A Morning in the Life of a Stay-at-Home Mom with a Young Toddler

Before having my son, I hadn’t held a baby for more than 30 seconds, and I had never changed a diaper. I honestly told my parents when I was growing up that I couldn’t see myself ever being a stay-at-home mom. As someone who has always had the tendency to be anxious and likes to be moving, I thought that I wouldn’t feel intellectually stimulated or fulfilled enough at home. Well, boy was I wrong. I am more stimulated and challenged as a stay-at-home mom than I ever have been before, and I am so proud of what I do for my family. Being a stay-at-home mom is a challenge and not an escape or an easy way out. I completely understand now why people say that being a mom is a full-time job and then some. There are so many things that moms need to learn, research, and problem solve in order to foster a healthy, happy home. 

I thought it would be fun to share what my mornings as a stay-at-home mom are like to give a sneak peek into what life as a stay-at-home mom looks like for me. I had no idea what to expect when I quit my job, so maybe this can help any new moms that may stumble upon this blog when searching for guidance like I did. I decided to only touch on the morning in this post to prevent it from being a mile long. The time after my son’s nap feels like a new beginning for me anyways, so I’ll save that for another day. My mom always says that the only routine thing about motherhood is that there is no routine, and she definitely is right. Each day has its own personality; however, I do strive to have as much of a routine and sense of normalcy as possible. The timestamps below are pretty average for us, but they can definitely ebb and flow.

~5:30-7:15am (sometimes more like 6:00-6:45am) Time for Myself

Recently I have been trying to set an alarm and wake up before my son does (usually between 6:45 and 7:15am). I feel much less disoriented and groggy going to get my son from his crib when I’m adjusted to being awake. Beyond simply having more time to be productive, I’ve found that I am more patient with my son throughout the day when I know that I’ve already gotten to choose something for myself. It’s truly a win-win situation for me. Naturally, this doesn’t happen every day, as sometimes my son wakes up early or has a rough night. I don’t beat myself up in those cases, because nothing about motherhood can ever be perfectly planned, and my son always comes first.

If I’m feeling really energized, I’ll get out of bed and do a home workout. If the bed is feeling particularly comfortable, I will read or even work on a blog post while still in bed. I always have at least my Kindle nearby. 

Tip: Have a couple of different videos saved in a Youtube playlist so that you don’t waste time searching for a workout in the morning when you have limited time.

7:15-7:25am Baby Boy Wake Up Routine

At this point, my son is either awake or I’m headed to his room to wake him up. Since we are dipping our toe into the weaning process, I let him decide if he wants to nurse or not (almost always does). Even if he does nurse, it’s super quick. One hefty diaper change later and we are headed downstairs to the kitchen with Dada!

7:25-7:45am Breakfast and Coffee Prep

If there is one word for this time of day in our house, it is chaos. We spend this time in the kitchen together while we get breakfast and my husband’s lunch ready for work. My husband makes us a Chemex pour over coffee every day, and Ember thinks the grinder is exciting. Tupperware containers start flying out of drawers, and my son starts exploring the world one “ba na na na na na” and cup at a time. My son jumps up and down at the window to say goodbye to dada, and he’s off to work for the day.

This learning tower has been a game changer for us in the kitchen. I highly recommend getting one for toddlers that are ready for it.

7:45-8:45am Breakfast and Screen Time with Mama

I used to fight letting my son have screen time as much as I could. For some reason, I thought I had something to prove by not using tv for entertainment. Well, let me tell you a little secret. I let my son watch Sesame Street while he eats his breakfast. He is too wired in the morning to sit and eat breakfast in a high chair or even stand while eating in his learning tower. I put a towel on the ground, and I eat my breakfast next to him on the floor while we watch Sesame Street videos on Youtube. He lights up when it comes on, and I can tell he soaks up the educational content. I owe his ability to pronounce the letter “p” to Sesame Street, and he likes to run around and find things in his playroom that match what he sees on the screen. Honestly, he probably sees more kids on tv than anywhere else right now because of the pandemic.  Plus, I am right next to him and talk to him about the letter and number of the day. This sweet hour in the morning is what is right for us.

The morning line up-
oatmeal with chia seeds and banana split between us (mine has more toppings), Ripple milk for him, and coffee for me. He also likes pancakes, waffles, yogurt, apples, and peanut butter toast.

8:45-11:00am A Mixed Bag of Activities

This time of the morning is the longest stretch of the day that my son and I play, and some days it goes by slower than others. When I tell you that my son runs for the pure joy of it and is the embodiment of energy, I mean it. Other parents have commented on how fast he runs, and boy do I know it. Watching him all morning is not for the faint of heart, but I’m so honored that I get to be the one to do it.

 If we stay at home, our favorite activities are sweeping the house (he is obsessed), dancing to the record player, reading books, baking, and putting toys or blocks in and out of boxes and bags. More often than not, we are at home; however, we do go to gymnastics class once a week, visit family, walk or go to the park if the weather is decent, shop, or visit the library. I took him to a Toddler Time sponsored by our library for the first time this past week, and I definitely want to start getting him more involved with other kids and educational opportunities. Because of the pandemic, his interaction with the world has been much more limited than I ever hoped it would be. 

~11:00am-12:00pm Lunch 

I love Ember’s lunch time. I try to make it as fun yet structured for him as possible. For lunch, I do have him sit in his high chair, and I use this time while he’s focused to read books to him and work on his speech. I always keep a couple of books on the dining room table and rotate them out. You would think that having a different book each day would be more exciting for him, but he loves it when he anticipates what’s coming up in the book and learns the words inside them. For instance, we have “Corduroy’s Day” -which I highly recommend- in rotation right now. When reading the page prior to one that says the word “milk:, he picks up his cup to get ready, and then he lifts it up in excitement to show that he matches it once I turn the page. He’s also gotten better at saying the word “bubble” each day I’ve read it to him. I actually don’t want to know how many times I read the same two books within the 20-30 minute span that he eats. I love it though. The other time in this block is spent making lunch, cleaning up, and doing any other chores around the house that may be too loud for me to get done while he’s sleeping.

These books of the week are both winners.

12:00-12:30pm Blast Around the Nursery

After Ember eats lunch, I like to start getting him adjusted to being in his nursery and prepare for naptime. I’ll change his diaper and then let him roam around his room (which is really small). He usually wants to read some books, ride his rocking horse, and play with the clothes in his closet. 

12:30pm The Journey to the Nap

My son is truthfully a great napper once he falls asleep. He usually sleeps between 2 and 3 hours in the afternoon; however, it takes some work to get him relaxed. As my mom says, he doesn’t want to miss out on anything. Right now, zippers are the coolest thing on the planet for him, and he loves to sit in his crib and zip all of his pacifiers into his sleep sack. When I say it takes 30 minutes for him to fall asleep, it’s not because he’s crying. He’ll be visibly exhausted but also playing with his sleep sack, talking to himself while launching pacifiers across the room, and making duck noises at the loon decal that we have on the wall. Every few minutes or so I interrupt his little crib party, locate the pacifiers, and give him a massage. His eyes will practically start to shut as soon as I touch him, but it often takes a few trips before he finally gets comfortable.

Then comes the glorious nap.

If there is one thing I’ve learned about being a stay-at-home mom, it’s that you learn how to fit more in one day than you ever thought possible. The only way that I am able to somewhat keep track of it all is by writing down notes and a to-do list in my planner. By naptime around 1:00pm, I feel like I’ve had an entire day, and I use his nap as a refresh. 

Before I close out this blog, I want to say that I definitely don’t do everything on my own, and raising a child really does take a village. My husband is a wonderful father and helps out with Ember and around the house when he can; however, he has a stressful job of his own that he needs to decompress from in the evenings and on the weekends too. One of the many wonderful things about my husband is that he doesn’t expect me to do anything other than keep Ember safe and happy. He always thanks me for what is done at the end of the day, and that means more to me than I think he realizes. Especially when he is at work or even when we both need a break, I’m thankful for help from my family. In my experience, people view helping out as an honor rather than a burden. Sometimes I just need someone to bounce ideas around with and to have some human interaction. Other times, I need someone to watch my son while I go to an appointment or go on a walk. I’ve learned that motherhood and life in general is better when you ask for help and let other people in on your journey.

I have no idea how long this “routine” will work for us, as I try to listen to my son and let his needs lead the way. Hopefully, you found this peek into my life interesting, and if you are a new mom or considering becoming a stay-at-home mom, I hope this gives you an idea of what it’s like. That said, there are a million different ways to parent, and this is just one part of the day and one person’s experience. 

I’ve recently incorporated positive affirmations into my lifestyle and sometimes share them on my Instagram page (@its.just.that.c.z). I thought it would be good to close this post out with an affirmation for all you moms out there.

I am a good mom.

I am a good mom.

I am a good mom.

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