Getting out of the house in the morning

Getting yourself and your child (or children) out of the door each day can seem laughably ambitious, but it's just about doable with a bit of preparation - here's how

working mother nursery child

Bags and baggage 

Each evening, think about the stuff you'll need for the following day. All bags (including your handbag) should be pre-packed.

Check the weather forecast to make sure the clothes you've chosen are weather-appropriate.

Any packed lunches or other foodstuffs should be prepared the night before. 

Make sure you have a stash of spare baby stuff at the nursery or childminder's: cups, spare clothes and nappies.

Getting yourself ready

Get yourself ready before your baby or toddler is awake if possible (but not if this would actually mean the middle of the night).

"Put your dressing gown on over work clothes until baby has eaten," advises one Mumsnetter. Or a large shirt.

"You could shower and blow-dry hair the night before. I reckon this saves me 20 minutes in the morning and I don't smell too badly."

"If you need to restyle somewhat, a quick spray of dry shampoo can help. I also keep in my office for when I' m REALLY late: spare make-up bag; face wipes; deodorant and perfume; styling brush; mirror."

Having breakfast

If you have to accommodate a long and leisurely morning breastfeed before anything else really happens, you'll have to get up that bit earlier.

"If you need to get up at 5.30am for the next year, then just do it. You WILL cope, but just make sure you adjust your and baby's bedtime so that you still get enough sleep."

A bigger baby or toddler may be able to breakfast in the car or, at a pinch, on the bus. Or can your child have breakfast at nursery or at the childminder's? Can you have breakfast at work or on the way to work?

Some mothers recommend a plastic booster highchair, which you can stick on a wipeable mat near you, so that your baby/toddler can be self-feeding while you run around like a headless chicken dressing and grooming yourself.

Sharing the load

Divide the getting-ready-to-go-out tasks between the available adults:

"When I worked, I would get up at 6am and have my shower and get ready and my husband would get up for our son. If the baby woke later than 6am then that would be a bit of a lie-in for my husband. He would give our son his breakfast and/or bottle. Then when I was ready, I would come down and take over getting our son dressed etc while my husband got showered and dressed."

Getting your baby ready

If really desperate, dress baby the night before. Put a T-shirt and bib over your baby while breakfasting, and then remove once you reach the childminder or nursery: "Ta-dah, clean baby."

"Buy your child a selection of long-sleeved bodies, which are quite T-shirty rather than vest in style, and tracksuit bottoms. Put them in the body the night before, then the next morning all you need to do is change their nappy and yank up some trackies. Takes seconds. You can chuck a zip-up fleece over the top when it's chilly or swap for short sleeves in high summer."

Sleep management

To make sure you get "enough" sleep to stay sane:

"One night a week go to bed at the same time as your child. Sounds utterly ridiculous I know. But my god it works, in terms of avoiding burn-out. Take a book/newspaper if it's too early for you to sleep. I read this on Mumsnet, thought it was rubbish but actually it is a great piece of advice.

"If you work in an office, schedule in when you leave the office and be completely rigid about it, if necessary cutting off colleagues mid-sentence. Otherwise you will find yourself zooming out in a panic 15 minutes or half an hour late, and then it all goes tits up at home. Make sure everyone knows your hours and don't get in the habit of doing work on your days off, it's a slippery slope."

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