As a homeschooling mama of 5, I have had to become the kind of person that likes routines and schedules just to survive. My stay at home mom morning routine has evolved out of necessity. We now have relatively calm mornings. Mornings used to be my least favorite time of day! I will tell you exactly what we do, but I need to stress one thing. Please keep it simple, and do whatever actually WORKS for your family.
Related: Stay at Home Mom Cleaning Schedule
What If You’re Not a “Routine” Person
Listen, I am one of the least structured people that I know.
I’m also the opposite of a morning person. I used to think I was a night owl. It wasn’t until I was working full time, going to college, and took on a second job that I realized I needed to adopt some kind of schedule.
What works best for me is a list. Having all of the things that my family of 7 needs to get done brings me comfort and peace of mind.
More about my list ways later.
For now, just embrace the fact that you don’t have to be the type A kind of person that loves planning, routines, and schedules, to benefit from a simple morning routine as a stay at home mom.
It was developing routines and finally figuring out something that worked for my family that helped me to feel fulfilled as a stay at home mom.
I’ll dig into each of these a little more below, but my morning routine looks like this:
- Wake up
- Make coffee
- Look at my planner
- Empty the dishwasher
- Switch laundry from washer to dryer
- Set table for breakfast
- Make breakfast (if necessary that day)
- Look over the kids’ homeschool list and get a rough idea for the day
- Set out frozen items for dinner (if necessary)
After the kids wake up, we have breakfast then:
- Clean up the table from breakfast (usually one of my older boys ages 8 and 7 do this)
- Our 8 month old son usually wakes up sometime during breakfast
- Change the baby’s diaper
- Nurse the baby
- Launch into our homeschool day
Wake Up – Between 7:30 and 9:30
Yes I know this looks ridiculous. Sometimes, especially when we’re traveling, bedtimes go way later than others. You can read about our kids 10 pm bedtime here.
Since we homeschool, there are rarely days when we have to get out of the house at a certain time.
This means we’re free to live life on our schedule and sometimes we wake up early – other times we sleep in embarrassingly late.
My morning routine is simple and that’s why it works.
I’m almost always up first in our house, so I feel this pull to enjoy myself before the day gets started.
This first step is kind of self-care for me.
I make myself a cup of coffee and sit down to plan out the day. My coffee maker brews coffee ridiculously fast and it’s my favorite item in my kitchen.
If you don’t drink coffee, I highly recommend you have some sort of morning drink or snack that you look forward to every day.
A good friend of mine is LDS and said she thinks lemon in hot water has the same effect as caffeine on the body.
My caffeine-addicted self will probably never find out – but it’s worth a try if you also don’t drink coffee or tea!
Planning my Day
Usually I have some quiet time before the kids wake up to start drinking my coffee and work out a to-do list for our day.
You can read about my simple version of a bullet journal here. The gist is I spend 5 minutes writing everything down that I didn’t get done the day before.
I’ll also add anything I know I need to try to get done today.
It’s basically a perpetual to-do list that I have found to be the perfect way to keep track of everything.
I write down everything I want to get done, the next day I “migrate” everything I didn’t get done the day before, rinse and repeat.
Not a fan of bullet journals? These are the best mom planners that I highly recommend.
Why Using a Planner is Important
I’ve found that by just writing down the things that I hope to accomplish in my day, that I’m far more likely to actually get them done.
This is because they are at the front of my mind and less easily forgotten after all the distractions start.
Apps on my phone just never cut it, even though they’d be more efficient and convenient. I’m a paper planner girl.
Plus, I have all the guilt when I am on my phone around my kids. I have no guilt about planning our day in my planner.
Every day, I write “finish a load of laundry” and “do the dishes” first thing.
That’s because I know I’m about to do those two things as part of my morning routine and crossing them off makes me feel accomplished.
I’ll also write down anything else that I know absolutely has to happen today.
Today, that looks like “pack for Disney”, “pay water bill”, and “play Ticket to Ride Jr. with the kids.”
Plan for fun things too – don’t just plan for the mundane, boring stuff.
This is prioritizing having a fun life.
I also find that writing down EVERYTHING helps me to have less tabs open in my brain.
Like I don’t have to remember to play that new board game with the kids, I planned to do it and will look at my planner a few times throughout the day.
Now I know that we will spend quality time together, not just house tasks.
Laundry, Vacuuming, and Dishes
Next, while I’m drinking my coffee, I’ll send our cheap robot vacuum out to do the vacuuming for me from an app on my phone.
Then, I’ll switch my laundry from the washer to the dryer.
(This usually results in me running around the house looking for my mug of coffee and never knowing where I left it.)
Part of my nighttime routine is to always start a load of laundry and a load of dishes right before bed.
Then I go empty the dishwasher and set the table for breakfast.
When I have the dishes put away and laundry started, I feel like I have already done something productive.
Everything else in this day can fall to crap, but at least we have clean dishes to eat off of and soon we’ll have dry clothes.
I’ve noticed my stress levels are so much lower throughout the day when I get a plan and a few household chores under my belt first thing.
Breakfast with our kids is always super simple. Sometimes we have overnight oats.
Other days we have breakfast casserole. On a really lazy day, I’ll just give our kids a big bowl of fruit and some toast with either butter or cream cheese and call it good.
I find that the days we have oatmeal for breakfast, I have way less demands for snacks before lunch.
We always order 50 lb bags of organic oatmeal from Azure Standard, so we have TONS of oats. This means we end up having oatmeal at least 3 or 4 days a week.
If one of my kids is awake while I’m making breakfast, I’ll include them in making breakfast in some way.
After breakfast, it’s time to brush teeth, get dressed, and get ready for homeschool.
My kids are all in preschool, kindergarten, or elementary school, so our homeschool routine is super relaxed.
Every week, usually on Sunday, I make a list for each of my kids.
So for example, for my 7 year old’s list looks like this:
Math lesson 42, 43, 44, 45, 46
Language arts lessons 45, 46, 47, 48, 49
Relaxed Homeschool Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday (because that’s how they’re labeled)
Everything is already hold punched and put into his binder.
As long as these things get done this week (or at least most of them), I truly don’t care when they happen.
Sometimes we’ll do all 5 math lessons on one day. That’s actually usually how it works out.
He can do the relaxed homeschool stuff on his own, and we check off all the boxes.
Play Time / Baby Nap Time
Usually about 3 hours into our morning, our 8 month old has had it.
He is now a little too old to nap an hour into the day, but can’t quite make it to the afternoon nap.
I’ll usually nurse him down for a nap and get about 45 minutes with my other young kids.
While they’re having some free play or finishing up their Reading Eggs lessons on their tablets, I’ll check off other household chores on my list.
Usually this is when I work on my blog, grocery shopping, (delivery for the win!)
Why Our Daily Routine Works
The thing about having young children is that nothing is ever set in stone.
Going with this time blocks method and kind of sectioning off areas of our morning to accomplish certain tasks has made all the difference in our day.
Our daily schedule rolls like this whether we wake up at 6 am or 9 am.
It also ensures that we have enough time at the end of the day to spend as much time as possible together without stressing about things that didn’t get done.
If we start the day off on the right foot, we have a more relaxed afternoon that flows right through to our bedtime routine.
I’m a busy mom. I have a limited amount of time.
These simple steps have helped me to make the most of my days and give me extra time for what really counts.
For the most part, our days look like this every day, no matter where we are.
We traveled full time in an RV for a while.
We just got home from a month away visiting friends and family in Pennsylvania.
Our morning routine stayed the same for the most part, even away from home.
The Most Important Things
Finally, I want to leave you with some advice that I needed once too.
I needed a way to have a good day with my kids that didn’t end in fighting and more stress.
Despite the fact that I have always been anti any kind of structure, finding routines has been the best decision I’ve made for our family.
A good morning routine was a key aspect of that.
Now, I start my days feeling like I have things semi under control and have a much easier time rolling with the punches.
My little boys can wrestle and be loud and I don’t lose my cool nearly as often.
My little girls can do my hair and makeup multiple times a day and I don’t feel the pressure to go clean the house.
Now we have routines that help me to keep the house clean in the margins of my day and I have extra time to spend with my husband and kids.
Yes, this is just about morning routines, but the rewards have been exponential.
Take my advice and start telling your time where to go instead of feeling like you’re just floundering through your day. If I can do it, I firmly believe anyone can.