Taking care of kids is a full time job all by itself. So moms who take care of their kids AND have a full time job are basically superheroes. But that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t get chaotic around the house when you’re trying to keep up with all of your various responsibilities.
It’s really tough to keep up with the laundry, cook healthy meals, clean the house, work out, manage appointments, spend quality time with your spouse and kids, and have a social life with your mom friends, all while trying to look stylish everyday and take care of the thousand other things that working moms have to take care of.
It’s easy to feel like you’re drowning in the craziness.
I’m a huge fan of routines to calm the chaos. I especially love my evening routine. It helps me feel in control of my life, and takes away a lot of the struggle of keeping up with things that need to be done around the house. I’ve done my routines for long enough that they’re totally on autopilot and I do them without even thinking about it.
It’s like brushing your teeth: it’s not something that you have to think about or put on your to do list. You just do it.
So if you’re a working mom and you don’t know where to start with your evening routine, try one of these simple tasks!
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Simple Evening Routines for Working Moms
Start your evening routine by choosing clothes for tomorrow
Start with picking out the clothes that you and the kids will wear tomorrow. Hubby too, if you want, but I say he fends for himself. Ha!
This is a huge one that really pays off the next morning. How often have you gotten up in the morning hoping to wear a certain shirt only to find that it’s sitting at the bottom of the laundry hamper? Or found yourself rushing around 2 minutes before you’re supposed to be out the door looking for a lost toddler shoe?
You can save yourself a lot of stress by making sure all of those problems are solved the night before. A great time to do this is while the kids are getting ready for bed. Check the weather for tomorrow first, then decide what you’ll have everyone wear.
If you find that an article of clothing you need for tomorrow is dirty or missing, you have a lot more time to work out a solution than you would in the morning right before you need to leave.
My kids are still pretty little, so I like to bring their outfits downstairs so I can help them get dressed after breakfast (I make them eat in their PJs so that spills aren’t a big deal).
Spend 15 minutes tidying up
I’m lucky enough to have a husband who does the dishes every night and puts my 3 year old to bed, so I get to skip those steps. After I put my one year old to bed, I set a timer for 15 minutes to work on tidying up around the house. I pick up shoes, toys, and random clutter, put papers away, and throw away any trash that may be lying around. When the timer goes off, I stop even if I’m not completely done. Done is better than perfect, and I have other things I need to move on to.
The timer is really critical for straightening up. When I’m wandering about the house picking up, it’s easy to get distracted by all the other various tasks that need to be done. I might see a bill that needs to be paid while I’m putting papers away, so I open my computer to pay it online. I decide to check Facebook first and before I know it 30 minutes has gone by. Not good.
A timer works wonders for staying on task. I move much faster when I know that the time I have to work on something is limited and I don’t get distracted. I wind up getting so much done in a short amount of time!
If you run out of time and your house isn’t totally picked up, don’t worry. You’ll be able to get more done tomorrow. If you do it every day, eventually you’ll be able to have your home looking spic and span each evening in just a few minutes. I’ve been doing it long enough that I usually find that I can get my house guest-ready each night with just 7 or 8 minutes of work!
I promise you’ll thank yourself for sticking to this part of your evening routine when you wake up to a clean house in the morning!
Related: Productivity Tips For Working Moms
Do a load of laundry as part of your working mom evening routine
After I’ve done my tidying, I move on to the next step in my evening routine: I grab a load of laundry out of the dryer to fold. I don’t love that I have to do housework after my kids are in bed, but I usually turn on the TV or listen to a podcast while I fold to make it feel more like me-time. I try to look on the bright side and revel in how fast I can get it done without kids interrupting me every two seconds.
I put the clothes away immediately. If the kids are already in bed, then I set their clothes outside their door to put away in the morning when I go in to wake them up.
After the clothes are put away, I take a new load down to the washer. I love using the “delay-start” feature. I’ll set it to run an hour or so before I plan to wake up, and then in the morning I can run down and throw it in the dryer so it can dry while we prepare for the day (I don’t like running the dryer while we aren’t home). Then it’s all ready for me to fold at night!
I love my laundry system because my laundry is always done, and I spend almost no time dreading it, procrastinating, or even thinking about it. I just do it every day. It never piles up and we always have clean clothes. It’s the best.
Decide what’s for dinner tomorrow
Similar to picking out clothes ahead of time, deciding what you’ll have for dinner the night before helps make dinner prep a much smoother process. Every working mom needs to do this as part of their evening routine. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve started to cook dinner only to realize that I’m missing an important ingredient. Then I wind up either having to make a last-minute trip to the store or eating out.
It’s much easier if I make the plan the night before. That way I can check to make sure I have all of the ingredients on hand or make a plan to stop at the store while I’m out during the day. If I’m doing a crockpot recipe, I’ll sometimes prep the ingredients the night before so that it’s really easy to throw it all into the pot in the morning. It’s so much less tempting to eat out when you know that you have a solid plan in place for dinner! It’s way healthier for you AND your wallet.
Review your plan for tomorrow
I actually plan out my whole week on Sunday night in my bullet journal. Each night I check to see what’s going on the next day and make any necessary adjustments. I’ll decide what time to get up based on what I have planned for the early morning hours (blog, Bible study, head to the gym, etc.) and I have time to gather up anything I might need to take with me when I head out the door.
Routines take practice
All of that might seem like a lot of work to do every night, but having all of those things done on a daily basis make my life so much more peaceful and organized. I notice a huge difference in how chaotic my day feels when I didn’t do my evening routine properly the night before, and it’s not good.
I don’t recommend suddenly trying to add all of the things on this list to your evening routine. You’ll most likely get overwhelmed and wind up quitting.
I encourage you to pick the one thing that you think would be most helpful on this list and try it for a week or two. Tweak it, adjust it, and figure out what works for you. Once you’ve got one thing down, you can slowly add more tasks to your evening routine.
If you’re interested in hearing more about how I keep my home clean and running smoothly, check out my handy dandy chore chart for adults!
For a more in-depth guide on creating simple evening routines for working moms, check this out!
About the Guest Author:
Melinda is mom of two girls and wife to the best husband a girl could ask for. When she’s not running around refilling sippy cups, washing diapers, or googling how to get get a toddler to eat spinach, you can find her blogging over at Unfrazzled Mama.
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