Sometimes the hardest part about getting things done is knowing where to start. Make a to-do list for the day (including things you want to get done when your kids are home). If you find it difficult to motivate yourself to make a list AND follow through with it, consider making a list just before your kids come home from school and use that list the next day. The next day after drop off, all you have to do is look at the list and start.
“If it's your job to eat a frog, it's best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it's your job to eat two frogs, it's best to eat the biggest one first.” (Mark Twain) Essentially, check the worst item off your to-do list first. Just get it out of the way. The other items will be easier and you can avoid putting off the whole thing if the most annoying one is done. PLUS by the time you get to the end of your list you will likely be feeling tired. Easier to-dos are easier to do with less energy than your ‘biggest frog’ task.
Pick a theme for each day and focus heavier on those to-dos. I.e. Monday meals, Tuesday laundry, Wednesday home projects, Thursday kid activities, Friday misc, Saturday deep clean, Sunday plan out the weekly calendar. Then on those days try to get those tasks done especially (whether that is planning ideas related to the topic or actually executing them)
You can go as in depth as you want with meal prepping. Stock up on freezer meals for the month, or simply chop up veggies so they’ll be easy to grab for snacking.
You spend an awful lot of time caring for others, make sure you return yourself the favor. Take some time each day to focus on you. That could look like working on a project, getting your nails done, taking a bath, taking a dance class, journaling- whatever you want so long as it is a time to focus on your needs and your interests. Regular self care helps you maintain your identity as an individual person, not only as a mom.
There’s no shame in catching some shuteye. Rest up while your kids are away so you will be refreshed and ready to care for them when school ends.
If you want to! A part time job, even a remote one, is a great way to bring in some extra cash AND fulfillment. That being said, don’t underestimate the hard work you give every day to be a stay at home parent which is a very demanding job.
Doing laundry while your kids are away can actually be quite relaxing if you throw on a show to watch or a podcast to listen to. BUT if you are a home where kids help fold their own clothes, then put in a load now so when your kids get home they will be able to help with the folding.
Surprise your kids with a fun activity or game to come home to. Some options are ingredients for a recipe, pieces for a craft, or even a literal game board open and ready.