Working moms do SO MUCH every day. Working, raising kids, connecting with your partner & other family members and maintaining the household… all in the span of one day.
At the end of the day, it can all get out of hand pretty quickly, if you don’t have a plan in place.
The key is to plan ahead for your evening, so that there’s no scrambling at the last minute.
Having a working mom evening routine takes a lot of the panic away, and makes your evening more manageable.
I’m sharing with you my evening routine as a working mom, plus how to make your own working mom evening routine, so that you can have some stress-free time hanging out with your family!
The Evening Routine That Makes My Whole Day Easier As a Working Mom
My working mom evening routine is easy and flexible, because I prepare for it during other times of the day. That way, when I have to do the hard things like dinner, cleaning, homework, etc, I am not starting everything from scratch.
I also include my family so that everyone knows what’s coming, and when – and they can help out, too.
3pm – 5:30pm: After School
- Get kids from school
- snacks, homework help & prep dinner ingredients if they aren’t already (I usually do this in the mornings or on the weekends)
5:30pm – 7pm: Dinner Time
- (turn off internet) chores
- dinner, clean-up together, backpacks packed
7pm – 9pm: Get Ready For Bed
- (turn on internet) play games, reading,
- PJs and kids’ bedtime (pick out clothes, teeth brushed, etc)
9pm – 10pm: Late Night
- Pick out my clothes
- Add laundry to washing machine & set timer for morning
This routine helps me in a lot of ways.
- It makes my mornings easier by automatically doing laundry, having bags packed & everybody’s clothes picked out
- It makes my evenings easier by giving my family undistracted time to help with cleaning and dinner
- It makes my work time a little easier because I’m not stressing about what to make for dinner, or how I’m going to have to do all of the cooking and cleaning when I get home.
I don’t have to indulge that feeling of, “I don’t feel like doing anything tonight,” because we are all doing it together. Plus, the internet doesn’t get turned back on until everything is done 😊
I also wrote out my morning routine if you want to see how I made my mornings much easier, too.
How to Make Your Own Working Mom Evening Routine
By tweaking your evening and making it easier for the rest of the house to help out, you’ll have an evening that is far less stressful and brings everyone together.
Write Out What Your Evenings Look Like Right Now
Make a list of all of the things you do in the evenings right now, like:
- Supervise homework,
- Make dinner,
- Eat dinner,
- Clean kitchen after dinner,
- Cleaning and/or laundry,
- Driving to/from sports or activities,
- Kids’ bedtime routines,
- Your bedtime routines, etc.
Circle The One or Two Toughest Parts of Your Evening
The biggest part of a successful evening routine is to take the parts of your evening that are the hardest, and tweak them to make them as easy as possible.
What sucks about your evening routine right now? What exactly are those things that you don’t have the energy for? Seriously, sit and think about it: what exactly is it that you don’t want to do in the evening?
This can include:
- Cooking dinner,
- Cleaning Up,
- Not having alone time,
- Homework getting done, etc.
Look at your list and circle the one or two toughest parts of your evening. Now let’s take the edge off!
Tweak Those Circled Tasks to Make Your Evening Easier
Is it that you hate cooking dinner? See if you have room in your budget for a meal delivery service like HelloFresh, Blue Apron or Fresh Chef once or twice a week.
Or, can you use dinnertime as a teaching moment by having the kids help you with measuring, stirring, serving and clean-up? Teenagers can even rotate dinner duty with the other grown ups in the house.
Or, prepare some easy freezer meals that you just throw in the crockpot or stovetop pan.
- a one-weekly or twice-monthly cleaning service,
- pick-up laundry service from your local laundromat, or
- A robot vacuum
Or, get the family involved with cleaning one room each day (it’ll take 5 minutes if everyone helps out).
Is it that you want some time to yourself before the kids jump on you? See if you can add an extra 30 minutes in your commute to stop at a coffee shop or a place you can sit outside, and scroll on your phone for a little while before getting home.
If you work from home, you can check your local facebook groups for a babysitter to watch the kids for a little bit after your work time.
Or, trade off days with your partner, where each of you gets to come home an hour or two later once or twice a week.
Ask the question, “What if it was easy to stop doing [insert task you hate here]?” What would that look like? What would you do or not do to make that happen? Get creative and make this time easier for yourself to be present with your family – that’s the most important thing.
Think About The Obstacles to Your Family Helping Out in The Evenings, and Try to Work Around Them
My family would all stay on our electronics if we went unchecked. The only way I was able to get everyone’s attention (including my own!) was to unplug my router for an hour and a half each evening.
When you ask your kids or spouse for help, do they default to the same old response that gets them out of it? Get creative and think, “what if that response was gone, what would that look like?”
In my house with middle school kids, we turn off the internet after homework, and it goes back on after dinner when everything’s done – it’s a great motivator, for the grown ups too!
Depending on your kids’ ages, they can either help cook dinner or make it on their own some nights, and everyone can bring their plates to the sink or dishwasher.
After dinner cleaning can be really fast if everyone helps out, and can look like:
- Bringing plates to the sink/dishwasher
- Sweeping under the table
- Spraying & wiping the table
- Drying dishes/putting them away
I read a quote recently but I forgot the name, “Giving kids chores shows them they aren’t just wanted, but they are needed.”
Give Your New Working Mom Evening Routine Some Time, and Make Adjustments
It will take some time for the other people in your house to get used to any change in their routines. Kids especially are not going to be happy that the routine they are used to is going to change, let alone start including “chores.”
If your kids are younger, I highly suggest that you do not make a deal at all about changing your routine, just do it. Don’t say anything about a “change.”
Older kids/teenagers are old enough to talk to. We all live here, we all contribute to using the house, we all help out.
No matter how old your kids are, everyone loves phrases like “that is so helpful, this only took five minutes, that plate looks delicious,” etc. and high fives all around.
Why Make an Evening Routine as a Working Mom
Think about this…which evening would you rather have more often?
…I get home from work, I’m exhausted, I have to make dinner & I don’t know what I’m making yet, the kids (reasonably) want my attention after being told what to do all day at school, the kitchen implodes, suddenly everybody’s on some electronic device, I can’t remember the last time any of them bathed…
…I get home, dinner’s half ready (or already ready), snacks are already packed for after school activities, everybody helps with kitchen clean up (even dad), it feels busy & little Sally doesn’t want to eat but I know everything’s going to be fine.
My evenings used to look a lot like the first one. I would cook and then rage clean around everyone else doing whatever they wanted. I would give up & order takeout a LOT. I would nag the crap out of everyone to do homework, jump in the shower, brush their teeth, or put their crap away.
I was so frustrated at my family, and even more at myself for not already having a system that makes the whole family happily help out every night.
Now, the kids know that homework gets done when they come home (I have snacks prepped so they keep their blood sugar stable & can concentrate). Then at about 5:30 the internet gets turned off until after dinner, so we can all clean one room, have dinner and clean up without distractions.