Helpful Tips for a Stay at Home Mom Routine
When I dreamed about what it would be like to be a stay-at-home mom, I had this picture in my head that looks nothing like my current reality.
I thought being a stay-at-home mom would mean that I could run errands whenever I needed to, wake up and start my day when I wanted, play with my (happy) kids all day, and have a super clean house, because -hey!- I was home all day!
My reality as a stay-at-home mom is so different! I run errands around naps and playdates, I start my day when my kids wake up (or I wake up for time for myself), my kids aren’t happy-go-lucky all day long, and my house is anything but super clean.
The one thing that has been super helpful to me as a stay-at-home mom is creating a daily stay-at-home mom routine. I struggle to stick to a strict schedule because well, kids. But, I have been very successful with creating and managing a daily routine for my family.
Here’s how I did it and you can too!
If you aren’t a stay-at-home mom *YET*, but you’re considering it, START HERE!
Benefits of Having a Daily Schedule as a Stay at Home Mom
It will save your sanity every single day. (OK, most days)
I am not a stickler when it comes to keeping up with every minute of my daily routine.
I would lose my mind.
But, I do know that when we aren’t within a half hour or so of our daily routine, things fall apart and the day goes off the rails. Having a stay-at-home mom schedule is helpful, but having a stay-at-home mom routine that offers flexibility is even better and easier to keep up with.
Allows everyone to know what to expect
Having a daily stay-at-home mom routine is good for you as a busy mom. BUT, having a daily rhythm is important for everyone in your family, especially your young children. Younger kids really benefit from having a daily routine. This allows them to know what is expected of them and they’re able to predict what’s next. This creates a sense of security for your kids, but also a healthy daily rhythm they can keep up with.
Creates a structure to your day
Even if you can’t perfectly keep a daily routine as a stay-at-home mom, at the very least, you’ll benefit from having structure for your day. This could be super simple. Think about things like a regular wake-up time, a regular bedtime, regular meal times, etc. You get the idea. If a daily, rigid stay-at-home mom schedule stresses you out and intimidates you, start with a few daily rhythms you know you can stick with.
Increases your productivity
It is so easy to get lost in the day when you’re a stay-at-home mom. You can avoid this feeling by having a schedule you can work through every day. Similar to kids, we as moms can alleviate some stress because we know what’s coming.
For instance, if you’re stressed about the housework you haven’t been able to do because you’ve been busy with the kids, or the baby has been extra fussy today, you can look to the schedule and see that you’ve built in some time for housework in the afternoon. This will allow you to not stress about the things you haven’t been able to do and focus on playing with your kids or taking care of the sweet baby who needs his momma. Your productivity will improve by having a daily routine.
Allows you to have a schedule/routine to plan around
One great benefit of a daily routine is the ability to plan things around it. If you know you do the same thing at the same time on the same day every single week, then you won’t schedule something during that time. When you have a daily routine, everyone is aware and can plan according to the schedule. Make sure the schedule is in a visible place where everyone can see it.
Allows you to schedule a time for yourself
When you’re a stay-at-home mom, it’s easy to lose yourself in the day. You become a short-order chef, a bidet, a shushing machine, a chauffeur, and the list goes on. Suddenly you are everyone else’s everything. If you find yourself here, you aren’t alone.
One of the most important things you can do when creating a daily schedule as a stay-at-home mom is to make time for yourself. Chances are, you aren’t going to be able to schedule an hour or two for yourself every day, but even a half-hour can make a big difference. Many stay-at-home moms I have talked to have shared that they feel more centered and clear-minded for the day if they can schedule some alone time in the morning before everyone else wakes up.
This alone time could be used to take a bath, read a book, play a game on your phone, read the Bible, get a workout in, drink a cup of coffee, etc. It can really be anything that is going to help you to just relax for a moment and focus on yourself.
*This post may contain affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using this link. I only recommend products I love or would personally use.
Key Components of a Successful Daily Schedule
Time for self-care
As I just mentioned, an essential part of your daily routine as a stay-at-home mom is your own self-care. Make sure that at some point during the week, ideally every day, you take some time for yourself.
Double-check your daily schedule in case you missed something
Every morning when I wake up, I check my schedule to make sure I haven’t forgotten anything for that day. Once you’re in a daily rhythm, it becomes second nature to just move through the day. But something like a playdate or a dentist appointment that doesn’t happen every week can easily be forgotten. Check your planner each morning. Don’t have a planner? No problem! Here are my favorite planners for moms who need some organization in their lives!
Small increments of time for housework
If your day is anything like mine, I don’t often have an hour or two to get housework done. Someone always needs something. But, I can usually find 10-20 minutes in various spots throughout my day that could be used to get something done around the house. This may be throwing in a load of laundry, sweeping the floor, emptying the dishwasher, etc. Anything that can be done quickly. If it’s helpful, make a list of some quick chores each day so you can jump right in instead of thinking about what needs to be done that day.
Uninterrupted time with your kids
Uninterrupted time with your kids should really be a non-negotiable in your daily routine. And by un-interrupted, I mean turn the TV off, put your phone down, and just spend some quality time with your kids. You’re a stay-at-home mom so that you can stay home and be their mom. Yes, you are so much more than that, and I know it can be really hard to just sit and be sometimes, but I am telling you that this time is precious. Don’t get so caught up in everything else that you lose sight of what’s most important- TIME WITH YOUR KIDS!
If you give screentime, use it strategically
I am not going to open the can of worms that is the screen time debate. What I will say is this though. If you do allow your kids to either watch TV or have time on an iPad or tablet, use that time wisely. For me, my kids don’t get a lot of screen time. I like to tell my kids when they will get screen time during the week because it gives them something to look forward to. I usually try to use this time when my husband has a late day at work so that it breaks up their day and mine since I’m flying solo.
Plan dinner by at least 10 am to avoid takeout
Of all the things, dinner is the one thing I struggle with the most. I seriously cannot tell you how many times I go through my day and then suddenly it’s 4 pm and I have NOTHING planned for dinner. It’s terrible!
What I have started to try to do is plan my meals for the week. I was a pro at this before we had kids. Now- not so much!
When I have a weekly meal plan created and on the daily calendar, all I have to do is pull the meat out of the freezer to thaw, and then when 4 pm rolls around, I am not scrambling to come up with something for dinner.
Don’t try to do everything by yourself
You’re a mom, and although your kids may think you’re a superhero, don’t feel like you have to do it all. Yes, you are home all day, BUT, you shouldn’t have to feel like everything in the house is your responsibility. People send their kids to daycare because caring for kids is a full-time job.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the daily tasks associated with being a stay-at-home mom, talk to your significant other and ask for help. I feel like there does need to be a balance of housework and caring for your kids, but it shouldn’t all fall on you because you’re “home all day”.
If you’re forgetful, use the alarms on your phone
This tip is so smart and I got it from a fellow momma! If you need to give your kiddo medicine at the same time every day, set an alarm on your phone. If you’re like me and forget to plan dinner every day, set an alarm to go off around 10 each morning so you can make sure you’ll have dinner that night. Setting an alarm can be done for anything you struggle to remember because of the busyness associated with being a stay-at-home mom.
Creating the Pieces of Your Daily Stay at Home Mom Routine
Identify Your Top Priorities for the Day
Every day is going to look a bit different. But, without a doubt, there will be things that are more important than others. Make sure you know what your top priorities are for each day so that you have a better chance of getting those things accomplished.
Take Advantage of Early Morning You Time
I have mentioned this several times, but make sure you’re scheduling time in your day for yourself. This may be before the kids wake up, after the kids go to bed, or even during naptime.
Create The Skeleton of Your Daily Schedule
When you sit down with the blank weekly schedule, identify your top priorities. Then, put those down first.
If you have older kids who are in school or play sports, put those things on the calendar. If you or your husband have weekly meetings, get those on the calendar. Dentists and doctor appointments go on there as well. As your calendar begins to fill in, don’t panic, as there is still plenty of time in the day.
Now that you have those things on your calendar, consider what type of household tasks you want to get done each day and put those on your calendar. You will continue this process until you have filled your day.
What Time Will You Be MOST Productive?
There are certain times of the day when I know I’m not going to get anything done other than spending time with my kids. That is healthy! There are also times when I know I have the highest chance of being the most productive. It’s super important to know when those times are so that you can set up your schedule with those times in mind.
Be Sure to Schedule Daily Rest
It can be really easy to lay a guilt trip on yourself when things aren’t getting done how you think you should. And chances are you’re feeling this way because there just isn’t enough time in the day. I honestly think every mom feels this way, so know you’re not alone in that. With all of that in mind, make sure you’re getting enough sleep and rest. Don’t stay up way after everyone else, trying to catch up from the day. And similarly, don’t try to get up early every day to get a bunch of stuff done. Be certain you’re getting rest so that you can execute your daily schedule well.
How to Schedule Daily Rest for the Kids (and You)
Sleep at night is the most common form of rest for everyone. But, there are times during the day when you can potentially get rest as well. That saying is so true that you should sleep when the baby sleeps. If you are a new mom, do this! You will feel like a new person when you wake up. For those of us who have more than one kid, this isn’t always an option.
Even though not all of my kids nap during the day, they do take a quiet time each day. For us, this looks like watching a couple of shows on PBS each day. It’s a time for them to take a break from playing and settle down and recharge. For me, I sometimes sit and rest with them, get some work done on my blog, or rest by myself. All are beneficial for me and them.
Create Daily Rhythms in Your Home
You can create the most amazing daily schedule and things not always be right on time. You are going to have to be flexible with that. I like to think of our daily schedule as a daily routine that has daily rhythms. It’s easier for me to think about going through a daily rhythm than it is for me to try to stay on a daily schedule.
Although they basically are the same thing, when I think of a schedule I think of school with bells ringing to tell me it’s time to change classes. When I think of routine, I think of a set of motions that I go through each day that progresses me through the day.
Call it what you want, but find the rhythm that works for your family. More on this in a minute!
Small Daily Routines for Kids
When your kids are younger, I think it’s awesome to create several routines throughout the day. Our kids have a morning routine. They wake up, have breakfast, get dressed, brush their teeth, etc. They also have a bedtime routine of taking a bath, having a snack, brushing their teeth, bedtime stories and songs, then bedtime. These simple routines make such a difference for kids. You can also add some household chores into their routine. Here are some simple daily routines for an 18-month-old and a 3-year-old that you can adapt to meet your needs!
Stay at Home Mom Routine Sample
I want to share a basic stay-at-home mom schedule (routine) sample with you. This is what a day as a stay-at-home mom may look like for you. Adjust the times and activities as needed. Keep in mind the ages of your kids as you set the ideal amount of time for each activity. Younger kids have a shorter attention span and need your attention more than older kids.
6 am: Wake up, get a workout in, have a cup of coffee
7:15 am: Kids wake up, get them started on their morning routine
8 am: Older kids head to school
9 am: Younger kids do an at-home activity or have playtime with mom
10 am: Baby goes down for a nap and you either spend some time with your toddler or do some housework
11 am: Prep dinner
11:30 am: Prep lunch; Pick up a kid from preschool
12 pm: Lunch for everyone, including you; Kids use their mealtime routine
1 pm: Kids playtime, you do household chores/pay bills, etc.
2 pm: Quiet time/ Nap time/ Create a grocery list/ Small household chores
3 pm: Play outside/ Create a craft/ Play date with a friend/ Run errands/ Snack for kids
4 pm: Kids home from school, start homework
5 pm: You start dinner, kids either help with dinner or play
6 pm: Dinner as a family
7 pm: Sports practice/games, family time
8:15 pm: Start the bedtime routine
9 pm: Kids in bed
10 pm: Do any tidying around the house/prepping for tomorrow
10:30 pm: Time for you and SO to hang out together
11:30 pm: Bed for you
Helpful Tools for Stay at Home Moms
I love a good daily planner. It helps me keep my life organized. I have shared all of my favorite planners for busy moms, and this year I am using the Amy Knapp Family Planner. I love it because I can plan our meals for the week, make a grocery list, write everyone’s weekly activities, mark down doctor appointments and so much more. And best of all-it comes with STICKERS!
Large Water Bottle
I love my Simple Modern insulated 40 oz Water Bottle! I chose the 40 oz bottle (although they do have smaller sizes) because I can fill it twice a day and have more water than I need. I aim for about 70 ounces per day.
Daily Routine Chart for Kids
Kids really do better when they have a visual responsibility chart. For younger kids, I recommend these daily routine cards. In my experience, my kids have always done better sticking with a routine if it is written out for them either in pictures or words. You know your kids best, so pick the one that is going to work for you!
Ready to Rise Clock
If you have kids who magically keep getting up earlier and earlier, you need a Ready to Rise clock. A lot of moms get up early in the morning to either get things done or have some time for themselves before everyone else wakes up. If you’re having trouble with your kids interrupting that time, you need a Ready to Rise clock. This clock has a lot of awesome features you should check out, but most of all, it will light up green when it’s OK for your kids to leave their room in the morning.
Comfortable Yoga Pants
I am of the opinion that every stay-at-home mom needs a few good pairs of comfortable leggings. Even if you don’t wear them out of the house (or if you do), I find it much more comfortable to play on the floor with my kids if I’m wearing leggings.
A Good Baby Monitor
I just spent A LOT of time researching the best baby monitors. So, don’t feel like you’re going to spend a bunch of time researching them, because I did it for you. A baby monitor can allow you to get more done than you’re currently able to do. How you may ask? If you have a baby, you can listen (or watch) for them while you’re getting some housework done. If your kids are older, you can put a baby monitor in their room and monitor them as they play in their room while you’re doing something else. Use your baby monitor to your advantage however you can!
Common Questions About Creating a Stay at Home Mom Routine or Schedule
I can’t seem to follow a daily schedule, what should I do?
I would say you need to re-evaluate your schedule and see if it’s truly designed with your family in mind. If you’ve taken someone else’s daily schedule and tried to make it your own, that may be the problem. If this is the case, start from scratch, unless there are pieces that are working well.
If my daily stay-at-home mom schedule isn’t working, what do I do?
First and foremost, don’t give in to the desire to just give up. There is a stay-at-home mom routine that will work for you and you just have to figure that out. I would start by keeping the things that are working and then start to figure out how to adjust the rest of your daily schedule to fix the things that aren’t working.
If your morning routine is working well and then things fall apart in the afternoon, first identify what is throwing you off. Then try to fix that.
Or maybe, your daily stay-at-home routine works amazingly well, and then when your husband comes home, everything falls apart, no fault of his. I would encourage you to see about getting him on board so the rest of the evening can go as smoothly as the daytime.
How should I schedule my day as a stay-at-home mom?
You should schedule your day in a way that makes sense for you. I gave some helpful tips for creating your daily schedule, but things that work for me may not work well for you. And, things that don’t work at all for me, may work amazingly well for you. Try your schedule for a week and then see what you may need to adjust. Keep tweaking your daily schedule until it feels right.
How do stay at home moms get everything done?
Here’s the thing, stay at home moms don’t ALWAYS get everything done. That is just the reality of being a stay-at-home mom. Even if you were a working mom, there would be days when you just aren’t able to get everything done.
THIS IS OK!
The best thing you can do is to do your best. This means you’ve put in a good effort, even if you fall short. Being a stay-at-home mom isn’t eating bon-bons and watching soap operas. As you’ve noticed, being a stay-at-home mom, even with a fantastic stay-at-home mom schedule, is A LOT of work.
How can stay-at-home moms be more efficient during the day?
If you’re getting to the end of your day and you feel like you’ve accomplished nothing, join the club. Kind of.
All joking aside, I have a daily routine, and there are plenty of days that I put the kids to bed, look around, and wonder what on earth I did all day long. Now, I obviously know how I spent my day, but sometimes, it feels like it’s not enough.
There will be days like this. Pick yourself up, reset your priorities for the next day, and start fresh. This will allow you to be more efficient the next day instead of trying to pick up the pieces of today.
If you’re struggling with the day-to-day grind of being a stay-at-home mom, you may love being a stay-at-home mom, you may find that you love it more when you have a daily routine with daily rhythms in place. Being flexible is the name of the game when it comes to being a stay-at-home mom. Even the greatest stay-at-home mom routines get wrecked from time to time. Just start over again tomorrow.
MORE Stay at Home Mom Tips!
7 Things to Consider BEFORE Becoming a Stay at Home Mom
How to Transition from Working Mom to Stay at Home Mom
Clean House vs Tidy House: This WILL SAVE Your Sanity
The BEST Cleaning Schedule for Busy Moms
How to be a Better Mom to Your Toddler
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