I know that this is not the case for every mom, but for me, becoming a stay at home mom was a fulfillment of a dream that I had for a long, long time. I loved being a preschool teacher for many years… but once I had my own kids, all I wanted was to be with them. I didn’t want to miss a moment of their little years.
When I finally took the plunge into stay at home motherhood almost a year ago, I had absolutely no idea what I was in for! Only a stay at home mom can tell you how entirely possible it is to be at home ALL DAY, and still not be able to get one. single. thing. done. Am I right?
Being a stay at home mom is emotionally and physically draining. Our children need us seemingly every moment. Most SAHMs wouldn’t trade the experience of staying home with their kids for the world, and yet they are functioning in “burnout” mode almost every day.
What’s the secret to finding happiness and contentment as a stay at home mom? For me, it was finding a daily system and rhythm that worked for me.
A while back, I posted the perfect daily and weekly 2-4 year old schedule for kids. The response to this post has been so incredibly positive, that I wanted to share the flip side to that schedule: the daily rhythm that will help MOM reach her full potential.
For me, this is so much more than just another “SAHM schedule.” Finding your rhythm and balance as a mother is all about figuring out the best way to bring order to your home and peace to your mind.
What works for me may not work for you. BUT I’m certain that this post will give you some good ideas to get you started!
Figure Out Your Top 4 Daily Priorities
There are only 24 hours in the day, so you need to look at your top 4 DAILY priorities and focus your time and energy there, first. These are the “non-negotiable” parts of your day. These are the things that keep your home and family moving in a positive way. Here are my top 4 daily priorities:
- Daily household maintenance (dishes, laundry, & cooking meals)
- Quality time with the kids & hubby
- Writing (for this space!)
Some other things that you might prioritize could be exercising, reading, or other business endeavors. Remember, you always make time for something if you consider it a priority!
Find your most productive time of day
Some moms work better in the early mornings, while others are night owls. When thinking about your daily schedule it’s important to consider what times of day you are most productive.
For me, I find that I do my best “brain work” (ie writing & other business related work) in the morning and afternoon. By night-time my brain has little energy left, so I purposefully save tasks that don’t require any mental energy (ie folding laundry and loading the dishwasher) for nightime.
Find Pockets in Your Day
Start by thinking about your child’s daily schedule. What time do they wake up? Can you possibly get up a little earlier than them in order to plug in some time for one of your top priorities?
Does your child still nap? If not, can you create a midday “rest time” in order to help you squeeze in an hour of something you need to get done?
What things can you do while your children are awake and playing nearby? What tasks need your complete focus?
I’ve found that the best “pockets” of my day are in the early mornings (5:30-6:30am), naptime (1-2:30pm), and after bedtime (7:30pm). I can also usually squeeze something small in when the baby is having her morning nap (around 9-10am) and my 3 year old is playing with his toys.
Start Your Rhythm and Adjust as Needed
Here’s the exact system that has been working for me in order to squeeze in all of my top 4 priorities into the waking hours of the day.
6:00- 7:00am: Wake & pray (Plus toss in a load of laundry before the kids wake up)
7:00-7:30: Kids wake, we have breakfast together
7:30-8:00: Kids play independently while I do dishes (I unload the CLEAN dishes from the dishwasher and load up the breakfast dishes, if time allows)
8:00-9:00: Get everyone dressed & ready, play together (Switch the laundry to the dryer)
9:00-11:00: Get out of the house! (Run errands, go to the park or do library storytime)
11:00-11:45: Lunch and Lunch clean-up (Get all dirty dishes into dishwasher if possible)
12:00-2:30: NAP TIME which also means GO-TIME for work (This is when I do most of my writing & any other tasks that require my total focus)
2:30-3:00: Snack and Reading Time (We share a snack and read books for some nice quality time together)
3:00 – 4:00: Outdoor play or park time
4:00-5:00: Independent play while I prep dinner (Whenever possible I try to let the kids help with dinner prep, but most of the time it’s just cooking and managing chaos all around me)
5:00-6:00: Family Dinner Time
6:00-6:45: Family Play Time (Dad plays with the kids while I clean up dinner and start the full dishwasher)
6:45-7:30: Bedtime routine, goodnight books, and prayers
7:30-:800: Kids are in bed, I fold laundry
8:00-9:00: Quality time with my husband (or power work hour if he’s busy)
9:00-10:00: This is when I usually unwind, call my mom, go on social media or relax
10:00: BEDTIME (Doesn’t always happen this early, but it’s what I aim for!)
More Tips for Success
Don’t Get Wrapped up In Exact Times
I gave you the exact times of my schedule just to give you an idea of how you might structure your day, but remember it’s more about rhythm than it is about rigidity. You can still be super productive even if you don’t stick to a strict schedule (as long as you know what you need to prioritize in your day)!
Think about What You Want Your Kids to SEE YOU DOING
I purposely schedule my writing and computer work during my children’s sleeping hours because I don’t want them seeing me on my computer while they are awake. Instead, I would much rather my kids see me doing household tasks like dishes, laundry and cooking (and perhaps learn how to do those tasks alongside me!). Think about your daily priorities and what makes the most sense to plug in during your children’s waking hours vs. their sleeping hours.
Don’t stress on days that it doesn’t work out
As I’m sure you know, days with young children *often* don’t go as planned. Kids get sick, there are tantrums and meltdowns, and sometimes we are just all a little grumpy. There are going to be days where nothing goes as planned. Give yourself (and your kids) some time to adjust to a new routine, and don’t let one bad day make you want to throw in the towel.
You got this, mama!