A Realistic Daily Routine For Stay At Home Moms

“Are they twins?”

“Is that your nephew?”

“WOW. You’ve got your hands full.”

“It won’t always be this busy, you’ll see!”

When I was pregnant with my second son, I was constantly searching the internet for schedules. I’m a schedule person. I like organization. I wanted to know that I could get my two babies on an easy schedule to keep my sanity. I couldn’t find much to be honest so I figured I would share the schedules I created as the boys grew.

If you ask my husband I can be rigid when it comes to our routine but as the boys are getting older, I am learning to be a little more flexible. That being said, I don’t think we’ve ever skipped an afternoon nap to be somewhere or do something. It just ain’t worth it, ya’ll!

*Currently my boys are almost 2 and almost 3.

6-7 AM Wakeup, milk, change diapers/potty and make breakfast. Coffee for ME.

7:00-8AM Breakfast, get dressed. I will go wash my face, take a quick rinse off shower, utilize my capsule wardrobe and sometimes I’ll put some makeup on.

8-10AM TV/inside play time. My kids watch a lot of TV depending the day and I stopped feeling guilty about it a long time ago! I also utilize this time to do things like check my emails, write a grocery list, daily chores etc..

10-12 Free Play: this typically involves outside time, a snack, play dates, running errands etc. If we’re inside because of weather, I will fold laundry or clean while they play.

12PM Lunchtime (I let the kids watch a show in the living room while I prepare lunch.) This allows me to safely monitor them while getting lunch ready. Win win!

12:30-3:30 PM Nap Time! I’ve learned to protect this time of the day for myself and not feel guilty about it. I don’t do chores. I eat, sleep, read books, go on my computer, watch movies etc. Having this set time of day for myself has done wonders for my mental health!

3:30 PM Snack Time

4:00 PM Free Play

5:30-6:30 Prep Dinner/Dinner time

6:30 Bath time (twice a week)

7 PM Bedtime for the babies!

One of my goals every day is to have a tidy house by bedtime so that my husband and I can enjoy our small window of free time together. I don’t want to be wading through toys on the floor or scrubbing down a messy kitchen. I clean as I go and it works really well for me. I rarely sit down during the day except for when I’m eating or the kids are sleeping. I’m always thinking of the next small task I can be doing so that when I have free time, I’m not working. Multitasking is the path to more free time and a more simplified, clutter free home, I promise!

Our routine is always changing to fit our needs. I think the secret to a successful daily routine is being flexible and willing to adapt to your children’s needs as well as your own. Never underestimate the power of routine. I don’t deviate far from our routine because I’ve seen what my kids are like when we shorten naps or over schedule ourselves with outings. It ain’t pretty! I will always embrace some semblance of routine because it brings peace to my life.

What kind of person are you? Do you love routine? Do you live by the seat of your pants?

I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

A Newborn and Toddler Routine

When I found out I was pregnant 5.5 months postpartum, I panicked a little to say the least. Initially I was pretty consumed by morning sickness and caring for a baby at the same time. But what I was really worried about was how I was going to take care of a newborn and 14 month old, at the same time. I think it’s crucial to have a loose routine when you have babies in general AND so close together, to avoid burnout, worsen postpartum depression and anxiety (if you have those) and to maintain peace in your home. I know there are mamas who might disagree with me about routine but since I personally struggle with postpartum depression and anxiety, routine is a non-negotiable for us in our home. I need it to survive! There are a few things to keep in mind when you are creating a flow to your day, with your baby (babies).

What is the age gap between your babies? When Jack was born, Hudson wasn’t even walking yet. He started a few weeks later but having 2 babies who need to be carried versus having one who can walk is a big deal. It impacts where you can go, on your own with two babies, easily. If you are someone who needs to get out of the house often, you’ll have to think about how you can accomplish this with 2 babies that don’t walk. You may also think about how important it is to get your older one out of the home so they don’t go stir crazy. How will that affect your overall day? We are looking at daycare (literally right down the street) a few hours a week for Hudson, to get him out of the house AND to give mama a break!

Does your oldest sleep well or nap consistently and what is your plan to get the 2nd baby to sleep? Obviously, every mother’s dream when she has 2 babies close together is to get them on a simultaneous napping schedule. This is very good for a few reasons. 1) Mama gets a BREAK! 2)Babies don’t wake each other up! It’s a gong show around here on any given day but I find when I can get both boys to nap at the same time, they nap much better, much longer and wake up much more rested. We’ve been lightly sleep training Jack since he was 6 weeks old. But even before the I was already doing a sleep routine for naps and bedtime. Sometimes it works great and sometimes he only catnaps. What I know is that I’m giving him a solid foundation for better sleep as he grows. Hudson takes one big nap everyday. It can be hit or miss but 75% of the time I can get 2.5 hours out of him. It takes a lot of work to get sleep configured with 2 little guys and you can read more about what I’ve been doing in regards to that in an upcoming blog post!

Another thing to think about: What is important to you, in terms of the structure of your day? For me right now, I have super simple goals. Get everyone dressed in normal clothing. Get both boys to take at least one decent nap. Have my house somewhat clean. Have something for dinner, for my husband when he gets home. Naps and dinner don’t always happen the way I’d like them to. My husband also works late some nights and both boys are bed by the time he gets home. But having some simple goals help me feel like my day isn’t complete chaos.

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Here is an idea of a schedule that we loosely follow/adapted in the last 9 weeks.

6:30-Husband and I are up and getting ready for the day. I try to put regular clothes on every day, wash my face etc. so I don’t feel like a bum all day.

7-Dave gets Hudson up, changes his diaper, Hudson gets his morning milk while I do the same with Jack

7:30-Dave is off to work.

8-Jack is down for a nap (usually always an hour after he wakes up)

8:30-Breakfast for Hudson

9-11-Clean up breakfast, dress Hudson, tidy house, Hudson watches Blippi, plays or follows me around the house as I clean, fold laundry, whatever. I wake Jack up at 10 to feed him, do tummy time and tire him out so that he’s ready for another nap around the time Hudson is.

11-11:15 Hudson gets a snack and milk. While he eats, I get his room ready for nap as well as Jack’s. Sound machines on and room dark. While Jack chills in the mamaroo, I clean Hudson up, change his diaper and into his crib for nap by 11:30. I’ll change Jack, top him up with a bottle and rock him until he’s almost asleep. Sometimes I’ll put Jack down first if he’s struggling to stay awake.

1130-1:30-This is an ideal window of time for me to get a break. It’s not exact every day but I can usually get an hour to myself. What I do during this time varies. I rarely nap although I probably should. I usually eat, watch some netflix, catch up on texts, call my mom or tidy around the house. Whatever I do, I try to do something for myself!

1:30-Boys are awake. I change both and feed Jack while Hudson plays.

2-Hudson has lunch

2:30-Clean Hudson up, he plays while I put Jack down for another nap.

3:30/4-This is the time of day when things can get a little dicey. After this point, Jack usually refuses to nap and both boys get cranky. My goal at this point of the day is to get Jack to 5pm with a catnap so that he can go 5-6:30.

4:30/5-I set Hudson up with toys or Blippi and put Jack in the mammroo with me in the kitchen, while I prep/cook dinner.

5:30/6-dinner

6-7-Bedtime routines! Baths, pj’s, bottles, play, then to bed!

*If Dave is home at this point, he’s usually putting Hudson to bed while I put Jack to bed. If Dave is not home, I put Hudson to bed first, while Jack chills with us in his bouncy. Then I’ll do Jack’s routine.

75% of the time, both boys are asleep by 7/730 pm every night. Jack still needs a lot of resettling at this point but since he’s found his hands, he does really well at self soothing. Dave and I work together to stay organized and not have lots of work leftover at the end of the night. We try to make sure the house is picked up, kitchen is clean and things are ready for the next day so that we can relax for at least an hour before we head to bed. That doesn’t always happen and sometimes evenings are regular gong show where we literally collapse into bed exhausted. But I do think organization, thinking/planning ahead and realistic goals are super important when you are considering a routine with your littles.

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I hope you’ve found some of this helpful, especially if you are in the same boat as me, with 2 babies so close together! Do you love routine? What are some ways you stay organized with little ones at home? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

Newborn Sleep 101

“I’m never going to sleep again.” 

I have felt this way in the beginning with both of my babies! But it can get better.

 I wanted to share a little more in-depth about the things that have really helped my husband and I get our sons (and ourselves!) on a schedule when they were newborns. I consider a baby younger than 4 months to be a newborn. Doctor’s do not recommend sleep training until a baby is 4 months of age.

I have learned that the earlier you start helping a baby sleep independently the less sleep training you actually have to do along the way. So why not start from the beginning?

Here’s a few things that helped us along the way with sleep in those early months.

  • Swaddle, swaddle, swaddle. Newborns have the the startle reflex which will wake them up. That’s why swaddles are FANTASTIC in the first few weeks. Some of my favorites have been the Miracle Blanket and the Ergo Cocoon. Swaddling baby will help create that snug feeling of being in the womb and give you both more sleep in the beginning weeks.
  • White Noise. I hate sleeping in silence. I think babies do too! Also, my toddler is SO INCREDIBLY LOUD ALL THE TIME so white noise is necessary for my second baby to get any sleep during the day. I have this sound machine. “That ambient sound a baby hears in the womb – mainly blood running through your blood vessels and the movement of your stomach and intestines – actually reaches the level of about 90 decibels (about the level of background noise in an apartment next to an elevated train).” (share.care.com)
  • Swing away! Both my sons have lived in this swing which we bought used, for the first couple months of their lives. Praise the Lord for that swing. I recommend borrowing a swing or buying used in the case that your baby doesn’t like the swing. I remember one person telling me that it would be difficult to break the habit of the swing. Not true! You can decrease the speed every week and gently ween baby. Do whatever you have to, to survive these days. No one’s 16-year-old is still sleeping in a swing, seriously.
  • Dream Feed. Dream feeding is the act of feeding your baby, later in the night (but not too late) usually before you go to bed. It’s called a dream feed because baby is usually in a deep sleep and will not wake for this feed. It can help to fill baby’s tummy and give you both a longer stretch of sleep. This feed will be the very last feed you drop, when baby is ready to be weaned of all night feedings. Pam at Wee Bee Dreaming talks about the appropriate number of night feeding babies require for each age. Check it out here.
  • Day and Night Confusion. Help baby sort her days and nights, QUICK. Make it a priority in those first few weeks and you will find that you all sleep better. Lots of brightness during the day, open windows and don’t tiptoe around baby. DARK at night with swaddling, white noise and a baby cave that encourages deep sleep. Wake baby up every couple hours to eat, during the day. Let her sleep as long as she wants at night, unless your doctor has directed otherwise. You want her to take lots of calories during the day so that she doesn’t have to make up for it during the night.
  • Schedule. As soon as you can, start a simple schedule with your little baby! Even a basic, flexible schedule can bring some peace and order to your life. Rachel, A Mother Far From Home has some great schedules for babies, appropriate for each month of age. Remember, nothing is set in stone and every day may vary but having a simple routine can really help with peace of mind.
  • A Pre-sleep routine goes a long way in helping baby settle faster and sleep longer. My son Jack literally starts closing his eyes when I carry him into his room to put him down for a nap because he already knows what is coming. Lights off, white noise on, change diaper and put sleep sack on, soother and rock for awhile. At night it’s bath, jams, sleep sack, bottle, rock and night night! It doesn’t always go perfectly but I stick to my routine and he gets better every day.
  • Don’t keep baby awake longer, hoping for more sleep. An overtired baby will not be a sleeping baby. Catch baby before she’s too tired! Most newborns can only manage about 20 minutes to an hour of awake time in the first few months.

I’m not expert and I only know what has worked for my family. I wish you great success in sleep. I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

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