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There is probably no greater form of camaraderie than the sisterhood of the working mothers. Forget the mommy wars: When it comes to getting yourself and your smaller, slower, messier versions of yourself out the door each day, these women know, by necessity.

Sure, it’s easy to look at those perfectly put-together women, strolling into work with their clean shirts and matching shoes, and wonder with jealousy how they manage such a feat with little ones at home. But we promise something is being sacrificed, and it’s probably sleep. Working moms know this to be true of each other, but from a distance, it’s easy to dismiss this as the result of having a nanny.

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Let them think what they like. We know as well as you do, returning to work after having a baby is no simple task. It’s like running a marathon every single morning. You would think it would get easier with practice as the kids get older, but the less you can control them, well, the less you can control them. And even though your kids will wake up at the crack of dawn on weekends, getting them up in time to catch the bus is about as easy as brushing a cat’s teeth.

 

There are some things you can do to make your mornings a bit easier, though, but don’t take it from us, take it from some of our favourite, hard-working mamas. We interviewed six kick-ass working mothers—with a total of 11 kids combined—to find out how they make their mornings work. Lo and behold, busy working moms are, for the most part, just like the rest of us: struggling to find balance—but they do have some pretty fantastic tips to help you make the most of a less-than-perfect situation.

So, the next time you show up to work with slippers on your feet because you were too busy making sure your kid was actually wearing pants, think of your fellow moms and remind yourself that tomorrow is another day. And you’ve got this.

By respecting bedtime

Name: Melissa Grelo

Where she works: co-host CTV’s The Social, and mom of one

Mommy musing: “What’s my secret to a smooth morning? A smooth bedtime. A smooth bedtime means I can read the last headlines of the night, which usually turn in to the first headlines of the next morning. A smooth bedtime means my daughter is still sleeping when I leave for work in the morning. A smooth bedtime means Marquesa usually wakes up at the same, predictable time each day, thereby making everyone’s life easier!”

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By keeping your priorities in check

Name: Hannah Sung

Where she works: video journalist at The Globe and Mail, and mom of two

Mommy musing:”The celebrity stuff where a mom says they like to get up early and meditate before the kids get up? WHATEVER! I like to sleep as long as possible. My main thing is that I make sure I tidy up everything before bed because one thing I can’t handle is mess in the morning. Coffee gets me started. And honestly, even when the pantsless wonders are running around in various states of undress, if they stop to give me a hug or say something funny, that’s what makes my morning. But I’m always late. Some mornings, I sneak out before the kids are up, and it helps me get more work done in the morning, but that’s no fun. I want to see my kids and their granola-faces every morning.”

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The Globe and Mail

By taking the time

Name: Ceri Marsh

Where she works: author, co-founder The Sweet Potato Chronicles, mom of two

Mommy musing: “I find that it’s really important to just have enough time. I feel like, with young kids particularly, the more we rush, the slower it’s going to be. It will go as slowly as you want it to go fast! So, we really find it makes a huge difference to just have enough time. At least an hour, or it’s a disaster. And I like to get up before everybody. I like to start coffee, have a glass of water and have a minute to myself before the mayhem starts.”

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By getting as much as possible done the night before

Name: Arisa Cox

Where she works: host of Big Brother Canada, mom of two

Mommy musing: “The best tip I ever put into practice was trying to get as much as possible done the night before as possible. I’m a night owl, so getting annoying tasks out of the way when everyone else is sleeping helps keep me sane! I’m talking emptying the dishwasher, finishing lunches for my kids and husband, getting school bags ready, putting out clothes for the next day, laundry, all that jazz. It doesn’t always happen, but the more I get done before the morning means more time to talk and chill with my man and kids in the morning, so I’m not ALWAYS a crazy drill sergeant—which no mum loves being!”

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By embracing the chaos

Name: Amy Morrison

Where she works: founder of Pregnant Chicken, mom of two

Mommy musing: “My kids are a bit older now (seven and nine), so I find mornings much easier. I give them warning shout-outs like, “Guys, you should probably get dressed now,” or “Get your bag packed while I make your lunch.” I also always leave a time buffer—if we are supposed to be out the door by 8:30, I shoot for 8:15, so when we are inevitably late, we are still out the door on time. That said, I have no secret. Most mornings are a goat rodeo, with me threatening to take the boys to school in whatever state of dress they are currently in – come to think of it, that works well.”

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By knowing you absolutely can’t do everything before you leave the house

Name: Sarah Richardson

Where she works: owner of Sarah Richardson Design, TV personality, mom of two

Mommy musing: “It’s no secret that I have a pretty standard ‘design uniform’ of nice jeans, a jacket and heels. Knowing what suits your body type and fits your workplace will get you to work on time and looking like the professional you are every day. I can do my makeup in five minutes (and have been known to colour my own hair frequently since I can’t find the time to sit in a chair for two hours straight), but the reality is that mornings will be a bit nutty (okay, sometimes a lot nutty), and you’ll have to get up early to get yourself ready (and everybody else ready). But, you CAN do it, and keeping some extra cosmetic supplies at work can be a lifesaver (I’m awesome at painting my nails while reading long e-mails or making phone calls). If you love leisurely mornings, I’m afraid those will be gone.”

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