It’s tempting to think that stay-at-home moms have all the time in the world to get things done.
But in reality, the work never ends, diapers multiply like Gremlins, and there’s always something to do.
The good news is life doesn’t have to be all chaos and pureed peas on the ceiling. Like any other tough job, your best approach is to have a plan.
To help you stay one step ahead and keep things under control, here are some tips for creating a stay-at-home mom schedule that works for you.
One size does not fit all
Everyone’s life is different. A stay-at-home mom schedule that works for someone else may not work for you, so there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to creating one. The mom blogger that you follow has her responsibilities, different kids, and different priorities.
If you prefer to do chores, errands, and other tasks in the early morning, leaving your afternoon free for a breather, that’s okay. If you prefer lazy mornings and busy afternoons, that’s okay too.
Everyone has their opinion, but no one has your life, and no one knows what makes your family tick, so above all else, as you begin to think about your daily schedule, be sure to think about what works for you and your family. Don’t forget to factor in playdates, learning time, appointments, and anything else that’s specific to your household.
Tame your to-do list
When you need to get things done, there’s no better tool at your disposal than a to-do list. And while the humble to-do list may sound a bit pedestrian, you might be surprised to learn that doctors and pilots use them regularly. To-do lists are so helpful that Atul Gwande wrote an entire book about it entitled, wait for it — The Checklist Manifesto. For busy moms everywhere, the Cliffs Notes are: create a checklist, use it, use it often, and stick to it.
And while checklists are incredibly helpful, we also have to approach them logically so that they have a chance to work. To that end, be sure to prioritize where necessary. Additionally, when you’re writing your to-do list, remember that you have an entire day to get things done. If you have 10 things to do in a day, try not to cram them all into the first two hours of your morning. That’s just a recipe for disaster and burnout.
With so much to do between keeping the house clean and tidy, laundry, dinner prep, and littles who need your constant attention, it can be tempting to put yourself last. But the truth of motherhood and caregiving is that if you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t possibly be any good to anyone else.
To that end, be sure to schedule some downtime in your new stay-at-home mom schedule. Your child takes an afternoon nap because they need to recharge. But you need to recharge as well. So even if it’s only 15 minutes, add it to your schedule. Ideally, your downtime should be when your little one is down for their nap. If they’re fussier on some days, don’t forget that Moshi has a comprehensive library of soothing sounds and stories to help your child relax and drift off. Once your little one is settled in for a nap, take a load off, sit back, and relax.
Give yourself a little grace
While it’s always nice to breeze through a to-do list, keep in mind that things may not always go as planned. Babies get sick, toddlers have meltdowns, and your run to the grocery store may take a little longer than expected. That’s life, and stuff happens.
The key here is to control what you can and roll with the punches on everything else. If a few things don’t get checked off today, give yourself a little grace, and remember that’s what tomorrow is for. If you prioritize your to-do list, nothing will go off the rails if one or two things get bumped over a day or two.
Again, a stay-at-home mom schedule can never be black and white; life comes with myriad shades of gray. For any schedule to work, it must be realistic and specific to your family’s lifestyle and needs. Ahead we’ve included a sample stay-at-home mom schedule that you can use as a jumping-off point for creating your own. Add, remove, shift, and tweak as needed.
7:30 School Drop – Off
9:00 Laundry/Breakfast Dishes/Light Chores
10:00 Morning Snack
10:30 Learning activities/Screen Time
11:30 Lunch/Lunch Clean Up
1:00 Afternoon Nap (For Littles, Admin, Phone Calls, Coffee Break For Mom)
2:00 Outdoor Play/Park/Backyard or Indoor Free Play for littles
3:30 School Pick-Up
4:00 Homework Help
5:00 Dinner Prep
6:30 Bath time
6:50 Brushing teeth
7:00 Read a book, meditation for the kids, listen to soothing music
Being a stay-at-home mom is difficult but the key to keeping your day under control and your sanity in check is creating a schedule and sticking to it. Of course, there will be days where things don’t go as planned, and that’s ok too. Just remember, control what you can and let the rest go.