If you are a stay at home mom or plan to become one, it’s a good idea to start wrapping your head around keeping a schedule or daily routine. I know, I know, this sounds horrible, especially if you never stuck to one before motherhood. But I am going to convince you that having a stay at home mom schedule is quite awesome AND it actually creates more personal time.
Why bother with a stay at home mom schedule when you are the boss?
When I traded my full-time career as a nurse to spend more time at home, I was looking forward to not having to do any particular thing on any particular day. I could go for walks with my son when I pleased, drink coffee at my leisure, and run errands when I felt like it. After all, the only person I had to answer to was myself!
Reality check in 3, 2, 1…
I quickly found that my daily tasks of motherhood monopolized my time and I felt rushed doing things I enjoy. Either my son was hungry, or tired, or just wasn’t feeling this particular moment anymore so we had to change gears.
The imbalance of personal time started to take its toll and pretty soon I felt lost and forgot what makes me happy in the first place. I am sure you can relate!
Related: How to be a happy mom
So what is a mom to do? The kids aren’t going to stop being hungry, tired, or bored. There has to be a way that both of us can thrive without my sole purpose JUST being a mom.
Something I noticed was when I went about repeating a similar series of daily events, my kid could anticipate what was next. Thing became less of a fight and I started to actually free up more time! By keeping a daily routine all of us were happier, I was getting more done, and everyone’s needs were met.
Now this routine can be flexible. I for one don’t want to be pigeonholed, but here is why a routine is so great for both children and parents and leads to creating more you-time.
1. Routine promotes healthy sleep habits
Kids need a lot more sleep than adults. This is a good thing for us mamas! It means we can get things done for ourselves while the little ones sleep.
Have you ever noticed on the really busy days, which should tucker your little ones out, they seem to have a harder time going to sleep?
Sometimes filling up the day with so many things actually works against us. Our kids still have developing minds and they can become overstimulated which causes a release of stress hormones. These hormones linger around for longer than we want them to and hinder the ability to fall asleep quickly.
Following a daily routine allows you to schedule naps around the same time. Your kids will get used to this, begin to anticipate the nap, and then go down fast and easy. This means less time checking on them or helping them fall asleep.
2. Routine enhances the development milestones
Children are truly able to thrive in organized and predictable environments. It provides stability which helps boost self-confidence and exploration.
Ever heard the saying “practice makes perfect?” Well like any new skill, repetition is what helps humans perfect our ability to do something new. Daily routines offer kids a chance to learn new skills because time is carved out of the day to allow for practice.
3. Routine makes daily tasks easier
When you have a series of things you do every day, it starts to build a framework in a child’s mind. They begin to anticipate what comes next and are already mentally preparing for it.
When a child knows that he gets to play after he eats lunch, he gets excited to get through lunch because it leads to playtime. When a baby naps at a specific time every day, her body will start to signal her beforehand. There will be fewer tantrums thrown and fighting sleep.
4. Routines help parents prioritize the "to-do" list
We all have certain things we did every day before we became parents. Maybe you watched the news while you drank your morning coffee or went to the 9 am spin class. Whatever it is that makes you happy, you can fit it in somewhere in the day.
You may have to be more creative in the way you accomplish things, but you DON’T have to cut anything out that makes you happy just because you are a parent.
I have always loved to exercise. I used to exercise in various ways such as going to the gym with a friend, taking hot yoga classes, or just jogging around my neighborhood.
I am not able to get to the gym as often as I like but I am able to fit in exercise every day. I just throw my son in a jogging stroller, give him some snacks, and pop my headphones in for a much deserved hour.
He really enjoys looking around and because this has been a part of our day since he was just a wee baby, he never fusses about it. I am able to listen to music or an interesting podcast while he gets some fresh air.
You don’t have to sacrifice doing what you love as a parent. You just have to be a little flexible on how you do what you love.
When you keep a regular schedule, you can look ahead and prioritize the things you want to accomplish. If you are working on a particular project, you know you will have some free time during the regularly scheduled naps to work on it.
If you are anything like me, you are a wizard during nap time! As soon as my son’s eyes are closed I am off picking up, reading, and drinking coffee. I love that I get to have these breaks in the day to do some self-reflection and have some moments alone.
How to start a stay at home mom schedule
Ok so hopefully by now I have convinced you that routines are a good thing! So what does this look like exactly and when should you start doing it?
It is important to consider your children’s ages when implementing a daily routine. For example, a four-month-old baby will need to nap more frequently than a four-year-old.
Even with different ages, you can still sync up their schedules. If you have an older child and the younger one needs to nap this is a perfect opportunity for daily quiet time. Quiet time is necessary because it helps kids wind down, learn self-control, and use their imagination in self-directed play.
You can implement a daily routine as early as you feel it is appropriate for your child.
However my best advice is to first focus on a bedtime routine with your baby. Work on that for a month or two before starting a day time routine. You don’t want to overwhelm them with too many new things to learn at once. Getting a good night sleep is imperative for everyone and will help them learn day time routines better.
After you feel your family has a good handle on the night time routine, start your day time schedule by putting them down for naps or quiet time at the same time every day.
Time and practice will help you figure out the right order of daily events. These can all be developed around set nap times and bedtimes.
Here are some things to consider incorporating in your daily routine:
- Reading together
- Learning to pick up
- Time spent outdoors
- Daily hygiene practice
- Quiet time
It is important to remember that keeping a schedule as a stay at home mom should still be FLEXIBLE. It is not meant to be something that limits your life in any way or you won’t stick to it. If you have a fun activity to participate in out in town one day, by all means do it!
I personally try not to change the nap schedule more than once or twice a week. This is to protect my son’s developing brain by allowing him the sleep that he needs and also so I can get some much needed quiet time for myself.
I do however mix up the things we do in between naps. One day we may keep things low-key and play at the house. Another day we meet a friend at the park for a playdate or run errands.
Do you want to be more organized in creating your daily routine?
Not every day you spend as a stay at home mom or work at home mom is perfect. You may do your best at trying to keep everything moving but your kids are fighting you at every turn.
I’ve been there.
My hope for you is that starting a routine will provide you with more time for yourself.
And It is totally ok to use your breaks to veg out in front of the TV sometimes.
It is OK to not be productive in every moment.
Give yourself permission to RELAX a bit.
I have to tell this to myself all the time because for some reason I feel needlessly guilty for not accomplishing more with my day.
If this information was helpful please let me know by leaving me a comment or sharing it with your fellow mommy friends!