For several years I was lucky enough to live and work in the same suburb of Ottawa. This meant mornings were not hectic as I was only two minutes from work and could take my time. Now that I have to commute across the city every day for the next few weeks, mornings have become hectic, especially with the complication of having to drop my son off at daycare.
For parents going back to work after parental leave, the early morning routine could be an explosion of frantic flurry as everyone tries to get ready in the morning. While “learning to commute” over the last few weeks, I have learned some tips on how to survive at 7am in the morning.
Tip #1 – Make a schedule
Both my husband and I commute and coordination of showers, lunch making and daycare drop-offs can be confusing. So, we sat down and discussed our morning routine to try and coordinate our time so we both don’t want to shower at the same time.
Tip #2 – Make your lunch the night before
I love leftovers for my lunch, so when dinner is over I pack a lunch sized portion into a container. It is super easy to grab the container from the fridge in the morning, add some fresh fruit and a granola bar and be on my way. Have your lunch bag ready to go in a specific spot in the kitchen
Tip #3 – Sunday Prep Days
Although heating up leftovers may not work for some people, you can prep certain food items on Sunday. Wash and cut up vegetables and put into containers. Make some salads (bean, potato, and couscous salads come to mind) and store in your fridge. If you can reheat food, you also can make lunch sized portions of your favorite meals and store them in the freezer for the week.
Tip #4 – Plans lots of extra time
When looking at your morning schedule, always plan a little wiggle room, especially if you have children. You never know what the morning will bring, so it is best to wake up ten minutes earlier to that if toddler takes a bit longer to eat his breakfast, you will be prepared.
Tip #5 – Do your errands after work or in the evening
One of my pet peeves is the cars being left without gas so that I have to stop for gas in the morning. Again, back in the day when my arrival at work did not depend on traffic jams, it didn’t matter. Now, every minute counts. I like to ensure that my car has enough gas for the morning’s commute. I also do anything else like buying office treats, cards or office supplies in the evening as well. No unnecessary stops in the morning (except maybe an occasional coffee).
Tip #6 – Plan out your outfit the night before
Something to admit: sometimes I take a very long time to pick out what I want to wear to work. I could waste ten to fifteen minutes figuring out what wasn’t wrinkled, matched or didn’t ‘go’. I have tried to pick out my outfit the night before and ensuring that everything was ironed and ready to go.
Commuting and being a parent can be very difficult, especially if both parents have to work. You do the best that you can, but with a little bit of time spent organizing your morning, it might be a bit easier on you!
Do you have any tips to share?