As a stay-at-home mom, I understand how hard it is to get things done, but many people don’t understand just how hard stay-at-home moms work.
It is a 24/7 job, especially when you consider that many babies don’t even sleep through the night. It can be lonely and isolating, especially if you have any resentment about the time your spouse spends by themselves outside the home.
Being a stay-at-home mom can be repetitive, and it can feel like you’ve fallen into a trap where you will never get anything accomplished.
I’ve been a stay-at-home mom myself for almost 8 years now, and while I’m not always perfect at keeping up with my responsibilities (especially the housework), I have many ideas to share with moms whose full-time job is to run a household and take care of the kids.
The Daily Routine of a Stay-at-Home Mom
Every stay-at-home mom’s day starts early. I always found it helpful to get up before the rest of the crew so I could have a few cups of coffee (yes, a few) and eat breakfast in silence while I read the news.
When you hear the sound of little footsteps, it is time to get the kids up and get them fed.
Babies in diapers need to be changed, and older toddlers and preschoolers will need to be taken to the bathroom.
You might also need to change the bed sheets if your little one is in the middle of potty training.
As for food, it’s important for your kids to eat a good breakfast and build the habit of not skipping the first meal of the day — you would be surprised to know how many kids and adults these days completely skip breakfast.
It doesn’t need to be anything special — kids always enjoy eating cereal (try to make it sugar-free), yogurt, cut-up fruit, and toast.
Once everyone eats their breakfast, it’s time to change the kids, brush their teeth, and get them dressed.
The kids may play for a while on their own, or you can try doing a fun activity with them like coloring or putting train tracks together.
You should have a little time to do the laundry or the dishes while the kids are playing.
When my kids were little, I often wore the younger one around the house in a front carrier or sling.
This kept my hands free to deal with chores and play with the older sibling.
After lunch is a great time for the little ones to take a nap. I will get into this a little more later.
When the kids get up from their nap, you can try a fun outdoors activity or just leave the house for a couple of hours.
A trip to the library or the park gives everyone a chance to burn some energy and get some much-needed fresh air.
If your partner’s schedule allows for it, hopefully, they will be home in time to help you with dinner.
Wrangling the kids and the food can be frustrating, especially when you have a variety of age groups to deal with.
After dinner, it’s time to take a bath!
But getting kids to wind down after the excitement of playing in the bath can be challenging, so reading a story in their bedroom will calm them down and help them go to sleep.
As a stay-at-home mom, I can tell you this is easier said than done!
My kids were difficult at this time of day, and I sympathize with moms who are having trouble.
Having a consistent routine is your best friend in this case, but it’s also important to accept that some nights will be more difficult than others — and that’s okay!
After everyone is in bed, the stay-at-home mom finally gets a moment to herself.
Try not to spend it all on cleaning up. Do something nice for yourself, like taking a bath or watching a few episodes of your favorite show on Netflix.
This is also a great opportunity to spend some one-on-one time with your partner and talk about your day!
As the kids get older, routines get more complicated.
They may include school runs and extracurricular activities like dance class or sports. My advice would be to keep activities to a minimum while you have younger kids at home.
Constantly running back and forth across town is exhausting!
But one of the joys of the kids getting older is them becoming more independent and less reliant on their parents!
But if you feel like you’re struggling in your day-to-day routine, here are 7 habits that will help get you back on track and make you feel more in control of your daily life.
These tips are useful for every stay-at-home mom, no matter how old your kids are!
1. Prep in Advance
Anything that you can prepare for in advance, do it.
Pack the kids’ school lunches the night before, lay out their clothes, and check backpacks for any forms, permission slips, or homework that may have been “lost” or conveniently “forgotten”.
If your kids have friends coming over the next day, make sure to prepare snacks and an area where they can have fun.
If you have a backyard and the weather is good, find some toys they can use to play outside (and this will keep the mess inside the house to a minimum!)
If you’re feeling really run-down and like you need some time to yourself, reach out to a family member who could take care of the kids for the day a couple of days in advance.
Usually, they will be more than happy to help!
The catch is that you can be wherever you want to be and do things that you like, even if you’re a mom, just with a little bit of organization.
2. Have A Meal Plan
Creating a meal plan should be one of your top priorities, especially if you have a picky eater on your team.
When you have a meal plan, you won’t have to waste time every day thinking about what you’re going to cook for dinner that day and then having to run to the store to buy the groceries.
Instead, you’ll be able to spend that time doing something you enjoy.
One thing that I use is a monthly meal planner. It’s a lifesaver and it’s quite simple to use!
Just print out a calendar and fill in the dates.
You can also add some features that are important to you like a weekly menu, a breakfast or dinner meal plan calendar, or a grocery list.
If you’re going to use this system just make sure that you have a pantry and a freezer that is big enough to store all the food in it.
Trust me, once you start functioning like this, you’ll have plenty of time for your hobbies and you’ll be a lot less stressed!
And last but not least, having a meal plan will save you plenty of money every month which is another good reason to implement it in your home!
3. Make Sure They Nap
If your kids are still in that phase where they absolutely need their naptime, try to follow their routine and be at home during that time so they can rest properly.
Otherwise, you’ll have to deal with an irritable little zombie who doesn’t know what he wants and will push all of your buttons in the process.
In most cases all toddlers sleep at least an hour during the day just so they can recharge and continue playing and exploring for the rest of the day.
If you’re lucky enough to have a child who sleeps for more than an hour you can use that time to tackle some leftover chores, for example.
It can be ironing that big pile of clothes, but you can also take this opportunity to invite a friend over for coffee or just relax and have some alone time.
With toddlers, sticking to a routine is key and will make your everyday life much easier!
4. Take Breaks
When the kids are napping or having quiet time, it’s tempting to use that opportunity to finish doing stuff around the house.
But it’s more important to know when to step back and take a break.
If you ignore your own needs and constantly prioritize everything and everyone over yourself, you might find yourself having a really bad case of mom burnout.
It might be hard, but you need to allow yourself to rest and relax from time to time — and don’t believe that nagging voice in your head that’s trying to make you feel guilty for focusing on yourself!
That’s why you should try and get out of the house by yourself at least once a week.
Having a little time to yourself to work out, take a walk, or just shop without kids in tow can be refreshing.
It’s surprising how much better you will feel with even short periods of time to yourself.
5. Involve Kids in Chores
Don’t be afraid to put your kids to work. It’s only fair that they help with the cleaning since in all likelihood they have made most of the mess.
Even two- or three-year-old kids can clean their own bedrooms and put their own laundry in the hamper.
As the kids grow, their responsibilities can increase and they can help out with putting away laundry, loading the dishwasher, or taking the trash out.
It’s important to create an atmosphere of teamwork in your home.
If your kids get used to helping out at a young age, there will be less drama when they are teenagers and expect you to do everything for them.
Plus, this will help them develop a sense of responsibility from a young age!
6. Use Technology
If it weren’t for the reminders and calendar apps on my phone, I don’t even know how I would ever keep myself organized!
Probably the old school way, with pens and notepads, but this isn’t very helpful when you tend to forget things!
Being wrapped up in the kids means that I miss some phone calls and reminders, but the calendar apps give me some sort of fighting chance when it comes to being organized.
Plus, it’s so convenient to take a look at my weekly plan anytime and anywhere, and it’s really easy to change things and add new reminders.
7. Take Care Of Your Budget
I love calling stay-at-home moms “managers” because they need to handle and manage so many things at once.
And one of the most challenging tasks is definitely creating a budget and making sure there is enough money for essentials and for personal use as well.
The most important thing is to decide how much money should be spent on different things and stick to that.
Most moms go by the well-known rule where 50% is spent on life essentials, 30% for personal use and 20% for savings.
Of course, there will be months when you won’t have any extra money to put aside but that is also a part of life.
It’s important to not get discouraged and stick to your budget from one month to the next!
If you and your kids have all you need for a normal life and you can save a couple of bucks from time to time, you’re doing a great job, mama!
The Truth About Being A Stay-At-Home Mom
Being a stay-at-home mom is a difficult career to pursue. There is a lot of pressure to be perfect and to devote every waking moment of your life to your home and to your kids.
But you shouldn’t allow it to consume your life completely — remember to find time for yourself and do the things that bring you joy.
That way, you’ll be much happier and your kids will benefit from your good mood also!
When you manage your stay-at-home mom life with a sense of balance, you will be happier, more relaxed, and more able to deal with life’s inevitable challenges.
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