Simple Secrets for Getting Out of the Door on Time With 3 Kids in Tow

My family and friends will tell you that I am not a morning person. When I used to work outside of the home I would snuggle in bed through two, three or even four snooze settings on the alarm clock before jumping out of bed at the last possible moment and dashing to the shower before scrambling out of the door in a rush to be on time. Obviously this was in the days before our small person woke me on the wrong side of a 7 and I can’t even imagine how I would get to work on time with that small person in tow?!? I have the greatest respect for mothers who achieve this everyday. And so in the interest of continuing this month’s theme of Simple Solutions, I asked fellow blogger, Bron of Maxabella Loves, who is herself the working mother of three small people, to share her secrets for getting everyone out of the house with as little fuss and bother as possible each morning.

Bron writes…

Am I busy? I’m told that I’m busy all the time. I work four days a week in a corporate job in the city. I have three children (2 1/2, 5 and 6) with the older two at school and my youngest at daycare 2 days a week and with her grandparents (Nonno and Nonna) 2 days a week. I also volunteer at both the school and the daycare.

But I don’t feel especially busy.

My secret is that while I’m a ‘working mum’, my husband (LOML) is also a ‘working dad’. So together we get the job done. Added to that, I’m an organiser. My whole life I’ve loved to organise things so being a working mother is just the perfect job for me.

The only time of day that I would say is truly busy are the mornings. All five of us are out the door four days a week by 7.45am. Here’s the thing: LOML gets up at 6.15am but I haaaaate getting up in the mornings and simply cannot get out of bed before 7am. So how do we do it?

Well, the children have always been up and out early, so it’s ingrained in them that this is just what we do. They don’t always co-operate (!) but they don’t fight too hard because dragging their feet has simply never been an option. Most mornings they wake up at around 7. My 5 year old is prone to a sleep-in and often needs to be woken.  This can be tricky!

We get everything ready the night before. We pack the school lunches, we lay out the ironed clothes and shined shoes and matching socks, we pack the school bags with library bags or notes or homework or readers. I ask the children before bed if there is anything special they need for school in the morning, or anything that needs attention. I get my own outfit ready. Everything that’s leaving the house with us in the morning is kept on one couch in our family room ready for action in the morning.

We have a ‘breakfast station’ in the cupboard above the toaster. Cereals, breads and spreads that don’t need refrigeration are all kept here. It makes morning breakfast preparation much simpler. We save elaborate breakfasts for the weekends and I generally eat mine after I get to the office. I have cut up fruit on the train and muesli when I arrive.

We work in tandem. Generally I’ll get the children ready while LOML makes the breakfast and packs the lunches. We get the children totally ready and then we attend to ourselves. I can go from pyjamas to voilà in about 5 minutes. I don’t look immaculate, but I like to think I look cared for and that’s good enough for me.

We wash the breakfast dishes, wipe down counters and take out the rubbish, but we don’t make the beds or tidy up after the children. I only ever tidy up once at the end of the day anyway and beds need airing when there is no one around to see them!

That’s the ‘organisation’ part. But where’s the fun start to the day?

We sing. We’ve got lots of silly songs about getting dressed, eating breakfast, brushing our teeth. Most are songs we made up. One morning a while ago I accidentally stepped on a wet nappy that my toddler had left on the floor (thank you toddler!). The ‘I stepped on a nappy’ song was born (to the tune of “I started a joke” by the Bee Gees): Iiiii stepped on a nappy, it made me happy, that stinky old nappy.  Really silly stuff, but it’s a way to make an awkward time of day a fun and happy time for the children. That nappy song is never going away.

When the kids were smaller we used to ‘theme’ the mornings. So one morning we might pretend to be astronauts getting ready to head out in our space ship. Or pirates going out to our ship. Or fairies getting into our fairy mobile. Whatever the theme, the journey was always lots of fun. We still do it from time to time, but it’s not as essential anymore to keep things moving.

All in all, we get there most days without too much fuss or bother and hopefully a little bit of family fun as well. About once a week we even have enough time for a quick story before leaving!

Oh, one more thing, it took me a while to get into the habit of asking everyone if they had been to the toilet before we’re due to leave. I learned that lesson the hard way!

Read more of Bron’s adventures in parenting and in life on her fabulous blog, Maxabella Loves.

What are your secrets for getting through your family morning routine with as little fuss and bother as possible?

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  1. great post! and very important for me to read as my theme for 2011 is organisation!

    I am definitely finding that preparing the night before is THE key…My little guys are both under school age so if I have a slow start one morning it does not really matter, but next year M1 will start kindy and I will probably be back at work so things will change…

    I used to despise organisation but now I see it is vital – why make things more difficult when you can actually make them a whole lot easier!

    I am loving the new childhood101 site, it is AWESOME

    Gill xo

    1. Thank you for your comment, Gill, so glad you like the new Childhood 101 🙂

  2. Yes, I am learning the art of organisation – it is my theme for 2011..

    I used to enjoy winging it but now I am really finding that organisation is vital not just in terms of getting things done but in how you feel within yourself. It is always better to feel sorted and on top of things than stressed and anxious about life!

    I love the way you and your “LOML” team up in the mornings

    Gill xo

  3. I love the idea of having theme mornings – as pirates getting into our pirate ship etc. I have 3 little boys – 2 at school and I work 2 days a week so the youngest is at daycare on these days, so I think they would really love doing that. We also do most of the organising the night before and we are generally out the door on time but this idea could definitely help make this time more cheerful and less stressful! Thanks so much for sharing your ideas!

  4. MultipleMum says:

    Aah. The morning routine. Ours goes okay too but we use some simple charts to keep the older one on target so that I don’t have to nag, nag, nag. I also find that a bit of music helps to ‘happy up’ the day. My hat goes off to you getting three kids fed, toileted, packed, in the car and dressed in 45 mins though. That has to be a record!

  5. I’m not a morning person either, but I find my day starts a bit cheerier by bringing the two-year-old into bed for a big snuggle (he’s always the first to wake up). Then it’s a bit of a rush to get going (and the four-year-old really doesn’t respond well to rushing). I’m going to try singing – can’t believe I hadn’t thought of that before – brilliant!

    Bron, I don’t know how you manage 3 kids, an almost full time job, a great blog, and all while looking ‘cared for’. Supermum!

  6. Love it Bron – i can just imagine you singing the wet nappy song!! it’s a classic! With a few early morning starts at our house now, I’m onto the organisation band-wagon too! Only to come home with one child and bake or clean or play – but when i work nights, this is when i think i’ll use some of your tips and strategies!!

  7. Wow Maxabella! You are one organised super mamma. And sounds like you and LOML are a great team x

  8. *bowing* super impressed, Maxabella!
    Taking a few mental notes here… Love the theme idea!

  9. Wow, Bron … that is amazing. You are amazing and work as a great team. My husband commutes 1.5 hours away so it’s just me in the morning. Might need to try some themeing!

  10. Ah, the all important toilet check. Loved your run-down, Bron. Singing makes everything cheerier. I’m going to try it 🙂 Thanks.

  11. I♥You.


    I just got lovely husband to read this.

    He thinks I am a OCD queen for needing to be this organised.

    Now he sees that this is what I do because it works.

  12. Anj (@anjwrites) says:

    I will say – you are the level to which I aspire! And considering I just took a full time job in the city, I will (rather quickly) get to put to practice many of the suggestions you’ve put here. Time to tune my singing voice, I guess…la la la la la la laaaaa! 😉

  13. what a lovely post and some great tips 🙂
    I struggled with this at the beginning but it’s getting better everyday ( mine are 4 and 1) now. I love the theme morning tip. It sounds great fun 🙂

  14. Thanks for having me, Christie! I’ve been inspired to do another post on my ‘theming’ mornings with a few more hints. x

  15. I’m impressed you manage wash the breakfast dishes and put out the garbage!

    Some great ideas there. I’ve tried the whole laying things out and making lunches the night before, but seem to fall back to my unorgasnised ‘deal with it in the morning’ style within a few days.

    I also work 4 days, but as i’m not a very organised person life was too chaotic. So now although I still work 4 days, I only do the hours of three. So it means I can turn up at the office at 9.30 without getting into trouble.

    You’ve inspired me to try and be a bot more organised. Thanks 🙂

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