A fast-lane routine for busy mammas

Right, if you're a mamma, you've probably read loads about baby routines, some books tell you why they need them and others why they hate them, but rest assured, this isn't yet another blog post describing the pros and cons of putting your shiny new baby into a routine: that one is a very personal choice you'll have to make on your own!

However, I do believe that every mamma needs a life routine! Simply put, if you don't want to wake up when your child is three and wonder where the gorgeous dewy, yummy (and happy!)young woman that you once were has departed to (a wine-filled children-free spa somewhere in the Bordelais if you ask me...), it's crucial that you put yourself through a routine.

For starters, maintenance (of the body and mind, in this case, but also of your home, couple etc.) is exactly what it says, something that requires effort and repetition, a bit like tricep curls, if you don't keep at it, here come the bingo wings! Not being one of those goddesses blessed with good looks or a skinny body, I have realised a long time ago that it is useless to do a blast gym afternoon once in a while or spend the week-end at the spa trying to get all my skin issues fixed, what works for me is a well-thought out plan, and I apply this to most areas of my life!

Step 1 - Select a winning team: Whether you are married, a single mum or a divorced parent doesn't really matter, you still need to select the best team possible to work with you to manage your life, both at home and elsewhere. For me there is just no other way to keep a family, a career, sanity, a love life, some semblance of a work-out schedule... but for it all to work, you can't be double-guessing everything your team does, you have to trust people, never an easy task for Type A mammas.

Step 2 - Multi-task and make the day last more than 24 hours: Yes, I know, what an obvious thing to say, not so easy to do! But hear me out. I'm not talking about making a phone call whilst watching TV and eating dinner, no... I'm talking about litterally creating hours within the day!

For instance, follow my super-efficient shower plan: apply moisturizing hair mask whilst dry brushing your body (5 min), shampoo hair (2 min), condition hair whilst shaving legs and leaving the steam lift up a skin purifying mask on your face (5 min). rinse out (3 min). You've just spent 15 minutes showering whilst doing all these grooming bits consecutively would have meant at least 30 minutes in the bathroom! And you've left time for your expensive products to actually work. It sounds like a joke I know but try it once, you'll see it is really a good way to optimise your time in the bathroom and will avoid skipping a step because you've run out of time.

Other grooming combos that work well for me: applying Bliss' Oxygen Instant Mask to try and revive my tired skin whilst brushing my teeth in the morning.... Seeing as I leave the house at 06:15 for work these 3 minutes saved are vital!

By laying out my clothes the night before, I save even more time in the morning, especially as I have a tendency to freeze in panic when I know I'm running late (the number of times I've looked at my closet, 30 minutes late, thinking I had nothing to wear!); I can still tweak or change my outfit totally, but it helps me go to bed relaxed at the idea that I've been as organised as possible for my upcoming day at work.

Step 3 - Schedule and list everything (well, almost)!
I find that if I schedule everything with plenty of time, I feel more in control and I tend to go through more in one week. Especially when it comes to those dreaded work-out sessions at 8pm, it's usually better to pre-book them and pay for them so there is no temptation to cancel them at the last minute! Making sure there are girlfriends catch-ups organised is also part of keeping it all balanced, and one thing I've been considering is whether to add a weekly date night now that Monsieur Baby is over 15 months... so far I've felt guilty leaving him in the evenings when I already see so little of him, but in all honesty he doesn't really benefit from our presence if he is sleeping, does he?

Standing appointments in my calendar include, amongst other things: my monthly hair revamp at Jo Hansford, a weekly Pilates class at home, a twice-weekly Xtend Barre class at Heartcore, a bi-weekly mani-pedi at The Nail Gallery, and at least a monthly girls only dinner.

Oh and my lists are legendary! I have shopping lists, gifts lists, holidays lists, lists of things I want to do, lists of people I would like to see more... it's hilarious really.

Step 4 - Know when to call in the professionals
Let's face it, it's useless to try and do your own manicure when you have a toddler squealing for your attention on a Saturday afternoon, you will never manage to get all 10 nails to dry perfectly before you have to pick them up or crawl on the floor to play with them. Instead, accept to be out of the house for a one hour mani - pedi appointment, from which you'll come back perfectly groomed and relaxed! Same goes for waxing, facials, etc...

On a less glamourous topic, there is no point fighting with your partner about whose turn it is to clean the bathroom, instead hire a cleaner or a housekeeper, you'll help the economy whilst focusing your free time on things you really enjoy...

Step 5 - Find a routine that works for you, and try not to listen to critics too much!
My workday routine looks roughtly like this:
05:45 - Alarm starts buzzing, I try to refrain from pressing the snooze button
05:45 to 06:15 - Getting ready for work, brush teeth, try to make the best of last night's blow dry
06:15 - I hear Hubby Dearest bring Monsieur Baby into our bed, I rush out of my bathroom to kiss them both goodbye
06:45 - Arrive at work having checked emails at red lights on the way, log on to Outlook and Bloomberg
07:15 - Pick up breakfast from the cantine, usually a venti hot water with lemon, a venti black coffee and a skinny muffin... Read emails and news
07:45 - Morning meeting to kick-start a day full of conference calls, meetings and document reviews
12:30 - One of my most adorable (and dedicated!) colleagues drops a salad on my desk, it's time to look at the new arrivals on my favourite shopping websites!
13:00 - Conference calls, documents, here we go again...
18:45 - Leave office, rush through traffic to make Monsieur Baby's bedtime
19:30 - Monsieur Baby's bath and bedtime, aka my absolute favourite time of the day
20:00 - My munchkin is asleep in his cotbed, time to check on emails again, call a couple of colleagues and clients, before my Pilates instructor arrives for our weekly session
21:00 - Dinner whilst blogging or watching TV with Hubby Dearest
22:30 - Shower, apply anti-flab cream, blowdry, prepare next day's outfit
23:30 - Bedtime, read a chapter of a book on Kindle, and fall asleep by midnight... zzz

Looking at the above it seems as if I'm spending only the tiniest amount of time with my son, and that's true, however come the week-end this routine is totally reversed and both Hubby Dearest and I litterally arrange all of our lives around our little tiger, trying to make up for lost time.

So, like Sarah Jessica Parker's character in I Don't Know How She Does It, it's a juggling act most times, but with a strict routine and organisation it feels like I am, most times, in control... and that I'm doing my best. And isn't that the most important thing?


madeco said...

You're right : list IS the solution ! It sounds very familiar to me. I am a mother of two, I work hard and travel for my job... but I have time to swim and to sew (my hobby) .... Thank you for your post !

Dee Raz said...

Thanks for this post :-) Some great tips on how to stay sane and organized. Even though I just have a live-in boyfriend, I still feel a bit crazed with everything I have going on. For your famous lists, do you hand write them in a paper planner/schedule or do them all on your phone? Any apps you can recommend for the busy and fashionable gal? Happy Friday!

LittleS said...

Ladies, my pleasure! Dee Raz, I have to confess I like classic stationary and love nothing more than writing on my Hermes notebooks and agenda... it feels nice to write them. Especially as my blackberries always seem to be losing personal appointments! xx

Jordan said...

Enjoyed this post, and its also applicable to us not yet mommies. I am a creature of a strict routine as well and am also a firm believe in lists. It really does keep an otherwise hectic life in order =)

LittleS said...

@Jordan, you're right, women need a routine regardless of whether they have little ones. Otherwise days just slip by, right?