Winning in the morning: hacks from a single working mama
Nailing a morning routine - it’s one of parenthood's Holy Grails, right up there with your child sleeping through the night. It’s a feat that many two-parent households struggle with, so imagine the challenges for those going it alone. Olivia Wix works full-time and is also mum to two-year old Jasper. Here, she reveals her morning routine hacks in the hope of inspiring not just other single mums, but all parents. Because we all need a little help.
One of a single mum’s biggest secrets is that we’re jealous of all you two-parent households. Not jealous of the fun that comes with being in a relationship, but of the fact that there’s someone there to help you, to vent to, and to bring you coffee in bed. Here are some of the things that help me keep my head above water, and get me to work on time.
My morning routine starts… the night before
Don’t roll your eyes. Structure is essential to our basic survival. My routine starts about 5pm the day before. I’ve recently clocked one of my biggest mum hacks, so allow me to skite. Washing. I tried so many things. But, here’s the secret: pop a load on in the morning and set it on a timer so it finishes just before you get home. As we rush through the door come 5 o'clock, it’s done! Into the dryer it goes and it’s finished by the time Jasper is down for the night.
Of all the awful things you’re told about parenting when you’re pregnant, I'm always surprised lunchboxes don’t feature. I have no lunchbox tips, sorry. But I have learnt that writing his name on yoghurt pottles when I get home from the supermarket and chucking them in a big plastic crate in the fridge makes it easier come morning.
Once Jasper’s asleep I pack our bags and lay out our clothes. The other thing I try to do is breakfast invitations. I stumbled across them on the Instagram accounts @dayswithgrey and @busytoddler about a year ago. Essentially, you lay out an activity for your child to do when they wake up. It gives me five precious minutes to sip my coffee, slap on some makeup or sort breakfast.
Survival of the fittest
Please don’t let all this make you think I’ve got it together. There’s a reason my evenings are organised – it’s because I’m a terrible morning person. I vow to be up at sunrise, but the reality is I get up at the same time as Jasper. And, I'm usually knackered because at some point in the night he’s decided to join me in my bed. He doesn’t just sneak in though, there’s always some form of grand entrance like throwing a train at me, smothering me in soft toys, or the time he came in asking for eggs and I rolled over, heard a crack, felt a wet patch and realised he’d actually taken eggs out of the fridge and put them in my bed. #blessed.
Recently he’s become helpful, independent, and trainable. (Okay, yes, I bribe him.) Jasper feeds our dog (albeit terribly and messily), makes his bed (sort-of) and puts his gumboots and backpack on in return for what he calls his ‘gummy lolly’, aka a vitamin.
Mum hack two: Meal prep. On Sundays I batch-cook enough porridge for a few days. I also stuff lazy smoothie fixings in snaplock bags in the freezer. Pop in the blender, add milk, and ta-da... breakfast. They’re a lifesaver, especially on mornings I’ve forgotten to set alarms because Jasper can drink them in the car. Just be careful what you put the smoothie in, and what’s next to the car seat. Let’s just say my Michael Kors handbag never recovered.
I work Monday to Friday, so the weekends are our refuge. We make coffee, get a bottle of milk and then climb back into bed and watch Paw Patrol. It’s calm, relaxing and the perfect start to our weekend.
People say I'm a fun mum, and that’s the biggest compliment. The mum I always dreamed I’d be went out the window the day I separated from Jasper’s dad. I constantly flipped between trying to be perfect and admitting defeat because it was too hard. Now I realise I'm in the middle and that’s fine. We are silly and have fun every single day. Chaos creates hilarious memories, right?!
Olivia Wix is a single mum of one who works in public relations, and in her (little) spare time is attempting to renovate her rundown 1970s home without blowing the almost non-existent budget.