My daughter is a pre-teen. She is in that special, heart-breaking space right in between being a child and being a teenager. She swings between both places quickly — in one minute, she might be running around playing with friends like the carefree kid she has always been…and just hours later (this happened last night), I might ask her if I can tuck her in and her reply will be “It’s okay – I’ll put my self to bed.”
Her school is across town, and directionally opposite of my office. Early in the school year, I paired up with another mom to solve this problem – she drives in the mornings, we drive in the afternoons. It seemed like a glorious, perfect solution. And indeed, it works.
On occasional mornings, however, I end up driving her to school. And recently I noticed a couple of things:
(a) I really enjoy spending time with my daughter – she’s growing up into a person that I really like. With 3 kids and busy lives, I don’t get a ton of one-on-one time with her, and our time in the car together started feeling really good.
(b) We talk in the car. Maybe my vehicle is filled with pixie dust or magic…but when we are in the car together, my daughter likes to chat about school, her friends, whatever is playing on NPR. To be clear, she does NOT like to chat about these things in any other “regular” context (Like the kitchen? No…..).
Anyway, I recently decided to (mostly) drive her to school myself in the mornings. This has involved some juggling, as well as finding some morning efficiency that really wasn’t needed when I wasn’t her morning driver.
Everyone has their tricks in terms of getting their families together and out the door in the morning. Unless you are LYING, there is a good chance it’s pretty chaotic. So as far as I’m concerned, any incremental improvement is a good one.
Here are the short-cuts I’m using to make my mornings more efficient:
(1) Pack Lunches At Night. Ok, this one is not actually new for me. I have been doing this for years. But sometimes I talk with friends and when I find out they pack lunches in the MORNING, I’m literally dumbfounded. How? Night packing is so key for me I had to put it at the top of the list.
(2) Dry Shampoo. I’m not much of a products girl. BUT when I got a sample of dry shampoo in my monthly Birchbox recently, I tried it out. Dry shampoo is a miracle elixer. I can skip washing my hair for a full extra day (HUGE time-saver!) with a few sprays.
(3) Up-Do. In addition to the above, I’m pretty much putting my hair up in a messy bun every few days (again – huge time saver when I’m not full-on styling my hair).
(4) Simplify Work Clothes. Two weekends ago, I did a major closet cleanout, and then I organized my clothes by color. This has made it soooo much easier to find what I’m going to wear to work. Also, during the summer, I simplify a LOT. In all seriousness, in the summer, I wear a black dress to work almost every day. I mix up the accessories or whatnot (to avoid looking perpetually like I’m going to funeral). But it’s so easy.
(5) Shoe Box. I know I’m jumping around here. I have a box near the door for each of my kids – it’s their “shoe box”. Shoes go in when they get home, and then (surprise!) we don’t waste endless amounts of time looking for said shoes when it’s time to go. I also got one of those stack-able plastic drawer sets (they are ubiquitous at The Container Store, Target, etc.). Each kid has a drawer – and inside the drawer are each kid’s socks. So the “Shoe Box” + the “Socks Box” = Tons of Time Saved (not to mention frustration, yelling, lateness, etc.)
Ok – that’s all I’ve got for you today.
Have a great week!