shower at night person, but I have horrifically thick hair so I do that even when I'm not working.
I don't lay everything out the night before other than the basics (ie- set up the coffee maker), but I do bedtime and Sunday "checks".
Sunday afternoon I check to make sure (or catch up on) everything that I plan to wear that week is mended and ironed. I don't pick out outfits, I just make sure I have enough clean presentable clothes for five days. I check the kids school calendars to make sure I'm not forgetting any speech therapy, doctors appointements or show and tell. I make sure I have enough groceries and some vauge meal plan... just like with the clothes, I don't pick out ahead of time, just make sure I have enough to make 5 meals.

Every night I do a smaller, modified version of the check, make sure my dishwasher is running, check for staples that might need to be purchased (bread, milk, peanut butter) the next day, make sure the kids boots and mitts are dry for the next day, check off homework and put it in backpacks, stuff like that. If the next day is garbage day all that is packed and by the back door waiting to go to the road.

ALSO, what helped our family more than anything was coming to an understanding about what parent was responsible for what chore. My husband feeds the dogs and starts the coffee, but then hits the bathroom and doesnt' come out for 30+ minutes. I get the kids up, feed them, dress them, pack lunches and clean up the kitchen, then my husband washes the kids faces, supervises brushing of teeth and hair while I get dressed and do my face and hair. He loads the car, I get the kids dressed in their winter gear. He locks the house and turns off the lights while I hustle the kids into the car and buckle them in.

Good luck and congratulations!


This may be unnecessary (or possibly provoke hostility…) but I recommend getting up a little earlier – even if you are not a morning person. A half hour or so of buffer time can make a big difference in the feeling of the whole morning, and if you can manage it before the kids wake up you get the bonus of some alone time as well.

Congratulations on the new job!


Joining the long list of people telling you to do everything the night before. Prepare lunches, pack everything that doesn't need to be kept cold, choose clothes (although I only work 2 days a week and have about 4 possible outfits, so that part is easy for me), etc. And shower and dry your hair the night before as well. I find that works for me. My hair doesn't look quite as nice as if I dry it fresh in the morning, but who has the time? Sure, I could *say* I'll get up early, but we all know it ain't gonna happen. Congratulations on the job!


I work at home, but I do have to get everyone ready for church every Sunday. I agree with KAMI about putting everything by the door. I put the diaper bag, my purse, our laptop, coats etc. by the door, and it honestly saves me at least half an hour. I also pick out everyone's clothes the night before, and they know where to find them in the morning. Sometimes I even go so far as to pour milk in their cups and leave them covered in the fridge overnight, so they can just grab it themselves in the morning.

I also like Mykal's suggestion to take a supply of breakfast items to work (or in your car) for those days when you do not have time to grab breakfast on the way out the door.

Also, my husband usually tries to make it to work half an hour early and reads a book for that half hour. This sounds like a good idea, because it gives you a few minutes to relax (and maybe eat your breakfast without getting heartburn) before beginning the daily grind. Also, if you run late or there is a lot of traffic, you miss your "relax" time, but at least you make it to work on time!

Congratulations and good luck!!


Go Moxie!

I experimented with the "getting up earlier," but that just made me so miserable that I became a "do everything the night before" person. That means everything: pack lunch for me and The Boy, decide what I'm wearing (and ideally what The Boy is wearing), etc. Anytime I try to cheat this (if I fall in bed exhausted the night before), the day is a disaster.

Also, I cut my hair short so I wouldn't have to dry it in the morning. I still take a shower (because that's how I wake up), but the hair dries on its own.

Hang in there. You'll find your groove!


Hi Moxie,


Morning and evening Routines.
If you don't know about Flylady yet, check her out. http://www.flylady.net

I have been raising my daughter by myself from her birth, while of course doing the work thing. She's 16 months old now. I'm not a morning person by any stretch...do as much as you can the night before. And in the mornings, do as much as you can before the kids wake up. Get them ready last, unless you know how to distract them while you get ready. Gettng my daughter ready in the morning consists of new diaper, clothes, and tying her hair up. No socks or shoes, those go in the bottom of the stroller, but my sitter is right down the hall.

I have breakfast at work. My daughter has breakfast with the sitter.

Oh, and Fresh Direct. That'll save you a ton of time.



I know what you mean about having trouble moving away from SAHM. I also recently started working (this is my second week) and the job thing happened really quickly, too. Must be the season.

We have a baby-sitter that comes to the house and stays with the baby, so I spend the night before packing all the food and drink he will need in market containers. All his snacks, his drinks in the sippy cup, extra juice and milk in other cups.

I pack my work bag and my purse and MOVE IT BY THE DOOR before I go to sleep so that I don't run around in the morning looking for my glasses and wallet.

I also listen to the weather report so that I know what I am wearing the next day. I haven't gotten to the point of laying out my clothes yet, but I wake up knowing what I am going to wear, so I don't spend time thinking, "What am I wearing today?" Are my shoes in the basement? Bring it up stairs and put it by the door. Having everything by the door has helped me alot.

The toddler likes oatmeal and bananas for breakfast so we cook a lot of oatmeal over the weekend so that we don't have to cook it every morning. This helps only if your kids are consistent with breakfast.

If the kid is sleeping till 7, I get ready before he wakes up, and then when he wakes up, I nurse him till he's done. And since I am ready, and everything is by the door, I can leave. If the kid gets up early, I nurse him first, and then get ready and go. It's still a little frazzled and running-around, but having everything in place helps. The annoying bit is doing all this when you are tired and just want to go to bed.

Good luck.


congrats on the job!!

The big thing for us is no one leaves their room without getting dressed - me, husband, boy - first thing is to get clothes on - all the way to socks - for some reason socks were a sticking point and made things slower.

Breakfast is always cereal/fruit for us - lunches are modular and easy to pack (the freezer is your friend! I have lots of frozen portions, especially for the boy, of fruit, lasange, chili, etc that I can grab and throw into his lunch). If we have leftovers from dinner I pack them into lunch portions for everyone before I put them away.

I echo the shower the night before advice. It makes a huge difference for me. And I have a stash of Odwalla and Kashi bars at my desk in case I forget my lunch and can't make it out to buy something.

Also echoing the hiring help - we have someone come and clean once per month - it just takes a little pressure off and we can keep things presentable in between. (plus once/month is manageable on the budget)


On breakfast...if it's not practical to keep non-perishables at your desk, you could make muffins or fruit/veggie bread in bulk and freeze it. Grab it before you leave, and it would be thawed by the time you get to work. Also makes a handy snack for the kids.

I'm a big fan of the crockpot as well. You can prep stuff the night before, put the crock in the fridge overnight, then put it into the pot in the morning, turn it on, and have dinner ready when you get home. The other benefit is the huge amounts, so you can probably get 2 dinners out of each batch.


Again, Do everything the night before, including packing lunches, breakfast, putting clothes out for yourself and kids. I always have everything ready to go.


First off, congratulations!

I can't really add any ideas about getting out of the house in a timely manner as I subscribe wholeheartedly to the get every possible thing done the night before theory. What I would add is that, if you can, try to find some time during the day for yourself. I do try to steamroll through the day so that I can get out of the office in a timely manner and not feel like I'm leaving things undone--but at the same time, it's REALLY important to take a couple of breaks, catch your breath, and get refocused during the day. Grab a quick cup of coffee with a colleague, take a brisk walk around the block, or just take a pause someplace away from your desk. (A friend of mine once told me that she camps out in the bathroom sometimes just so she can have some privacy during the day--I work in a big library so there are plenty of quite places to go and regroup.) I found that I was totally burning myself out without taking a reality check a couple of times a day--but now I feel like everything is manageable. It did take a few months to get in a good groove, though, so just be patient!


One thing that we have tried to do is to help our 4 1/2 year old do as much of her own stuff that she can. She is generally capable, but not always able to fight away distractions. So to help her, we made a "list". Clip art pictures of children performing certain tasks that I printed onto card stock. A girl eating breakfast, a girl putting on clothes, a girl combing her hair, one brushing teeth, and child washing face. On the back of each card is a big smiley face. So she lays them out in any order that she wants and works through them.
It is not sure-fire, but since there is inevitably time in the morning where she is left to do her own stuff, this list has helped channel her energy into something productive.

Congrats on your new job, and best wishes to your family through the transition!


Congratulations on the job!

I agree with everyone else on the "do everything you can the night before." It really helps to cut down on the craziness in the morning. The night before I pack my kids' lunches and backpacks, put all my work stuff (bag with laptop, coffee mug, etc.) by the front door, and set out my clothes. I don't eat breakfast at home, takes too much time -- instead I grab a yogurt and buy coffee on the drive to work, then eat in the office (I have a 45 minute drive to work, so I eat my breakfast around 8:45).

Give it some time to get sorted out and yourself some time to get settled in. I remember that frazzled feeling so well -- and it happens again every time my work situation changes. When a recent job had me commuting into NYC again for a time, relearning the whole walking/train/subway routine was comical.

Good luck and best wishes!


Oh -- right -- and our kids are older than yours (8 and 6) and they're very self sufficient (by necessity, probably). They get up on their own, get dressed, my 8 y.o. even makes his own breakfast and is eating about the time I'm taking a shower in the morning. So it does get easier as they get older.


NOT fashion friendly, but my best time saving (morning sanity saving) advice is to bath/shower at night. Conversely, you could pack your b-fast at night. (Anything that can be done at night is your best bet, really (you know that already, of course).)

Moving the shower is not my first choice, but it makes this huge difference in my morning. I don't always do it, but it's a good one to cycle around to.

Of course I have very boring straight hair so YMMV.

My other morning saver is that I have at home child care and I let my nanny feed the child his b-fast. Yes, it makes me feel terribly guilty, but I'd rather snuggle with him in bed than fight with him about eating and I have to choose so I do.

On days when she doesn't come to the house and I'm taking him to her (playdates with cousins kinda days) I give him self feed food. B-fast Bars, apple or banana slices and Juice. He's happy and I have time to get ready while he's eating (that whole multi-tasking thing is critical).

Good Luck. Must say I was very surprised to hear it, but I am thrilled for you!


Congratulations, Moxie on landing what sounds to be a great opportunity.

I'm also eager to read responses since I'm also returning to work in three weeks. I've been struck with thoughts of "How will I ever squeeze in cleaning, cooking T-Tapp and baby?"
I've fully weaned 11-month-old DD as of yesterday. She's still not looking for boob, so fingers crossed. I figured I could do the Basic + TTapp workout in place of the morning feed which will give me time to shower, pick out clothes, blowdry hair etc before running to catch the bus.
On the hair note, refrain from doing what I did by getting a high maitenance hair cut. Wash 'n' go hairdo is a priority especially when you have thick coarse rats nest hair like m'self. I'm considering getting a japanese straight perm or a simple straight perm to keep the frizz at bay and a consistent style (Go to Koreantown in your city for less $$ Japanese Straight Perm, yeah, the one Gwyneth made so popular).

Moxie, Could you squeeze in a breakfast at your desk by arriving 10 mins early?? I also make use of setting the coffee maker on timer so I wake up to freshly brewed inspiration. Pre-packing easy lunches works out well when I discipline myself to do it. Easy salads of cubed tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers and a chicken breast. Pita with veggies and hummus. When preparing dinner you could cook up an extra of whatever you're having, chicken, pork, tofu, and add some veggies or brown rice.

How will you handle being away from El P and El C? I don't know how I'll handle the separation. It's going to be very difficult and I'm dreading it, but at least we get lunch breaks and a chance to read during the train commute.
Best of luck to ya on your new venture!!

Kathy B.

Not much to add -- do as much the night before as you can.

The only thing I would add -- is establish a routine in the morning. It doesn't matter what the order of things is -- but if you have a routine that is the same every day, the kids will know what to expect.


Congrats on the new job! Free organic coffee, sigh....
Although I work at home, I have the occasional early morning meeting. And I HATE mornings. Getting up early enough to make me weep (like I've found two hours before I have to leave works best), getting everything together the night before so my addled mind doesn;t have to tink in the moring, and putting easily lost stuff (Maggie's slippers for school, keys, hats/gloves etc.) in the same place makes a difference.

And I've been laying out my clothes the night before almost every day this year and MAN does it help me focus in the morning.


Congrats on your job! Very cool.

When I have to get out of the house at a non-negotiable time in the morning, I get up before my kids and get myself completely ready. I'm fairly low maintenance so it's only 30-45 minutes before they get up, but it helps to not have to find my lipstick or be getting dressed while feeding them breakfast. Also, sometimes I shower at night and then just re-wet my hair in the morning and blow dry.

Jen (yup, another one)

Congratulations! I hope the job turns out to be everything you want it to be.

I'm another fan of do EVERYTHING the night before and I will also second the make a weekly menu plan. But if you can stand it, I also suggest taking it a step further and routinizing things as much as possible. I eat the same thing for breakfast every day - no thinking, no planning, just routine. I'm considering going to a set of weekly menus that rotate randomly (this week we'll do Menu Set A, next C, then F, then B, etc.). We have school spirit days on Friday so I wear the same outfit every Friday (and oh, how I wish we had uniforms - my life would be so much simpler).

The only other piece of advice I can think of at the moment is "Do it now." When we get Natalie to bed all I want to do is collapse. But it works so much better to do the things I know I have to do rather than putting them off. Otherwise I get sucked into reading or the Internet after dinner and then realize I really should be in bed but there are a thousand things that must be done first. Which either leads to too little sleep or a hideous rush in the morning and inevitably being late.

One last thing - if you have some part of your commute that is sans children, use that as YOU time. Listen to your favorite music, read something if you're on the bus or subway, knit, whatever. Do something for YOU.


Oh, finally something I can comment on w/ some expertise! Our daughter is 15 months old and this is the routine that works for us, though it's taken awhile to iron out. Food: Right after dinner, pack up leftovers for lunch, along with a couple of snacks. Prep the coffeepot and put your travel mugs next to it. Clothes: pick out EVERYTHING the night before, including undergarments, accessories, and shoes. Iron anything needed. Shower: Take it the night before so you only have to wet and dry your hair in the a.m. Also, try to get a hairstyle that you can wash/dry every other day. For breakfast, I make myself a cafe aulait - 1/2 warmed milk, 1/2 coffee. If your commute allows it, eat a yogurt, Luna bar or healthy muffin. Then around 10, I have a snack of toast w/peanut butter or cheese and grapes at the office. Doing things the night before makes a big difference in helping me sleep and perform better. Best wishes to you.

pnuts mama

congratulations and the very best of blessings to you on this new journey!! the phoenix metaphor has certainly been prophetic for you this year!! i am so genuinely happy for you, moxie, and wish you and the family the very very best.

i wish i had any tips for you for the morning routine, but my poor organizational skills combined with being the anti-morning person result in pure chaos when we need to go anywhere early, and i don't want to pass that crazy on to you.


I don't know if this will work with El P, but I have mastered nursing in just about any baby carrier and can get all kinds of things done over my little one's head while she nurses in the Ergo or even in the sling in a modified hip (ie: boob!) carry. It might buy you some time.

But then again, those early morning nursings are such sweet moments and a nice peaceful way to start the day, maybe that is the one part of your routine you won't want to tamper with!


Another congrats from here.

I'm not a morning person. However, I cannot do the night-before thing with four kids. CANNOT. My brain is already done by then. Plus, if I stay up any later than absolutely necessary, I can guarantee it will be 'one of those nights' and I'll wake up with only the usual amount of time to get ready and NO brain, and NO function... not good for me, and way more likely to generate frustration-based parenting. UGH.

Getting up earlier works for us. But only because we go to bed at the same time as the kids. Really. This doesn't mean we have more time to 'get things done' overall, it just means we have a larger block of time in which to work in the morning. And if it has been 'one of those nights' then we can snooze it a bit longer and try to start in at least somewhat more well-rested condition, even if that means having to do an extra load of wash on the way in the door that night.

Other lessons learned: Minimum to no TV time in morning. We have a cutoff for the morning news, even. TV slows things down. No TV the rest of the time except weekends (tape it, and then decide if you have time to watch it, later). We're down to one show we tape weekly, and that's it. Funny, I don't miss it (at least once I got past the first couple of weeks!).

Kids stuff as formulaic as possible. We don't do lunch setup the night before, my DH does it in the morning. Very 'rack-em, stack-em, and pack-em' approach, though.

Clothes for kids - they pick, they dress, as much as possible. We're a very montessori house, which means we're set up to have the kids do as much as possible. Their coats are hung at their level on hooks. Shoes, hats, and mittens in a drawer at their level. School bags, the same. Utensils, dishes, cups, same. No, they don't always get their coats on when we say without help. But it is AMAZING how much less we have to do because they're doing it. Kids want a quick snack while I'm busy doing something else? Bring me a cup and the lemonade... Want some cereal? Bring me a bowl. It reduces the interruption factor, which is a big time-stealer in the evening.

Post pictures of the routine for the kids to follow along. We still have Gabe's first picture set of 'what he needs before he leaves the house' posted on the door. Hat, coat, backpack, lunch. We have a similar picture in the bathroom with 'drink of water, toothbrush, pullup/goodnight, pjs'. This keeps our heads from having to hold the position for everyone else - no pause to try to figure out if they've done things out of order and are done, or skipped something when I wasn't looking. (At least until they get to the sneaky ages.)

Hire help for the stuff you hate doing. We have a housekeeper who comes in every two weeks to do the grungy stuff. It may be worth the cost for the sanity.

Good luck!


Have a stash of Luna bars so you always have something to eat in the morning. That's all I got.

Any tips on how to get a job? I desperately need a (new) one. Possibly in a different state.

And congrats.


I get up earlier and I do try to get as much as possible done the night before but honestly, I find evenings to be a greater challenge than mornings these days. For us, mornings were trial and error until we found our rhythm, and woe is he who messes it up. Except for the potty-training 2 year old.

Our schedule - up at 6:30 (depending on what schedule Jamie's on he may be sleeping still or if he's up, he's on MD's watch.). I shower at 6:30, put on some of my makeup and do my hair, I'm out of the bathroom by 7. I take over dog/kid duty, finish making breakfasts (MD makes Jamie's lunch or I do it the night before), and make sure Jamie's bag is packed. Then by 7:30 I'm getting Jamie dressed and md's rounding up stuff to go to the car and they're gone by 7:45-8 at the latest. Then I finish getting ready and leave at 8:30.

For some reason, breaking things up into half-hour increments really works for us. If Jamie's up at 6:30 and is done with his breakfast by the time I'm out of the bathroom then he'll usually watch Little Einsteins until it's time to get dressed.

Nighttime is the biggest challenge for me. I'm on my own and getting dinner on the table is a pain. It's funny, you end up getting ready for the morning the night before and getting ready for the evening in the morning.


Wow, ksmce, I am so stealing that smiley card deck idea--awesome!

Moxie, many congratulations to you!! Like everybody's said, do what you can at night--don't let yourself bonk on the couch without setting everything up.

To add to that, for the urban mom in particular: think really hard about how to organize your bags. Not sure where El C and El P will be spending their days, but if you're dealing with transit and/or walking it's especially key. I tend to keep my work bag pretty pure me stuff--but it was critical to get down from a purse and bag to one combo (I use a presentable messenger bag with lots of pockets). Make sure whatever you need for transit is totally accessible. with one hand. Also add one of those "Chico" bags in there if you can--have you seen them? They're little reusable nylon shopping bags that pack down into a tiny little attached stuff sack. (In case of running errands on the way home or needing to carry diapers/supplies on the way there.)

Then, there is Mouse's daycare bag. (I'm guessing El C is big enough to carry his own little backpack--definitely make sure he does that.) So for El P, it has to have what he needs for the day, but also a mini version of the essentials you'd have in the diaper/post-diaper bag. I tend to modularize this stuff using gallon-size ziplocs. Examples from different ages:

18-30 mos:
-single diaper & travel wipes pack
-compact New Native sling, folded (mainly in case of rain--child too young to handle umbrella has to be carried on the walk home and you've got a couple other bags)
-empty sippy cup cause in case of really getting stuck you can get milk somewhere
-travel crayons & sketch pad (our routine includes a stop at a local cafe near our train stop before we walk home--and distraction was especially key during weaning)

30+ months (i.e. potty training/after)
-compact folding kid potty seat
-spare pair of pants & undies
-really mini pens, sketch pad, & sheet of stickers (shop in Japantown for the best tiny art supplies), down to a quart size bag

When arranging stuff the night before, make sure all this stuff is in the bag. Then have a mental (or even written) checklist of what needs to be added in the morning. For the longest time for us it was "clean sippy cups, pumped milk, Blue Dog"--that was infancy, but you get the idea--I knew there were 3 things to add so I wouldn't miss one.

As far as actually carrying, this is super granular, but you said stupid was OK. You've got your stuff in the messenger bag--that strap goes cross body. Then if possible make the daycare bag the kind with 2 handles and a zipper in the middle. That bag goes on the shoulder that isn't carrying the messenger strap. Should you run errands, your chico bag then slips over hte outer handle of that bag so you don't have to deal with another set of straps. Then you have a hand free to hold...and another hand free too! If you're using the sling I find it goes best over the messenger, on the opposite shoulder. (All this would completely have to change if you're carrying with an Ergo or something, but it's really worth optimizing--the inevitable time your train is late and it's pouring and you know there's no milk or bread at home you will be really happy to have set things up.)


Oh, and congrats on the job!


Congratulations, Moxie! and Good luck!

I've been back at work for 2 months now with my 5 month old and it took about a month to get used to the schedule.

The only thing I will add to the advice above, and this probably goes more for those in post pregnancy recovery mode - when you're getting ready to go back to work, and find a decent blouse - buy 3-5 of them in different colors and 2/3 pairs of pants/1 skirt that match. Paired up with cardigans or suit jackets, it makes the easiest wardrobe choices possible - especially if you haven't made it back to your pre-preg weight and none of your old clothes fit.

Nurse in your bathrobe after you've taken your shower/gotten hair/makeup ready - in case your little one decides to start his day the exorcist way (spit up, anyone?)


Just a quick second here for the picture list so the kids can do their own stuff in the morning (El C, really -- El P might be too little yet). My kids are almost four, and we have a list that we "laminated" with clear contact paper taped to the fridge.

The list includes Morning Jobs (go potty, get dressed, brush teeth, put on outside stuff, comb/fix hair, eat breakfast) and Bedtime Jobs (which, sadly, I don't remember because we're not all that good at that part). We kept it pretty simple and all in one place. The kids LOVE using a dry-erase marker to "check things off" -- sometimes they fill in the box, sometimes they attempt to write their initials, sometimes they just draw a line through, but who cares? THey know what the jobs are, and they know that the jobs are finite.

We also have a sign in the hallway, in a cheap acrylic picture frame, that says, "Today is MONDAY. [or whatever day] It is [is not] a school day! It is A's turn for the passenger side and B's turn for the first bath." And then we list weekly jobs (laundry, mopping, scrub the tub) that we'll try to get done that day. We also note the evenings when I work or go to class, so the kids know. Each day has its own sheet of notebook paper (we wrote these with markers, on the fly), and the kids like to change the sign in the morning.

I have one kid who likes to get dressed for the next day after his bath. The other one, thankfully, is pretty good about getting dressed in the morning.

Congratulations on the new job! It's always exciting to do something new. :)


Wow! Congratulations. I guess, assuming this is something you wanted (seems a little weird to congratulate someone on "getting" to do something I do because I HAVE to ...). :)

I don't know how your kids are wired, but I find the morning transition (a.k.a. "Mommy abandons me forEVER") goes best if I make sure there's at least 5 minutes for snuggle/downtime built in there. Even if it means I get a protein bar for breakfast (I second, third, fourth, whatever the suggestion that you always, always have something in your desk at work that can, in a pinch, serve as a meal.) or I apply my makeup in the restroom after I get to work, I make that 5 minutes happen. We set the timer.

I've started doing meal planning for lunch a week in advance (like we've always done for dinner). I usually have time to throw it together in the morning, but if I have to also think it up, it's hopeless.

Don't be surprised if your kids melt down when you get HOME. I'm always amazed that that's how they show how much they missed me, but I think the fact that it's evening and it's a transition combine to create chaos of the hitting/crying/general meltdown variety. It helps if I focus on them exclusively when I first get home, too.

I like to incorporate my kids into my morning routine, just so it feels like we have a little more time together. My almost-3 year old likes to sit on the counter in the bathroom while I brush my teeth and hair and put on my makeup, and to help me shut down the laptop in preparation for my trip to the office. My 15-month-old can get me a pop and V-8 to go into my backpack.

That's what I can think of right off the top of my head. Best of luck to you!


One other thing: I have recently realized that it makes a HUGE difference in the quality of our mornings if I'm up before my kids. There are lots of reasons for this, and they may not apply to you, but for me the real revelation is that I have to discipline myself to go to bed on time -- not only so I'm well-rested, but so I have a few minutes to myself before anyone makes any demands on me.


#1: If it can possibly be done the night before, do it the night before (for me, this includes making lunch, laying out clothes--mine and the kid's, showering, and having all the breakfast ingredients ready to rock.

#2: Get up WAY before everyone else. I get up at 5. We are out the door at 7.

#3: I too, have super short hair that I wash at night, and then I spritz it with water and slap some gel into it in the morning.

#4: Have a backup plan for breakfast and lunch. Sometimes, I get lazy at night, and of course the following morning is super-hectic, so I have to eat breakfast and/or lunch at work. We have a great food service here, so it's not bad, only more expensive than brown-bagging.

#5: No matter what, have a plan. If the husband helps with feeding or dressing the kids in the mornings, have a set time (or checkpoint in the routine) at which this MUST happen. After a while, it will all start to run like a well-oiled machine.

Congratulations, and good luck.

And thank you for the inspiration--last summer I wrote a post (also inspired by you) about A Day in My Life during summer vacation with the promise that I would do another one in the throes of working-mom mode. I think I'll do that one tomorrow. That is, if I remember to set the camera out before bed tonight.


#1: If it can possibly be done the night before, do it the night before (for me, this includes making lunch, laying out clothes--mine and the kid's, showering, and having all the breakfast ingredients ready to rock.

#2: Get up WAY before everyone else. I get up at 5. We are out the door at 7.

#3: I too, have super short hair that I wash at night, and then I spritz it with water and slap some gel into it in the morning.

#4: Have a backup plan for breakfast and lunch. Sometimes, I get lazy at night, and of course the following morning is super-hectic, so I have to eat breakfast and/or lunch at work. We have a great food service here, so it's not bad, only more expensive than brown-bagging.

#5: No matter what, have a plan. If the husband helps with feeding or dressing the kids in the mornings, have a set time (or checkpoint in the routine) at which this MUST happen. After a while, it will all start to run like a well-oiled machine.

Congratulations, and good luck.

And thank you for the inspiration--last summer I wrote a post (also inspired by you) about A Day in My Life during summer vacation with the promise that I would do another one in the throes of working-mom mode. I think I'll do that one tomorrow. That is, if I remember to set the camera out before bed tonight.


My advice for mornings:
Do as much as you can the night before- All has been said except: If you drink Coffee, get an automatic timer.

Buy all black clothes, shoes and belts (I am the Johnny Cash of my office - No matching = easier to grab an outfit)

Always assume something that takes 20 minutes will pop up.

Eat breakfast at the office.

Don't feel bad if you abuse Tivo for Sesame street episodes in the a.m.
My daughter (2.5yrs) typically wakes up before the sun, drags her "tool" (stool) next to my bed and STARES directly into my sleeping face until I wake up. I get her dressed, read a quick story, hand her a sippy with milk and a bowl of dry cheerios, and set her up in front of the TV for 20 minutes while I get ready. And I'm not sorry! ha.
When she was an infant, I grossly abused her mobile while I dressed and showered (she loved it).
If you have a garage, load the car with all stuff the night before.
And only wash your hair and shave your legs when completely necessary.

Assume that child will crap their pants the moment you have them dressed and ready to go.
Hope that helps! I am always looking to commiserate with other moms who work outside the home.


Congrats on the new job! They are lucky to have you. Getting up before the kids makes all the difference for me, and I don't even work in an office.

Also key: accepting that you CAN'T add 40 hours of additional work to your week and expect to still do everything you did before. Cut, delegate, prioritize.

I'm so happy for you, Moxie.


Also...if you have a child who is not a morning person, allow 20 minutes of cuddle/work it out time after your shower and before you can get anything else done! Have something cool in mind to get them moving, i.e. a game for the potty or at the breakfast table.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Search Ask Moxie

Sign Up For My Email Newsletter

Blah blah blah

  • My expertise is in helping people be who they want to be, with a specialty in how being a parent fits into everything else. I like people. I like parents. I think you're doing a fantastic job. The nitty-gritty of what you do with your kids is up to you, although I'm happy to post questions here to get data points of how you could try approaching different stages, because, let's face it, this shit is hard. As for me, I have two kids who sleep through the night and can tie their own shoes. I've been a married SAHM, a married freelance WAHM, a divorcing WOHM, a divorced WOHM, and now a WAHM again. I'm not buying the Mommy Wars and I'll come sit next to you no matter how you're feeding your kid. When in doubt, follow the money trail. And don't believe the hype.
Blog powered by Typepad