Back when I was single, or even when Justin and I were newly married, time management was so simple. It was a pretty quick calculation in my head to figure out the steps needed in order to get myself ready to take on the day, and accomplish whatever tasks were ahead of me. I never imagined that time management would take on a totally new meaning once I had kids.
Fast forward to today, where all sorts of calculations go on in my head related to the logistics of the day. It’s no wonder I feel like I’m going a little crazy day in and day out. I could give a million examples of how this manifests during any given moment, day or night. Perhaps nowhere is this more complex than in the morning routine though, were what should be a simple calculation becomes inordinately complex on a regular basis.
Let’s say that my kids need to be at school by 7:40 AM. This might look fairly simple at the outset. Assuming I were to get up around seven, and my kids were to get themselves entirely ready for school, we would all make it in the car by about 7:30 in order to get to school on time. This is what my single, 22 year-old self might have imagined. Not. Quite.
First things first, my kids take an insanely long time getting ready in the morning – lounging around in their pajamas, taking their sweet time to saunter in for breakfast, and taking even longer to get their clothes on. I even have one child who, every morning, grabs his breakfast and his clothes and literally walks out the door in his pajamas as the car is pulling out of the garage. Each to his own, I guess! Taking my children’s speed of preparing for the day into consideration, we obviously have to back up our timing in the morning. I start waking them at 6:30 AM for a 7:30 departure, but they usually don’t even get out of bed until between 6:45 and 6:50.
Kids aside, I also have to take into consideration whether I am feeling adventurous and making lunches for the day, or utilizing the wonderful hot lunch service available at school. Don’t ask me why I still like making lunches. I’m sure I’ll tire of it very soon, and I already do at points during the year, but I’m a sucker for leaving a handwritten note in a lunchbox. If I am making lunches that day, I need to back up my timing by at least another 10 or 15 minutes in order to get it done. What once was an assembly line of sandwiches with each kid taking the same condiments and lunch meats has now become a much slower process – because of course they don’t all like the same things on their sandwiches! That’ll be an additional five minutes for sandwich customization! Chalk that one up to another reason I order Choicelunch!
Kids aside, I’ve also got to allot some time to get myself ready for the day. While I think we all probably cover the basics, including teeth brushing, face washing, and getting dressed, taking a full shower and blowing out hair definitely adds another 30 to 40 minutes to the routine in the morning. If you guys are anything like me, once my kids are awake, there isn’t time for this sort of thing, so I clearly need to get ahead of the kids by this much time in order to make it happen.
Think you have the morning routine nailed? Other time-sucks to consider include gathering canned goods for the food drive at school that day, getting kids into their Cub Scout Uniforms, feeding your pets, clothing debates on free dress days (or if your child does not have a school uniform), emptying the dishwasher, and maybe checking email if I can get to it. Need to do any of these things this morning? That’ll be another 5-10 minutes, depending on the chore.Trying to sneak in that morning workout? Another 45 minutes to an hour at least.
And there you have it, my friends. What 22 year-old me once assumed was an easy 7am wake up for a 7:30am departure has now become a 5:45am wake up call, and that’s at a full-on sprint. Next time you find yourself lying in bed at night running all of these calculations in your mind just to answer the simple question “What time should I wake up tomorrow?”, just know that you are not alone.