I always dreamed about being a stay-at-home mom. I knew I wanted to stay home and care for my kids while they were young.
What I didn’t know was how incredibly busy it is to be a stay-at-home mom.
I didn’t know what the life of a stay-at-home mom entailed but I found out quickly as soon as my kids were born.
Between feeding my kids, changing them, cleaning up after them, and caring for them- my day was gone. I didn’t have much time for anything else. Cooking, cleaning, and doing laundry all seemed like extracurricular activities.
I didn’t even have time to take care of my own needs.
I didn’t realize how quickly the day went by until the day was already over.
I would lay down in bed at the end of the day wondering, “what did I even do?! The day is already done.”
As a mom, you wear so many hats. You’re the caregiver, nanny, cook, chef, housekeeper, and more.
You’re busy doing so many things and juggling everything that time slips by. The day is gone before you know it.
I didn’t want to drown myself in all of the cooking, cleaning, and mundane tasks. I wanted to have moments where I could enjoy spending time with my kids. And I also wanted to have some time to myself.
What I found that has helped me as a stay-at-home mom is having a daily routine for myself and for my kids.
I thrive off of having a routine because it takes the guesswork out of the day. I have a schedule planned out for the day. Having a consistent schedule and routine has allowed me to focus my energy and time on other things.
Having a routine also helps my kids because they know what to expect. There are fewer tantrums and fewer meltdowns because they know what’s next on the schedule.
Prepare For The Week Ahead
On Sunday or Monday nights (whichever night you prefer), plan what your week will look like.
Clean out your fridge, toss out old food, clear out junk mail, clean the house, and do whatever else you need to prepare for the week,
I usually clean out my fridge and pantry on Sundays. I’ll make an inventory of what items we have and what we need to purchase at the grocery store. Then I’ll menu plan for the week and make a list of what items we need from the supermarket.
I try to cook only 4-5 nights a week. On the nights that I don’t cook, we eat leftovers and it gives me extra time to clean the house.
I also plan what activities my kids and I will be doing each day for the week. We sing songs, read, and play with a few puzzles every day. But I also try to provide them with a different and fun activity every day such as playing with non-toxic homemade Play-Doh, rainbow pasta, non-toxic water beads, and water play. We may even take a few trips to a different playground, the library, or visit a children’s museum during the week.
Click here if you need a recipe for homemade Play-Doh that is quick and easy to make.
I have a monthly planner full of different activities and ideas to keep things interesting and fun for you and the kids. I try to keep them engaged, learning, playing, and having fun all the time.
We limit our kid’s screen time to about 30 minutes in the evening when we clean up for the night and so I try to provide screen-free activities and play options during the day.
Our kids know they’re allowed to have 30 minutes of supervised screen time after dinner when mommy and daddy are trying to clean up. They do try to push their limits and try to ask for it during the day but I remind them that it’s only for after dinner.
We’ve kept this routine consistent for several months and it has worked very well for our family.
There have been fewer tantrums and meltdowns about screen time because they know what to expect. The kids know the routine and although they do try to push it to see what they can get away with, they don’t fight us too much about it.
Plan The Night Before
Once you have your week planned, review your tasks that need to get done the night before.
For example, if I’m cooking dinner the following day. I try to plan when I’ll prep the vegetables and what time I should marinate the meat and then cook it.
I also try to plan out what activities the kids will do, how long we’ll do each activity, and where I can squeeze chores in between.
I try to have an idea of what my day will look like the night before.
I also look at the weather to see how cold or hot it will be. We like to go for walks every day and the kids will get a chance to play outside if the weather is warm enough.
If it’s going to be scorching hot, I plan for water activities such as playing with water beads, playing with the water table, or going to a splash pad to run around in.
Having a general plan for what the day will look like has helped my day flow smoother. I have a general idea of when certain chores will be completed and when dinner will be done by. Things get done on time.
Get Up Before Your Kids
Getting up before your kids has so many benefits that I wrote another blog post about it. I can’t stress this enough but getting up before your kids will make you feel like a whole different person.
When you get up before your kids, you have some peace and quiet time to yourself. You can use that time to meditate, rest, repeat positive affirmations, exercise, read, stretch or just do something for yourself for a few minutes.
How you wake up and the first few things that you do early in the morning will set the tone for your day.
You want to wake up in a well-rested and calm state.
If you haven’t read the book, The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod, I highly recommend it. It’s a great read that will transform your mornings as well as your life.
Even if you can’t get up an hour or early before your kids, 15 minutes will do too!
The whole point is just to wake up before your kids so that you have some time for yourself. You have time to get ready, brush your teeth, change your clothes, have a glass of water, and prepare for the day before you have to get your kids ready.
I have found that waking up before my kids has given me more time to get ready in the morning and allowed me some quiet time to myself. As a result, I’m a calmer, more patient, and present mom.
I am able to fill my cup before pouring into everyone else’s.
Clean As You Go Throughout The Day
Having a clean and tidy home has helped me keep my sanity. I know… You’re probably thinking how can you keep a home clean with two rambunctious toddlers that run around, spill everything and put their hands on everything?
I clean as I go. I literally follow them around, play with them, and clean up after them throughout the day.
Don’t let things pile up at the end of the day.
It’s tempting to leave all of the dishes in the sink and all of the sweeping and wiping to be done at the end of the day. But let’s face it. You’re tired by the end of the day. By the end of the day, your energy is zapped. You’re physically tired. And mentally drained. You just want to rest and so you half heartedly clean up and put things away.
You have more energy and enthusiasm in the mornings and during the day. Use that energy!
Clean as you go and you’ll feel less overwhelmed at the end of the day when you look at a huge pile of cleaning that needs to get done.
If you tackle the cleaning a little at a time, you’ll have less that needs to get done at the end of the day when you have less energy and less enthusiasm to put stuff away.
It’s also good to model good cleaning and tidying habits. If your kids see you putting toys away when they’re not in use or wiping things immediately as they’re spilled, they will want to help participate in chores and pick up on those good habits too.
I’ve noticed that my two-year-old will put away his alphabet puzzles correctly on the bookshelf as soon as he’s done completing it and I’ve caught him putting his toy trucks away when he’s done using them.
Having your kids, husband and everyone pitch in to help you clean can make a world of difference. Even if they’re just putting a few items back in their toy chest- it will help you a lot.
Plan Different Activities for Your Kids
This may sound like a lot of work but it really isn’t. There are a lot of books, blogs, and printables with activities that you can do at home with your kids.
I have a free printable calendar of different activities that will keep your kids entertained all summer. Every day has a new theme and activity to keep them from being bored and getting into trouble.
I have two young toddlers that love exploring and learning. If I don’t give them something to play with, they’ll go find something themselves. And most of the time, it’s something extremely messy that needs cleaning up or getting into something that they’re not supposed to.
My activities for the week will look something like this:
|Monday||Make something together like bake cookies or bake banana bread|
|Tuesday||Color sorting with rainbow pasta into different colored bowls|
|Wednesday||Play with water beads and scoop them|
|Thursday||Take a trip to the library|
|Friday||Go out with family for brunch and go to a new park|
I try to plan something different every day to keep the kids engaged, learning, and having fun.
Our daily routine in the mornings is always the same. We always wake up, get ready for the day, eat breakfast, sing songs, read books, and then engage in a different activity for the day.
Some of the activities we play with have kept my kids entertained for over two hours! It’s amazing. You want to give yourself a pat on the back when your kids are entertained for that long, not bored, and not fighting with each other.
Activities that my kids really enjoy playing with are rainbow pasta, play-doh, water beads, and playing in the sand. They absolutely love playing in the sand! We’ve gone to a few playgrounds that have sand and my kids can sit there for hours scooping, shoveling, digging for holes, and burying things.
If you live near the beach or have room for a sandbox in your backyard, I would highly recommend letting your kids play in the sand.
Sure, it’s a little messy but your kids can always take a bath and get cleaned up after. At least it keeps them preoccupied for some time and you can get some things done while they’re playing.
Put Your Kids Down to Sleep Early
Putting the kids down early for bed will be a lifesaver for you. I value and love my sleep. And I hope you do too. Sleep is so important for our health and well-being. Disturbances with your sleep can mess with our emotions, thought process, and memory. Getting a good night’s sleep is so important.
My husband and I put both of our kids down at 7:30 pm. Sometimes they fall asleep right away and sometimes it takes a little longer but I like to put them down on time at the same time every night.
It’s good for the kids to fall asleep at the same time every night and to have them on a consistent routine.
Putting our kids to bed early has given my husband and me time to finish cleaning up around the house, prepare food, and get things ready for the next day. It allows us time to rest and also spend time with each other.
You need to make time for yourself. You need to make time for self-care and doing things that you enjoy to bring you peace, joy, and relaxation. Being a parent is a lot of work and can be very stressful at times. You need to do things that help support your mental health and physical health.
You need to have a system and you need to have a routine for going about your day as a stay-at-home mom. The day goes by quickly and you don’t want to feel as if you’re not getting anything done.
Even though you’re busy, you want to be productive. There’s a difference between being busy and just doing a lot of little things but not getting anything completed. By having a routine and a system down for getting things done, you can be productive and complete tasks. You will feel more accomplished at the end of the day.