I know, I know – to some people, this may not sound like the most exciting post! 😉 But if you ARE anything like me, keep reading, friend, because you probably love hearing about others’ home routines, too.
Shall I start with a disclaimer? (I feel like moms shouldn’t need one, since life with littles can have its share of curveballs, haha…but here goes.) This routine I’m sharing today is an ideal, quiet, predictable nightly routine. Some nights do not look like this. Some nights differ only slightly from this. And some nights (the real curveballs!) differ greatly from this routine! Some nights are late bedtimes for everyone, or traveling home from my parents’ place two hours away, or friends staying overnight, or teething. 😉
However, I have to say that this schedule is enough of a common occurrence around here that I do feel comfortable sharing this little timeline and calling it an actual routine! It really helps that our daughter is one now, and is no longer a tiny infant. Sophie has been sleeping quite well overall, and it helps that she’s much older now. That’s how we now have this longer uninterrupted period of time every evening (from around 7:30 or 8:00 pm on), when our time is ours to do with as we please. (Mamas of littler babies, you’ll get there!! Hang in there!)
Why Have an Evening Routine?
After all, aren’t evenings for relaxing, fun, and not worrying about the house? Well…I actually do have tasks that I do every evening (and I like it that way!). Here’s why. First, as a stay-at-home mom, I do consider it part of my “at-home” job description to be taking care of the home. Second, I’ve definitely tried the route of ignoring dishes and household tasks (several years ago) and I always, always regretted it. It’s way more stressful to me to have a massive pile of dishes to chisel food off of later, as opposed to doing today’s dishes before I go to bed tonight!
Homemaking is something I get GREAT joy from anyway. I always looked forward to the day I’d have a home to take care of, where I could design routines for myself and for my family – where I could run my own systems and make things as peaceful, homey, cozy, and smooth as possible for everyone. While this home we’re living in is definitely not our forever home, it has been such a blessing for me to have a home to care for. I feel like I’ve really come into my own when it comes to homemaking, and now I consider it one of my favorite roles!
I want to talk a little bit about a homemaking cycle that struck me recently. Bear with me if it sounds a little goofy at first. I’ve come to realize that when I’m intentionally taking care of a home, then I come to love it more. And then because I love the home, I want to respect it by caring for it well. (And then continuing to care for it helps me to enjoy it better! And so on…) There’s such a cycle of care + enjoyment that happens with homemaking. It’s seriously like investing in a relationship – a relationship with the place you’re currently living in, even if it’s not your forever space.
But back to why we need to have a routine: A routine invites peace, and having that structure brings a sense of freedom.
I find that knowing how my evening will go – from the motions I go through, to the cleaning products I reach for, even knowing where to put toys away – brings me a lot of peace! Once we know a routine, our mind can take a step back and relax more, because it doesn’t have to make constant little decisions about the day or about the objects in the room. We can just go through the rhythm of the day without wondering what to do next. Even thinking about this makes me breathe more deeply!
I’m a big proponent of the idea of “outer order, inner calm.” I feel like all is well in the world when I go to bed with a clean, empty kitchen sink and a cleared-off kitchen table…everything’s wiped down and fresh, and all of the toys, laundry, etc. are put away nicely. Are you like this, too? Do you like having a place for everything to live?
Let’s jump into the actual routine. I’ll describe it in detail so that you can envision it with me!
My Evening Routine
8:00 pm // I’m back downstairs after putting Sophie to bed.
We try to shoot for a 7:00 pm bedtime for her, but some nights, bedtime’s more like 7:30 pm. Plus I like to cuddle her a little extra in the evenings. 🙂 That’s okay! I’m just usually downstairs by 8:00 and ready to start the evening routine for this house. There are so many nights when I come downstairs, see the state of the kitchen and living room after our busy day, and ALL I want to do is just collapse on the couch or head upstairs to relax and ignore the mess. But I don’t, because to me, it’s really, really worth it to spend a little time tidying everything up for the next day!
8:00-8:30 pm // Dishes.
We don’t own a dishwasher (our future place: it’ll be mandatory, haha!), so dishes do take up a lot of my time each day. I could let myself loathe this, or just accept the fact that it’s part of our reality in our current place. While I do try to get a few dishes done earlier in the day, there are always some left in the post-supper “explosion” around here, haha.
During this time, I put my laptop on the kitchen counter and pull up a show or YouTube channel to watch. One of my very favorites shows in the world is M*A*S*H, and I love catching up with Blair Lamb on YouTube. I also prop Sophie’s baby monitor up near the sink so I can keep an eye on her and make sure she gets to sleep okay. She’s really good about falling asleep at bedtime – yay!
Sometimes there are a ton of dishes, if I made a meal that involved a couple cutting boards, knives, pots, etc. Other nights, we eat leftovers and I’m pleasantly surprised by the small amount of dishes to wash! 🙂 The dishes themselves typically take me around 30 minutes to do every night, but sometimes it’s longer.
8:30-8:45 pm // Kitchen and living room cleanup.
After the dishes are drying on the racks (I don’t put them away at night – I save that for the next morning), I take a look at the kitchen and see what needs to be wiped down. Honestly, even if a counter doesn’t look dirty, I wipe it down. We have a very small kitchen so all of the surfaces get used at some point every day.
I use the Thieves Household Cleaner from Young Living when I’m doing general spray-downs of Sophie’s highchair, the kitchen table, counters, and sink. But if I need to super sanitize after raw meat has been handled, I will reach for bleach wipes for that particular area of the kitchen. Additionally, I rely on my Bar Keeper’s Friend powder to scrub the farmhouse sink down and keep it white!
Since I do this wiping down every night, I don’t do a really deep clean like I do on Tuesdays (my bigger cleaning day each week). On Tuesdays, I would be doing things like scrubbing down the sides of cabinets, or cleaning out the microwave using my Angry Mama Microwave Cleaner!
After the kitchen is sparkly clean, I walk over to the living room and see how much I can put away in just a few minutes! Our living room can easily look like a tornado came through, since the front door opens directly into it! I make sure all shoes are put away in our shoe organizer, coats are hung up, Sophie’s diaper bag is hung up, and then I focus on Sophie’s toys. She’s actually already learning to help put toys “in” or away, but at this point, we still end the day with toys out! So I quickly go around the room and put all of her loose toys in her big soft toy bin (we own it in multiple sizes and I love it so much!), and slide all of her books back into their place on the low shelves of the fish tank. Then I fold any blankets that were left out, straighten the couch and chair cushions, give all the pillows a final fluff, and we’re good to go! The living room takes the least amount of time in my evening routine, but then it looks so much better!
8:45-9:15 pm // Quiet work time or chat time!
This is one of my favorite times of the day. Once the downstairs part of the house is put to bed, I feel like I can relax and unwind a bit. I usually brew myself a mug of Good Earth Sweet and Spicy Caffeine Free Tea. It’s my favorite tea! If you like cinnamon tea at all, then you’ll have to try this! I love that they make a caffeine free version, too.
This is when I really love sitting in the kitchen. I have only the sink light on, not the overhead light, so it’s super cozy and clean and dimly lit in there! I typically work on writing a blog post, editing photos, or answering emails at this time. If Bjorn is home from farming tasks or cross country practice by now, and he isn’t needing to work on something else, then he’ll brew himself a mug of black tea and we’ll sit and chat.
9:15-9:25 // Shower, brush teeth, and head upstairs.
I’ve been showering in the evenings for a few months now and I’ve found it makes all the difference in terms of streamlining the next morning. Honestly, I like showering in the morning, but if I shower at night, my morning routine is significantly shortened, allowing me to spend more time focused on Sophie during her awake time! It’s worth it to me.
9:25-10:30 pm // Quiet time before bed.
Bjorn’s sometimes asleep or reading a book by this time. I like to bring my laptop upstairs (I know, I’m not following the rules of being screen-free in the bedroom, haha) and this is another little pocket of time that I can attempt to make progress on a blogging task, meal planning, reading, BSF homework, and so on.
I use the Rodan + Fields Redefine (anti-aging) skincare regimen, and I truly love infusing it into my daily routine! I also braid my hair at night to keep it out of my face, so I’ll watch an episode of a show while I do that.
I should note here that I am NOT a night owl. I am often dragging by this time of the night, haha…so that is why I use this as more of a relaxing and catch-up time as opposed to saving a really important project for this time slot. Being a mom has kind of forced me to be both a morning person and a night owl, which can be tiring but it’s taught me the merits of being either! I prefer mornings, though. 😉 They’re way more productive for me, but I still like to use this chunk of time to try to accomplish something if I can.
10:30 pm // Feed Sophie, and then I’m off to sleep!
I’m still nursing Sophie. I feed her again right before I go to bed, because honestly, we haven’t gone ahead and dropped her dream feed yet, so that’s why I stay up till 10:30 every night. We’ll probably drop this feeding sometime in the near future. I do like that it allows me to check on her one final time before I go to sleep myself – making sure all is well, the temperature is good in her room, that she feels okay, etc.
Then it’s off to sleep! I used to lie awake at night and struggle to turn my mind off and sleep. But ever since becoming a mom, I don’t have much trouble. I think I’m just too tired at night to care, haha!
There you have it! That’s what a typical, calm evening looks like here at our house.
I really, really thrive on routine, so having one in place means a lot to me. I hope you enjoyed this little peek into my daily life. Let me know if you have any questions, or if you’d like to see more little routines in the future!
What does your evening routine look like? (I really do care! I love this kind of stuff!) Are there any tasks that you especially like to get done in the evenings?