The time is nigh when I will be going back to work. I’ve got a lot of ideas floating around my mind from my time away from the daily grind that I’d like to write about – okay, maybe just two: daytime TV and paid maternity leave. Oh, and something about the differences in my two kids as infants, so let’s say three. But for now, I’m going to focus on the practical reality of going back to work with two small kids: how to get out the door in the morning without feeling like a total slob.
I used to be a morning person. I don’t know exactly when that changed, but I do know it didn’t get any better over the last few years as a combination of a flexible work schedule, casual dress code, being pregnant and having a kid turned me, well, lazy. Also, I just want to sleep (is that the same thing as lazy?). And not just lazy in my approach to a morning routine (which is to say my lack of any approach), but lazy in how I present myself at work. It’s easy to get lost in everything else and forget about you, but for some reason, now that I’ve had what I think will be my last child, I’m ready to refocus and get back on track.
Rise and Shine
I don’t think there is any getting around having to wake up early once you have kids. (If there is, please let me know your secret, as long as it doesn’t involve a nanny or drugs – I can’t afford either.) To ease the embrace of the crack of dawn and to squeeze in a little exercise, I want to introduce a quick morning yoga sequence into my morning routine. Here’s one that caught my eye because it allegedly only takes five minutes – though I’m sure it will take slightly longer IRL. It’s basically: child’s pose – cat and cow pose – downward dog – standing forward bend – warrior 1 – warrior 3 – downward dog – child’s pose. Seems manageable, though I prefer more child’s pose and less downward dog…
Keep It Simple
And by “it,” I mean clothes. I have read a few articles over the last few months about the virtues of a work uniform.
For those of us who don’t have a job with an actual uniform, the idea is to create or update your work wardrobe in such a minimal way that getting dressed in the morning will take the least amount of thought, very little effort and virtually no time. I mean, if you live with a man, you might (like me) envy how quickly they can get dressed for work, look professional and have enough time to watch SportsCenter or make an elaborate breakfast or just get out the door before 9 a.m. As one article I read pointed out, this is largely due to men generally having a very easy professional attire – pants, button-down shirt, tie. So think about how you can build or rework your wardrobe to create the same kind of ease. One woman uses a “black pants/white blouse” uniform, while another chooses to dress in a uniform color (all black). Black bottom/light top is generally what I’ll be going for.
Put Your Best Face On
Finally, the face. Listen, I’m not really into the extreme makeup techniques like contouring, highlighting, or whatever new buzzword young women of YouTube are using, because although I’m sure my aesthetic appeal to the world would benefit from these techniques, I personally think heavy makeup is not only unattractive, but also takes an amount of time that I do not have. I prefer to think that I’m adopting the French style. Having read nearly every book on the topic, I can expertly say that you can embrace the confident, alluring style of French women by limiting your makeup use to mascara, lipstick and perhaps concealer. Now, I need a little more coverage than that, so I’d modify that basic roundup with a combo concealer/foundation product and throw in an eyelash curler.
And realistically, all that will disappear by the time I get to work, so I’d pack a travel bag with the basics (and a few other things) to keep it up: powder, contact rewetting drops so I’m not squinting constantly, chapstick and a lip pencil in a modest color, hand cream because my hands are always disgustingly dry and a sample tube of mascara just in case.
So there it is. Three things I’m going to try to incorporate into my morning routine to get out the door on time but slightly more polished and relaxed than before. What things do you do to save time but maintain your sense of self?