A deep dive into a morning routine for homemakers: why you need one, how to create one, and sample schedules and tips for success.
If you don’t work outside the home, it’s easy to start letting things slide, sit around all morning, and all of the sudden you realize it’s lunchtime and you haven’t gotten anything done. This doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you, or that you’re naturally lazy. It’s just that your day has a lot of freedom, and human nature is what it is.
Another problem that often faces stay-at-home moms is this: you decide you want to start a project, so you go ahead and just get it started before you’ve gotten dressed. Maybe you want to clean your windows, so you figure you’ll just do it and then get dressed later. But it takes longer than you planned, and all of the sudden everyone wants breakfast. So you get started on that. Okay, back to the windows. Oops, the dog needs to go out. You take her out, and realize it’s 10AM and you haven’t gotten dressed and your neighbor is looking at you like you’re a disaster. But you aren’t! You’ve been busy and productive!
You just did things out of order.
Why you need a morning routine
The less structure your day naturally has, the more structure you have to give it.
The solution to this stay-at-home dilemma is a morning routine. It gets your day off to a good start, and just simply gets your day started.
You already have a morning routine, most likely, whether you realize it or not. Maybe you wake up, make coffee, watch the news, then sit around for a while until it feels like you’ve been in your pajamas all day. That’s a morning routine. It’s just not a particularly effective one.
As they say, first things first. Let’s discuss what exactly you should do to get your days at home off to a lovely start.
What should be a part of a homemaker’s morning routine
- Quiet time/ self care
- Taking care of your appearance
- Tidying your bedroom and bathroom
- Breakfast and breakfast dishes
- Taking care of children and their bedrooms
- Pet and animal care
- Ending the routine, looking towards the rest of the day, and moving on
You may notice that these blocks of tasks all take place in specific areas of the house. Self care is likely to be in your living room or bedroom. Getting ready and making your bed is in your bedroom. Kids getting ready is their room. And breakfast and breakfast dishes are dealt with in the kitchen.
To make the most of your time in the morning, deal with one location, be done with it, and move on to the next. When you go into your room to get ready, make your bed and tidy your bedroom. Don’t dash back and forth between the kitchen and bedroom and run up and down the stairs constantly. No. Stay in one zone, complete those tasks, and then move on.
How to create your own system
- Decide what will make your day enjoyable, right from the start. (For me, it’s drinking coffee alone and reading. I wish it could be something like yoga or journaling, but that’s just not me and there’s no use fighting it. Pick a different time of day to work on new habits!)
- Calculate how much time it takes you to get fully dressed, make your bed, and tidy your bedroom and bathroom. Do similar calculations for how much time you need to get your kids ready, deal with pets, and make and clean up breakfast.
- Add up how much time all of your tasks took. Do you feel like it’s too much time? Can you cut it down? Once the amount of time feels comfortable and realistic, write it down. (Ninety minutes seems to be the average MINIMUM that families need.)
- Decide what order you would like to get things done. Do you want to have time to yourself first thing in the morning? Or would you prefer to get your self and your bedroom ready immediately when you wake up, and then start self care? It’s up to you.
- Figure out at what time you want the morning routine to be OVER. In other words, if someone showed up at a certain time at your house, when would you be embarrassed that the family wasn’t done getting ready? (A lot of families feel like 9AM is a good cut off.) Subtract the length of your routine to figure out what time you need to be out of bed.
- Write it down! Stick to it for a week., and make tweaks as needed.
Need a little help creating your own?
Sample homemaker AM schedules:
This is a schedule for a mom with little kids and older kids. Her kids are in elementary school and preschool and they have no pets.
|5:00 AM||Wake up, coffee/ quiet time|
|6:00 AM||Get dressed/ do makeup, make bed|
|6:30 AM||Unload dishwasher, make school lunches|
|7:00 AM||Kids wake up, make breakfast|
|7:30 AM||Get little kids dressed, older kids dress selves|
|8:00 AM||School and preschool drop-off|
|9:00 AM||Come home, start rest of the day|
Example # 2
This morning routine is for a homemaker who has a home business, older children, and pets.
|6:00 AM||Wake up, make sure kids are up, get dressed and make bed|
|6:30 AM||Pack school lunches, check backpacks, make quick breakfast|
|6:45 AM||Walk and feed dog while kids finish eating|
|7:00 AM||Tidy up kitchen|
|7:15 AM||Leave to drive kids to school|
|7:45 AM||Return home, make coffee|
|8:00 AM||Have coffee and relax|
|9:00 AM||End morning and start rest of the day|
This schedule is for a homeschooling mom with a wide range of ages in her children and a small hobby farm.
|5:30 AM||Wake up, have coffee alone|
|6:30 AM||Make breakfast, older kids clean kitchen|
|7:15 AM||Everyone gets dressed|
|7:45 AM||Outside animal chores|
|8:15 AM||Check kid’s rooms|
|8:20 AM||Prepare for homeschooling|
|8:30 AM||Homeschooling and rest of day begin|
How do I maintain a morning routine?
Writing things down is all well and good. But how do you stick to this, day after day?
The very first thing to do is to time block your days at home and make sure you’ve given yourself time and space to get everything done.
If you are having trouble with children waking up too early and interrupting you, try a color-changing kids clock that lets them know when it’s okay to come downstairs.
If you still feel pressed for time, think about what you can do in the evenings to make your mornings flow smoother.
Give yourself a small reward at 9AM (or whenever your desired end time is) if you’ve done everything on your morning list.
Tips for success
- Experiment with getting up early, especially if you have small kids. If you can get up three hours before your children, you’ve given yourself a big chunk of quiet, productive time. Even if you don’t get any more time to yourself throughout the day, you at least have control of those early morning hours.
- It may be helpful to create a mini “end of morning routine” where you look to the day ahead and prepare. What’s for dinner? Do you need to prepare anything now? Can you start a load of laundry? Do a daily deep-cleaning task? Begin your focus day chores?
- If there’s something that you struggle with in the mornings (making lunches, picking out clothes to wear, deciding what’s for breakfast), take a few minutes on Sunday evening to write out for the week what you’ll be doing/ wearing/ making. Even if its “peanut butter and jelly sandwiches MWF, turkey sandwiches T/Th”. It helps.
- Try not to spend your free time in the morning on your phone. It makes you feel like you’ve wasted your time when you could have been doing something truly relaxing.
- DO NOT try to do other stuff while the family is getting ready for the day. This is how you get yourself in an overwhelming situation when you’ve emptied out a closet to clean and haven’t gotten yourself dressed yet and the whole day feels messy and gross. Just get yourself and everyone ready, then move on to your day.
What time should a homemaker wake up?
Early! Earlier than your kids. Benjamin Franklin was right.
How long should a morning routine be?
This is so variable. Many families find that 90 minutes is a good amount of time to shoot for. For most people, three hours is too long and an hour is not long enough.
How do I decide what to do in the morning and what to do later?
Focus on the four morning pillars: self care, bedroom and appearance, breakfast and kitchen, and kids. (Add in pets if you have them.). Anything else can and should wait.
What should I do when I feel overwhelmed by everything that has to be done?
Delegate. Older children can help younger children. Anyone over two can dress themselves and make their bed. Wake up earlier and make sure you have at least one full hour to yourself before the craziness begins. It makes everything else better.