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Every day brings a different work-at-home mom schedule. That’s because my 16-month-old is always changing and growing – and so am I. But there’s one activity I work hard to protect with my little one each day.
When naptime rolls around, I pause from my busy work schedule and read to my son. My little guy is crazy active, so it’s not easy to get him to slow down to read books. To make this happen, we fill a bottle with some milk, and we head up to his room.
This time is so precious because he rarely lets me hold him anymore. As he sits on my lap for storytime, I soak in these fleeting moments, knowing that even storytime will pass or he will demand to sit next to me instead of on my lap.
The activity means giving up 20-30 minutes of productivity, but isn’t this why I work from home in the first place? It wouldn’t be hard for me to go out and get another marketing job and place my son in daycare, but this time of no productivity is one of the times of day that I live for!
Choosing age-appropriate books
Because my son is so active, the right books play a key role in our naptime reading. One day per week, we go to baby storytime at the local library. The leader serves as our personal book finder and helps us match up new titles to the phase my little guy is in.
Right now, he’s all about books with flaps or touch and feel. And, those pages better only have 10 words or less because he loves to turn the pages so make it fast!
I know the book titles that I grew up with and my mom helps us stock our library with those classics. But I’m not good at following what’s new or knowing how to read books that promote my son’s development phase.
That’s why we tried the Little Fun Club recently. This is a book subscription service where they send new books based on your preferences. You can select either two or three books and how many months you want to receive the books.
The books we got in our first month were so age-appropriate and matched my comments perfectly. In My Forest features a finger puppet that makes each page come to life for my son. Travels with The Little Prince has tabs along the side that make turning the pages extra fun for my son. We also got Steam Train Dream Train. I had not heard of any of these titles before but they added great depth to our library.
What I liked about Little Fun Club:
- The price is reasonable. For $25, you can get three books tailored to our child (or $20 for two books). They’re delivered to your door so you save time on research and shopping.
- Mystery can be fun. I was just as excited to get the package as my son was because I couldn’t wait to see what was inside.
- It brought new adventures for me to share with my son that I had not yet considered and open us up to new stories, images and fun together.
So how can you make time in your work-at-home mom schedule for reading to your little one each day? Read on for the schedule we use to make time for storytime each day.
My work-at-home mom schedule
Each mom and child is different, so what works for me might not work for you. I have the great benefit of a child who sleeps through the night most of the time, allowing me to wake up in the morning feeling refreshed. Your life might look different so adapt this schedule to meet your needs.
6:20: My first alarm goes off (don’t judge me. I’m a morning person the minute my feet hit the floor, but this part is hard)
6:30: My second alarm goes off and I get out of bed
6:40: By this time, I have washed my face, filled my coffee mug and unlocked my laptop to start the day. Personally, I choose not to take a shower or get dressed yet at this point. Working in my pajamas is more efficient to start the morning. I generally get about an hour and a half of work done before my son awakes.
8:15-8:30: The little guy wakes up and we go through the morning routine of getting dressed, eating breakfast and starting the day. I wait and eat breakfast with my son. This means I only clean up once and I maximize my work time before he wakes up.
9:00: I return to working and my son has some independent playtime.
10:00: This is sometimes the time of day where we turn on the TV. I try to urge him to keep playing, but sometimes it just doesn’t work and we turn on Super Simple Songs on Amazon Prime Video so that he’s learning and enjoying music at least while getting his screen time.
11:00: I break to work out. Depending on the weather, this might mean running, walking or rollerblading outside. If not, I do Walk Away the Pounds with Leslie Sansone. When we do indoor workouts, we head to the basement so my son has new toys to occupy him while I workout. I’ve found this is much more effective than trying to do it in the living room where he has access to the same toys he did all morning.
Noon: We eat lunch. I try to eat foods that we both enjoy eating so that cleanup is more efficient and so is meal prep. (Learn how to create a weekly menu to save time in my post: Work-at-home mom tips: create a menu to save precious time).
12:30 At this point, I try to play with my son for a bit before putting him down for a nap. Again, time with my son is why I work from home so this time is just as important as productive time for me.
1:30: We head upstairs and read for about a half-hour until 2.
2:00: This is my most productive time. My son generally naps for two hours. If I have any client calls, I schedule them all in this 2-hour window to make sure I have quiet space to do them. Aside from that, this is when I crank out some of my best work of the day because it’s completely focused time.
4:00: My son wakes up. Generally, this is when I stop working for the day. It takes time to change his diaper, feed him a snack. By that point, it’s generally 4:30 anyway. If we can, we get outside and I try to give him time to run. During this final hour before my husband comes home, we also clean up the house. I clean up all the dishes from the day during this window because it’s distracting to try and do it during the workday.
5:30: The garage door opens, and my son says with delight “Dada.” We call it a day and only rarely do I work in the evenings because I try to protect this time as family time. Sometimes though, after my son goes to bed at 8, I work a bit more if I’m on deadline for a project or have something that can’t wait until morning.
What schedule works for you? Share in the comments section to help other moms working to balance motherhood and working from home.