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When we made the decision that I was going to be a stay-at-home mom to our little girl, I really had no idea what I was getting myself into. I assumed that the job was pretty easy because all I had to do was take care of the baby, right? Wrong! Being a SAHM is much more than “taking care of the baby.” A lot about being a SAHM is being a homemaker-making sure things stay cleaned and organized, planning meals, preparing food, doing laundry, running errands and just simply keeping the house running. Not to mention, taking care of the baby involves a host of different tasks. I’m feeding, changing, nursing, bathing, entertaining, comforting, and nurturing a little human being. And now that my little girl Avary is at the age where she is crawling, pulling up, and cruising around the house, our playtime has to be more meaningful and teaching and SUPERVISED. I have to teach her what is and is not safe to stand up on, what we do not touch, that we do not eat dog food, that we should not take the dog’s bed, that we cannot eat books or fuzz or the rug or DVDs. . . (ha!)
And what I have learned is, if we just wake up in the morning, with no plan for our day, the day is going to be very unproductive. I won’t be able to get chores done around the house, we will miss running our errands, the baby will probably act out because she doesn’t know what to expect next. It took me months to realize that what we needed was a routine and a schedule! Once I added this to our lives, everything changed! So I thought I would share with you my tips on how to create a routine as a SAHM + stick with it, as well as a glimpse at what our daily schedule looks like. I would like to preface this by saying, in the first 3 months of Avary’s life, we did NOT have a schedule. I felt that in those early newborn days, it was important for me to allow Avary to make her own schedule so we could get to know each other and she was giving me cues to exactly what she needed. We really started carving out a routine when she was around 4.5 months old when we began transitioning her from co-sleeping to sleeping in her own room and crib. Remember, you know your baby better than anyone, so experiment with routines and schedules and find what works for you!
Tip #1: Get a Planner
Get a planner, get a planner, get a planner! I cannot tell you enough how helpful a planner is in staying organized and helping create a routine. Depending on what you like, you can pick up a cheap planner from Target or if you want to get serious, you can get something like the Erin Condrin Life Planner or Lara Casey’s Powersheets. You can use your planner to write down any important dates to remember like appointments, work schedules, meetings, playdates, birthdays, holidays, vacations, weekly cleaning schedules, to-do lists, goals, priorities, etc. Basically, you want to write down anything and everything here so you won’t forget and so you can stay motivated to check tasks off your list.
Tip #2: Plan Out Your Day
Planning your day out is a great way to give your day structure, as well as productivity. I have often found that if I have no plan for the day, I end up getting nothing done. There is something to be said for predictability; it has its place. Some people thrive on planning out their day down to the hour. I personally am not that rigid. But, I plan our day so I know when we are having mealtimes, naptimes, going out, cleaning, etc.
Tip #3: Create a Baby Schedule
After you are past the newborn phase, babies truly do thrive on a schedule. They need the predictability and stability that a schedule provides. It helps them in their development to be able to learn their routine. When we transitioned Avary to sleeping in her own room and crib, this was the time that we started shaping out her schedule. One of the biggest things that I believe helped solidify her schedule was creating a stable bedtime routine. For us, this looks like:
- 5 pm: Dinner
- 5:30 pm: Playtime
- 6:00 pm: Winding Down Play/Books; Clean Up Toys; Head Upstairs
- 6:10 pm: Bathtime *(she doesn’t get a bath every night so on nights she doesn’t, our winding down play is a little longer)
- 6:25 pm: Diaper, “Night Night” Lotion, PJs & Nighttime Nursing Session
Once you get a bedtime routine down, you can start incorporating when baby needs a nap into your daily schedule. You also want to carve out times for play-whether structured (a planned activity) or free-play. I have also found that with a baby Avary’s age, she needs to get outside a couple times a day. As long as the weather permits, we do a playtime out in the backyard in the morning, we take the dog on a walk while Avary rides in the stroller midday, and go to the park or play outside again in the afternoon. She loves being outside and fresh air is so good for babies. If you want to see what our full daily routine looks like, a post on that will be coming soon!
Tip #4: Create a Cleaning Schedule
I don’t know why I didn’t do this a long time ago; maybe because I was working and just cleaned whatever I could squeeze in that day, but since becoming a SAHM, I have realized the beauty that is a cleaning schedule! I actually came across “Clean Mama” on Instagram, you can find her here. She has created a simple cleaning and homemaking routine you can follow weekly to help keep your home clean and organized. I love it because each day you have a different cleaning tasks. It helps so much; because, you don’t feel like you have to tackle one hundred different things in one day. It feels more doable with the one or two tasks to complete each day. She also has printables to help you stay organized in your schedule.
Tip #5: Take Care of Yourself
I am going to be honest, in the first couple of months of motherhood, it is so incredibly easy to lose sight of yourself when you are constantly taking care of another human being. It is so easy to forget to shower or get dressed or make yourself some food or workout. Every day looks different, but I learned that it is so important to take care of myself, my body, and my health. If I am not taking care of myself, I won’t be able to take good care of Avary. In this season of life, we just don’t have the luxury of paying for a gym membership where I can drop Avary off at the childcare and go workout. So I had to come up with a way to exercise when I was home with her. I was looking for exercises on YouTube that I could do from home, and I came across Moms Into Fitness. These workouts are designed especially for moms for strengthening your body postpartum. I absolutely love them! They have really helped strengthen my core, my back, and my pelvic floor. There are workouts anywhere from 5-40 minutes I have found. Honestly, doing something to get your body moving and working-even if it doesn’t seem like a lot-is going to help! You can find the Moms Into Fitness workouts on Youtube, here. Or you can purchase full length workout videos here.
Also, when it comes to nutrition, try to make sure you aren’t skipping meals or forgetting to feed yourself. I think us moms have our fair share of times that we forget to eat because we get so busy! One way I’ve tried to alleviate this problem is by having easy meals or snacks ready to go. I might make a batch of hard boiled eggs, which are great for breakfast or a quick snack. I also love to make my own trailmix with almonds, cashews, dried cranberries, raisins, and chocolate chips. I always have granola bars and fruit on hand. Another thing I love is putting dinner in the slow cooker in the morning, so I don’t even have to worry about it all day! Meal planning and meal prepping is another way to save you time in the kitchen and take care of your health. This is an area that I am trying to learn and grow in. Remember, when you take good care of yourself and your body, you will be able to take care of your littles much better!
Those are my 5 tips on how to create a routine as a SAHM. Being a stay-at-home is much harder than I thought it would be; because, it truly is a job and you have to be organized and productive the same as any other job. Creating a routine saved my sanity and made me feel like I was running our home well. I know everyone’s routine will look different, but what is one thing that helped you when you became a SAHM?