I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for almost 3 years now. I feel like I used to be so great at staying on top of things. And then I had a second child. I don’t know what happened in the 16 months he’s been alive, but my day had faded into sitting on the couch trying to make sure the little ones don’t kill each other. The dishwasher didn’t get unloaded until I couldn’t even get to my sink anymore. The laundry wouldn’t get done until I realized I was out of underwear and my husband had no work clothes. Dinner turned into, “do you want a piece of bread?” I had to do something, especially with another baby on the way. I had to come up with a schedule, but staring at my planner was not exactly helpful. So, here’s what I did to get to that point.
The first thing I did was make a list. Several lists. I love lists. The first is of stuff that needs to be done every day, no matter how small a thing it is. Yes, “feed my kids” is on there. I promise I’m not a bad mom and I remember to feed them; I mean, how could they let me forget? Things may seem small, but if you leave something off, you may completely leave it out of the schedule. The second list is weekly tasks like grocery shopping and clean out the fridge. A lot of things on the weekly list are cleaning chores. Finally, I made a list for monthly tasks, such as paying bills. Once I had all of this written out, I had a good jumping off point to make my schedule.
It seemed best to just go chronologically. When the kids get up seemed to be the most logical choice. However, I am not functional when the two year old decides to get up at 5:30, so I let her watch Curious George or Daniel Tiger until I get up at 6. Even that’s hard for me, but I feel more productive when I actually get up and start my tasks for the day. I took all the tasks from my “daily” list and arranged them on my schedule. I even broke some of them up, like laundry. I could put a load in the washer in the morning, change it out in the afternoon, then fold it and put it away after the kids go to bed. Make sure the order you put everything in works for you, and remember that it’s still fluid, if something isn’t working after a few days, change it up.
Once I kind of had my daily schedule worked out, I copied it over to a weekly schedule so I could see my whole week at once. You can use whatever works for you, whether that be a planner, a wall calendar, or weekly printables. I use the weekly calendar printable out of the Mom Planner from Clean Life and Home. P.S. — It’s a great planner and home organizing tool; definitely worth the money. Make sure and block out a time each day to do your weekly or monthly tasks, and be consistent. For instance, grocery shopping on Mondays and cleaning the bathrooms on Thursdays. If you have places to be certain days, make sure and add those in. I have a moms group I go to on Tuesdays, so the schedule is slightly off on Tuesdays. It doesn’t have to be the exact same thing every day.
Don’t forget to include your meal times and plans on your schedule. If you need help getting started, check out my post, Meal Planning for Beginners.
Tip: If all of this writing seems super daunting, here’s what I recommend: make your general daily schedule of the things that won’t or rarely change (getting ready for the day, lunch, etc.). Write it or type it and print it off and post it on your fridge. Then, in your planner, write down the things that change everyday (kids activities, weekly chores, etc.). In mine, I just write out Monday’s schedule and then write “same as Monday” on most of the other days.
I work on my schedule every Sunday night. For the most part, it doesn’t change, but I make sure to add in one-off things, like doctors appointments. I also put in my husband’s work schedule since it’s constantly changing. Then I can rearrange some things so we can all spend time as a family. This is especially important since I wouldn’t be able to schedule in family time at the same time every week. When you start to get the hang of it, planning your days and weeks doesn’t take much time and you’ll get into a good habit.
We haven’t been doing it long, so our schedule will inevitably have a few tweaks as we continue. And that’s okay. Keep moving things around, taking things off, and adding things until you have a basic schedule that works for your family.
What works best for your family? How do you stay on task everyday?
Don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter to get new mom tips like these.