If you need a working mom morning routine, this is for you. Being an at home mom is much more than just taking care of the small stuff. You are also the head of your home and your household tasks are much more than just being there for your family. It is a 24 hour a day, 7 days a week job. Being a full-time working mother is even harder. That is why this article will include morning routine tips for working moms.
If you Google “morning routine tips for working mom” you will probably get 100 articles saying the same thing. Get up early. Exercise. Drink water.
You won’t find those tips here.
Nope. Because I’m a real working mom that struggles every day getting my kids out the door. It’s not easy, folks! I have a hundred to-do lists, but does that make my morning schedule easier? Not necessarily.
Keep reading for real mom-tested, kid-approved tips to get a working mom morning routine that really works!
- Why Working Mom Morning Routine Tips that Don’t Work
- You need more time
- You need better breakfast plans in the morning
- You need help with your kids
- You need help with school/daycare prep
- You need a better plan for your commute
Why Working Mom Morning Routine Tips that Don’t Work
Morning routines only work if they meet you where you are. If you NEED to exercise in the morning, then the advice to “wake up early every morning to workout!” might be PERFECT. But, if exercising doesn’t matter to you, then that scheduling tip falls flat.
If I gave you basic tips like “prep your meals for the week”, then that doesn’t really meet you where you are, or consider what you need right now. Only you know yourself!
1. Know yourself
Instead, as you prepare for your work week and getting all your hundred children out the door (just kidding! kind of…), first you need to figure out who you are, what matters to you, and what will help you get there.
Here are some questions that will help you know yourself better:
- Am I a night person or a morning person?
- Do I like to be outside a lot?
- Do I need 8 hours of sleep a night – and am I getting the right amount?
- Do I feel better in cozy clothes, or operate better in real professional outfits?
- Do I have a household chores routine that I like, or do I need to improve this area of my life?
- Do I have older responsible kids or younger kids that need extra time and a lot of help?
Once you answer these questions, you’ll know more about yourself and what you need with your morning routine.
Just a little about myself. I have 2 kids, one in preschool and one in kindergarten. Right now both go to school, so we do the “little kid” morning mom routine. I know things change with every stage. But right that is what I’m experiencing. I hope this helps you out!
You need more time
I think this is every mom’s wish: we just need more time.
But lately, I’ve been realizing that we all have the same amount of time. And some people use their time well. And some people use their time really badly (ahem, me.). So instead of saying “I just need more time”, I have started saying “that thing I need more time for, just isn’t a priority.”
Giving myself the freedom to say some things aren’t a priority is magical.
So the next question is: What are your priorities? To find out, use this free worksheet!
2. Figure out how much extra time you need for your tasks
To begin, figure out how many kinds of daily schedules you are working with. If your M-W-F schedule is different than you T-TH schedule, you might have three types of daily schedules:
You might have only two daily schedules: weekdays vs. weekends. You might have 7 different schedules.
You will want to treat each of these daily schedules differently to maximize every minute. If you have 45 minutes for lunch on Mondays, but 1 hour on Thursdays, then you need to maximize on that extra 15 minutes on Thursdays.
Print as many templates of the following freebie as you need to match up with the number of daily schedules that you need.
3. Find hidden pockets of time in each daily schedule
On each template that you print, you can use my default headers of “mom”, “home”, etc. to create your separate blocks, or you can print the blank doc and fill in the the titles yourself. You will want separate block schedules for each component in your life. I like:
- Child #1
- Child #2
To get started, you will want to block off definite obligated activites for each person.
Add in work hours, childcare, school, sports and activities. See how these blocks affect the other people in the household – and how you can also schedule home chores around those obligated activites.
To fill in the block schedule, fill in your obligations in this order:
- Wake/sleep times
- Work hours
- Childcare/school hours
- Meal/family times
- Mom/self time
Then, to make this block schedule work for you, make a list of kids activities and home chores that you can scatter around.
Need 30 minutes to take a shower? Add in a 30 minute activity. Need to run a load of laundry? Spend 15 minutes loading the washing machine while your kids eat lunch.
To add in self-time, look for ways to listen to a podcast or do a facial mask while you are making dinner or taking kids to the park!
On the template, there are really easy ways to create these lists and add them to your schedule.
You need better breakfast plans in the morning
Maybe you don’t need more time. But your mornings are just NUTS. Your kids don’t want the typical breakfast that you’ve had for the last 5 years.
Why is every morning a complete surprise to kids? If you need a few quick easy breakfast ideas for kids, here are our favorites.
4. Breakfast ideas for your kids
I hate being creative at breakfast time. My kids have basically eaten the same breakfast their whole lives: yogurt, bananas, and dried cereal or Belvita breakfast bars. The reason we have settled on this meal plan is because it includes protein and whole grains for energy, and I always have the ingredients in my kitchen. I don’t have to think about it.
But, if you need some more ideas for ways to make breakfast work better for you, try these ideas:
- Try a simple continental breakfast idea: smoothies and granola bars or protein bars. We love this idea when we need something different. If I don’t have time to make a smoothie, we love Naked Green Machine.
- Prepare the night ahead: I often set out everyone’s dishes, cups, utensils, and my coffee cup the night before. I don’t always love meal prep ahead of time, but dishes prep I can do!
- Get kids plates, utensils, and cups you can put in the dishwasher. Several years ago I replaced all of our plastic dishes for this brand’s stainless steal dishes. GAME CHANGER.
- Try a probiotic powder instead of a regular vitamin. My kids don’t even know they are taking this probiotic, and it’s a game changer. No sugar. No gummy. And they are so much healthier because of it! I also love putting this vitamin powder in their smoothies.
5. Breakfast ideas for you
I was literally in my thirties when I learned how to listen to my body. I thought I “knew myself”, but it took me while to realize I didn’t feel healthy if I ate gluten. That a green smoothie made me feel amazing in the morning.
Listen to your body and make small changes that make you feel good.
For my breakfast, I like to plan ahead. I often will make protein bites and each those and a hard boiled egg. Or I grab a protein bar before I leave the house. Either way, I like to fill myself with protein and a glass of lemon water before I settle into my multiple cups of coffee.
Here’s my advice. FOCUS ON YOURSELF. Buy the more expensive bars. Meal prep a little. Cut corners and buy pre-made items. Thinking ahead and preparing food that you like will change your entire week.
If you are looking for a smoothie recipe to start your day, you have to try this Glowing Green Smoothie. I drink this almost every day, and it makes me feel amazing!
You need help with your kids
6. Shortcuts to get everyone up on time
If you need an alarm clock for your young children that really works, check out this alarm clock/children’s trainer. We love it!
LittleHippo Mella Ready to Rise Children’s Trainer – I have realized very quickly that to keep my schedule on track I needed my kids to have their own morning and naps routine. This clock was SO HELPFUL for my 2 and 5 year old.
I love this clock because:
- It has nap time settings so it “turns green” when it’s time for kids to wake after sleep or naps
- It taught my daughter how to wake up and have her own morning chores by herself
- It taught my son to stay in his room at nap time.
- The clock is teaching my daughter to tell time.
- It made our bedtime and morning routine so much better!
Read more: What to do when your kids stop napping.
You need help with school/daycare prep
7. School daily routines for your kids
My oldest is just in kindergarten, and I’m learning SO FAST how essential a daily routine is. From getting everyone up in the morning, to getting homework and school supplies ready, to prepping lunches, we literally struggle every morning.
To help with our morning chores, I created a simple (FREE!) chore chart for my young children, and it has made ALL THE DIFFERENCE. I create a flip chart out of a cardstock folder like this one and we have loved it! Totally recommend!
To give this mama an easy daily routine, I have checklists for myself of things I need to do every morning: make lunches, get the library book returns, have extra sets of clean clothes.
I have my lists in my free printable weekly block schedule (see above!). But wherever you take notes and make lists, make yourself a morning list. You will never look back.
8. Lunch and snack prep
Spend the money. Buy a lunchbox that works.
My kids have these Bentgo boxes and they have been lifesavers.
At first I was hesitant to buy such elaborate boxes. And I also knew that I would have to handwash these (I don’t put plastic in the dishwasher), but they’ve been so worth it.
My kids eat almost the same lunch every day. And I really love making their lunches during the morning rush. I don’t prefer prepping these the night before, but I know you can!
(Again, know yourself! If you don’t like meal prep, don’t do the prep!)
If you want a fun “kids cookbook” to give you lunch ideas, then we love this one!
9. Getting everyone out the door
Whats there to do? Wake up. Get clothes on. Brush teeth. Brush hair. Find socks. Go to the bathroom. Put away pajamas. Get the lunch bags. Where are the backpacks?
Yep. It’s just so dang much.
If you are struggling to get everyone out the door, I’d recommend making a list of the 3 hardest things each morning, and find solutions for just those three things.
For me, these are the bottlenecks, and these were my solutions:
- Running back up the stairs to find the socks. I just couldn’t with the socks. So, I moved all of our socks to the coat closet near the shoes. Now my kids can access them and no one is running back up stairs. (Also they go on the feet BEFORE breakfast!)
- Forgetting to do my daughter’s hair. So I moved all the hair ties, hair brush, and bows to the kitchen. Now I do her hair DURING BREAKFAST.
- Waking my kids up and bribing them to get dressed. My kids HATE to wake up. So now, my daughter wakes up to her alarm herself so she can have her morning routine with her Yoto player (see that here.). And for both kids, I tell them that if they aren’t downstairs to the living room / kitchen by a certain time they miss breakfast. No punishments. No bribing. Just facts. And it works.
10. What to do when everything goes wrong
You will probably yell at your kids. And then feel horrible and apologize. And then yell some more. Then make some impossible promises. And then swear a little. And then pray that your child’s teacher doesn’t rip you a new one.
And it’s ok. Every parent is going through the same thing. Rough mornings. Difficult children. Forgetful minds.
It’s ok. Take a breath. It’s TOTALLY OK.
And if you need an Instagram account that makes you feel wonderfully human in the morning check this one out while you are in the drop off lane.
You need a better plan for your commute
When I started driving my kids to their new preschool and kindergarten, I realized HOW MUCH TIME was spent driving back and forth to the kids’ school.
So much time.
And then I realized I needed a commute plan. So here are some things we do…
11. Quality time with your kids in the car
- Listen to a kids podcast! See my favorites below.
- Practice the alphabet, numbers, memorization for their class.
- Do a “best of”, “worst of” for the entire day at school.
- Practice speech therapy exercises.
- List gratitudes.
- Eat snacks on the way home.
- Call the grandparents on the speaker phone and pass the phone around for a nice chat.
- Have quiet time.
12. Podcasts for kids
Here are some of our favorite podcasts that we listen to on the way to and from school. Sometimes we listen to these on my phone. But, we also like using this mini bluetooth speaker.
My kids got this speaker for Christmas and LOVE IT. It’s the perfect size to hold, and to carry around while they listen to music. I stream music to it from my phone (usually a fun Spotify playlist!), or they listen to audio books and podcasts in the car.
My favorite way to get free audiobooks, is to use my library card and hook it up to the The Libby App. You can download audiobooks for free! This is great for older and young children.
Here are our favorite kids podcasts: