Inside: Learn simple strategies you can implement at night for a smoother morning. Having a nightly reset routine is a game-changer for moms!
That moment when you wake up to a sink full of dishes, a toddler at your heels asking to be fed, a mountain of laundry on the couch, and papers from school piling up on the counters…
I should add, is the moment when you think to yourself, “I need a system” – and you would be correct.
It’s almost impossible to run a successful home without systems in place to help things operate on “autopilot”.
It may sound like I’m saying that running a home is like running a business and in a sense it is.
There are tasks that need to be completed, within a certain time frame, otherwise things sort of fall off the rails.
There needs’ to be organizational systems that work on autopilot with your family’s current routine.
Without systems in place, homelife becomes chaotic and stressful, rather than simple and predictable.
That being said – I love a good system! If we haven’t “met” on IG, Hi! I’m Marla. I’m a SAHM to 3 little girls + a Cavalier King Charles.
I teach a course all about systems + mindset called the Ultimate Stay at Home Mom Course – this course will help you get your stay at home mom life on track!
Inside the course you’ll learn exactly how to establish systems and routines so that your home operates with ease.
What moms like you are saying:
Can’t wait to see you inside the course!
Mom to Mom:
Each season with kids feels like the busiest.
I vividly remember when I was in the baby and toddler stage the first time around and thinking that I never felt busier.
Keeping up with the two of them and their needs, plus playdates, activities, and taking care of our home…at the time, it felt like a lot.
I used to wonder if as they got older if it would feel like “less” – and in a way, as they have gotten more independent, it does (although we did add a 3rd baby along the way).
However, one thing that rings true is this: every season you’re in feels like the busiest and most demanding, because in a sense, it is – in a new way you haven’t experienced before.
3 kids with different needs, schedules and after school activities, plus my husband’s job and the doctoral program he’s working through, and my website and business that I run on top of being a SAHM – safe to say I’ve never felt busier in my life 🙂
All this is to say that new seasons of life require new systems and new routines to keep up with the way things are now.
How do I create a daily routine as a stay at home mom?
Your nightly reset routine is basically an extension of your daily routine.
When establishing a routine, we mostly feel like the day is done once the kids are tucked in, yet, there is always so much more to do in order to be prepared for the next day.
After all 3 kids are in bed, the first thing I want to do is plop down on the couch and binge a favorite show.
But I know – I *know* – that if I don’t get a certain set of things done, the next day I’ll constantly be playing catch-up.
And whether you’re headed out to work in the morning or you’re a stay at home mom, the last thing you want to do is start the day already feeling like you’re behind.
If you’ve struggled with creating or maintaining a daily routine for yourself, here are 3 helpful resources that can get things on track:
What do stay at home moms struggle with most?
Dishes, laundry, paperwork, cooking, cleaning: it can feel like everything is a struggle or like we’re constantly in survival mode.
While this is normal to an extent, it’s definitely not a way to live, right?
As we said earlier, different seasons of life are more demanding than others.
You may have months where it’s feasible to prep muffins, eggs, and chicken on Sunday for the week, and you may have months where it feels like there’s not enough time to even put in a grocery order 🙂
No matter what phase of motherhood you’re in, we can take these struggles and turn them into systems that serve us and our family’s current routine.
For example: Let’s say every night the house is covered in toys and kid’s things, but everyone is too tired to clean up.
So it gets left the way it is.
But each day it piles up and one day you don’t even know where to start.
Toy clutter is overwhelming, and often at the end of the day it’s the absolute last thing anyone wants to tackle (ok, except maybe the dishes).
Here’s a simple system we could put in place to get you out of “survival mode” with the toy cleanup:
- Start by decluttering and purging toys. Less toys = less to clean up.
- Decide the “last call” for toys. I don’t clean up toys during naptime as I know they will get played with again. Let’s say the last call is 6 PM. This can be just for the main play area, or their rooms as well, up to you!
- At 6 PM, each person gets a job: pick up 10 books, pick up 10 blocks, or take all the dolls back to their bin, etc. Make the task specific, achievable and age-appropriate.
- Set a timer if necessary. Make it fun! Put on music or try to have everyone beat the timer
- Practice this routine every night for a week and see how it sticks!
Imagine tucking the kids in and knowing you’ll come downstairs to find a somewhat clean space to relax at the end of a long day.
Imagine knowing you don’t have to start bending down to pick up toys after bedtime!
This is just one example of taking a struggle and turning into an actionable step in your nightly reset routine.
The word “reset” is important here.
At night I like to get everything back to “equilibrium” as I always say. This is important for my sanity as a stay at home mom as my home is sort of my office 🙂
This doesn’t mean that my home is never messy, it just means at the end of the day there are systems in place for “resetting” the mess.
- Establish a daily routine for yourself
- Adapt home systems to busy seasons
- Turn struggles into systems
- The importance of the nightly “reset”
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My Nightly Reset Routine as a Stay at Home Mom
Here’s where we’ll discuss actual systems or micro-routines you can implement in your home to get things on track!
A quick note: As we have grown our family, I have learned how to better delegate tasks so that every.single.thing. doesn’t fall to me – because why should mom have all the fun? 😀
Whether you work or stay at home, I bet the one thing we all have in common is that it feels like we’re the only ones that know what needs to get done and when. This is undoubtedly the fastlane to mom burnout.
While this post is for moms, it doesn’t mean that every task or system is your job. Age-appropriate tasks for kids are an essential part of Home Management, as well as bringing your partner on board to help with the workload.
While this post is called “my” nightly reset routine, my husband plays a big part in helping to keep our home in order.
Now let’s chat about 5 things you can do TONIGHT to help TOMORROW run smoother!
Clean up the Toys
Even just putting books back on the shelves and getting the toys off the floor is a win for me. We have a Roomba vacuum that we run most nights, so before that can happen, all the little toys need to be picked up. I turned this into a fun game to see how fast the kids could pick up before the vacuum starts. Works like a charm!
And don’t forget the actionable plan we discussed above for getting kids to help clean up at the end of the day.
Resetting the House
This is what I like to call getting things back to “equilibrium.”
In a busy house with lots of kids and activities and a lot going on, it stands to reason that at the end of the day, stuff is just out of place.
- Hair bows on the dining room table
- Toys in the bathroom
- Shoes in the pantry
- Upstairs toys are downstairs
- Bedroom pillows on the couch
The end of the day with kids is like a game of Clue.
Why are there shoes in the pantry or doggie bags in the silverware drawer?
When it comes down to it, all these little oddities of things being scattered around the house really says: our family lives here.
And what a great perspective to have on it, right?
That being said, if there is no organization for where things go, systems for when things get put away and how, it’s easy for everyday stuff to pile up all over the place.
This is undoubtedly when our homes start to feel cluttered and chaotic.
To combat this, each night I spend maybe five minutes tops, resetting the house and getting things back to equilibrium.
The beauty of it is that it only takes 5 minutes because this has become a daily practice.
Once things start to pile up, you’re much less likely to tackle it at night as it will definitely take longer than 5 minutes, right?
Run the Dishwasher
Keeping the dishes in a constant flow is a way of life. If there’s one thing I can’t do, it’s go to sleep with a sink full of dishes.
Over the years of being home with kids, I’ve developed a rhythm for never-ending tasks such as dishes and laundry so that it *doesn’t* always feel like I’m doing dishes and laundry.
My Daily Dishwashing Routine (which really starts the night before):
- Load up the dishwasher after dinner and run it
- The next morning, empty the dishwasher
- The sink will fill up with dishes from breakfast, lunch, and snacks
- After lunch, load up the dishwasher
- When kids get home from school, empty their lunchboxes and add to the dishwasher
- Run and empty if necessary (if it gets full – usually I’ll empty while making dinner)
- The sink will fill up with dishes from dinner and cooking
- After dinner, load up the dishwasher and run it for the next day!
You’d be amazed at how once you get into a predictable flow with something as mundane as doing the dishes, it becomes second nature rather than a dreaded task.
As we discussed before, it’s incredibly helpful for your partner to be on board with these tasks if possible.
Typically my husband will load up the dishwasher after dinner and empty it in the morning before he leaves for work.
These are 2 simple tasks that when off-loaded, make being a stay at home mom much easier!
Start the Laundry
Similar to the dishes, my laundry routine starts at night.
- All throughout the day, I use my bathroom sink as a meeting place for stained clothes. I spray them and let them sit.
- The rest of the laundry gets thrown in the hamper throughout the day.
- As part of our bedtime routine, while the kids are brushing their teeth, and everything is done being worn and stained for the day, I throw the laundry in the wash and run it.
- Somewhere in between putting all the kids to bed, one of us will put the laundry in the dryer.
- The next morning, I sort the laundry and put a pile in each kid’s room
- At bedtime, while the kids are taking turns brushing their teeth and getting ready for bed, they put their own laundry away. I have my 2 year old help me with her clothes 🙂
- Towels and sheets get run on Sunday or as needed.
One simple truth is that it’s much quicker to wash and put away one day’s worth of laundry rather than several days.
If you prefer to do multiple loads or big loads, you can still develop a laundry routine that works for you.
Pack Lunches & Prep for the Next Day
The before-school morning rush is decidedly *not* the time to start packing lunches from Step 1.
Instead, the night before, I pack up everything but the crunchy stuff like pretzels (those I add in the morning).
One “hack” that has become incredibly helpful since my older girls started school is to pack their lunches while making dinner.
I’m already in the kitchen, things are already out and all over the place. Might as well pack lunches now, rather than after bedtime when I’ll be too tired.
Incredibly Helpful Lunchbox Resources:
- How to Pack a Snack & Lunch for Kindergarten
- Lunchbox Ideas for Picky Eaters
- Daycare or Preschool Bento Box Ideas
- Ultimate Guide to Toddler Lunchboxes
- Favorite Lunchbox Gear for Kids
In a sense, all of these tasks help you prep for the next day, such as packing lunches, and running the dishes and the laundry.
It’s also helpful to consider what else you could do the night before to make the mornings easier.
This might look like:
- Making sure backpacks are in the right place
- Meal prepping some muffins or eggs for quick breakfasts (on Sundays)
- Having kids pick out clothes for the next day
- Setting up a morning basket for your toddler
This isn’t meant to be anything fancy or complicated, but after the kids are in bed and the house is quiet, my husband & I like to do a quick “hey – remind me what you have going on tomorrow.” Just a quick nightly check-in to help ensure we are on the same page.
While we do have a family wall calendar, sometimes it’s helpful to have a verbal confirmation of their work schedule, plans, meetings, late nights, etc.
Of course the last and very most important thing is to squeeze in watching a show together – or sometimes I just take over the TV to watch my shows like Love is Blind 🙂 – in any case, I always aim for some downtime.
By starting the dishes after dinner and doing laundry at bedtime, I’m not leaving every single task until after the kids are in bed.
Nighttime Routine Ideas for Moms
- Clean up toys / Reset the house
- Run Dishwasher & Laundry
- Pack Lunches / Prep for Next Day
- Nightly Check-In
What to Read Next:
- How to Afford to be a SAHM
- 7 Ways to Make Being a Stay at Home Mom Easier
- My Stay at Home Mom Morning Routine
- How I Do Our Family’s Monthly Budget