If you would’ve talked to Ashlei (me) 5 years ago, I would’ve scoffed at the idea of being a stay-at-home mom.
Me, alone at home all day, having to take care of a baby – yeah, no thanks.
And yet, here I am, about a year and a half into my SAHM status. There are good days and bad days, just as with any “job”. And while I haven’t figured it all out yet, I find myself enjoying it more than I thought I would.
Yes there’s a lack of daily adult interaction, toddler tantrums, and the sense that I’m forever in a state of dishevelment.
But honestly, the hardest part of being a SAHM, for me, has been getting into a routine.
As I’ve been learning from more experienced mamas – routines are your holy grail to keeping a level head with little ones – whether you’re a stay-at-home or working mom.
And I’m not here to say I’m adverse to routines. I love a routine – maybe even a little too much.
No, what I’ve been struggling with is finding a routine that helps me keep the house in order, connect with Mason, and still have time in the day to do things that I find additionally fulfilling (i.e. write this blog).
There’s been a lot of trial and error, especially over the past few months and I’m still not convinced I’ve fully figured it out. Notice I didn’t mention time to connect with the hubs that doesn’t involve zoning out on the couch watching Netflix or personal “me time”.
And from what I’ve been reading in my research – it’s never going to be perfect or something set in stone. It’s an every evolving process, especially as the kiddos grow.
But nonetheless, here are some key things I’ve learned – so far – that’ve helped me create a fulfilling SAHM routine.
How to Create a Fulfilling Stay-at-Home Mom Routine
Start your day before your kids.
I have tried several variations of this and have come to the conclusion that this will look different for everyone. But in general, getting up, even just 5 minutes before your kids, can do wonders in starting the day off right.
For me, I’ve found an 1hr to 30 min before Mason wakes up is my sweet spot. It gives me enough time to do a quick morning yoga session, a little meditation/journaling, and if he’s really snoozing even jump in the shower for a morning rinse. Just having that little bit of “me time” in the morning sets me up for giving the rest of my time and energy to everything else during the day.
Have some quiet/individual play time in the morning
After the chaos that is breakfast, I’ve found that Mason really likes to be set loose to run around and do his own thing for a bit, without much supervision from me. So I usually set him up with a few toys, maybe turn on some Sesame Street (he’s developed a deep love for Elmo) or other cartoon and let him go. This is the time I use to get daily household chores done and (if I’m lucky) put myself together a bit.
Followed by some interactive activity or learning time
After about 45min-1hr of individual play time, Mason starts getting a bit antsy and wants more interaction from me. This usually involves reading a book, doing some puzzles, or (as the weather has gotten better) getting outside to run around the park.
We’re also in the middle of transitioning him to 1 nap a day. So providing activities that are more interactive tends to help give him another burst of energy and get him through to lunch which is soon followed by nap time 🎉
Use nap time as “you time”
I’ve stopped using nap time as household chores time. Or at least I try to limit the amount of “chores” I do while he naps and instead use that time to focus on things I find interesting and fulfilling to me – the blog, work from my writing class, interacting on social media, etc.
I’ve found this to be especially key in having a routine/day that feels fulfilling. Otherwise I see myself as just a mom who cleans house all day every day, which drives me mad.
Prep ahead of dinner time
Dinner time tends to be a really high-stress time for me. But I’ve found the more I plan ahead, the less chaotic it tends to be.
My biggest help has been meal planning, that alone has saved my sanity.
Knowing in advance what is on the menu for the night, takes a lot of the stress off figuring out not only what to cook but how to cook it as well.
I don’t do much in terms of meal prep as I tend to opt for meals that are simple and easy to whip together in a short amount of time. Mainly because Mason tends to be really clingy and wanting of my attention around this time, and being away in the kitchen for an extended period of time chopping, peeling, and sautéing things does not fly with him 😅
Establish a wind down routine for baby and you
Everyone always talks about having a night time routine for baby, which I completely agree is important (we just go by the general bath-books-bed routine). But I think it’s just as important to have a night time routine for yourself.
I like to do a general pick up of the house, because I find it feels better going to sleep (and waking up!) with a clean house than not. It’s nothing over the top, just a wipe of kitchen counters, quick sweep of the floors, and picking up any toys that have been thrown about. It literally takes me no more than 15 minutes.
Following that I just enjoy the quiet either by watching some Netflix or reading. I don’t particularly like getting back on the computer, or even looking at my phone as I find it ramps up my anxious energy again and usually results in late nights. So I try my best to avoid it if I can.
And that’s it! Those are my key elements to creating a fulfilling SAHM routine – so far….
It’s definitely still a work in progress, but I do find myself feeling way more accomplished and fulfilled at the end of the day when I follow it.
I’d love to hear from any fellow mama’s out there (stay-at-home or working) about elements in your routine that you’ve found works for you.
Please share in the comments below ☺️
Thanks for reading!