I am the wife and working mom of a 6-year-old (going on 16) daughter. I work four-10 hour shifts a week. Outside of work, I am a non-self-disciplined lover of Starbucks and naps, and my time management game is weak. Shrugging my shoulders with my palms up, I freely admit that I am a “Spicy Disaster”. That is until 2020. My shining goal for this year was to get my crap together. And that meant starting with Creating a Daily Mom Routine.
What I did was to find a system that worked for ME and circumvented my Multiple Sclerosis Brain Fog & Fatigue. A plan that allows me to be a better partner and mom at home. Because Work-Life I’ve got covered, mostly. I thrive off of routines. I am great at my job because it is heavily governed by routine. My whole day is based on protocols, because you know, hospitals are big on protocols! But, there are no clearly defined protocols or routines at home.
I mean, I know what I need to do and what I should be doing. However, I am easily distracted (shiny objects, loud noises, hunger pangs, sudden epiphanies, etc). I’ve clicked on many links to pages that promise to have me “Momming like a Boss”. However, most of them left me just wanting to go and take a nap. But, with a bit of list-making and a lot of thought, I put together this system that works for me and will work for you.
Parts of my Daily Mom Routine
My Morning Routine
A morning person I am NOT, so getting me out the door in the morning must be a quick, simple ordeal. Because I hate bright lights, I literally am doing everything in the dark, with nothing more than a nightlight glowing in the corner. My clothes (scrubs) prepared the night before, are layered in the order that I will put them on. I’m quick and quiet and will seriously hiss if anyone wakes up, turns on a light or tries to engage me in conversation before I get to work and have my cup of coffee.
First, I made a list of all the things that I should do before I leave for work in the morning. Second, I made a list of all the things I currently do. Then, I combined them and prioritized them. I left only the things I could realistically get done in the amount of time I had available between my alarm going off and pulling out of my driveway so as not to be late for work. The resulting list became my Mourning Routine. Your needs and limitations may be different, therefore your list will also be different.
I Start here:
- Get Dressed – Laying out my clothes is part of my evening routine. So they are basically ready for me to step into. And when you get dressed in the dark, that’s very important.
- Brush/Floss Teeth – This is the thing that really wakes me up. Its like my first morning meditation. The direction, number of strokes, hitting all the areas, etc. I’m weird, I know…
- Wash Face – A continuation of my morning meditation is my skincare. I feel like I’m putting on my face; my armor for the day. My morning skincare routine aids in making it easier to mentally transition from sleep to wide awake.
- Style Hair – Unless I have something fancy going on, my hair is usually in twists and only needs moisturizing. That I do at night and cover with a silk cap. So it’s usually a Shake & Go situation.
- Whisper Goodbyes/Give Kisses – I kiss both my husband and our little person, telling them I love them and I’ll see them soon. I never leave them without physical contact and an “I love you.” Knowing that I’m coming back to them can get me through some rough days!
- Grab My Lunch/ “To-Go-Bag” – The last thing I do is grab lunch out of the fridge and my already packed bag of necessities. Having everything already prepped, packaged and ready to go cuts out a lot of unnecessary morning stress.
According to my co-workers, my work-look is “Basic.” They’re not being mean, they are just referring to the fact that my hairstyle is not complicated (twists) and I don’t wear jewelry or make-up to work. So, I am not one of those chicks putting on makeup as I drive or during the first 15 minutes of getting to work. I also love sleeping more than eating and since there is only me to get together in the morning, my 30-minute Mourning Routine is, well…Basic. But it’s the first part of Creating a Daily Mom Routine.
My After-Work Routine
Unlike my morning routine where I’m the only factor, this one took a good deal of thought and fine-tuning.
- Transition – I leave the workday behind by using music, scents, or an audiobook to help transition my mind.
- After Care Pick-up – Just as I need a transition from work to mom-life, my kid needs to transition from school/aftercare (her job) to home-life. A hug, a smile, and a snack go a long way.
- Directing Zoe’s After School Routine – Another way to help transition and get a few minutes of quiet Dinner prep time is to for Zoe to do her own After School Routine. It’s all on the board, so I don’t have to remind her of each step. When she finishes a task she flips it over.
- Dinner/Cleanup – A meal that’s already planned & prepped for fast easy cooking is a must! Quick chores after dinner help with clean-up and give her something constructive to do.
- Homework Help – 25 minutes is about the limit for either of us. We’re both jittery and pulling our hair out after that point. Being organized/prepared so that it all gets done well, in that time frame is a must.
- Family Time – If there’s still time between homework & bedtime, instead of screen time, a good card or board game is a fun and nurturing interaction before bed.
- Bedtime – This is another opportunity for nurturing interaction with my little person. Storytime and cuddling is a great way to end the day.
The Amazon Alexa is a big help in this area because she’s the main one keeping track of time and gently reminding us to focus and keep on task. Remember, the kid is 6, and my own time management game is weak. So, the after-work routine is the 2nd step in me creating my daily mom routine.
My Evening Routine
After our daughter is in bed, I get some much needed time for my self. Right before I go to bed is when I focus on Self-Care. But before that, in order to launch the next day’s Morning Take-Off successfully, it’s imperative to get some nighttime prep work out of the way.
- Lay Out My Clothes – I arrange them so they’re basically ready for me to step into. That’s very important when getting dressed in the dark. It’s not cute realizing that your pants are inside-out AFTER you’ve clocked in.
- Prep for the Morning – Since I only have 30 minutes to get out the door, it’s super important that my lunch is already prepared and anything else I’m taking with me is in my bag/sitting by the door.
- Review Tomorrow’s Schedule – Audit the next day’s meetings, appts, errands, kid’s sched, and phone calls to be returned so that you are better prepared. It’s always best to foresee and change any problems than to be blindsided without options.
- Brain Dump – Keeping all of your should’ve/would’ves in your head before sleep can be overwhelming and paralyzing to your productivity. Put pen to paper nightly and write down your should/must do, need to, can’t do’s, etc. Clearing your head before bed relieves you of the stress/chaos that keeps you from a good night’s sleep. This article by Brighton Keller gives great instructions on how-to Brain Dump.
- Self-care – I saved this one for last. Not because it’s the least important, but because it’s where I get what I need for a good night’s sleep. I put away my phone, take a soothing shower and depending on the day I may choose to read, do yoga (deep breathing/stretching), or list my gratitudes/reflect on all of the things that went well that day. Essential oils and meditative music also help to sooth my mind.
A great Evening Routine will set your tomorrow up for success and provide a good rhythm to the day from start to finish. Who isn’t looking for a productive day with less stress, minus the anger and frustration?
At The End of the Day
Your Daily Routine may not be the same everyday due to schedule changes. But, a great routine gives you a feeling of control. And being organized will bring you more productivity. A great routine will create habits that match your family’s goals and aspirations while eradicating bad habits. Life changes constantly, so reevaluate your schedule regularly and make any changes necessary to maintain a smooth family life-style.
What are some of your ideas and tips on creating a Daily Mom Routine. What other Working Mom tips do you use? I’m always on the hunt for new ideas, so please comment in the section below.