Posted by Duff

I posted Part 1 about 16 months ago.  I just went back and read it because lately, this working mom has had a helluva time getting out of the house and to work on time, as have a lot of parents I know.

Here’s an understatement: It’s a little harder with two. Not impossible (even when it feels that way), just with new variables. 

Challenge: 2 kids with different bedtime/wake up schedules. Anyone have a baby who rises with the proverbial rooster and a toddler or preschooler who fights bedtime and is a morning grizzly bear? Our kids should go bowling together.

Solution: Staggered schedules are a blessing; I don’t have to meet two sets of immediate needs. Atticus doesn’t mind if I fold laundry, drink coffee, or scarf cereal while we wait for the sun, as long as he can see and hear me. If your infant is Dervish-like, however, wakes up before you’ve attended to yourself, and is a morning clinger, I suggest the Bjorn. And coffee at the office.

If you’ve got a mobile baby, please remind me how this differs and you make it work.

Challenge: Getting a night owl out of bed during the morning rush. I’m not a morning person either, so I sympathize with my girl, but she definitely makes me work for it.

Solution: The Dervish’s reveille begins 20 minutes before I need her to get up, with Atticus in tow, since she won’t be crabby to him (yet).  I’m in and out of her room three times – initial wakeup (then I get dressed), 2nd wakeup (I prep her breakfast), final wakeup (I put one of her favorite shows on TV and she pounds wood). You’ll have to customize your routine to your Dervish, of course.

Challenge: Shuttling through the stations. By stations, I mean bathroom, breakfast, boutique, beauty salon, bon voyage.

Solution: Be cheerful, upbeat, and creative. Magic Garden-esque is most effective, but I suck at that, so I aim for not losing my cool (if I lose it, The Dervish cements herself to the moment) and showing more enthusiasm than I think appropriate for brushing teeth, but which seems to get The Dervish on board. Also, if your kid is old enough to choose, and you can accomodate, offer two choices (white socks or striped socks? banana or raspberries?)

Challenge: Physically getting out the door.  Common mistake: underestimating how much time this can take, even on a good day.

Solution: Have shoes and coats by the door in advance. Give yourself at least 15 minutes more than you think you’ll need (more on bad weather days) until you’ve tested your routine.  Load as much as you can into the car before venturing outside with the kiddos. Keep your cell phone in your pocket, hide house/car keys outside. You or your Dervish could lock you all out of house or car (or worse yet, put a locked door between you) in the mad rush to make an early meeting.

Some days will seem easy enough that you may wonder why other days were so tough. Other days, it will have to be enough to revel in the satisfaction of having accomplished more before 8am than some people do all day.

And for that, you should consider yourself successful.

Every child and every situation is different.  I’m pretty sure you can do everything I do and make these for your colleagues before heading out the door, so please share your challenges and solutions for our readers and we’ll all get to work on time, with fuse to spare.