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Morning Routine of a Working Mom With a Toddler

The Morning Routine of a Working Mom With a Toddler — From Alarm Clock to Commute

Laura Meyers and her husband live just north of San Francisco with their 18-month-old son. Both parents work full-time, and their toddler attends a day care. Here's the play-by-play of one recent morning detailing how they juggle all the tasks that need doing, with love, laughter, and a little bit of the inevitable panic about possibly missing the commuter bus.

My Morning Juggle

Hear toddler wake up and talk to himself in the crib. Grab phone, check the time, and skim the morning news via push notifications. Turn off the iPhone alarm, which has been laughably unnecessary since having a baby.
Mentally calculate the number of hours I slept and the amount of coffee I'll drink to compensate.
Decide it's definitely a Venti day.
Get up, wash my face, and brush my teeth as my husband heads into toddler's room to tackle the morning diaper duty. It's a particularly not-fun task because our son morphs into an insane person the second you start changing his diaper. Every. Time.
Listen as toddler inevitably screams through change number one, and admire my husband's patience. Put hair up into a bun and throw on a very (not) glamorous shower cap. Congratulate self on doing hair on Sunday, and feel momentarily grateful for curly hair that doesn't need to be done each day. No time for that.
Slip into the shower for five glorious minutes.
Put on the clothes I laid out the night before (every minute counts!) while my husband gets breakfast started. Laugh at all the cheers and laughter coming out of the kitchen. Toddler is at his VERY best while eating. #Relatable
Jump into the everyday makeup routine: concealer for the ever-darkening under eye circles, mascara, blush, a touch of bronzer to make me look alive, plus some lip balm. Finish with a spritz of setting spray, which helps me look *almost* as put-together at 3 p.m. as I do first thing in the morning. (One time, I misted hair spray all over my face instead of makeup-setting spray because I was a sleep-deprived mess. Hot tip: don't do that.)
Grab my work bag, which I packed the night before, and head into the kitchen to take over the breakfast shift. Give my little guy a kiss. Crack up as he sorts his Cheerios, intently focused on moving them from one side of his tray to the other and back again. And again, and again.
Glance at my email as toddler sings through his final few bites. Reply to a pressing email, then toss my phone in my bag and pull son's packed lunchbox out of the fridge. Make sure all the food is labeled, throw in a small ice pack, then line all our bags up in the hallway.
Attempt and fail to stay calm as son yells and fake cries because no matter how much he's eaten, he always wants more. A human garbage disposal, that kid. Lead him out of the kitchen by promising to read a book, then marvel as he somehow instantly stops whining the second he's in another room.
"MA-MAAA! MA-MAAA!" Toddler really wants me to see the block tower he's built, and he beams when I say, "Good job, bud!" Melt over his proud little smile, and the way he scrunches up his nose for a fake laugh.
Check the time again as husband returns, showered and ready to go. Rattle off all the last-minute reminders and questions we have for each other, a verbal volley. "Any events tonight?" "Did you pack another sippy cup?" "Is that check in your bag?" "Wait, isn't it garbage day?"
Realize nobody took the garbage out yet. Hang with toddler as husband does a mad dash from room to room emptying the trash cans.
Check the time again. Panic.
"Are you almost done?" Try not to sound as alarmed as you feel. Fail.
See husband coming up the stairs and, more or less, toss toddler into his arms. Lean in to give them both kisses and say goodbye.
Put insanely heavy work bag over shoulder, grab keys, and jump into the car. Wave to kiddo, whose face is peeking out of the upstairs window.
Arrive at the bus stop in the nick of time! Pull headphones out of pocket, turn on favorite podcast, and feel very, very grateful that it's not my turn for the daycare dropoff, which we alternate handling throughout the week based on our schedules.
Bus arrives. Sit and settle in for the 45-minute commute. Open the daycare app to make notes for toddler's teachers: the time of his last diaper, what he ate for breakfast, plus a quick reminder that Grandma will pick him up early today.
Dive into email, shifting into work mode and scanning the morning news. Open calendar to check the day's meeting schedule, and get super excited for one in particular.
Recognize how lucky I am to love my job, because even though the moving parts of our family life can feel impossible some days, and even though some mornings involve tears from more than one of us, the whole routine works for us. Especially when we dole out an extra serving (or two) of Cheerios, because who knew sorting cereal would be so entertaining?
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