As a working mom finding the right routine for taking care of toddlers can be tough. By the time you pick them up from daycare or preschool they’ve had a full day and so have you. But I’ve learned some tricks that make my working mom routine with toddlers easier.
No matter how old your kiddos are we need to establish a schedule that works for both the working mom and kids. Much of parenting is about getting your children to cooperate. And when you’re raising two toddlers, cooperation is key. In this article, I will give you tips on how to create a working mom routine, example daily schedules, and working mom product recommendations and services.
You can also check out these working mom quotes for inspiration.
9 Seriously Awesome Tips for a Working Mom’s Routine with Toddlers
1 | Plan Ahead
Getting two toddlers ready in the morning is tough, but one thing that helps is to lay out clothes, shoes, and diapers for all five days Sunday evening. I put them on the bookshelf in the living room in neat piles for easy access.
My son loves to pick out his clothes, so I usually give him two options (since I already have them ready). I especially like this working mom hack because I don’t have to put the clothes away from the dryer. It saves me a step.
If your toddler is still using a bottle check out how to move from bottle to sippy.
2 | Prepare Breakfast
Before I get the kids up, my husband prepares breakfast. It’s important to get everything ready before you wake them up. This way you won’t be distracted or fall prey to toddler demands. Although some of them are pretty cute (Mama, snuggle me), making them hard to resist.
Once we get them out of bed, we plop them in their seats and breakfast is served. Three easy breakfasts for toddlers are fruit and oatmeal, peanut butter on toast, and fruit and yogurt.
For other simple, yet nutritious snacks check out these toddler snack ideas kids will love.
I love steel-cut oats, so I cook a big batch up Sunday night and use it for the next few days. If you add a little syrup or honey with tons of blueberries, my kids will eat it easily. If I’m in a hurry, I give them yogurt. I’ve yet to meet a kid that doesn’t like yogurt.
3 | Plan Mommy & Kid Activities
I used to go right into the evening routine when we got home from work, but I realized that my kids need some mom time to recharge. Once I added 20-45 minutes of mommy playtime in before moving to bathtime, the evening routine became easier.
Usually, my son picks the game, but if I have a choice it’s to snuggle up in bed. Of course, snuggling is both kids jumping on me and trying to get me to swing them around or something way too physical and tiring for me, but there are moments that they both relax for two seconds, and I get to squeeze them.
My son loves to play hide and seek, superheroes or stickers. I find that if I plan at least one activity with them after work, even if it’s really short everyone is happier.
- Take a walk
- Water play
- Read a book
- Coloring book
- Sticker book
- Play Tag
- Build a tower
- Sort objects
- Play with balls
- Play with legos
- Build a cave or fort
- Make food in the play kitchen
- Water the plants & feed the kitty
- Play with cardboard boxes
4 | Quick Dinner meals
I try to make as easy as possible too. Eating with toddlers isn’t relaxing, so I like to feed them first and then once they’re in bed, I’ll eat.
Like most kids, my little ones are pickyish. I try to give them a protein and a vegetable with fruit as dessert. My daughter hates any kind of vegetables, besides corn so this can be a challenge.
I usually grill up some chicken or fish and pair this with corn or broccoli. I slice chicken breast thin so it cooks quickly, and I usually use frozen corn or fresh broccoli.
If I don’t have fresh berries for dessert, frozen is fine. My kids love frozen blueberries, and this is a go-to food all the time. Preparing their meals usually takes about 10 minutes. I do this while they’re in the bath.
For tips on how to save money check out these effortless money saving hacks for moms.
5 | Make Baths Optional
Most days my kids do get a bath after daycare. I sometimes wonder if their daycare provider says, "Hey mom’s coming, why don’t you roll around in some dirt before she gets here?"
So, I stress optional if your kids are like mine (when they get in the tub they leave streaks dirt on the side). But some days giving them a bath is too much or one of them is in an anti-bath phase.
I like to give them a bath before they eat because of how dirty they are from daycare, and then I can use the bathtime to get their food ready. But I know that a lot of working moms bathe their kids after dinner.
6 | Work Together
Get your spouse integrated into the routine. In the mornings, my husband prepares breakfast while I shower. By the time I’m ready, the kids have eaten. I then dress the kids, while he washes the dishes. Once the kids are ready, my husband and I eat together while they play. Okay, we eat while trying to get them not to bother us too much.
If you're planning to travel with kids soon, checkout the article, The Ultimate Working Mom's Travel List for Toddlers.
7 | Clear Rules
I’m not the best disciplinarian. I’ll sometimes do anything to avoid my kids crying, but I’ve learned that this isn’t the best method. We created a time-out chair and follow the guidelines is an effective book called Parenting the Strong-Willed Child: The Clinically Proven Five-Week Program for Parents of Two- to Six-Year-Olds. This book changed my life and gave me valuable parenting tools. If you’re having difficulties getting your kids to cooperate, this book is for you.
8 | Be Flexible
The hardest times for me is when I want to complete a household duty or chore and can’t because my one and three-year-old are literally hanging from an arm and a leg. I have a set of tasks to complete before I can play or relax, but I can’t complete them.
I have to remind myself that becoming frustrated only makes everything worse, and if I’m flexible and include them in the task it’s easier. For example, I’ll let my daughter hand me the groceries to put away or I’ll let me son fill up the kitty’s water. Sure I know that he’s going to spill some of it, but that’s okay.
9 | Working Mom Self-care
One day a week, my husband does both the morning and evening routine by himself. I go to pilates or yoga. I’ve created some simple workout suggestions you should check out.
Working Mom’s Morning Routine Example
*Based on both parents helping but doing it by yourself is doable. I get up a few minutes early to make it work.
Both parents get up (always get up a little before your kids, so you can prepare breakfast before they rise).
6:00 - 6:15 am
One parent prepares breakfast while the other one showers.
6:15 - 45 am
Get the kids up, fed, and dressed.
7:00 - 7:15 am
Lunch packed and car loaded
Leave for daycare
Working Mom’s Evening Routine Example
*Based on both parents helping
Arrive at the house
*Open windows, change into comfortable clothes, unload the car. I make this a part of our routine; otherwise, I wouldn’t even be able to go to the bathroom.
5:40 - 6:15 pm
Fun activity with the kids
I prepare dinner while they’re in the bath. The kitchen is close by, so there’s no worry about danger.
This can take a long time with two toddlers.
Read a book
The only way sometimes to control behavior and get them to eat their dinner is to promise television. Also, my three-year-old is super high energy, and the television is one of the only things that calms him down during the twilight hours.
Bedtime by 7:45
Getting the kids to bed usually takes two of us, but one is manageable. I put one kid to bed and then wait twenty minutes before putting my oldest to bed. They each get one song and one story. But that’s never enough for toddlers, so I then send my husband in for one more story.
Working Mom Product Recommendations
I recently discovered these gems. You’ll find a sticker to fit any kid, and the best part is that the stickers are reusable. Not only that but if you fold over a sticker little hands can easily unfold it.
If you’re struggling with how to create a peaceful household with a wild child then this book is for you.
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Some days I order diapers and cat food from my Amazon Prime app as I’m parked in front of my kids' daycare. I don’t have time to stop at the store and going to the store with two toddlers after a long day is asking for a meltdown.
Now that you have some tips for a working mom’s routine with toddlers, I’d love to know what you think in the comments below.
If you’re wondering why you’re a working mom, check out this article on why I chose to be a working mom.
Co-Founder Pen and Parent
Amber Roshay is an instructor, writer, and instructional designer who founded Pen and Parent with her college best friend. She's written two novels and co-wrote How to Make a Living as a Writer. When she's not chasing after kiddos and indulging in baby snacks, you can find her writing with a cup of coffee in hand. Join her on Pinterest.