Getting to work on time and without vegemite fingerprints on your clothes or Weet-Bix encrusted in your hair is no mean feat when you’re a mum.
I returned to work when my eldest was just under 10 months old, so I know how real the struggle can be. Gone are the days where you can take your time getting ready for work. There are no more uninterrupted cups of coffee while you watch the morning news. There’s no more leaving your outfit choice to the last minute, nor taking your time on your hair and makeup.
Little people are demanding your attention now and you need to kick those superior organisational skills you were employed for into high gear as soon as you roll out of bed. The last thing you want is to rock up to work wearing one earring and two different shoes.
Here’s how to get out the door on time and looking fine when you’re a working mum. (Keep an eye out for some bonus advice from some of my working mum friends).
The early bird catches the worm
Now is the time to become a morning person. I shower, do my hair and makeup, and get dressed before the kids wake. I know this can be tricky if you have a baby and if the kids have a habit of waking at 5am every day. Once they’re awake though, you’re inundated with requests, pleas and demands and you’ll be chasing your tail attempting to give them the attention they want while getting yourself dressed. Getting ready before they wake will make you feel more organised, focused and calmer in the mornings.
Make like a movie star
If you’ve succeeded in getting dressed and ready for work before the kids wake, high five to you. The big challenge now is keeping your clothes clean and free of breakfast fingerprints. My tried and true method is wearing a dressing gown over my work clothes. Make sure you get a light and breezy one for the summer months.
Nothing drives me to distraction more than seeing my husband sit on the couch with a cup of coffee and toast, while I’m running around like a madwoman trying to get everyone ready. In the words of Dora, ‘Teamwork, teamwork, everybody teamwork’. When the kids are older you can get them to help too.
I have this affliction where I can’t go out in public with crumpled clothes. I spend plenty of time on the weekend ironing my husband’s and kids’ clothes. I don’t want to add more work to what I’m already doing. When I’m buying work clothes I seek out items that don’t require ironing. All you need to do is wash them, hang them out to dry and then pop them away when you’re done. Winning.
Pre-plan your outfit
Either lay out your outfit the night before or have it clear in your mind what you will wear the next day. There’s no time for early morning fashion parades or last minute choices. Choosing your outfit the night before will take the pressure off. Make sure it’s ironed – if needed – and good to go.
10 minute makeup
Have all of your makeup essentials easily accessible. The last thing you want is to be rummaging through your makeup drawer looking for your mascara at the last minute. My work makeup look is fairly simple. Moisturiser, foundation, powder, blush, eyeliner, mascara, eye shadow – if I’m feeling fancy – and lippie. I change my look up with different lipsticks, but mainly keep the same look every day.
I pack the kids’ lunch and bags the night before and have school uniforms, socks and shoes at the ready. Miss Four is going through a phase where she likes to choose her own clothes which can take up to 15 minutes – precious time in the morning. Choosing her outfit with her in the evening takes away unnecessary morning stress.
Keep control of your keys
These little beggars have a habit of going missing when you need them. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve screamed for the neighbourhood to hear me, ‘Does anyone know where mummy’s keys are? I’ve lost my keys! Christ, we’re going to be late now. For the love of God where are my bleeding keys?’ Cue tears, sweat, and general craziness.
Things bound to get a little cray
The most important advice I can impart, however, is that you need to accept that things will get off track every now and then. Take a few deep breaths and power on. You don’t want to be worked up before work or school / daycare drop off. It’s not good for anyone and starts the day on a bad foot.
If you’re looking for more corporate mum advice or style tips, join the conversation on Instagram #corporatemumstyle
Linking up today with Kylie Purtell for IBOT.