This is a day in the life post showing you how a family of 5 manages to have two working parents with a child in school, a child at home and a newborn baby to care for.
Hello, as you may know, my name is Elizabeth and I run this blog. I actually run 3 websites which in turn do make me a full time income, so I consider myself a work at home mom. While it is true that I can work whenever I want to and I don’t have a boss with real hourly expectations, I do try to work for about 4-6 hours a day, even on the weekends.
I get asked quite often how I manage to look after 3 kids, run 3 websites and take care of the home on a daily basis, so I thought I would share with you a day in the life post.
Remember not to compare yourself to my life, not every day is magical and productive. I do have days where I get nothing done, it’s true! I am a productivity queen, I like to think, but it’s just not realistic for a busy mom to have her poop in a group all day every day of the year…I don’t want to go insane!
Self-care is very important in motherhood. If you take care of yourself, then you have more energy to create wonderful memories with your children on a daily basis, and that’s what life is really all about isn’t it?
A Typical Monday: Day In The Life Of A Work At Home Mom
On a typical Monday, this is how the day goes. Most of the weekdays go like this, and I tend to be the most productive on a Monday…which is not the case for most people, but I am not most people, I am me.
On a weekday we have one child going to school at 8 am (grade 2), one child who does not attend preschool and one newborn baby who also stays home with me. My husband is off to work by 5 am and comes home at 5 pm, so most of the day I am on my own.
This is the schedule without explanations:
5:00 am: Husband leaves for work
7:30 am: Get up and ready for school
8:00 am: Oldest goes to school
9:00 am: Baby naps. Mom work
11:00 am: Baby wakes up. Make lunch and tidy up
12:15 pm: Baby naps. Mom work
3:00 pm: Oldest home from school
4:00 pm: Start dinner
5:30 pm: Eat dinner
6:00 pm: Clean up after dinner
7:15 pm: Bedtime routine for older kids
8:00 pm: Kids asleep. Mom works 2 hours
10:00 pm: My “me” time…TV in bed
11:00 pm: Lights out for adults
This is the schedule explained:
5:00 am: Husband leaves for work.
6:45 am: Baby nurses and goes back to sleep. (we co-sleep so I stay in bed for this.) (PRE BABY I would wake up before the kids and get myself ready for the day)
7:30 am: Wake up my 7-year-old and help him get ready for school. We have a handy morning school routine that helps him do most of the things all on his own, but I’ll help with breakfast and lunch if needed. If I’m up, the baby is up as well since we sleep together.
**Mom Hack: Boil eggs on Sunday, and sub boiled eggs instead of a sandwich for school lunch – easy peasy.
Usually, during the morning routine my other son wakes up and joins us for breakfast.
8:00 am: 7-year-old goes to school. 5-year-old helps clean up the breakfast dishes. (For a free weekly chore printable template click here)
8:00-9:00 am: Play with 5-year-old and baby together. Magnet tiles, coloring, sensory boxes things like that. Walk if the weather is nice. Pre-pandemic we would go play at the library, have a playdate or go to the mall to walk around and eat pretzels and cinnamon buns. Now I just take a shower, have breakfast and play with the kids.
9:00 am: Baby goes down for a nap. 5-year-old gets TV time or video games. I get to work. I have a solid plan for my workday, so I know exactly what to do when I sit down at my computer for an hour or two.
10:00 am: 5-year-old has a snack and I like to make myself a cup of tea and then keep working. I like to get my 5-year-old to switch activities at this time, such as play on the iPad, build lego, learn on the leap pad, color or listen to some music and dance around. Something that doesn’t really involve my attention that he can do on his own.
10:00 am-11:00 am: Keep working until that baby wakes up!
11:00 am: Baby wakes up so I like to step away from work and give 75 minutes of attention to the baby, and my 5-year-old. We usually do a five-minute nursing session (she’s efficient!) followed by a diaper change and then we go into the kitchen around 11:30 to make lunch together. My 5 year old loves mac n cheese, grilled cheese sandwiches, so we just keep those basic things most of the time. I like to add a fruit and a veggie to the plate. My 3-month-old does not eat table food yet, but when she does, I’ll be making her lunch then as well and we follow baby-led weaning practices. Remember that food before 1 is just for fun!
I also take out some meat from the freezer for dinner at this time. I like to get my 5-year-old to help me tidy up the kitchen after we eat. He can wipe down the table and put the dishes in the sink.
12:15 pm: Baby goes down for another nap – this one is typically only 45 minutes so I get to work really quickly. My 5-year-old likes to sit beside me and watch me work, talk to me, or play on a device quietly. He is super used to me working during the day and I’m not against screen time.
1:00 pm: Baby wakes up and needs 75 minutes of playtime, so we play! I downloaded an app for my cell phone called “playfully” which gives me ideas on how to play with my baby based on her age. I like to do some learning time with my 5-year-old at this time too which can be as simple as singing the alphabet, writing his name on a piece of white paper or helping him practice his writing.
2:15 pm: The baby goes down for another nap – yes she naps a lot! They need at this age. I typically get my last-minute work things finished up by now, and then I’ll do a chore such as fold laundry, sweep the floors, or simply cuddle and watch tv with my 5-year-old. It all depends on how much energy I have.
**Please note: By now I’ve completed about 3-4 hours of work
3:00 pm: My 7-year-old gets home from school! If we didn’t get out for a walk in the morning, we take a walk for school pick up. My 5-year-old and 7-year-old like to play together right after school. They get creative and use paper and glue to make fun crafts. Sometimes they play video games for a little while together, I don’t mind, as long as they get along.
4:00 pm: The baby wakes up to nurse, and then I have to get dinner started! She will usually sit with me in the kitchen while I cook in her bouncy chair.
5:00 pm: Husband is home! Woo hoo. We eat dinner between 5 and 5:30 pm.
6:00 pm: The baby naps on my husband unwinds with a cup of coffee. (The baby usually naps on him at this time)This is when I clean the kitchen. The kids help me clear off the dinner table as part of their daily chores and then they are free to play together until we do bedtime.
7:15 pm: Bedtime routine begins. We have a solid bedtime routine that we have stuck to since our firstborn was 2 years old.
– Bedtime snack
– Brush teeth
– Read story
– Lights out by 8:00 pm
8:00 pm: I’ll usually nurse the baby and put her down for a real nap in the crib (after she sort of kind of napped with Dad). She will only sleep for 45 minutes at this time, no matter what, so this is not her bedtime just yet.
8-9:00 pm: Time to do more work! I’ll work for 2 more hours at this time of the day. My husband will get the baby out of the crib when she wakes and then plays with her for an hour or so until I finish my work.
9-10:00 pm: Have a shower If I still need one and get myself ready for bed. We co-sleep with the baby so I like to nurse her to sleep. By 10:00 pm she is usually fast asleep until morning time.
10-11:00 pm: I am still awake! I like to watch shows on my computer while I lay in bed with the baby.
11:00 pm: Lights out for me and my husband.
As you can see, it’s not a solid 6 hours of work for me, but it is 6 hours of work that I wouldn’t be able to do if I wasn’t organized.
My days are busy, I get tired. But tired doesn’t pay my bills.
As you can see, I can typically get 6 hours of work completed each day. Some days I only get 4, other days I can get up to 9! If the baby sleeps well, then I can work more. I also ensure that my preschooler gets my attention every day and I don’t have that mom-guilt about working at home. I can also manage to keep the house fairly clean, and dinner is always on the table by 5:30 pm.
If you have a work schedule to keep because your boss wants you to work regular hours and you have kids at home, you can try your best to create a schedule like mine, but modified to work for you. For example, I think it’s important to note that I play with kids during playtime, and I work like crazy when it’s time to work. I’m separating work and play completely. This works well for us.
I like to work on the weekends as well, but I try to keep the work down to 2 hours a day. My husband likes to sleep until noon on Saturdays, so I try to sneak in my work time when he is sleeping, the baby is sleeping and the boys are playing video games quietly in the mornings. I could spend that time relaxing in bed or working on house chores, but I enjoy my work, so I choose to do it then.
Create Your Own Daily Schedule For Work At Home Moms
I am a pretty organized momma and I cannot live in chaos, so a routine helps me actually get stuff done. Because being a stay at home mom with work responsibilities can be a lot, a schedule really helps keep things in perspective in order of importance.
Setting up some sort of structure helps keep the kids happy and healthy, and me sane and my coffee hot.
Once you set up a good routine, you’ll get into a groove with it all and know exactly what to do and when. For example, I use my evening time for working on my Pinterest Strategy for promoting my websites.
I also know that in the morning I am the most sharp and focused, so this is when I will do all my writing. I aim to write about 2000 words every single day, and that is about 2 hours of work for me.
If ever I feel a little bit draggy and not motivated to write, I’ll work on easier tasks, such as brainstorming new ideas, and browsing other websites for inspiration. It doesn’t have to be 100% productive every single day.
My motto for working from home is: do one thing each day to bring you forward to your end goal.
ONE THING. No stress. Easy peasy.
How can you create a daily schedule for yourself, read on!
Identify your main work time
Knowing what time of day you can actually sit down and work will really help you create your schedule and get into a work at home mom routine.
I know that my creative time is in the morning, and my newborns naps the most in the morning as well. This is why my biggest working block of the day is at 9-11am. Maybe you don’t have a newborn, and some of your kids are off to school at 8, so maybe this is your time to work.
Perhaps you have some time in the evening after your kids go to sleep, then this is the time you can use to work for a good chunk of time.
Pick what’s best for you and your family, even if just 30 minutes.
Figure Out Other Smaller Chunks Of time Where You Can Work
If you have an afternoon napper on your hands, perhaps you can squeeze in just a little bit of work time then.
Maybe implementing quiet time to your day can help you get an hour of work complete. Find all the windows you have during the day get even small tasks complete.
Have A List Of 5 Minute Tasks Ready To Go
Keeping a task list of things you can get done in 5 minutes or so is a good idea. Keep this list on a white board, or planner or sticky notes on your desk for easy access.
When the kids decide to give you a little space, you can get one thing done quickly before you get pulled away again. It’s better to know what that thing that you need to do is so you’re not wasting time trying to think of something productive you can do when you have a moment…because you can miss that moment entirely.
Squeezing In Chores As A Work At Home Mom
Chores pile up if not completed on a regular basis, and if you are anything like me, stress can be a huge stressor.
If you can keep up on top of your chores, your daily routines will be easier. For example: Throw in a load of laundry as soon as the baby goes down for their nap. Change the laundry over when the baby wakes up from their nap but before you go grab her from the room.
You can then fold the laundry together with the children and get them to help put the clothes away after too.
Incorporating kids into your daily chores will help.
Worried about a messy kitchen? Make sure you clean the kitchen right after dinner each day. This will really help keep the mess down. In the morning, you can always spend 2 minutes and rinse off the morning dishes to keep the counters clean.
Squeeze in other chores when you can, that is what I do, but I don’t stress about it. Things do get done, and there is more time in the day than I realize, as long as I’m not spending hours watching reels on Instagram!
What If The Kids Don’t Nap
I have been there before with 2 toddlers at home and no one is sleeping. Easy risers and no nap babies are tough tough tough.
You must teach your children to be able to play without your attention if you are wanting to work from home. Making money is a priority for me, so I found lots of different ways to distract the kids so I can work online.
If you really cannot work with the kids around, then you may have to recruit your husband as a full-time watcher when he is home from work so that you can disappear and have a few hours of quiet work time.
Doing Something Productive Everyday
While every small task you do on a daily basis may not seem like much, these small tasks do add up.
All the tasks you do on a daily basis matter much more than the tasks that you do once in a while.