Are you suddenly working from home – and watching kids – and have no idea how to get it all done?
Me neither, really.
Every day feels like I’m just surviving – and we’re lucky if everything gets done!
But, I do have a lot of tricks as to how to work an 8 hour day at home PLUS watching 1-2 kids.
For the last 3 ½ years, I have worked full time from home with kids – so I know it can work!
I once read “You have the same number of hours in a day as Beyonce” and that really stuck with me. Seriously, there are some powerhouse women in the world that daily push boundaries and change the world.
I want to be one of those women.
And, for me, it all starts with working, watching kids, and managing my little corner of the world well.
Let me show you how I do it!
- My typical day schedule using time blocking
- My work from home mom schedule for 8-5
- Here is my honest 8-5 work from home mom schedule:
- Create a 3 Thing to-do list for flexibility
- Working mom hacks to find more time in your day
- Apps and Social Media Resources that I love:
- Free Play ideas for Young Kids
- Have fun! Be flexible! Give yourself grace!
- Find more whole family resources here:
My typical day schedule using time blocking
I work 8 hours a day for an actual employer. It’s not the kind of job I can “just fit in during naptime”. Alongside of that 8-5 job, I also blog and do some Pinterest marketing. All of this takes dedicated work time.
To do all these jobs – while watching my kids – I have perfected the work at home mom block schedule.
There are hundreds of resources created to help you find your custom block schedule. There are planners, posts, courses, eBooks, resources…block scheduling is a hot commodity.
But, I’m going to tell you everything you need to know right here. For free.
1. List the number of unique days you have
Instead of paying money for a block schedule planner, just download my free block schedule template above and get started!
To begin, figure out how many kinds of daily schedules you are working with. If your M-W-F schedule is different than you T-TH schedule, you might have three types of daily schedules:
You might have only two daily schedules: weekdays vs. weekends. You might have 7 different schedules.
You will want to treat each of these daily schedules differently to maximize every minute. If you have 45 minutes for lunch on Mondays, but 1 hour on Thursdays, then you need to maximize on that extra 15 minutes on Thursdays.
Print as many templates as you need to match up with the number of daily schedules that you need.
2. Create separate block schedules for mama, kids, homeschooling, and family time
On the template, you can use my default headers of “mom”, “home”, etc. to create your separate blocks, or you can print the blank doc and fill in the the titles yourself. You will want separate block schedules for each component in your life. I like:
- Child #1
- Child #2
To get started, you will want to block off definite obligated activites for each person.
Add in work hours, childcare, school, sports and activities. See how these blocks affect the other people in the household – and how you can also schedule home chores around those obligated activites.
To fill in the block schedule, fill in your obligations in this order:
- Wake/sleep times
- Work hours
- Childcare/school hours
- Meal/family times
- Mom/self time
Then, to make this block schedule work for you, make a list of kids activities and home chores that you can scatter around.
Need 30 minutes to take a shower? Add in a 30 minute activity. Need to run a load of laundry? Spend 15 minutes loading the washing machine while your kids eat lunch.
To add in self-time, look for ways to listen to a podcast or do a facial mask while you are making dinner or taking kids to the park!
On the template, there are really easy ways to create these lists and add them to your schedule.
(To see exactly how I use this schedule, check out my Insta story videos here.)
3. To find more time, add more blocks
If you don’t have enough free time in a day, you will need to create new blocks. This is the moment where you give up sleep.
The easiest block to add to your schedule is a 5 am – 7 am block. This ultra-morning block will give you uninterrupted kid-free time that you can dedicate to any work, assignment, chore you have.
Are you not a morning person? Cool, neither am I. I actually hate people that tell me to wake up at 5 am. But, I recently discovered how vital this morning block is for me, and I have started waking up early and it is life-changing.
My work from home mom schedule for 8-5
My weekday schedule is pretty much the same every day. There are some days that are little different than others. But, because I work for an employer 8-5 every day, I don’t change my schedule that much.
Y’all, I really am nervous about sharing this schedule.
It is honestly brutal – telling you all the weird ways that I schedule my days. I really wanted to fudge a bit, and give you a more ambitious, “good mom” schedule. But, it didn’t feel honest.
This, instead, is my honest work at home mom schedule.
Here is my honest 8-5 work from home mom schedule:
6:00 – 7:00 am (early morning)
Work Hours: 1
I’m going to be honest here.
I try to get up at 5 am every morning. But, that only happens maybe once a week right now.
I even wrote a whole post about how I started waking up at 5 am. And, I still swear by that system. But, lately, I’m doing well if I just get up at 6 am. So, that is my honest starting time.
I try to wake up at 6 am every day to get in an hour of work before the kids get up. If I don’t wake up at 6, then I usually have to fit in an hour of work after 8 pm. So…waking up early is preferable for sure.
I usually wake up, immediately drag my un-brushed, pajama’d self to the computer. I make coffee, and just try to work an hour before the kids get up.
I don’t even bush my teeth at first. Y’all, this kills me!
7:00 – 8:00 am (morning routine and school drop off)
It takes me an hour to wake the kids up, make breakfast, make my daughter’s preschool lunch, get dressed, grab coffee, and sit down to work.
It’s basically a madhouse.
My husband takes my daughter to preschool, while I let my son play in his play area near my desk. He plays in this about an hour every morning while I work next to him.
See how I set up the play area near my desk here!
8:00 am – 12:00 pm
Work Hours: 2-5
I try to work about four hours in the morning, only stopping for coffee, more coffee….and then a bathroom break.
During this time, my son (who is 1 year old) has this schedule:
8:00 am – 9:30 am – He plays in the play area, in my daughters room next to my desk, and then his room. I just rotate him in the different areas. He plays well by himself, and I usually just need to rotate the locations and he has full reign. See more how I do this here.
9:30 am – 11:00 am – I change his diaper and put him down in his crib. Half of the time he naps, and the other time he just plays and coos. He will stay in his crib for “quiet time” for a good hour and a half. If he doesn’t sleep, I will turn on his light, give him toys, and let him play in his crib.
11:00 am -12:00 pm – He “wakes up” and I usually give him a bowl of cheerios to eat near me. Sometimes he plays, and sometimes he watches this baby Signing Time video here. This is my favorite video for tiny kids!
12:00 pm – 1:15 pm
I wrap up work, grab lunch, feed my son, and do a few household chores (hello laundry!), and drive to pick up my daughter.
I multi-task really heavily while I eat my lunch. I usually prep dinner, make grocery lists, list items on Facebook Marketplace, and finish getting dressed. It’s crazy to me how one hour just flies by.
I pick up my daughter, and get the kids ready for naptime. There are so many dirty clothes, diapers, backpacks, lunch dishes, and random socks flying around during this time.
1:15 pm – 3:45 pm (nap times)
Work Hours: 7.5-8ish
This is probably the hardest block of my time. The kids wake up, and I still usually have an hour of work to do.
I’m constantly changing this block up. Right now, I usually give my kids snacks and let them eat in the kitchen. I can see the kitchen from my desk, and they usually eat slowly and “talk” and have fun over their snacks.
Then, they usually have free range to play in the living room or one of their bedrooms. They are so excited to see each other after the long day, so they usually play well and laugh and entertain themselves.
I wrap it up…and I’m done!
5:00 pm – 6:00 pm (playtime)
WE GO OUTSIDE. And play. And pick up the house. And get the mail.
Basically, we do everything fun within this hour. During the summer, we’ll take a family walk. In the winter, we just run around the living room 5476565 times.
During this block, I also rotate getting grocery pick up, going to the park, making dinner, baking dessert, and listing more things on Facebook Marketplace.
Basically, just everything.
6:00 pm – 7:30 pm (bedtime routine)
For the time being, we do dinner a little bit differently with our family.
About half the time, we eat dinner as a family. And, the other half of the week, we eat separately from the kids. This is a time-saving tip I’m going to talk more about below.
If we eat together, this block is full of dinner, baths, books, and bed. You know, normal life.
But, if we eat separately, my husband or I will do all the kid things, while the other spouse has time to get things done.
When it’s my turn, I usually blog while my husband feeds the kids. And on my husband’s nights, he usually does house or car projects that can’t wait..
This gives us a nice chunk of time to get projects done a couple times a week.
8:00 pm – 9:30 pm
Netflix and chill.
This time is just for my husband and me. We eat dinner and watch a couple of shows.
We have a really specific rotating show schedule that we like to keep for variety, so we usually watch one long drama (during dinner) and one shorter comedy (during dessert).
We also rotate weeks, so one week I get to pick the drama and comedy, and the next week, he picks. This allows us to have a say in what we watch, and rotate multiple shows.
Yeah I know, specific.
Currently we are watching The First on Hulu and Seinfeld on his weeks, and Outlander and Silicon Valley on my weeks. Its a fun schedule!
9:30 – 10:30 pm
This is when I usually wash dishes, listen to an audio book, vacuum, take a bath, do a face mask, (do laundry!), and get ready for bed.
My newest fun idea is to keep my face mask in the kitchen. I use this one from Amazon that I LOVE.
I take a shower before bed and do my hair. I have found that if I wash, dry, and straighten my hair before bed, it’s the best way to keep it simple in the morning. I use this hair brush to style it, and I’m done in just a few minutes.
And that’s it!
And so to bed.
Create a 3 Thing to-do list for flexibility
The 3 Thing to-do list has saved me.
I included this list on my free template, because it is a life saver! Basically, you write down everything you want to get done in a day, but only pick 3 things that are important. These 3 things go at the top.
Once you identify these three things, you focus on just those things. If you are able to accomplish 3 important things, you have succeeded!
This has become a very tangible way for me to focus on my to-do list, and not be over-ambitious. I highly recommend it!
Working mom hacks to find more time in your day
If you are looking for hacks to find more time in your day, here are a few ideas!
I think we need to start breaking rules.
People tell us that we need a normal bedtime/bathtime routine? Well let me tell you, you don’t! Break the rules and change these patterns to fit you!
Let me tell you how we have used the dinner, bath, and bed hours to our advantage.
Right now, both my husband and I have projects we are working on. I blog and run a Pinterest management service , and he is renovating our house. We decided that we needed to find extra hours to fit in these projects.
So, a few times a week (not every day, mind you!) we alternate evening routines with the kids. On some days he feeds them, bathes them, and puts them to bed. This gives me at least an hour to catch up on work.
On alternate days, I take care of the kids so he can work on the house.
We still eat with them all together a few nights a week, but this has given us extra hours to get stuff done.
On top of that, we like to maximize bath time. Some days we do a “stand up” bath that takes 30 seconds. FAST. In and out.
On some days, we let the kids play for awhile while we call and FaceTime the grandparents.
On some days, I give my kids baths at 5 pm because I need sanity, and it cuts down on our evening routine.
However you decide to use your blocks, it’s ok! Break the rules and find time that works for you!
Apps and Social Media Resources that I love:
Homer Learning App
So…I’ve tried LOTS of online learning apps for my kids. I am tired of busy, loud learning programs that don’t actually teach anything.
But the Homer Learning App has changed everything for us!
My 3-year old son asks me to learn his “alphabet letter game” because he loves it so much! I can customize the program with his favorite topics – trains, dinosaurs, and animals!
Each program is customized towards my child’s age and learning abilities. Because my daughter is advanced with her learning, I can customize her program with what words/math she does and doesn’t know!
Subjects include reading, math, SEL, creativity and thinking. I love their logic games!
Other favorite apps!
My son is three, and she loves doing her app activities with her dad on his phone. She has a few that she lovingly dubs “the bear one” and “the girl one”.
These apps have paid options, but we just use the free versions which allow for one use a day. This is perfect for her age! (Also, it helps us regulate how much time is spent on the phone.)
💻 A few of our favorites are: Duolingo ABC, Lingokids, and Think & Learn Code-a-Pillar. My daughter has learned so much from each of these, and they keep her mind stimulated. I totally recommend them for free options!
💻 Does your kid need to get their energy out at home? We LOVE Cosmic Kids Yoga on YouTube! My daughter will do yoga for 30-60 minutes while I am able to clean a bathroom or put away lunch dishes. These are perfect for rainy days, and they teach her so much! She is pretty obsessed with teaching me all the poses.
💻 Lastly, my secret weapon for naptime is the New Horizon Meditation Sleep Stories for kids. These stories for kids are calm, soothing, and tell stories of animals and mermaids to lull them to sleep. It slows my daughter down, and allows her to be calm and quiet – even if she doesn’t sleep. She calls her favorite story “the dolphin story”, and we listen to it very frequently!
Free Play ideas for Young Kids
One of the hardest things about working from home is the range of ages of kids that you are taking care of. Chances are you have a baby or a young toddler that needs to be occupied just as much as your older kids.
One of my super skills is finding ways to occupy my younger kids while I work.
I’m kidding – it’s a means of survival.
My favorite tip is to use baby gates and baby fences (yes, they exist!) to your advantage. Every room near you needs a kid-friendly area that you can let your kid have free range in.
I begin my teaching my kids to play by themselves at an early age (by 6 months!). They learn to find toys, be creative, and entertain themselves. This is a lifesaver when I just need a minute to go to the bathroom. Let’s be real.
I also love finding new toys for each season. Once my babies hit four months, I set up the Jumparoo near my desk. To see all my other favorite toys and age-appropriate tips, see my post here.
And…I think that’s it! By the time I post this, my schedule will probably have already changed.
Have fun! Be flexible! Give yourself grace!
I hope you enjoyed this work at home mom schedule that is a real-life picture into our family life. Remember to focus on a block schedule that coordinates kids play times and homeschooling and work time with your daily routines!