Juggling between taking care of kids, keeping a house clean, running errands and trying to stay sane can be overwhelming. Let’s be honest; there are days when you never have time for yourself or your family. But with the right approach and planning, you can create a flexible, stay at home mom schedule that doesn’t leave you feeling restricted.
As a SAHM for 8 years, I know how important it can be to keep a routine going but also struggle with being self-motivated enough to stick to it. Especially in the beginning when you first become a stay at home mom.
In this blog post, I will share my SAHM schedule and answer some common questions about creating your schedule as a stay-at-home mom. And I even created this SAHM schedule template so you can work on making your schedule that will work for you and your family.
How do stay-at-home moms make a schedule?
Depending on your personality type, you may create a rigid schedule that keeps you productive and focused or a flexible schedule that allows you to be spontaneous but structured. I prefer the latter.
A schedule was an excellent outline for the day. It kept things predictable for my kids and gave me an overall plan to fill in each day with the things I loved doing.
My Stay-at-Home Mom Schedule
- Before Kids Wake Up (5a-6:30a)
- Morning Routine (6:30a-9a)
- Outing (9a-Noon)
- Lunch (Noon-12:30p)
- Naptime/Quiet Time (12:30p-3p)
- Afternoon (3p-5p)
- Dinner (5p-6p)
- Kid’s Bedtime Routine (6p-7:30p)
- Evening Routine (7:30p-9p)
- Bedtime (9p)
Let’s break each time block down so I can show you how it looked in my house and what I did during my stay at home mom schedule on a pretty consistent basis.
Before Kids Wake Up (5a-6:30a)
First off, this only happened some days! But throughout my almost eight years as a SAHM, I’ve gone through different seasons of life where I woke up before my kids to meditate, journal, and get some quiet time. I genuinely love starting my day to do this, but realistically there are times when sleep wins out over this.
My morning routine consists of everything I need to do to prepare myself and the kids for the day. Here’s the order I typically did them in: got kids out of bed, got diapers changed, breakfast, packed lunches (if we’d be out for lunch), got kids dressed, brushed teeth, and did the girl’s hair. Then they’d get a show while I got dressed, backed the diaper bag, and loaded up the car.
When I had kids who weren’t school-aged, I made plans every morning to do something. Whether it was a simple trip to the library or meeting up at the zoo with friends, I always got out of the house. That is crucial to thriving as a SAHM. I made friends and spent a lot of time with them. That adult interaction during the day made me incredibly happy and fulfilled as a SAHM.
I wasn’t big on taking classes with the kids; I liked to be able to choose what I did every day and not have to be anywhere at a specific time. But if you love routine and think having some scheduled activities sounds fun, give it a go. If you do not like how that fits into your week, wait to sign up for the next session. If you’re on a budget, many libraries have free classes, so look into those. Also, ask for museum and zoo memberships for your kids’ birthdays and Christmases!
I typically would forgo a morning outing once a week to get household chores done. I would do a bunch of laundry, clean the bathroom and change the sheets. During this time, my kids would play or watch a couple of shows. I set up some activities for them, which would also occupy them for a bit.
So When Do You Clean?
You’re probably wondering when I do the rest of the cleaning: short answer, the weekends with help from my husband, Sean. We usually do a power hour and clean as much as possible during that time. For us and our 1500 square foot home, that’s enough. We get a cleaning crew to come in twice a year to do deep cleanings, and whenever we have a party or host a gathering, we do a big deep clean. Neither of us needs to live in a super clean house, so it works for us.
If we went somewhere that was over 20 minutes away from our house, I usually packed lunch to feed the kids before we headed home. That way, I had more time to hang out and would only need to get home at 1pm for nap time. If I were home, I would make the kids a hot lunch and start prepping around 11:30 am while the kids had a show.
One thing I never sacrificed was naptime. Well, once or twice a year for a special occasion like taking the kids to Six Flags or Santa’s Village, which was over an hour away. Other than that, at the latest, we were home every day by 1pm, and the kids were in their beds or having quiet time.
All three of my kids stopped napping before they were three years old. I was a nanny before having kids and never had that experience with any other child. However, all three of mine started protesting naps around 2.5y/o and were completely done with them before 3. Did that mean I didn’t get a break? Heck no, I instated “rest time” for any kids who don’t nap. My 5.5 and 8y/o still have rest time on the weekends!
Have Rest Time
My toddlers, who weren’t three yet, would be put in their crib for one hour if they fell asleep; great. If not, I would take them out after an hour and let them have a couple of shows. Once they turned three, they were given the iPad and told they could watch shows on it or play games for 90 minutes. They started in their crib but then graduated to the living room, where they could play with toys.
I would relax or work on my blog. Whatever I felt I needed for that day. I never did housework during naptime because I did it when they were awake. The things that I couldn’t do with them underfoot, like wash the floor or do outside chores, my husband did after they were asleep. I have not mentioned him much in this post, but he does a lot around the house. Also, we don’t wash the floor or do the deep cleaning that often around here, so it’s not a huge deal. LOL!
On the weekends, Sean and I both take a break. Most weekends, we carve out a chunk of time to hang out and do the deed. We are truthfully sharing this because it’s essential to see where that factors into our life. Most nights during the week, we have zero energy for it, so we make up for it on the weekends.
This is admittedly my least favorite time of day. Though that is common, I tried to get through it in one piece during this time. I would typically take the kids outside if it weren’t rainy or freezing. That always helped improve everyone’s mood, and I highly recommend it. I would also start dinner if the kids weren’t too crabby or clingy.
At 5pm, I would put on the t.v. for the kids and make dinner. Sometimes I would get started a little earlier, like 4:30. Many SAHMs do dinner prep in the morning, and it dramatically reduces their evening stress level. But I was never able to get into that routine. These days I’m typically making an adult dinner and a kid dinner. I serve my kids around 5pm and my husband when he gets home at 5:30p.
Kid’s Bedtime Routine
This is usually where I lose most people, so buckle up. By 6pm, I clock out for the day. Sean is on duty, and I do not exist. I have pulled an almost 12-hour shift and have nothing left to give. Sean is the one who bathes the kids and puts them to bed. I retreat downstairs to work on the blog or meet up with a friend about once a week for dinner.
After the kids are in bed, Sean and I hang out for a bit. We either watch a show together or catch up. A couple of night’s a week, he plays video games with friends online, so I watch a show myself. We like having designated nights to do our own thing, especially since we only share a few hobbies.
Full disclaimer, this next part is atypical. At 9p, I get up and go to bed without doing any chores or cleaning. Sean cleans up the house and does the dishes before bed. Sometimes if the house is trashed, I pitch in a bit. But most nights, he handles it by himself. He recognizes that I’ve been cleaning all day, which is his contribution. I wake up to a clean house and he doesn’t ever worry about the mornings. He sleeps until his alarm goes off, gets ready for work, and heads out. This is how we’ve divided the job, so we don’t hate each other, and it’s fantastic.
Tips for Creating Your Stay-at-Home Mom Schedule
Before you start creating your own schedule, read through my tips to get off on the right foot. Remember, you can always alter things as you go. You might find that keeping a schedule isn’t for you and go back to winging it. The best schedule for you as a SAHM is the one that makes you feel peace and happiness.
One of the most important things to do when creating your schedule is to set boundaries. First, by deciding what tasks you’ll take on by yourself during the day. Next, dividing the remaining tasks between you and your partner. You can divide and conquer these on nights and weekends.
Dividing the responsibilities up and having honest conversations with your partner are crucial in not burning out as a SAHM. You should also be okay with B- work and not expect everything to be perfectly in place at all times.
Setting boundaries will help keep your schedule from becoming too rigid or overwhelming. It also helps prevent burnout by ensuring that tasks are completed efficiently and within a reasonable timeframe.
Nap Time Boundaries
An area of a SAHM’s daily life that often gets bogged down is nap time. Most SAHMs think they should be productive all day and do chores during nap. I’m afraid I have to disagree. Naptime should be used for personal time.
It would be best if you got a break in your day to do whatever you want to relax. Putting this quiet time for yourself into your daily routine will not only help you from becoming burnt out as a stay-at-home mom, but it will also help you to be a more patient and happier mom. No one can go for twelve hours straight with a teething baby and rambunctious toddler without taking a couple of hours to reset.
A good stay at home mom schedule will allow for breaks for mom throughout the day. If you have older kids who no longer nap, orchestrate a “quiet time” where they can watch a show, play independently or read. Independent play is something millennial moms tend to consider a cop-out of parenting. This couldn’t be further from the truth! Research has shown that kids need independent play time to advance their emotional, social, cognitive, and physical development.
Just like a working mom would get a lunch or coffee break throughout the day, that’s what a naptime break should be for stay-at-home moms. If your baby takes excellent naps and you would feel better getting some of your to-do lists crossed off without them underfoot, go for it. Just be sure to take your break first, and then you can return to your daily tasks. If the baby wakes up early, you still have time to relax. The house chores can wait on those days.
Creating an effective schedule starts by setting goals and priorities for yourself. Yes, even SAHMs should have goals! Think about the most important things to you and set aside time each day or week to work on them. This could include taking time for self-care, growing your blog, or working on a hobby without feeling guilty about it! It can also include organizing the laundry room, getting into meal planning, or rearranging your kid’s bedrooms. You can take stock of the tasks needed to reach these goals, then prioritize them from the essential down.
A creative outlet can do wonders for a stay at home moms mental health. If you enjoy scrapbooking, drawing, or needle-point, making goals around these activities can be fulfilling, especially when you have young children. Other important things you can set goals around might be exercise, getting a good night’s sleep, or making time for friends.
Remember to consider these goals and add time to work on them when making your daily schedule. You can keep it flexible by calling these time blocks “working towards my goals” so that whatever more significant projects you happen to be working on can get a slot in your routine. This is a great way to stay consistent and not feel boxed in by your schedule.
Prioritize Your Tasks
When creating your flexible stay at home mom schedule, it’s essential to prioritize your tasks to know which ones need to be done first and which ones can wait until later. This will help ensure that the most important tasks aren’t forgotten in the shuffle and are done promptly. Additionally, this will help keep your focus on getting things done without feeling overwhelmed by multiple tasks at once.
Schedule Fun Time Too!
It’s also essential to schedule some fun time for yourself and your family during the week. This could be anything from getting a babysitter so you can work on your favorite hobby or get dinner with friends and family. Having some fun activities planned will ensure that you take a break from all of the stress of everyday life and enjoy quality time with those who matter most to you. When you have younger kids, this step might seem the most difficult to do, but this is also when it’s the most crucial!
Look in your budget for even $20 a month to pay a mother’s helper to give you a break one afternoon. Once you experience this bliss, it will inspire you to find ways to fund this extra cost. If you are trying to remember the last time you got a break from your kids during the week, scheduling some fun should be at the top of your priority list. Remember that your family’s needs are not more important than your personal needs.
It’s easy to make lofty goals and plans, but if they are too ambitious, they may become overwhelming instead of motivating. Be realistic when planning your day—if it takes two hours to get everyone ready in the morning, don’t plan out 15 different tasks before lunchtime! Instead, try breaking down larger tasks into smaller chunks, making them more manageable and spread over several days.
Creating a schedule doesn’t mean that it needs to be rigidly followed all the time—remember that life happens! If something comes up unexpectedly or you need more flexibility one day, don’t be afraid to give yourself a break. Celebrate small victories and reward yourself when you complete something challenging. This will help keep you motivated and on track with your goals without feeling like every day is an uphill battle.
One of my favorite things to do is go to a spa about 30 minutes from my house. It’s the perfect reward when I want to complete a goal. For about $100, I can spend a few hours in the hot tub, steam room and sauna and follow it up with a stunning pedicure.
Going to spa might not be an ideal reward for you, but take some time to think about what would be. Then take action to make it happen several times a year. You deserve it.
How do stay-at-home moms schedule the day?
Scheduling your day as a stay-at-home mom can be a challenge, but it’s entirely possible to create a mom schedule that allows you to clean your house, take your kids to activities and still find some time for yourself. To maximize their day, moms should start early and build into their mom schedule the time they need to do the top three priorities for the day.
Whether it’s laundry, cleaning the bathroom, or returning library books, write a priority list first thing in the morning so you get done what you want to get done. It’s easy to let the day get away from you with menial tasks and never get to your actual to-do list. Once you finish your top three priorities, build the rest of your day around things you’d like to do.
When tackling activities like errands or taking the kids from one place to another, try combining both tasks, so mom has more time for herself. You may have to run to the grocery store, which is a couple of blocks from your favorite fenced-in toddler park. Make a plan to go to the park, tire out your kids, and then do a grocery run.
Lastly, mom needs to set together some dedicated me-time in her schedule every day; whether going for a walk or having a coffee break, be sure to do something that makes mom happy. Don’t let that fall to the wayside just because you think you should get more done. Rest should be on your daily to-do list.
Sample Daily Task Blocking
- Before 10am: Top 3 Priorities
- 10a-Noon: Errands and Outings
- Noon-3p: Nap/Rest Time
- 3p-Dinnertime: Entertain Kid and Dinner
How do stay-at-home moms survive?
Thriving as a stay-at-home mom and enjoying daily life doesn’t have to be an impossible task. It requires commitment and balance, but the rewards are innumerable. Whether you’re cooking, cleaning, playing with the kids, or just trying to squeeze in some ‘me time,’ staying present in each moment can be vital in helping avoid any feelings of burnout.
Taking walks around your neighborhood or a few minutes of meditation can also help clear your mind so that you can appreciate all the small moments of joy that make parenting rewarding. With organization and self-care as its cornerstones, you can develop healthy strategies for navigating your home life and find success as a stay-at-home mom!
If you’re wondering how you can practice self-care as a mom, definitely check out my podcast, The Undomestic Mom Podcast, where I help moms carve out more time for themselves by doing less and expecting more.
What should a stay-at-home mom do all day?
The first step to answering this question is to think about why you decided to be a stay at home mom in the first place. If you chose this path because you wanted to be around your kids to witness their firsts, your day would probably consist of a lot of time with them. The most important things in your schedule are going to mommy and me classes, hosting play dates, and going to the library and zoo.
If you are staying home with your kids temporarily or because you didn’t make enough money to cover the cost of childcare, your day may look different. You probably value a clean house and having a productive day. This means a typical day for you might be following a cleaning schedule and grocery shopping every week. You might not love much free time in your stay-at-home mom routine, and that’s okay.
If you decided to stay home with your baby because you are a new mom and didn’t know what would feel right or be suitable for your entire family, you can play around with a stay-at-home mom schedule and keep tweaking it until it feels right.
Every family is different, but first, I’ll show you my schedule as a stay-at-home mom when I had babies and toddlers with no kids at school to pick up. I had an outline for the day, but it was very flexible, and I never put concrete times for each time block to start or stop. But I’ll give you the approximate times for each block.
What time should a stay-at-home mom wake up?
As a stay-at-home mom, there are a few things you need to consider when determining your wake-up time. First, think about what time your kids wake up. If they’re early risers, you may want to get up before them so you can start the day on the right foot by drinking some coffee and writing your top three priority list before they wake up.
However, if you have a baby who is waking for night feeds or may a toddler going through a sleep regression impacting your sleep, I suggest making sleep a priority and sleeping until they wake up. Once sleep habits are back to normal, you can reassess.
Next, consider when you need to start getting ready for the day. If you have errands or appointments to keep, you’ll need to factor that in. Lastly, think about how much sleep you need. Everyone’s bodies are different and require different amounts of sleep. Consider how well you function on different amounts of sleep before deciding.
How many hours is a stay-at-home mom?
My SAHM duties run parallel to my husband’s work schedule. A typical day with my kids is from 6:30a to 5:30p – 11 hours. My husband has no responsibilities with the kids until he gets home from work around 5:30p. He takes over, and I can get a break at that time.
Now, this will vary for every family and their partner’s schedule, but you shouldn’t feel you need to do all the childcare and housework just because you stay home and don’t bring in a paycheck.
Keep Your Stay at Home Mom Schedule Simple
Creating a flexible stay-at-home mom schedule doesn’t have to feel restricting or overwhelming; it just takes a little bit of planning ahead of time so that everything runs smoothly throughout the week.
By setting boundaries, prioritizing tasks, and making sure to schedule some fun activities into your routine, you’ll be able to create a schedule that allows you plenty of freedom while still being productive and efficient with your day-to-day activities. With these tips in mind, stay-at-home moms everywhere can find balance in their busy lives!
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Taran is a self-proclaimed undomestic mom. She thrives as a stay-at-home-mom by consistently carving out time for herself and practicing realistic self-care. As a busy mom of 3, she knows that if mama ain’t happy, nobody’s happy! With a focus on how SAHMs can carve out time for themselves everyday, she teaches fellow SAHMs how they can do the same.