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My twins just turned two, my med-student husband is crazy busy, and we live in a city where we don’t have any family support. Still, life is pretty darn good! I’ve been following this daily routine for stay at home moms of twins since the twins hit the 18 month mark, and it has made a huge difference in my ability to balance three kids, housework, and my emotional and physical well-being.
In my pre-twin life, I was an optimization analyst for a government contractor and spent my days streamlining business processes. Turns out, business processes and twin mom routines aren’t all that different. In both cases, the goal is to identify and eliminate factors that cause stress. If that sounds good to you, keep reading!
A few things to keep in mind
This routine is best for twins who are taking one nap per day. If your twins are still a little too young, use what you can from this routine, but also check out The Budget-Friendly Guide to Raising Twins without Extra Help for tips specific to infant twins!
I don’t like doing chores while my kids sleep. I put a lot of effort into avoiding the scenario where I spend naps or those blissful hours after bedtime doing housework, so this routine integrates kid-time and chore-time. I mean, when would I watch Outlander?
This routine focuses on tackling the accumulating household tasks. You know, things like dishes, laundry, and garbage that pile up and need to be addressed at the WORST POSSIBLE moment.
An Optimized Daily Routine for Stay at Home Moms of Twins
Your twins may wake up earlier or later, so adjust this schedule as needed.
Get up if you can (6 AM)
This is hard, but, if you can, try to wake up an hour before your kids. My oldest has always been an early riser, so I’ve completely given up on trying to beat him to the punch, but my twins sleep a little later. I throw on my gym clothes watch the news, drink coffee, and enjoy the quiet. It’s your time, do what makes you feel the most relaxed. I don’t even bother showering (that comes later!)
The Awakening (7 AM)
My twins need to eat breakfast the second the wake up or there will be hell to pay. Typically, I’ll eat a quick meal with them to demonstrate my amazing table manners, then I’ll unload the dishwasher while they’re finishing up.
Kitchen Cleanup and TV time (7:30 AM)
Unless I’m having an extra tough day, this is the only 20-30 minutes of TV time my twins get. They destroy—DESTROY—the kitchen when they eat, so I clean and sweep the kitchen, make the beds, and start a load of laundry while they’re distracted by the boob tube.
Story and Learning Time (8 AM)
After breakfast and a little cleaning, my oldest heads to the bus and I work on developmental skills with the twins. They’re two, so I try not to make things too complicated. Reading, drawing, colors, and numbers. That’s the extent of their current curriculum. Typically, we look at books for a bit (including this awesome number book), count stuff, and sit at a little table while we draw things and talk about colors. Mostly, we just play together.
Sitting at the table doesn’t always go smoothly (see photo below), but we’re working on it.
Mom drinks more coffee (9AM)
Break time! I leave them to their own (supervised) devices and have some coffee, read some articles, or maybe even stare at the wall for a bit depending how the day has gone to that point.
Hit the gym even if you hate exercise (9:30 AM)
If you don’t have a gym membership, this is me literally begging you to research the gyms in your area. You don’t even have to exercise! No one will care if you just soak in the hot tub then hit the showers. My kids play at the gym daycare for a little over an hour while I run, enjoy a shower, and get all made up for the day. I walk in feeling like a mess and walk out feeling like one of those moms who has their sh*t together. All for about $3.50 a day!
Interested but not sure where to start? Here is an article from VeryWell that details how to check out a gym daycare.
Quick shopping trip (11 AM)
We don’t shop every day, but 2-3 mini shopping trips a week isn’t unusual for us. We keep a whiteboard on the refrigerator where I list items whenever I notice we’re running low on something. It’s super easy to snap a picture of the board with my phone and head to the store with my handy list. Curious about how I grocery shop with twins on a regular basis and maintain my sanity? Check out How to Grocery Shop with Twins.
My handy little whiteboard.
What do we do with this time if we don’t shop? Play, of course!
Lunch (12 PM)
Before we eat I toss the laundry in the dryer and start another load if needed. We eat together, but I finish up a little early so I can make dinner while the twins are still eating. That’s right. DINNER. Or supper, depending on where you’re from. I do this, of course, using a crock pot. Sometimes I skip this and just make something at dinner time, but I always keep ingredients for my favorite slow cooker recipes on hand.
Here are some of my favorites:
After lunch and the twins play (and sometimes fight) while I clean up the kitchen . . . again.
It’s time for naps! (1 PM)
I have the twins help me pick up their toys and then it’s sweet, glorious naptime. No suggestions. Just do what you want and love it!
Naps are over (2:30 PM)
And so is the busy part of the day. Afternoons are way less structured around our house. My twins always wake up screaming like crazy people (it’s pretty awful), but recover quickly after a snack and some fluids. I make spending time outside a priority and focus my energy on the kids and not the house or the to-do list. (Except maybe throwing that second load of laundry in the dyer.)
Dinner time! (5:30 PM)
If my husband isn’t home and I haven’t prepped a slow cooker dinner, I let the kids watch a little more TV while I cook something. Then we eat!
After dinner cleanup (6:00 PM)
My husband is usually home by now, so he’ll play with the kids while I clean the kitchen. (That’s right, AGAIN!) He doesn’t mind cleaning, but we both agree his time in the evening is better spent with the boys. I also set the timer on the dishwasher to run later that night, take out the garbage, fold the laundry, and pack my gym bag for the next day. (That sounds like a long list, but it doesn’t usually take more than 30 minutes.)
Once all this is taken care of I’ll check up on my oldest son’s homework progress and enjoy my family!
Bath Time for the toddlers (7 PM)
My husband will handle the bath if he’s home, including getting the twins into jammies and brushing their teeth. I’ll assist by straightening up the bathroom after, which mostly consists of drying up the gallons of water on the floor. Since I live with four males, I use this time to inspect the bathroom situation and make sure there’s nothing disturbing going on with the toilet area.
Story time and bedtime (7:30 PM)
The twins help pick up their toys, then we read to them and tuck them in while the school-ager showers. My oldest loves to write stories, so the time after the twins are in bed is his “show and tell” time. He’ll sit with us and he’ll read his stories and share anything else he’s worked on that day. It’s not a lot, but a few minutes of toddler-free time goes a long way for a 9-year-old.
All the kids are in bed (8:30 PM)
So, you might look at my schedule and think I’m a crazy person with a hint of OCD personality disorder, but I’m a crazy person who tucks her kids in and doesn’t have a bunch of stuff to do afterwards. We watch TV and eat stuff that kids aren’t allowed to have.
Bedtime for Mom (10 PM)
Or 11 PM. If I’m watching a new season of Outlander, definitely 11 PM.
We’re headed into Little League season, so we’ll have some disruptions to the afternoon schedule, but for the most part I do all of these things every weekday. No one is wearing dirty underwear, we never run out of clean silverware, the kids are happy, and the parents are keeping it together just fine. It works!
Are you ready to give it a try? Please let me know how it works for you!