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How To Create A Realistic Stay At Home Mom Schedule With A Toddler

My stay at home mom schedule with a toddler can change from day to day depending on my daughter’s mood. Despite that, I’ve finally began to learn how to be productive as a stay at home mom. Here’s what I do all day as a stay at home mom with a 1 year old.

how to create a realistic stay at home mom schedule with a toddler

Ever since I was a teenager I knew I wanted to be a stay at home mom. I would watch The Real Housewives of Orange County and dream of sitting in my mansion sipping wine by the pool with the other stay at home moms while our kids played Marco Polo. 

Spoiler alert, that’s not even close to how I spend my days. 

With a toddler, you never know what personality you’re going to get when they wake up. Sort of like a jack in the box. They can wake up and be cuddly and sweet or they can wake up and throw 4 tantrums before 10am. Everyday is a surprise.

How to create your stay at home mom schedule

Having a routine will not only be helpful to you, but it will also teach your toddler what to expect on a day to day basis. 

To get started creating your schedule, it’s important to plan around the needs of your toddler. What is she already used to doing?

If she wakes up at 7am, plan to start your day before that so you can have quality time for yourself. Waking up before your toddler will give you quiet time to gather your thoughts and mentally prepare for the day. 

I start my day at 5am (sometimes earlier) depending on when I went to sleep and if she slept through the night. 

Here’s a few tips when it comes to creating a realistic schedule as a stay at home mom.

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1. Write it down

The best way to visualize your schedule is to write it down. I use time blocking to give me a rough estimate of the important things I need to get done and when they need to be done. 

Everyday I have ONE task that I have to accomplish before I can move on to any other tasks on my to-do list. I call this my Daily Bullseye. As soon as I hit that bullseye I’m free to start working my way down my to-do list. 

By writing down the tasks I need to get done I usually say, “oh okay that’s not as bad as I thought,” or, “woah that’s way too much I need to move some tasks to the next day.”

2. Create categories

Divide your daily tasks into 4 categories:

  • Must do’s
  • Should do’s
  • Would like to do’s
  • Delegate

Must do’s

Your must do category are the things you have to get done to either accomplish your goal or to make other things fall into place. Today, my must do category includes cleaning the guest bedroom that we use as storage until we have guests. My in-laws will be here tomorrow and if I don’t get that cleaned today they’ll have nowhere to sleep.

Should do’s 

Your should do category can only be started once you finish the tasks in your must do category. These are things that you should get done but it’s not as big of a deal if you don’t get to it. An example of a should do would be vacuum the floors. It’ll be nice to get done but if you don’t get to it today the world won’t fall apart.

Would like to do’s

This category are the things you want to do if you get done with everything else on your list. My want to do list for today includes:

  • Watch an episode of YOU on Netflix
  • Walk around the mall and see what new stores are there

This category is still important, but it mostly contains tasks that don’t matter at all if you get to it today or not. Sometimes, the tasks in this category become must do’s if I put them off long enough.

Delegate

As moms, one of our biggest pitfalls is trying to do everything ourselves and getting stressed out that we have so much to do. This category is where you delegate a task to someone else and get some of the pressure off of you. Have your husband load the dishwasher or hire a maid to deep clean your house once a month.

3. Be realistic

It’s tempting when you’re planning your day to try to squeeze in everything you’ve been needing to get done for the last 6 months, but don’t fall into that trap. Be realistic about what you can accomplish in one day with a toddler. 

Schedule time for you to relax as well because it’s not healthy for you to keep going, going, going without a break or any downtime. It would be even better if you schedule a 20-minute cat nap to help you re-energize.

4. Plan around nap time

When creating your schedule it’s crucial to plan around your toddler’s nap times or times when they get fussy. You don’t want to schedule a doctor’s appointment right in the middle of nap time and now you have a cranky toddler for the rest of the day.

If your toddler doesn’t take naps anymore it’s important to incorporate quiet time. This will teach her how to play independently and give you time to re-energize during the day.

5. Work with your body

I have the most energy in the mornings so that’s when I plan to get most of my tasks done. It wouldn’t be realistic to schedule a lot of tasks after bedtime when I have no energy and my eyelids feel like concrete blocks. 

Don’t force yourself to work against your body just for the sake of getting things done. When you’re working on low energy it’s natural to put in low effort and be less efficient because you’re just trying to get it done. By using your natural productive times you’ll be more efficient and get things done faster.

6. Be flexible

Being a type A personality and a stay at home mom is pretty conflicting. You’ve had to learn that you no longer control everything in your environment. 

This is why it’s important to be flexible with your schedule and plan for the toddler mood swings and your mood swings as well. One day you may wake up full of energy ready to conquer the world and other days may just be a Netflix and chill mood. 

Don’t be so hard on yourself and give yourself grace to not be productive every single day.

My schedule as a stay at home mom with a toddler

This is typically what I do all day as a stay at home mom of a 1 year old. Feel free to snag my routine and customize it to fit your lifestyle.

Morning routine (5am – 11:30am)

5am: Time to wake up! I brush my teeth and wash my face before going to the kitchen and drinking a cup of water with lemon. After that, I grab the baby monitor and head to the office to write in my gratitude journal and work on my blog. 

I turn on my diffuser and switch the essential oils I’m using every couple of days. During this time I write for an hour, take a 5 minute break, and work on other things for another hour. If the sun is up I’ll open the blinds and let the natural light in. 

My husband works from home as well (he’s a real estate investor) so he’s usually in the office before me. We talk a little and then get to work before our daughter wakes up.

7am: Since I know she wakes up around 7:30, I use this last 30 minutes to make some breakfast. Some days I watch the news, but most days I enjoy the silence. 

Once she wakes up, we sit at our breastfeeding station and I nurse her until she’s finished eating which is about 30 minutes. Then I get her in the bath or get her dressed for the day. She takes a bath every other day to prevent drying out her skin. 

I also take my shower and get ready for the day during this time while my husband watches her.

8:30am: This is when she eats breakfast. While she’s in her high chair eating, I’m putting away the clean dishes from the dishwasher and tidying up the kitchen (check out my simple daily cleaning routine).

9am: After breakfast, I start working on my Daily Bullseye. Today I’m cleaning the guest room for my in-laws, so my daughter will find random things to play with while I’m cleaning. Anytime I move she’s usually right on my heels so it’s not hard for me to watch her while I’m doing things.

10:30am: After completing a few tasks on my to-do list it’s time for a break. Blue’s Clues comes on which is her favorite show so I’ll turn on the tv for her. Sometimes she watches it and sometimes she doesn’t. I’ll give her a snack and we sit on her play mat until she’s done eating.

11am: I continue moving down my to-do list knowing that she’ll be ready for her nap any minute. I keep this in mind when deciding what tasks to start. I’ll usually sweep the living room, dust, or any small task like that. Something that isn’t a big deal if I get interrupted doing halfway through.

11:30am: She nurses again for about 15 minutes and sometimes she falls asleep while other times she’ll get back down to play before I rock her to sleep.

Afternoon routine (12pm – 4:30 pm)

12pm: Nap time! My daughter only takes one nap a day unless she’s really exhausted. This nap can be anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour and a half. She sleeps in her crib so I walk around with the baby monitor because she doesn’t cry when she wakes up. She usually stands up in her crib and I just happen to look at the monitor and see she’s awake. 

During nap time, I’ll either take a 20 minute cat nap myself or if I have something important that needs to get done I’ll do that. I try to use this as my time to relax as well.

12:30pm: After her nap I nurse her for about 30 minutes. We chill on the couch while both of us are still waking up and getting ready to start movin’ and groovin’ again.

1pm: This is when I start cooking dinner because we like to eat early since we go to bed early. She plays with the pots, pans, lids, and anything else that looks slightly entertaining. 

I also clean while I’m cooking so after dinner we keep our plates on the counter and use them again. After we eat the second time I put them in the dishwasher.

3pm:  When the food is done, we all sit at the table and eat. I try to make this a no TV time so we can actually pay attention to each other. It’s hit or miss most days if my daughter will eat or just throw her food on the floor for the dog.

3:30pm: After dinner, we all hang out in the living room. My husband and I play Mario Kart on the Nintendo Switch as our way of bonding. My daughter loves to cheer and dance to the music while we play.. 

Once I’m done playing with my husband I’ll get on the floor and play with my daughter or he’ll play with her.

4:30pm: We try to get out of the house daily for at least an hour as a family and do something. Some days we’ll go to the park or we may walk around the mall.

Evening routine (5:30pm – bedtime)

5:30pm: We get back home from our outing and watch the news while my daughter runs around. We eat again and hang out at home.

6:30pm: I’ll go ahead and tidy up the house since we’ll be going to bed soon and I still have a bit of energy left. I’ll clean the kitchen, her room, and put her toys back on her play mat in the living room. 

My husband works again, so she’s running back and forth from the office and wherever I’m at in the house.

7:30pm: We play Mario Kart one last time and then he gets her ready for bed. Since I nurse her to sleep this gives them some quality time together before bed. I turn off the lights in the house and get the temperature right because she wakes up if she gets too hot.

8pm: We all get our blankets and curl up on the couch watching tv. She nurses until she falls asleep which is anytime from 8pm to 9pm. Most nights she’s asleep by 8:30pm, but if she’s still awake after 8:45pm I move to the nursery and rock her to sleep in the glider with the white noise machine on.

8:30pm: My husband and I move to our room and go to sleep by 9pm.

Tips for a successful stay at home mom schedule

When creating your stay at home mom schedule, these simple tips and tricks will help you maximize your time and set you and your toddler up for success.

1. Early mornings are your friend

I’ve noticed that the days I sleep in, I tend to have less energy and be in a worse mood. Waking up before my daughter is essential for me to get in the right frame of mind to dominate the day. 

As hard as it may be to peel yourself out of bed, you’ll be glad you did it. Take this time to create a morning routine that gets you ready for an amazing day.

2. Create mini routines 

Throughout the day I have mini routines that keep our household running smoothly. My cleaning routine lowers my anxiety because I’m not overwhelmed by mess and clutter. 

Creating simple habits like cleaning after meals makes less work for you than letting all the dishes pile up.

3. Use timers

By setting a timer of 20 minutes to clean the kitchen, you won’t be as stressed to get things done and you’ll start with the mindset that you’re going to do as much as you can and if you don’t finish it’s fine. 

Find something for your toddler to do during this time while you race the clock getting as much done as possible.

4. Batch housework 

Grouping similar tasks that require similar tools will save you time and energy. Task batching works by eliminating the time it takes your brain to process that you’re doing something different. 

This would be like dusting the entire house instead of only dusting the living room. Or wiping down all surfaces at once rather than wiping the kitchen countertops and starting the whole cleaning process over in the bathroom.

5. Limit distractions 

The science behind social media is to keep us glued to our phones and using their apps. It’s created to be addictive. 

Try deleting the apps off of your phone or locking yourself out of the apps for a certain amount of time to make it harder to access them and be distracted.

6. Prioritize yourself 

There’s something about a nice bubble bath or a relaxing pedicure that refreshes your soul and makes life more bearable. 

Make your needs a priority

When you’re not functioning at 100%, your family suffers. You’re not the best version of yourself which means your toddler isn’t getting the best version of their mom.

Famous last words…

Creating a schedule as a stay at home mom with a toddler is only going to work if you make it realistic. Don’t overdo it and make sure to schedule downtime for the both of you. 

Having mini routines sprinkled throughout the day will help diminish stress and overwhelm. You’ll be able to take control of your day and be more intentional with your time.

Are you ready to create a daily schedule you can stick to? 

time blocking template

The FREE time blocking template gives you the framework to create a daily schedule you and your toddler can ACTUALLY stick to! 

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how to create the perfect schedule as a stay at home mom with a toddler

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