You’re a mom who wants to have a clean house and be well-rested in the morning. It’s the dream, right?
You want to build an evening routine that works for you, but it can feel overwhelming. And honestly, after a day of dealing with little people and a million things to do, who needs another checklist?
So what do stay-at-home moms need? A plan! And not just any plan – one that works with your lifestyle and schedule. This simple guide will teach anyone who wants a more peaceful time at home how to create a structured system after the kids go to bed. We’ll explore the three things your routine should focus on, not create another silly thing to do.
Having a nighttime routine is important for kids, but it’s just as important for busy moms.
Let’s explore how to build an evening routine that works.
Why do moms need an evening routine?
After an exhausting day with the kids, you just want to relax. But after you put the kids to bed, it’s not time to pour a giant glass of wine and glue yourself to the couch.
A real, structured evening routine helps you reset from a busy day so you can truly relax. Come evening; it’s easy to let your brain continue with all that’s happened throughout the day. Those Legos are still all over the dining room table. Dinner is not TOTALLY cleaned up yet. And you know there was…something… important going on tomorrow.
All that stress is not good for you or anyone else. (And just because you don’t go to work doesn’t mean you don’t have stress in your life!)
Moms need to take care of themselves because it’s good for them and because it benefits their children. Kids thrive when mom is happy. Really
It will change your evenings, change your mornings, and change your life.
When does mom start her evening routine?
After the kids’ bedtime, you begin.
It will only take twenty-one minutes. You’ll see why later.
The purpose of this is to transition you from “mom time” to “free time.” if you think you don’t have time for this, set a timer and see how fast it goes.
First: The Seven-Minute House Tidy
Mom is happier when she has a clean house. It’s a fact. And evening tidying is especially crucial to keep your sanity in check. It is easy to be filled with bitterness when your kids have gone to bed and left everything messy. But staring at it, grumbling, and feeling martyred doesn’t get anyone where.
Instead, think of tidying the house every night as a little gift to yourself. You enjoy it, so you take a few minutes to do it—no big deal.
(This DOES NOT mean that people don’t need to clean up after themselves. It just means if the house needs a little extra work, don’t be bitter. Just do it, and you can enjoy the neatness in peace.)
What type of cleaning should be in the evening routine? Nothing hard.
- In the kitchen: get every last dish cleaned and run the dishwasher or set it on a timer. Declutter the counters. (3 minutes)
- Mudroom/ entry: Line up shoes, hang up coats, make sure backpacks and lunch boxes are unloaded. (3 minutes)
- Living room: Tidy pillows and blankets. Throw all lingering kids’ stuff in a large basket for them to deal with later. (1 minute)
Next: Preparing for Tomorrow
Do you ever like awake at night wondering about tomorrow? You need to get all of that out of your head beforehand.
But of course, writing down all the stuff you have to do tomorrow isn’t exactly relaxing. The solution? Don’t just make crazy to-do lists. Use this 2-part system instead.
(Download free printables to help you with this here.)
Part One: The Brain Dump
Before you go to bed, make a little list of everything that’s on your mind. (3 minutes)
And I mean everything. Stuff you have to do tomorrow. Stuff that’s in the edges of your mind, annoying you. That thing you have to search your email for and respond to before it gets embarrassingly late.
Part Two: The One Thing
On this list, what is the one thing you should do tomorrow that has to happen? Maybe it has to happen because it’s an appointment. Maybe it has to happen because if you put off calling your aunt one more day, you’ll feel terrible about yourself. Or maybe you just HAVE to get that bookshelf organized before you go insane.
Pick one, and only one. Write it down for tomorrow. (1 minute)
Helping your future self
Our final preparation for tomorrow is about little things that help you move faster in the morning. Not all of these will apply to you. Think about whether these are things you would really find helpful to have done for you in the morning. Don’t just add them to your routine for no reason.
- Lay out tomorrow’s clothes
- Pack snacks and lunches for tomorrow
- Set the coffee maker
- Defrost anything needed for tomorrow’s dinner
- Lay out craft supplies for the next day
(Total 3 minutes)
Finally: Taking Time for Yourself
Quick shower and PJs (7 minutes)
That’s totally doable, right? Even if you shower in the mornings, a quick shower for mom before bed is a necessity. You are busy and usually get dirty and sweaty. A nice quick rinse helps to wash off the day.
Put on your PJs and enjoy your evening. You deserve it.
Relax (no time limit! 😉)
A word about bedtime
When should a stay-at-home mom go to bed?
Well, it is my personal opinion that you should be awake before (ahem…) 5:30. This means that to get a good night’s sleep, you should be in bed by 10.
However, it is obviously a personal choice. If you can’t bear the thought of going to bed this early, then don’t! Make your evening routine work for you.
Think about when you want to go to bed, how much time you want for TV or reading or free time, and then add 21 minutes to that for this evening routine. Your kids need to be in bed by that time.
A few tips to help your evening routine go smoothly
After dinner, do as much you can to clean the kitchen. EVERYONE should help with this! Your evening tidy is not an after-dinner routine; it’s just a way to tackle those lingering chores.
Pick up any toys around the house that belong to the kids and put them in their proper place for tomorrow morning’s playtime – it will make mornings easier!
Turn off all electronics and turn on a night light or two so if you’re tidying up, you don’t wake up little kids who you just worked so hard to get to sleep.
Get a large, somewhat attractive basket to throw kids’ stuff in and put it by the stairs.
If you’d like a simple, practical printable to organize your thoughts, get the brain dump printable and weekly planner here for free.
Want to create even more structure in your days?
Yay, structure, right?! Well, actually, yes. There’s nothing like a good schedule to keep you productive and busy (in a good way)
- How to Start Your Day Right with a Morning Routine
- Staying Productive as a Stay at Home Mom
- A Weekly Cleaning Schedule You’ll Love (well, maybe not love)
The evening routine for mom life
You’ve spent the whole day running errands, taking care of your family, and working hard. Evening routines have become a necessity for parents who want some peace at the end of their days with little ones. And even though it’s not a big-time commitment, it will make a big difference in your morning and your whole day.