When you become a stay-at-home mom (SAHM), your life is suddenly completely different. Transitioning from a full-time job to staying home with a newborn is a shock to the system, and it can be tricky to figure out how to navigate it all. It is a big change, and the days can be long. Even if you’re 100% behind your decision, you may struggle. While many of the initial days after you bring home a newborn can be all about survival mode, soon, you will come out of things a bit and want to set up a routine to help you get through and make the most of your days at home with your kids. The best way to do that is by planning the things you can. Being a SAHM can have hard days, but a great routine will simplify things.
Here are some essentials to first keep in mind when creating your SAHM routine.
Make Sure to Get Enough Sleep
The first thing to consider as a SAHM is making sure you get enough sleep. Nothing will derail your day like being exhausted. You will be irritable and angry, and your mood will affect the entire house. Getting enough sleep will be key to having a good day with your kids. Of course, if your little one is waking throughout the night, do your best to nap during the day when you can. We know that it’s not always possible, but prioritize your sleep when it is possible. I know that it can be tempting to get up early or stay up super late to get things done or have alone time, but if you’re not getting enough sleep, this can potentially cause problems. Before setting time aside for yourself, do what you can to get the sleep that you need.
Also, make sure to have set nap times for your kids (as many as they developmentally need) because they also need their sleep and will get grumpy just like you if they don’t. Having rested kids will help make your day and theirs go more smoothly.
When to Take Time for Yourself
If you are getting the sleep you need, it can be nice to get up early and stay up a bit late. Just try not to overdo it. An hour in the morning to get a workout in or sip your coffee in peace and a couple of hours at night are probably enough. And if you need some time for yourself during the day, you can find it in small increments too.
Depending on the ages of your children, you may be able to get them up with an activity while you do something else. Having a set time for independent play is helpful. Another great time to get things done is during their nap. Again, if you are super tired, you may also consider taking a nap on some days. It just depends on how things are going.
What All Needs to Get Done
Everyone’s homes look a little different. How I split responsibilities with my partner might not be the same as you do in your home, and that’s okay. When organizing your SAHM routine, write out your responsibilities so that nothing gets left off. Some examples are:
- Kids’ morning routine — getting up, going to the bathroom, eating breakfast, getting dressed, brushing teeth, brushing hair
- School drop-off and pick-up
- Meal planning/meal prepping
- Nap time schedules
- Grocery shopping/errands
- Extracurricular activities — packing items, driving to and from, watching practice
- Paperwork/pay bills
- Pet maintenance
- Kids’ bathtime routine
- Washing/putting away dishes
- Kids’ bedtime routine
You’ll also want to list the tasks that you want to do throughout your week. Some ideas are:
- Alone time
- Date night
Putting Together Your SAHM Routine
Now that you have your list of responsibilities and things you want to do, you will want to focus on the necessary things first, which could change depending on the day or week. After you do that, you can fill in the extra tasks that you would like to do. A sample framework of your SAHM routine could look something like this:
- 6:00 am — Wake up, quick workout, and shower
- 7:00 am — Get kids ready
- 8:00 am — School drop-off
- 8:30 am — Go somewhere for an activity or run errands
- 9:00 am — Snack time
- 9:30 am — Baby’s first nap (do your household responsibilities)
- 11:00 am — Wake and feed the baby (breast or bottle)
- 11:30 am — Prepare lunch
- 12:00 pm — Lunch
- 12:30 pm — Tidy up and clean while the baby does independent play
- 2:30 pm — Baby’s second nap (do your household responsibilities, do meal prep, or have “me time”)
- 3:30 pm — School pickup
- 4:00 pm — Take older child(ren) to extracurricular activities
- 5:30 pm — Prepare dinner
- 6:00 pm — Dinner
- 6:30 pm — Give kids a bath
- 7:00 pm — Bedtime routine and put kids to bed
- 7:30 pm — Tidy up
- 8:30 pm — Have alone time or quality time with your partner
- 10:00 pm — Bedtime
- 10:30 pm — (hopefully) Asleep
Mapping out a general SAHM routine and altering the activities a week at a time will help. You’ll be able to see where these tasks fit in and then tailor each week for that week specifically.
Helpful Tips to Remember
What to Outsource/Ask for Help
Every family will have a different routine that works for them. Maybe your partner works all day while you take care of the cooking and cleaning while the kids are at school. Maybe you’re with your kiddos from morning until evening and need help when your spouse comes home from work. There are some days that I don’t get to clean or do the dishes, so my partner helps me and does those things when he gets home. Or maybe, you just had a tough day and need an extra hand to help get you through the rest of the evening. Whatever your current routine looks like, don’t hesitate to speak up and reach out.
If you are getting overwhelmed, it’s important to ask for help before you get burned out. Running yourself down to zero during the day isn’t helping anyone. You can outsource many things, such as dishes, laundry, cleaning, grocery shopping, and yardwork. Whether your partner does these things or you hire someone else in to help, taking things off your plate, if you can, will help you deal better day-to-day.
Balancing Kids’ Activities
As your kids get older, they may get involved in outside activities. These things could include sports, arts, or even playdates. It is important not to overschedule because you and your kids will get burned out. When my kids were babies, I thought we needed playdates every week, but I soon realized it was unnecessary. Get out when you can and when it makes sense with your schedule, but you don’t need to get out all of the time or every week if it doesn’t work.
Understand that Things Change as a SAHM
If there’s one thing that kids are, it’s unpredictable. It is great to have a stay-at-home mom routine, but sometimes things change, and that’s okay. If your kids need extra attention or are having a bad day, you may need to adjust your schedule. It is impossible to set things in stone with kids. Go into your routine with the best intentions, but understand that things may shift. Having a loose routine as a SAHM is necessary for your sanity, but remember also to be flexible. Schedule the most important things, but be understanding with the rest. Make sure everyone gets enough sleep and food, and things will run smoothly.