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Being a stay at home mom with a baby can be overwhelming and time-consuming.
With so many tasks to juggle, it’s important to create an effective routine in order to maximize your productivity and manage your time effectively.
It takes some practice, but once you get the hang of it, having a routine will help keep things organized and give you more free moments throughout the day.
Many moms think they need a schedule to add more structure to their day, but let’s talk about why that may not be the case.
What’s the difference between a schedule and a routine?
A schedule is time-based and a routine is task-based.
An example of a schedule would be:
- 7:00 am- wake up and get dressed
- 8:00 am- eat breakfast
- 9:00 am- activity time
Meanwhile, an example of a routine would be:
- Wake up and get dressed
- Eat breakfast
- Activity time
A schedule is based on time and can be stressful when you have a baby because they’re so unpredictable.
You could have scheduled to clean the kitchen at 11 a.m. during nap time but your baby is fussy and wants to be held so now your schedule is thrown off.
That’s why I prefer to use routines to add structure to my day.
It doesn’t matter what time I clean the kitchen but I know it’ll get done whenever my baby takes her nap.
What are the benefits of a routine?
According to Northwestern Medicine, there are 5 main benefits to creating a routine.
1. Less stress
Too much stress can increase your risk of heart disease and have a negative impact on your health and well-being.
When you focus on creating routines your day becomes more predictable for you and your family which leads to less stress and anxiety.
2. Better sleep
A consistent sleep schedule will help you feel more rested and energized in the morning even if you’re waking up multiple times throughout the night.
Try going to sleep around the same time every night and following the same bedtime routine for your baby so both of you can have a higher quality of sleep.
3. Healthier diet
One common mistake I see people make is not planning ahead and rushing around to do things last minute.
When you fail to plan your tasks and meals ahead of time you’re adding unnecessary stress to your life.
Make time to plan your day including what you’re going to eat so that’ll be one less thing you have to worry about.
4. More active
Exercise gives you a much needed boost of energy which will help you cross off more items on your to-do list.
Plan your workouts ahead of time so you can be prepared and make time to get it done.
5. Establish habits
Once your brain gets used to doing the same things repeatedly it creates a habit.
The great thing about habits is that you do them on autopilot without even thinking about it.
One habit that I’ve established is cleaning the living room before bedtime.
After a few times tripping over toys at 3 a.m. while going to grab something out of the nursery, I realized we at least needed a clear path so nobody would end up in the emergency room.
Should I create a schedule or a routine?
From my experience, trying to create a schedule with a baby caused extra stress because I always felt behind.
But if you feel like you need to know exactly what time to do things then a schedule will be more effective for you.
How to create your stay at home mom routine with a baby in 3 simple steps
By following these tips, you can create an effective routine tailored specifically to your lifestyle.
You can use this bundle of daily planning pages to simplify this process.
Step 1: Determine what needs to be done
The first shift to make is realizing that there’s not enough time (or energy) to get everything done in one day.
Avoid falling into the trap of adding too much to your to-list and feeling frustrated that you didn’t check everything off.
This daily planner will help you brain-dump your tasks so you can easily prioritize them.
[Optional] Break down the task
Sometimes looking at a long list of tasks can feel overwhelming.
Always ask yourself “what’s the first step in this process” so you can simplify each task.
For example, instead of putting “clean the kitchen” on your list, you could just put “take dishes out of the dishwasher.”
This task feels less overwhelming and once you get started you may clean the entire kitchen, but that’s not the expectation.
When you start a large task with the expectation of finishing this leads to frustration if your baby cries and you have to stop what you’re doing.
But if you start the task with the expectation of just doing one thing it’s easier to get motivated especially if you get interrupted and need to try again later.
Step 2: Prioritize Your Tasks
Once you have your brain dump, go through it one by one and decide which items are most important or urgent.
This daily planning bundle includes 2 different ways for you to prioritize your tasks depending on which method works best for your brain.
These tasks should be placed at the top of your to-do list so they get taken care of first.
I like to order mine from:
- Most important task: the task that has to get done before I move on to doing anything else.
- Must-do tasks: additional important tasks that are a high priority.
- Should do tasks: medium priority tasks that will make the next day easier but not necessary to accomplish today.
- Would like to do: the tasks I’d like to do once all of the important stuff is taken care of.
By taking the time to prioritize your tasks, you can ensure that you are tackling the most important ones first and making progress toward creating habits.
Step 3: Map out when you’ll get them done
There are 5 triggers (or cues) that are effective in helping to create your routine that will eventually become habits.
This is if you want to create a schedule and get things done at a specific time throughout the day.
An example would be starting your baby’s bedtime routine every evening at 6 p.m.
A location trigger is when you do something based on where you’re at.
This could be every time you walk into the kitchen you bring a dirty dish with you to put in the dishwasher.
3. Preceding event
If you take an action after something else happens that’s a preceding event trigger.
An example of this would be picking up the toys once your baby falls asleep for a nap.
4. Emotional state
These are triggers that stem from how you’re feeling.
For instance, you may notice you clean when you get angry.
5. Other people
This trigger influences your behavior based on the people you’re surrounded by.
For example, watching cleaning motivation videos on YouTube could help you get up and clean your house.
Now that you know how to create your schedule or routine, let’s dive into some strategies that’ll help you stay consistent.
Key takeaway: Try using a mixture of these cues to add structure to your day and create habits you can stick to.
How to stay consistent with your routine as a stay at home mom with a baby
Now that you’ve learned how to plan your day and use triggers to complete the tasks on your to-do list, let’s talk about how to stay consistent.
1. Start small
Focus on the first step of the task so it doesn’t feel too overwhelming.
2. Set reasonable goals
Try not to overwhelm yourself with too many tasks or activities at once.
3. Make adjustments as needed
Life happens. Don’t beat yourself up if something unexpected comes up during the course of the day.
Simply adjust your schedule accordingly so that everything still gets done later.
4. Make Time for Yourself
It can be hard to find time for yourself when you’re taking care of everyone and everything.
But taking even just a few minutes each day to do something that brings you joy is essential for your mental and physical well-being.
Here are a few ideas on how to make time for yourself while still caring for your little one.
Listen To Music
Put on some calming music while you relax with your eyes closed or do something else that helps you unwind, such as stretching or yoga poses.
Listening to music has been shown to reduce stress levels and improve your mood.
Read A Book
Reading is a great way to escape reality for just a few moments and get lost in another world without having to leave home.
Whether it’s fiction, nonfiction, poetry, magazines—whatever interests you—take this opportunity during your break time each day.
Take A Walk Outside
Fresh air does wonders for your mental health. If possible, go outside with your little one and take in nature around you while getting some exercise at the same time.
Fresh air has also been shown to improve sleep so try to get outside with your baby as much as possible.
Even if it’s just sitting in the front yard that’ll still make a difference.
Do Something Creative
Drawing/painting/coloring are all great ways to express yourself creatively.
These activities have been proven beneficial for reducing stress levels & increasing productivity afterward due to their therapeutic effects so why not give it a try?
No matter what activity(ies) you choose, remember that taking care of yourself is essential for being able to take care of others effectively.
5. Take Advantage of Naptime
Take advantage of the times when your baby is napping by doing something special just for you or catching up on housework.
6. Ask For Help
Don’t be afraid to ask family members and friends if they can help watch your child so you can have some much needed “me-time”.
If no one is available, consider hiring a babysitter who could come over once in a while so you can get away from home and enjoy activities like yoga classes or shopping trips without worrying about childcare responsibilities.
Even if you could have a babysitter on standby once or twice a month that will help you limit stress.
7. Schedule Breaks Throughout The Day
It may seem impossible but try scheduling short breaks throughout the day where you focus solely on self-care tasks like deep breathing exercises, stretching/yoga poses, enjoying nature walks around the neighborhood (with baby in tow), indulging in aromatherapy baths – whatever works best for YOU.
This will give you energy boosts throughout the day and prevent burnout from parenting duties 24/7.
8. Make Sleep A Priority
Make sure that getting plenty of sleep is part of your daily routine.
Getting enough restful sleep helps keep stress levels low, which leads to more patience and better decision-making abilities as well as improved overall health benefits including increased immunity against illnesses like colds and flu viruses common among young children.
Try to squeeze in a nap each day while your baby is sleeping.
9. Take Advantage Of Online Resources
There are plenty of online resources available for moms looking for support, such as forums and chat rooms where like-minded parents share advice and experiences.
You may even find local meetups in your area where other moms gather together with their children for playdates, which gives everyone involved an opportunity to socialize and connect with each other while also getting some much needed adult conversation.
10. Consider Professional Services
If you’re realizing there’s not enough time to get everything done and you’re feeling pulled in a million directions it’s okay to hire help.
Whether it’s a babysitter, housekeeper, or therapist — asking for help is never a bad thing.
Key Takeaway: Make yourself a priority. You can’t save anyone if you don’t save yourself first.
What to do as a stay at home mom with a baby?
To stay productive, it’s important to create an effective daily routine that works for you and your family.
Prioritize tasks based on importance, break them down into manageable chunks, and set realistic goals for yourself each day.
Take advantage of nap times to get things done around the house or focus on self-care activities like reading or exercising.
Finally, don’t forget to ask for help when needed – from friends, family members, or even online resources – so you can make the most out of every day as a stay-at-home mom.
How long should a mother stay at home with her baby?
The amount of time a mother should stay at home with her baby is ultimately up to the individual and their family.
However, according to The Natural Child Project, you should aim to stay home with your child for at least 36 months.
During this period, moms can focus on:
- Establishing breastfeeding routines
- Creating healthy sleep habits
- Learning how to best care for their little one
Additionally, spending quality time together helps build strong emotional bonds that will last a lifetime.
Do babies do better with stay-at-home moms?
Yes, babies and toddlers do better with stay-at-home moms.
Multiple studies have shown that when a baby or toddler is cared for by their mother at home, they experience greater emotional security and attachment.
This leads to improved cognitive development, language skills, and socialization.
Additionally, research has found that infants who are raised in a home environment tend to be more independent later on in life.
Having a baby can be overwhelming and it’s easy to feel like you don’t have enough time in the day.
- Prioritizing your tasks
- Creating routines
- Making time for yourself
- Getting help when you need it
- Taking breaks
You can make sure that everything gets done while still having some time for yourself.
As a stay at home mom with a baby, having a plan is key to staying productive and managing your time efficiently.