Here are 4 things to keep on your weekly routine and 4 to add to your nightly routine.
I am, apparently, a creature of habit.
If you ask me to tell you about my entire day, and then compare that to other days – I probably seem like a robot. Predictable. Maybe even, extremely self-disciplined.
But really, I don’t think that’s the case.
I am simply fond of habits and routines. If I do something a few days in a row that works for me, I keep it up until I’m doing it daily, nightly, or weekly.
I do it until it doesn’t work for me anymore then I do something new.
Why are weekly routines and habits so amazing?
Weekly routines and habits are amazing because they help lessen the mental overload that we all share as busy moms!
“It is utterly exhausting to keep track of everything for an entire family. There are countless invisible things a woman typically keeps track of that no one sees but her.” Mental Load of Motherhood
By turning something from a to-do list line item to a habit… you simply do it without thinking.
It no longer takes up brain space nor do you need to put reminders everywhere. You simply do it and it’s done regularly.
Read: Mom Morning Routines That Bring Sanity & Order
What should I do in my weekly, nightly, and daily routines?
Note: Some of the things mentioned here will apply to us all. But… you might want to add some things in here I haven’t mentioned.
The key is to add things into the routines that take up mental space so that you can feel more at peace.
WEEKLY ROUTINE: 4 things to set yourself up for the week ahead…
These are things that come in handy for me to do once per week. I personally do these on Sunday afternoon or evenings to alleviate some of the “Sunday Scaries”.
You can do them at any natural break in your week. For example: Friday before dinner, Saturday morning, or even Monday morning.
Read: The Mom Morning Routine — Start The Day Off Strong
Get my cheat sheets and find your family’s groove. Chore, independent play, meal, nap, bedtime, and MORE routine ideas!
1) Meal Plan & Grocery Shop
We live in the sticks. No InstaCart. No grocery delivery. I cannot – this is not a joke – even order my groceries online and pick them up.
No, sir. Old school grocery shopping for me.
I used to randomly go to the store whenever we ran out of food and this caused stress. I dreaded it – since I wasn’t organized – and would put it off until we barely had food and were forced to eat out.
Now, I meal plan immediately before going grocery shopping and I go grocery shopping at the same time every week.
- Choose your meal planning medium (Pinterest, write on a chalkboard, print out recipes, etc.)
- Choose a time that suits you to grocery shop that you can do every single week
- Do the full shop at this time. Don’t skip the milk if you already have a jug in the refrigerator, buy all the regulars.
By doing this I soon found my pantry was always well-stocked, my fridge rarely got to empty, and I spent less money both at the store and eating out.
Read: My “Daily Escape” to a Quiet Place & Why It’s Necessary
This meal planning and food staple guide will help you cut your meal prep and planning time in half.Learn More
2) Update and Plan (In Planner)
Whether you use a digital planner or a paper planner, it’s a good idea to update it weekly.
Every Sunday evening, I go to my desk, get out my paper planner, and get to work. I’ve personally used both the Simplified Planner and the Brilliant Life Planner and love them both.
- Get out your planner of choice (digital or paper).
- Fill in all the standing weekly appointments (church, groups, extra curriculars, etc.)
- Write down things you need to complete this week, making sure not to add too many Big things so you stand a chance of completing it.
- Make note of any appointments or meetings you need to tell your spouse about so you can tag team things. (If digital, it’s likely already shared)
3) Create a Weekly To Do List
Guess what? I do this at the same time I’m filling out my planner! I write down things or projects that I need to complete by the week’s end.
This is different than a brain dump which is a huge master list of all the things you want done. Nope, a to-do list is a list of things you’ll be able to complete in a 7 day period.
- Phone calls
- Things to buy
- Things to brainstorm / plan (like plans for an upcoming birthday or holiday, etc.)
4) Choose Kid’s Clothes for The Week
Before we started homeschooling, I picked out all of my school aged children’s outfits each Sunday evening and then hung them up ready for the morning.
Seems like a lot…but it was totally worth it! This cut down on so much stress as the kids got themselves ready each morning for school. Win-win!
- Confirm any social plans with friends
- Think about the weekend ahead, schedule in tentative plans
- Plan workouts… they’ll be more likely to happen
- Check bank accounts, budgets, etc. make sure you’re on track
- Buy miscellaneous things you know you need from Prime (Wal-Mart and Target have quick shipping now too)
- Dump old leftovers from fridge
NIGHTLY ROUTINE: a list of things to do nightly to set yourself up for success…
Undoubtably, morning routines are very important when we have young kids… However, I’ve found that the evening routine may even be more important when it comes to having a good day!
If I’ve done a good nightly routine the night before… I am far more likely to be up and running the next morning with little stress or hick-ups along the way.
Helpful Habits Each Evening
- Lay Out Clothes | I lay out my early morning gym clothes for the mornings I’m going to work out, or whatever other outfit I’m going to wear. It is some how easier and more inspiring to do this at night.
- Check The Planner | Reference your plans for the next day to make sure you’re prepared. What needs to happen, appointments, or anything else you want to fit in. Waking up surprised by what has to be done breeds stress.
- Set Out Morning Drinks | I will put a mug, my vitamins, and a gallon water jug near my coffee station. It’s all sitting there waiting on me prettily for the first cup o the day.
- Confirm The Morning’s Plans | If you have any plans the following day, confirm them with interested parties so you’re not left hanging.
- Set Your Alarm | Even getting up just 15 minutes before your kids do can make a huge difference in your mindset.
- Evening Sweep | Do a general sweep of your entire home by doing my “macro organizing” trick.
- Clean Surfaces | It’s a total stress buster.
- Put Clothes In Washer | If you have a timed washing machine, put a load of clothes in the wash to go off in the morning. Before lunch you’ll have one load done.
Need a place to do a brain dump, weekly planning, self-care tracking, and To Do list all in one? This notepad will help you organize your family live, one week at a time.Learn More
So there you go…
If you feel that your days, nights, and weeks go by in a flash and you don’t have a good handle on them, try choosing a day each week to block out some weekly routines. Then do it nightly.
“Good habits are worth being fanatical about.” John Irving
Take our 3 day challenge to create life-giving family, child, and self-care routines.Learn More
Hi Rachel! I’m a new subscriber. I feel so blessed to have stumbled upon your website especially this article about routines. Before, i felt I was alone in this frustration every Sunday to make it productive so that Monday would be energizing. After reading your article, I became hopeful. I realized that I should be consistent with my routines. Thank you, Rachel.
Rachel Norman says
Oh I totally get that it’s so hard on the Sunday. The Sunday SCaries, they call it for a reason! Hoping you find some routines that help you :)
Clean Home says
A nice eye-opener article for me. I never ever plan our meal. It’s like, what I can buy on the grocery that weekend should what we consumed. The thing is that my mom doesn’t want to eat the foods I like and ended up consuming twice the budget for us.
Rachel Norman says
Yes, that’s a good point. If we plan we will spend less. If we don’t we get random foods and half the time they don’t go together and then we end up eating out!
Jo Greene says
I’m a mom of 3 & I own/run a business. I ALWAYS take a nap on Sunday afternoon. It feels like I got a relaxing weekend. Going into the week well rested makes all the difference.
Rachel Norman says
LOVE a good afternoon nap :)
My sons and I have two routines that we find absolutely essencial. The few days these don’t happen, it throws off our whole day.
The night before. I make waaaaay too much dinner quite on purpose.
-After dinner my youngest clears the dining room table while my older son starts tidying the kitchen. While they are doing that, I start loading the dishwasher.
-After the dishwasher is loaded, my children wash anything that wouldn’t fit in the dishwasher while I take the leftovers from dinner and pack everyones lunches for the next day. (The containers go in the fridge, not the actual lunch boxes).
-The dishes used for cooking are filled with hot soapy water to soak overnight. and the stove and counters get a good wipe.
-A load of laundry is set to wash.
Then, in the morning…
-My oldest (9 years old) and I get up a half hour before his younger brother. He makes a pot of coffee while I put the load of laundry in the dryer. Then he puts away clean dishes while I start cleaning anything the boys missed on the counters the night before. The floor gets a good sweep, and then he washes the dishes that soaked overnight while I start making breakfast.
-right about now the younger boy gets up. We all eat breakfast and the children clear off the table and rinse and stack the dishes while I put everyones lunches into the apropriate lunch boxes.
Every time we slip up on one of these two (because they both effect each other) it throws the entire day out of whack. You said to share any routines we have that we find absolutely essential.
Rachel Norman says
These are EXCELLENT examples and I’m loving them. You’ve got a well oiled machine over there, woman!
I always like to have the kitchen sparkling clean every night before bed. Makes morning easier! I’m not typically motivated to get the dishes done right after I eat so I have to tell myself how much easier my morning will be if I just get to it. I also meal plan for the week, and I like to wake up an hour before my daughter to enjoy my coffee in peace. Thankfully she wakes up at the same time on the dot EVERY day. I’m so glad I found your blog. I’m a military wife and feel like sometimes I lose myself in being a mom and being alone all the time. I don’t feel so alone anymore, you’ve really saved my mental health. Thank you.