My Working Mom Morning Routine

When I was “doing it all,” and a wife, mom, full time engineer, and full time MBA student my working mom morning routine was pretty much to the minute. In case you are new, I recently quit my job (click here to read How I Quit My Job Without Notice).  Many people would ask me, “How I did it” and, “How I was always able to get out the door on time.” And before you click away, know this. I never picked out my clothes before bed. I always hated that advice. I also would rarely pack my bag before leaving too. Those were just a natural, built in part to my working mom morning routine. So here, I’m going to break down minute by minute my working mom morning routine from the moment my alarm goes off until the moment I arrive at work. Including the 35 minute commute and daycare dropoff.

The Night Before:

  • Put dinner leftovers into containers – If you’ve read my post on How We Meal Plan/Shop/”Prep” Whole30 on a Budget, you know that we cook daily (and that it isn’t a big deal because we planned and prepped what we could).  So after dinner, Travis or I would portion out our leftovers into glass storage containers. I always made sure to plan for enough food to cover dinners and the next day’s lunches.
  • Setup the coffee – This is literally my number one tip if you are a coffee drinker. Get a programmable coffee maker. They don’t have to be super expensive, ours cost $50 (link!). I would fill it with grounds and water, and set to “delay brew” until 5 minutes before my alarm time.
  • Shower – I like to shower at night because my hair takes forever to dry. I use the “curly girl method” and “plop” my hair overnight. (click here for more info)
  • Go to bed on time. This makes waking up easier. It doesn’t matter exactly when your bedtime/wakeup time is as long as it is consistent and enough sleep to keep you going the following day.

The Morning Using My Working Mom Morning Routine

  • 5:15am: Wakeup.
    • DO NOT GET ON SOCIAL MEDIA. Or, if you do, have a set time limit that you hold yourself to. This should not be more than 10 minutes or you really will never get anywhere.
    • Set ONE alarm and get up right away. Do not hit snooze. It may take time to adjust to this, but once you get in the groove it seems ridiculous to “waste” the additional 15minutes of “snooze” time that you could’ve been sleeping soundly.
  • 5:20: Do my quick skincare, grab makeup and go to the dining room.
  • 5:25: Grab a cup of coffee and do my makeup at the dining table. Usually I’d watch a YouTube video too.
    • During this time, my hubby showers. I do my makeup at the dining table because we have lived in a one-bathroom place until this house and I’m just used to it.
    • Note that our toddler is still asleep. This was my ONLY “me time” of the day, and I really cherished those 15 minutes.
  • 5:40: Quickly pick up the house
    • Unload/Load the dishwasher – sometimes I’d have time for both, or I’d just at least get done whatever was needed right away. If I loaded, I would start the dishwasher. Quick tip: If unloading the dishwasher adn there are some wet items in there, take them out and put them in the drying rack. Let them dry on their own while your family is away. No need to towel dry anything. Seriously. If there are still more dirty dishes, I at least get them in the sink.
    • Pick up the clutter from the floor for the Roomba – okay we got seriously spoiled and my mom got us the Roomba 690 for Christmas. It is programmable and is on a set schedule. I can also start/stop it from my phone. It’s amazing, but in order for it to do a good job, there can’t be toys lying around. So I get anything we didn’t pick up with Riley picked up.
    • Wipe down counters – if I didn’t fully clean up the night before, I’d make sure the counters are wiped.
  • 5:55: Get Dressed. Note that I didn’t pick out my clohtes before. I wear a lot of basics that go together easily and ever since reading the Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up (link!) I only own clothes I love. So “picking out an outfit” isn’t a big deal. I just put on some clothes.
  • 6:00: Wake Up Riley. Change diaper/pullup and get her dressed. I also didn’t pick out her clothes the night before.
  • 6:05: Riley brushes her teeth, I do our hair
    • As she brushes her teeth, I’d quickly get her hair done. I’m talking a little detangler, a quick brush, and the options of “ponytail, bun, pigtails, or half-up.” She’s 2 and will pull her hair out at daycare anyways, so no point in wasting the time.
    • Then, I have her keep brushing her teeth (she actually LOVES brushing her teeth) and I deal with my hair. At this point it’s still plopped in a t-shirt from teh night before. I take it down and “refresh” with a little water and mousse. This takes me about a minute or two. Seriously, going curly girl was a savior for my hair, time, and sanity.
  • 6:10: Send Riley to “make her bed” while I brush my teeth and pickup the bathroom.
    • You have to tell a toddler multiple times (well at least with mine you do, oops), so getting her in there right away speeds up the process.
    • I literally brush my teeth with one hand and pickup the bathroom with the other.
  • 6:13: Make Bed, and double check that Riley made hers. If not, have her make her bed. (At this point I will have told her a few times)
  • 6:15: Start to Get out the door
    • Have Riley get her shoes/coat on. Again, with a two year old this can take a few reminders.
    • While she puts her shoes/coat on, Get my lunch in a bag and fill a coffee travel mug.
    • Tell Riley to get her coat on, because at this point she’s gotten her shoes on but is now distracted.
    • Run out to my car to put in my purse, lunch, and travel mug. Depening on weather also Riley’s outdoor daycare bag (snowpants/boots etc).
  • 6:18: Head to Daycare
  • 6:22: Daycare Drop-Off. This involved checking her in, getting her into the classroom. Thankfully, Riley loved her daycare and wasn’t clingy whatsover. Her dropoffs were quick and painless.
  • 6:25: Drive to Work – while my commute is 35 minutes, it’s a very predictable 35 minutes. I drove against traffic so it was an easy drive.
  • 7:00: Arrive at Work

And that’s how pretty much every morning in my working mom morning routine went. Something you take for granted before kids is only having to get yourself ready in the morning. What a difference it makes! If you are wondering what my husband did during this time, he would take care of the puppy and play with him to get his energy out. He’d also enforce the “Riley making her bed and putting shoes/coat on.”

I hope this helps give you some ideas or modifications you can make!

-Rachel

working mom morning routine

Hi, my name is Rachel Smith. I’m a personal finance nerd,  Aldi connoissuer, book lover, yoga enthusiast, and budgeting wiz. I was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska but currently call Michigan home. I want to help people with their finances and eating healthy on a tight budget (no matter what your cost-of-living area is!)



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