If you’ve ever tried to get yourself ready for an important day or special evening out while alone with your toddler, you know the sheer struggle of it. Getting your little one ready to head out the door is problematic enough – never mind getting YOU taken care of. Sure, the babysitter is on her way, or daycare is waiting just down the road. But in the meantime, it’s just the two of you.
You’ve probably even chosen to stay home from time to time, simply to avoid the strenuous effort that getting ready requires. It’s an art form, really, a delicate dance. But on those occasions when you have no choice, there is a method to the madness. (And if you’re a mama who does it every morning, we seriously respect the hell out of you.) These simple tips are laced with a healthy dose of realism that will surely help those who are new to the whole process.
1. SKIP THE LUXURIES
For starters, just forget about showering. Showering is a luxury granted to those who have another adult in the house to distract the kid while you bask in the glory of cleanliness. If you must shower, do it the night before when the little one is in bed. If you absolutely must shower the day of, you might as well strip kiddo down and bring him in there with you – but that could open up a whole other can of (soapy) worms.
2. LOAD UP ON EXTRA TIME
Give yourself an insane amount of extra time. If you normally spend seven minutes on make-up, leave 30 in order to factor in stopping frequently to pay attention to the tiny human. You might think you’re in the clear because you’ve surrounded her with every toy/book/remote control in the house and turned on her favourite shows, but she’ll likely find circling around your legs and trying to flush the toilet to be significantly more entertaining.
3. PREP YOURSELF
For the sake of your own sanity, prep in advance. Like, days in advance. Decide what you’ll do with your hair, choose your outfit and even make a plan for what you’ll eat if the getting ready overlaps mealtime. It sounds ludicrous, but seriously, every second counts. (Pro tip: always have granola bars stashed in your purse, for those times when you forget about food until you’re out the door.)
4. BE STRATEGIC
If the little one is playing in the living room, for example, don’t start getting ready in the upstairs bathroom. Bring your make-up/accessories/etc. to the mirror nearest the play area, and station yourself there. Approach the getting ready process with the idea that wherever you go, the kid will want to be nearby. If there is no possible way to get ready in a bathroom/at a mirror near the play area, consider moving into a new home that meets these needs.
5. ACCEPT PLAN B IN ADVANCE
Go into the process knowing that failure on some level is basically inevitable. You want to be feeling a bit defeated before you even start, so it’ll be less of a blow when things take a turn for the worst. For example, maybe you had high hopes of achieving soft, effortless curls that frame your face in utter perfection but thanks to rushing and lack of focus, you end up with one part ringlet, one part beach wave and one part limp and lifeless. If you’ve already come to terms with Hollywood hair being a distant dream, you’ll be more accepting of Plan B’s low bun.
6. HAVE MULTIPLE BACK-UP PLANS
This one goes hand-in-hand with accepting Plan B, because it’s all about not having your heart set on one specific final result. Didn’t have time to shave your legs? Have the pantyhose ready to go. Better yet, have a pants option that allows you to go full-on hairy legs with zero scrutiny plus eliminates the stress of sausage-ing yourself into the pantyhose. Multiple back-up outfits are also key when factoring in the potential kid-related disasters (think sticky fingers, puke, general gunk that kids always seem to find, etc.) that could occur between getting dressed and walking out the door.
7. DO WHAT YOU KNOW
Stick with the basics. This isn’t the time to test out an elaborate new hairstyle or experiment with the smoky eye look that you’ve always wanted to try. This is about pulling off what you KNOW that you’re capable of – which, as you can probably gather from the previous steps, is already difficult enough as it is.
8. DON’T FORGET ABOUT THE KID
You know those days when you’re heading out the door with your squeaky clean toddler, and her outfit is so perfectly coordinated and her diaper bag is so fully stocked that you just KNOW you’ll be nominated for mom of the year? That’s not what this is about. Prepare what is absolutely necessary, as early as possible (and no, three days prior is not TOO early) and you’ll be supermom in our books.
9. FACTOR IN LAST MINUTE DISASTERS
Just when you think your toddler has used up all his energy causing mayhem while you were getting yourself ready, and you finally feel that you’re set to leave the house, he’ll throw you a last minute curveball. We’re talking anything from explosive poopy diaper to full-blown meltdown. Said disaster could not, of course, wait until he arrives at daycare, because that would just be too easy.
10. AND IF ALL ELSE FAILS…
There’s always the alternative solution of straight-up abstinence. You just simply Don’t. Make. Plans. Either that, or abandon all of society’s expectations and proudly rock the lounge wear and “un-washed hair, don’t care” look. Hey, we’ve all been there.