How I Transformed My Mornings
Seven busy women explain how they reclaimed their a.m. hours and―yes―their sanity.
Christine Bolzan, 40Boxford, Massachusetts
Married to Tony, 39; mother of Caitlin, 7; Fiona, 5 (on bed); AnnaSophia, 2 (standing)
None of Christine Bolzan’s three daughters are morning people. “I rouse them by 7:15 a.m., but they’re rarely out of bed before 7:30,” says Christine. Since the girls have about an hour to get ready for school, Christine needs to keep the morning streamlined. (She’s the founder of a career-coaching firm, and her husband, Tony, is an attorney who works out of town during the week.) By doing as much as possible to get the girls ready the night before, “I try to troubleshoot even the tiniest delays,” she says.
Every Sunday, after checking an online weekly weather forecast and a list of school activities she has posted in the older girls’ closets, Christine helps Caitlin and Fiona choose an outfit for each weekday; Christine makes the selection for AnnaSophia. The girls place each ensemble, plus anything else they might need, such as gym pants or a Girl Scout uniform, on a shelf of a hanging sweater organizer, which is labeled with the days of the week. Christine says the organizers have prevented arguments―no more “If she’s wearing a dress, I want to wear one, too!”―and let the girls “get ready without my being right there.”
Most of the prep work, however, happens at night, after bedtime. “Somewhere between 10:30 p.m. and Jon Stewart’s opening remarks,” Christine empties the dishwasher, sets the table for breakfast, lines up the lunch boxes, packs napkins and drinks, and writes a “joke of the day” for the girls on sticky notes, something Christine’s mother did for her when she was a girl.
Christine checks the girls’ backpacks to make sure homework folders are there. Then she lines up jackets and shoes, leaving nothing to chance. She even unties and loosens the shoelaces on their sneakers: “One stubborn double knot can throw a wrench into the works.”
Before heading to bed, she tends to her own next-day needs, such as choosing a suit, filling her briefcase, printing addresses to plug into her GPS, and packing her gym bag. Tiring? Absolutely. But Christine contends that doing so much the evening before ensures a drama-free morning. “I would hate for my parting words to my girls each day to be ‘Go, go! Hurry!’”