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A Working Mom’s Guide to Never Being Late For Work Again

I hate shopping for clothes!

That statement almost seems sacrilegious now, compared to how I was in my late twenties, when I had an expendable income and lived by myself downtown in a big city. I remember waking up every morning and enjoying getting ready for work. The time and attention I took to curling every single strand of hair in order to achieve that bombshell, big-hair look. The thrill of trying a new shade of lipstick or eyeshadow. The utter joy of opening my extra-large closet that was all mine and trying on as many outfits as I could because it made me feel like I was in a runway show.  

Now in my thirties with a child, husband, and living in the suburbs, things have changed. Now that three people have divided my time in the morning…you can guess the order that takes precedence. After getting my daughter ready, making sure my husband has breakfast and the things he needs before he walks out the door, finally it’s my time to rush through my hair, makeup, and closet so I can make it to the office just barely on time.

My daughter is four now and along the way I have found that some preparation has taken my morning routine from two hours to one. It is not perfect and I am still trying to do what I can to save five minutes here or there, but I can proudly say I am never late for work now, unless there’s an accident on the Tollway. Here are my tips for those who want to dress with less stress, AND make it to work on time:

Go basic.

In my twenties, I experimented a lot with fashion with big bold colors, trendy tops, and crazy prints. All those pieces have made their way to the back of my closet, a.k.a, the graveyard. Other than a few statement dresses and tops, my work clothes primarily consists of black, gray, and navy. This accomplishes two things: 1. Most of my shoes will match with the majority of my outfits, and 2. If I need to change last minute due to accidents beyond my control (i.e., toddler tantrums or messy breakfasts), it will be fairly easy to find another matching top or skirt.

Lay out your work clothes, gym gear, underwear, & accessories the night before.

I don’t live downtown anymore, so there is no runway, plus this reduces the stress of having to rush through my closet, pull everything out, and make a mess that I would have to clean up later. I like going to the gym after work, so the night before, I pack my gym clothes in my gym bag along with an extra set of casual clothes. In the morning, I just grab it and go.

Embrace your go-tos.

What I mean by go-tos are the pieces that you love to wear, are quick to put on, and require very little maintenance. For me, my go-tos are wrap dresses. I have quite a few of them because they work for any season, are easy to put on, and work for my mom bod, especially on days when I feel bloated. I recommend having at least 3-5 sets of go-tos that you can rotate.

Rethink your computer bag.

I love heels and I love the way my legs look in them, but if I’m running to catch the train or into the office, I do not want to be wearing 6-inch stilettos. Yes, I’ve done that many times and one time I broke a heel. Because I have a large computer bag, I use one compartment to store a set of flats or the heels themselves for when I switch shoes. If you want to splurge, I recommend Tieks because they are foldable and easy to store in your purse. 

Pull a Chrissy Teigen & say hello to the mom bun.

To me, the high bun is just a fancy version of the mom bun, and while Chrissy Teigen perfected it pre-baby Luna, she’s seen wearing it a lot more now she Luna is here. The bun is quick and easy to do when I’m in a rush and works with any outfit; pair it with some statement drop earrings to really stand out.  

I’m sure as my daughter gets older and the more senior I get in my career, this will all change! But for now, I can get up, get everyone ready, and be out the door in an hour, or 45 minutes if I really rush through my hair. This does take some getting used to because it requires a lot of planning and preparation, but try it for at least 21 days and I bet it will become habit!

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