I transitioned from full-time work to part-time work when I had my son. Now I live in Germany, I have transitioned into a full-time stay-at-home mom. Both challenges were more significant than I had anticipated. It is a 24/7 occupation that is much more than a house taker and caregiver.
Before establishing my stay-at-home mom schedule, I often felt overwhelmed, lost, bored, and inadequate. I couldn’t figure out how to accomplish the things I needed to. There are not enough hours in the day to complete all of the household tasks while caring for my two-year-old. The never-ending piles of laundry, cooking, cleaning, the list can go on! But, again, I couldn’t figure out how to manage.
I would see other moms who looked like they had it all together at the park. Their hair and makeup were on point, wearing the cutest outfits.
Every time I walked into a mommy friend’s house, I would admire the cleanliness, and with awe came utter discouragement.
Why can’t I manage?
Why do I look like I am always struggling?
What has helped me significantly? Having a stay-at-home mom schedule that I can keep. It has benefited me in more ways than I can count. Now, being in the military, my husband is away a lot. Sometimes months at a time. Although the struggle is far more significant when my husband is away, having a routine at home has alleviated some sense of stress.
Why I decided to have a stay-at-home-mom schedule
As a nurse practitioner seeing patients, I relied heavily on a schedule. In fact, looking back at all of my special events, such as my IRONMAN, I had a training schedule! However, adjusting to the Stay- at- home mom life was very challenging at first. I didn’t have a routine; I was overwhelmed with everything that needed to get done.
I realized I needed to establish a stay-at-home mom schedule that would benefit my son and myself.
How a stay-at-home mom schedule benefited me
helps alleviate boredom
Having a plan for the day gives me something to look forward to. Being a stay-at-home mom is a blessing but doesn’t always lead to the most stimulating days. So having something to look forward to truly helped my mental health.
It also gave me the ability to plan something! I started making small outside plans for my son, and I’ve enjoyed it.
I don’t keep a strict schedule, but I have several options for outside activities, including visits to different parks that we can spread out throughout the week.
I am more effecient
I get more tasks and chores completed.
I have learned to be more efficient. Although there are always other tasks I would have liked to have accomplished, I can look back at my productivity and have a sense of accomplishment.
Some days more than others, of course.
It has helped me multitask. Instead of completing one chore at a setting, it is often spread out over time. It took me a while to be okay with this, but at the end of the day, I have completed the task.
I can incorporate self-care
I have learned to incorporate self-care into my daily routine—nothing extravagant like spas or pedicures. But I am taking care of myself and prioritizing water, sleep, and healthier snacks, taking my son outside, and incorporating a walk into our activity.
quality time with my spouse at the end of the day
Sticking to my son’s bedtime routine is a priority. Although, of course, his bedtime does vary if we go out to dinner or spend a later afternoon outside. But we keep it within a 45-minute window.
My goal is to have dinner cooking when my husband gets home from work, the dishes are somewhat done, and the house is picked up.
I say it’s my goal, but the reality is I do still have a bit to do right after putting my son to bed.
Being able to spend a couple of hours of quality time with my husband in the evenings is something I look forward to every day. Having a stay-at-home mom schedule has helped make this possible.
It keeps us consistent, which helps us stick to this stay-at-home mom schedule. I keep my schedule/ routine the same when my husband is deployed or TDY.
This helps me, as a stay-at-home mom, be organized.
I Enjoy being a stay-at-home mom
These benefits from establishing my schedule have allowed me to enjoy being at home.
How the schedule benefited my son
He thrives with routine! Routine is essential for toddlers. I can tell a huge difference when we spend a day away from his routine, especially when we travel.
He knows what to expect. I make sure to tell him what we are doing throughout the day.
What I prioritize
My morning routine
My morning routine is MY start to the day. I love waking up before my son does. It is time for some self-care. I can prioritize exercise and quiet time and even mentally plan my day. I usually decide on the day’s activities during this time. Making time for myself does help with the burnout feelings, that often come with being a mom.
This has always been a priority for my son. For the first year of his life, he was a horrible napper, so it was something that my husband and I decided to prioritize. He naps at home. This breaks my day into two. His napping at home gives me a little chunk of time to myself. Being pregnant, I sometimes will nap myself. But more often than not, it is my opportunity to work on any hobbies such as my blog. It is the only set time I have to work on this hobby. Some naps are an hour, while others are two. Sometimes I need this precious window of time more than my son!
- You can check out some more of my blog posts here.
Eating times and snacks are prioritized. Having a hungry toddler can lead to meltdowns. Meal times are as crucial as naps and bedtimes for my little one. They also break the day into segments.
Outside time has been so crucial for my son and me. We both prefer being outside to indoors. I have found several benefits to spending time outside.
- It helps alleviate boredom
- A variety of playtime activities
- Several opportunities for cognitive development
- Outside time has helped me have more patience with my little one
Since my son was two weeks old, he has had some type of bedtime routine. Of course, during the crazy moving times, it varied a bit. But having some type of bedtime routine is a priority. It allows us to keep to a schedule and preps my son’s bedtime time. It’s been influential in Germany over the spring and summer months when the sun doesn’t set until after 9:00.
How do I fit in chores and cleaning into my daily routine
This must be a badge every stay-at-home mom wears. Multitasking is essential to getting anything done! As mentioned, I often start a chore only to finish it hours later.
laundry every day
- I start a load immeidately upon waking up.
- I fold clothes throughout the day while I’m home, and finish by the end of the day
- I incorporate play with my toddler
dishes as i go
This can be challenging, but the more I keep up with the dishes, there are fewer to do at the end of the day. My goal is only to have the dishes for dinner that need to be done. Cleaning up breakfast and lunch as I go has really cut back on feeling overwhelmed with the kitchen.
try to include my toddle
I include my toddler with tasks such as emptying the dishwasher and putting clothes away. He enjoys helping with the dishwasher, so it’s been a great activity.
I bring out my laundry to fold on the bed. My son loves bringing up a toy on the bed, and we play on the bed. This allows me to multitask and put some laundry away.
What my typical weekday schedule looks like
6:30 wake up and my morning routine
7:30 Get my son up
8:00-9:15 Breakfast that my son and I cook together. Some screen time. Starting the load of laundry (it takes 3 hours here in Germany) Clean up dishes. Indoor play.
9:15 Get ready to go outside
9:30 -11:30 Outside time. This includes walking to the grocery store and planning dinner
11:30 Eat lunch. Wind down on the sofa with toys. Some screen time
12:00 Reading time in my sons room
12:30 Nap time
2:00/ 2:30. Snack. Indoor activity while I incorporate some cleaning and laundry.
3:30 – Outside time
4:30 Prep and cook dinner
5:30 Dinner time for Liam (entire family if my husband is home)
6:00 I clean up while my son has some quality time with my husband
6:30 Start our bedtime routine
7:30 My sons bedtime
The remaining evening I clean up and have quality time with my husband.
Tips for establishing and maintaining a stay-at-home mom schedule that works for you
determine your hours of productivity
Determine when you are the most productive. Is it early morning? Evening? During the day? Do your kids play independently? This may allow you more of an opportunity to get some things done. Think about what you would like to get done. Prioritize what is the most important. Come up with a plan.
You can’t pour from an empty cup. It is possible to incorporate self-care into your daily routine. Remember, taking care of yourself IS taking care of your family! Check out my post on tips to integrate self-care into your daily routine!
Flexibility is one of the most essential qualities of motherhood. We frequently vere from the above schedule due to meltdowns, etc. Having a sustainable stay-at-home mom schedule needs to be flexible.
don’t stress about the days that don’t work out
Did you have a planned activity outside canceled due to the weather?
Did a meltdown throw off your day?
This is life and the expectations of it. We have had our schedule thrown off more times than I can count. Accepting this as inevitable will help you get through the day!
Break up routines throughout the day
Having my day divided into a morning, afternoon, and evening routine helps. I consider each a fresh start. This is especially helpful when part of the day hasn’t been going according to plan. A gen reset can change my mood, and allow me to enjoy the remaining part of the day.
make your mom routine sustainable
Figure out what works for you! This may take some time, and can even vary depending on the age of your little one. We just moved our toddler’s bedtime an hour later, and adjusted my stay-at-home mom routine accordingly. The most important consideration is- can you sustain the schedule that you implemented. Does your new routine work well for you and your family?
Plan your day the night before
Check out the weather for tomorrow
Think of some new activities for the day
Mentally prep for any appointments that may alter your schedule
Have all of your toddler’s toddlers essentials packed up and ready to go
Living in Germany, My grocery shopping habits changed drastically. We go to the little grocery store a block away and buy what we need that day for meals. This is easily incorporated into the first half of our day during outside time. I usually have an idea of what I want to prepare for lunch and dinner the night prior, or during the early morning.
include your spouse
Inform your spouse so that they can be involved. Maybe they can help with some part of the day. If anything, they can give you affirmations and encouragement to help establish and maintain a mom routine that works for you.
This is very controversial among my momma peers. But, I do like to remain transparent. Screen time I try to limit to certain times of day during the week. It also is a valuable tool when I need to get something specific done.
Make sure to have some “me” time scheduled
Whether it’s during the morning, nap time, or evening segment of the day, this is so important in a routine that works for you. This will also help prevent burnout.
One of the many reasons a stay-at-home mom is so stressful is the pressure we put on ourselves.
Being a military spouse, there is so much time where I have had to solo parent, with no family members in town. Remind yourself that you are doing your best; if your spouse is supportive, they will see that too.
don’t compare yourself to other mamas
You do you! What works well for you and your family is what’s important. The beauty of these routines and schedules is that they vary with every family! They may even vary with every child. Remember, comparison is the thief of joy. You never know what’s going on behind the scenes of those mamas that look like they have to altogether. Focus on you!
Why you should have a stay-at-home mom schedule
Being a stay-at-home mom sadly can feel unnoticed. The behind-the-scenes stay-at-home mom’s life isn’t glamorous but carries extraordinary weight! You are raising little children, and the impact of this is so important. The benefits of a mom routine will help you be a better mom, and enjoy the process! Your family will be able to see this as well!
I would love to hear how having a routine has helped you! Do you find something in particular benefits you? I would love to hear about it! Maybe, it’s something I could add to my day!