Routine Daily Schedule for Sahm's??

Updated on October 22, 2009
C.J. asks from Frisco, TX
12 answers

My question has 2 parts:
#1 how much PHYSICAL time do you spend with your child on the floor playing cars/trucks, trains, zoo, more cars, coloring, etc? I feel like this is ALL I do - all day long. When I stop to do something else the whining starts or I feel like I am neglecting him (he's 2.5 yrs old). He can "free play" for short periods of time as long as I am in the same room with him but this is very limiting with housework and everything else.
I just want to know what's normal???

2nd question:
Do you have a daily schedule?
Such as
8am breakfast
8:30 walk
9:30 art project
10 am dishes
Or do you just take the day as it comes?
Do you have certain days to clean the house, do you tackle it all in one day or break it up??

This is all new to me. Up until September I worked, had a housekeeper, child went to daycare/school.
Now I'm at home & feeling WAY overwhelmed!! I feel like a failure. I feel like I'm constantly cleaning a cluttered house, suddenly I have a static-cling child and I feel like my husband looks at me when he gets home from work & thinks "What have you been doing all day?", (And to be honest, that's how I feel too.)
Help me out...


1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

  • Add your own comment
  • Ask your own question
  • Join the Mamapedia community
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

More Answers



answers from Dallas on

I have a 2 1/2 year old as well, but she is my third vs. my first so there are things I have learned.

The first is that you do NOT need to spend every waking moment fully engaged with your child. As a matter of fact, you may be doing him a disservice by starting that trend. Kids really need alone play time . . . it allows them to stretch their imaginations, is an important part of the self-soothing process, etc. And don't get me wrong, I was very bad about that with my first child! But my little one has a great time just looking at books on her own and pretending to read, playing with her toys, etc. She also has become quite savvy on a computer and we have some great educational programs. She insists on using the computer on her own! And this is not to say we don't have our together play time because we most definitely do.

As for schedule, I think the better term is "structure." Generally she wakes around 8:30 a.m. and eats around 9:00 a.m. Usually after that she gets dressed. Then it's hang out time . . . books, toys, etc. If it's nice out, we may go to a local park or just play in the yard. There's a weekly book reading at the library which we try to go to. Lunch is around 12:45ish. Put her down for a nap around 1:30 p.m., and if she decides to sleep then I get her up around 4:00 p.m. If she doesn't sleep I let her rest for about an hour. Dinner is around 5:30ish. Usually she gets some computer time either before or after dinner (before can be helpful because she's entertained while we're making dinner). Bath time is about 7:30ish. Bed time is by 10:00 p.m.

We throw in the occasional visit to Chuck E. Cheese or Wiggly Play Place. And of course there are those days where errands need to be handled and she must come along for the ride! Cleaning is done on Saturdays . . . my husband usually takes my little one out of the house for a few hours. Laundry is done during the week, on no specific schedule. House is constantly cluttered but not unclean. I HATE the clutter but honestly no one else seems to care so I've learned to live with it (to an extent) because that's just what you have to do . . . don't become OCD! And taking care of a child full time is harder than any job outside the home, so cut yourself some slack! You are doing a lot!



answers from Dallas on

Your situation reminds me of my feelings 3 years ago when I was a first time SAHM! We had the housekeeper and both my husband and I were soooo career-focused. Seems like a million years ago!

As for the schedule, I have a general schedule...there are the things that are pretty fixed, like getting 3 year old off to school (wake up, breakfast, getting dressed, calendar discussion, etc) and my 5.5 month old's feeding and napping routine. Then there are the things I'd like to get done that day (clean the kitchen, clean the bathrooms, laundry, etc). I just have a list of things I'd like to get accomplished at some point during the day, but they're not on a set schedule. I do them whenever I get a chance. Being incredibly Type A and addicted to planning in the corporate world, this was probably the most difficult thing for me to adapt to...I liked having my day planned out ahead of time. It just doesn't work for me as a SAHM.

We have our 3YO "help" us whenever we're trying to get something accomplished. He "cooks" in the kitchen with his own set of bowls and little pots. He has his own few things to fold when it's laundry day (socks, washcloths, etc). He has a toy vacuum, he uses a car washing brush to sweep the sidewalks outside, he has a small shovel for gardening, and on and on. It really helps with getting things done and he's learned a lot about pretending and cleaning up, which is always nice.

When that's not possible, we'll play with him for a few minutes, then give him cues that we'll have to start working. "Mommy loves playing blocks with you, but I have to start dinner soon. I'll have to go in the kitchen." He's pretty content to do his thing after that. I know, I know, I'm lucky that way...

As for the housecleaning thing...I have to break it up. Our house is 3700 sq ft...I'd be cleaning all day if I tried to do it at once. So, I do a bit here and a bit there. That was hard to get used to, as well. I love seeing the whole house clean at once! But again, that doesn"t work for me as a SAHM.

Bottom line, you gotta do what works for you and your family. There's no set or "right" way. It really helps having an active husband who is sensitive to the way my mind thinks. He's very understanding about my quirks and it just makes my life better. Good luck with your transition! Change is never easy, but it sure is exciting!



answers from Dallas on

I agree that you'll need an adjustment period and so will your son. My daughter turned 2 in August and I've been home with her the whole time but decided to put her in school 3 days a week earlier this summer so I could focus on doing some work from home and having time for myself. No matter how busy I am all day, my husband thought for the longest time that I did nothing all day!...until I finally left him for a few hours alone with our daughter and he realized that doing chores with a toddler is hard!
Your house will be messier than before because you and the kiddo are now home all day. As quick as you clean it, they go right behind you and mess it up, plus you have to fix more meals now, and your child is going to need lots of activities that you will have to clean up! Being a SAHM is hard work and it's exhausting mentally and physically and it also takes its toll on your confidence level as the enormous energy you are contributing now is not always visible to others.
We keep a pretty rigid schedule at our house.
Wake up: 7:30-8
Play time together until breakfast at 8:30ish
She helps clean up after breakfast
Free play while I do a couple of chores/shower until 10:30 then snack, if we need to go out, we do it during this time-groceries, etc.
She helps clean up after snack and we play again until lunch time at around 11:30 or 12
after lunch is quiet time, lights down low in her room, read books,
nap at 1
I do most of my chores when she is sleeping,
after nap we play for a little while together, then she plays by herself while I make dinner
6:00 is family dinner, afterward Dad gives her a bath, while I do dishes, they have play time, then pick up all her toys together until 7:30
then she and Dad have quiet time and he puts her down at 8
once a week, we order in so there are no dishes and I do bath/bed routine so Dad can get out of the house and spend some time with the "guys"
I try to get laundry done on Fridays while my daughter is in school but if I don't my hubby helps on Saturday. If I need to do major deep cleaning, or big cleaning projects (like closets), I do it while she is in school or my husband takes her out for fun days on the weekends so I can clean without them. Once a month she stays at grandmas overnight so we can have some social time with friends or a date!
Good luck, you'll find your routine!... and then it will change :)



answers from Dallas on

I think all day is too long to engage your child. He has to learn how to entertain himself. My daughter is 7 months old and I do spend the majority of our time at home on the floor playing or reading, but I make sure she spends time with her toys or in her bouncy chair with me both in her view out our of her view. Maybe you can try being in the room, but maybe be behind him so he can't see you when he's playing by himself. This way you can work up to leaving the room while he plays.

As for a schedule, breakfast when she wakes up, bath, playtime, nap time, errands, lunch, nap time, playtime, dinner, playtime, bottle bed.

As for cleaning, it works best for me to do a little everyday and I'm lucky enough to have a playroom, so only one room gets cluttered with toys and baby stuff. But I treat being a SAHM as a job and I don't "work" on the weekends. I found a day that works for me to do certain things:

Monday: wash sheets and towels, clean bedrooms and bathrooms
Tuesday: Laundry
Wednesday: Straighten up the house (clean up papers, put things back where they belong, etc) this makes it easier to go through the house and dust on Thursdays
Thursday: Dust
Friday: Clean Floors

Also, I use the Clorox wipes in my kitchen everyday after I make dinner, but I do scrub it down once a week, usually on Thursdays when I dust. I try to plan my dinners in advance so that I'm not overwhelmed that day. You can also have your son help with dinner to spend some time with him.



answers from Dallas on

Congratulations on your decision to stay home! I agree that you need to give yourself some time to get everything figured out - this is the most demanding and rewarding job you'll ever have. It's great to get ideas from other moms, but remember that just because something works well for someone else, or seems to be what "everyone else" is doing, doesn't mean it will work for you. You and your child are unique, and as you adjust and get to know each other better, you'll get a routine down. But it's basically trial and error! That being said, here's what I do...

First, I have 3 kids, so the dynamic is very different. We wake up at 6:30 to get my oldest ready for school. Since I won't see him all day, I try my best to focus on him (in between potty breaks with little bro and nursing the baby!). Between 8-10 I do whatever needs to be done around the house or work out, and get ready for the day. 10-12 we have different scheduled activities 3 days a week (library storytime, preschool co-op, music class) for my 3 yr old, and the other 2 days we choose (park, play with friend, play at home, or if it's a busy week run errands). 12-2:45 we eat lunch, rest, and then either clean, run errands, or rest some more =) 2:45-4 We pick up big brother from school and do something fun together (play at park, go on walk, indoor playplace, play with friend, library, pet store, etc) but if I need to get something done we do that. 4-7:30 is cook and eat dinner, pick up, do homework, bath, bedtime. I try to have a general plan for my day, but allow for flexibility so I don't feel trapped. To help keep cleaning time down, I try to work things into my daily routine. Do a load of laundry in the morning while doing other cleaning or playing with kids, and/or do a load of laundry after bedtime (I have to average 2 loads of laundry per day), clean the toilet and sink/mirrors during bathtime, etc. Most of the cleaning in my house cannot be relegated to just one day per week, otherwise it will only be clean for about 30 seconds each week! My kids have always played very well on their own, so they play in my general vicinity while I clean, or sometimes help. Your son is adjusting still too, and he'll learn to play more on his own. I usually don't spend very much consolidated time "down on the floor" with them. 5-10 minutes here and there throughout the day. I can't play with them all day, but I'm there nearby and they know I'm there if they need anything. We do try to spend one-on-one time with them on a weekly basis - lunch at school with oldest, take just the middle son to park and play with him, etc. There's always some bit of clutter around my house and something that needs cleaning, but that's my lot in life until the kids are older. You're only one person and can only do so much each day. Don't feel guilty for teaching your child independence (isn't that our job as parents?!), don't feel guilty your house isn't spotless, because you DO need to spend some time with your child (again, isn't that our job as parents). Prioritize what is important to you and your family, and everything else will work out. Instead of focusing on what I "should" be doing or what I "should" be able to accomplish, I try to be grateful for what I have and what I HAVE accomplished. I am grateful for the dirty dishes piled up in my sink because we are well fed and have pots and pans to cook with and dishes to eat from. I'm grateful for the pile of dirty clothes about to take over the closet because we have nice clothes to wear and have the privilege to wear 3 outfits a day if we want. I'm grateful for all of the annoying toys strewn around the house posing a tripping hazard because my children have many loving, generous relatives and they happily play with those toys while I clean dishes, clothes, vacuum, etc). It's difficult going from working to staying home full-time (I worked until my oldest was 2), so make sure you're also making time for yourself to feel like an adult. I enjoy a girls' night out once a month, and playdates during the week so I can visit with friends while our kids play, and of course a date with my hubby every now and then (weekly doesn't work for us, but we try at least once or twice per month). You'll figure it out as time goes on, and in the meantime, give yourself a break =)



answers from Dallas on

C. -

First, I recommend you take a look at a new book called "this is not how i thought it would be: remodeling motherhood to get the lives we want today," by Kristin Maschka (also, She answers the "What do you do all day?" question in a way you might not have thought of before.

As to your two questions - it is likely that your son is going through a transition from being in a different routine. He is likely used to having someone to play with all the time, and may be experiencing some loneliness and adjustment. Get him a playdate, find a playgroup (check out Greater Lewisville Mothers & More, and )for YOU and your son to meet others. Getting out of the house is a great strategy for not messing it up!

Next, talk with your spouse. When looking at the book, above, think about ALL the work you do for your family. What tasks are yours, his, shared? Just because you are home caring for your family --- it doesn't mean that you are not working. In fact, you are working to develop your child, maintain your family's home and to the myriad of tasks that go into doing all of that...So, together, you and your spouse need to think about the work. What is important to both of you? What do you need to do the tasks at home, what do you need from your spouse?

For practical cleaning tips, a lot of ladies like ....(google if this isn't right).

As for a schedule ... with kids, this can change daily because they are not concerned with time, but a general routine is excellent for sanity and for providing your son with structure. Again, it is likely that your son had a routine at school - circle time, craft, snack, nap, playground....Maybe even talk with them and try to incorporate similar words/language and routine. Pick a few things to try - and try to include your son in your activities. If you are cleaning a room, give him a job. 2 year olds can do a lot of things and can make a contribution. Praise him, thank him and give him time to make transitions between activities (warnings, a key word, song or phrase). Kids learn predictability and find comfort in that.
In the same sense that you have made a transition from paid employment to family caregiving work, your son has made a transition to being home all the time with you....So try to take a step back, get some resources and think it all through!



answers from Dallas on

Most important is to give yourself some time to adjust. It takes 6 months to get the hang of any new job...and you've just made a career change! Your son may be really clingy as part of his adjustment to you being home during the day now, but he'll get used to the new arrangement in a couple of months and probably give you some more space. A Moms' group is a real sanity saver.

Yes, the house is mostly a wreck, and it feels like all I ever do is clean up clutter. Especially when my kids were little, I tried to get out of the house once a day, and try to do at least one fun thing each day. That could be playing play doh together or trains or climbing at the playground. When my second was born, I had a reward chart in my head...for MYSELF! I gave myself imaginary stars if anyone got out of pj's, if anyone had a bath, if anyone had a hot meal, etc. It reminded me to laugh and try not to take it all so seriously.

Hang in there. You'll find your groove. And if anyone asks disdainfully what you did all day, just tell them you ate bon bons and painted your toes! Someone who hasn't tried to manage a 2 year old all day has no clue, and probably won't get a clue no matter how you exolain it. :)

SAHM of 3 (ages 9, 6 and 2)



answers from Dallas on


Welcome to full-time mommyhood. It is much harder than people think it is. I think it is the hardest job I have ever had ;) But the best and most rewarding. I have been home since my 1st daughter was born 3 years ago and I don't think I have had a completely clean house since she learned how to walk!!! Having a messy house really bothers me, but I have learned that this part of life is very fast and one day...I will be able to have a clean house again. I don't want to miss anything that my girls do, because I am busy cleaning. My husband totally fact he is the one who always tells me not to worry about the house. I tackle the major things around the house when they are napping or after they go to bed. I think your son is clingy to you because he loves having you around all the time now and he is afraid that you are going to leave him for work again. Give him time...he will relax! But I have never worked with either of my girls and I am always with them because they want me to. We spend hours playing dolls and house and makeup. The only schedule that we have is for nap time and bed time. I don't like following a schedule because what if they are having fun doing you really want to make them stop to move onto something else? Best of luck and let me know if I can help you with anything else. Enjoy every goes soooo fast!



answers from Dallas on

I work part-time, but in the evenings, so I am a SAHM during the day. I have a 2 year old son and a nearly 7 month old daughter, so my situation is a bit different, but here is what we do.

I don't have a set schedule -meaning we don't do things based on the time. I think that is a nice part of being a SAHM, you don't have to be so rigid. We roughly do things around the same time, like breakfast is around 8, since Jack gets up about 7:30-7:45, and lunch is between 11:30-12, and nap is 1-1:30.

I try to spend time when my daughter naps in the morning to focus on my son, whether that is playing with his toys, playing play-doh, coloring, etc. I hope to get a little learning in there (drawing shapes or letters, etc.).

If the weather is nice, then I try to get them outside at some point during the day, whether that is taking a walk or playing in the backyard on the swingset.

When it was just my son, we went somewhere everyday. That's a lot harder now that there is 2 kids. I have to admit, Jack watches more TV now than I wish he did, but I do try to limit it. He watches a show while I shower, and will watch some TV while I straighten the house a bit. He is pretty good about playing on his own some, so I will let him do that while I give Brooke her bottle or spend some time with her.

So that's basically what we do at home. It's not super exciting, but it is fun and we do have our routine.

One thing I will highly recommend for any SAHM though is to join a mom's group. This provides great interaction for both you and your little one. We have been a part of 1 since my son was 2 months old, and now he and the other kids are actually friends and love to get together. It is good for my sanity too, since I get to have adult conversation while the kids play. Search if you're looking to find one.

Hope that helps!



answers from Dallas on

Hey C.,

First off, don't feel like a failure. This is the hardest job in the world, which means that it has the greatest benefits. I have a 2 year old and a 1 year old, and they keep me on my toes.

You need to remember to pick your battles, and understand that the messes are ALWAYS going to be there (just in different spots). Your son is also probably just really excited to have you to himself so it's up to you to place limits on the time you play together. Mine "help" me sort laundry, make dinner, and pick up toys. Doesn't mean we are always successful, but it keeps them busy and near me.

As for a schedule, I agree with the other posters. Just do things in the same order during the day, around the same time, but don't try to be soooo structured. You'll make yourself crazy, plus I think it makes it harder for children to adjust to different situations. Keep it simple and give yourself a break!



answers from Dallas on

Hi! I also recently transitioned to the SAHM-world! Congrats!

I have a 2.5 year-old and an infant, and I understand how you feel ... the 2.5 old is much more demanding! :-) But, I think that at 2.5, they need to have some time where they entertain themselves so you can get stuff done. I think the trick is to time it right, so he's in a good mood, and to keep it short. Also, invite him to help you! Mine has the option to help, to play near me, or to play in my fenced backyard, but I make it clear that I AM going to do my task before playing with him. Also, whining is not allowed in my presence. He is welcome to whine but it has to be elsewhere (and I enforce that). I have a flexible week-long schedule, because we do different things different days (e.g. play group monday, library wednesday, etc.) , But, there are certain times of the day that I always do a little housework and certain times of the day we always play. Most of his play activities are free choice. I've learned how to do housework in small chunks, rather than the big day of cleaning I used to do. Also, make sure your son is picking up after himself (with your help of course). The rule in our house is only one big toy (e.g. blocks) out at a time and we clean up before meals and before leaving the house. Good luck! You'll get the hang of it!



answers from Dallas on

get laundry started
pick up/tidy up
put away laundry/dishes

play with child either outside/inside

after lunch
take time for yourself

have a weekly meal plan
keep a grocery list going
thoroughly clean once a week and if things get really nasty between, clean on the spot.
ignore the telephone and let voice mail pick up

maybe you could record your voice reading a book and place the recorder out of reach on play and give the particular book to your child while you are doing something...

good luck.

Next question: How Do You Plan Your Day?