As a mom of three little ones, our days usually go one of two ways. Either they run well or they are shockingly bad. If you have kids, you know what I’m talking about. There seems to be no in-between.
These days between Covid, snow days, and everything else that winter throws at us, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and burned out as a parent.
Now, for the first few years of motherhood, I wallowed in this feeling of overwhelm. I thought that it was inevitable. That it was what I signed up for when I decided to have kids.
But what I’ve found over time is that a lot of it can be relieved with the help of your family.
(You know, those people that you take care of daily. Yeah them. They can do things too.)
I think as moms (or parents) we tend to do it all because it gets done a lot faster. Unfortunately, this both makes us crazy and doesn’t teach our kids valuable life lessons.
So, here are the special tricks I’ve used to motivate my family and get them to help me when it feels like everything is on my shoulders.
1. Create a System
First, I learned long ago that nagging gets me nowhere. So, I created a simple checklist for my kids to do in the morning and after school so that they know what’s expected of them and I don’t have to constantly remind them. They get screens on the weekend if they complete it.
Most of their checklist is made up of simple good habits like brushing their teeth. But they also have a few things that help the family, like chores and dinner clean-up.
Anything that you can make automatic with your family will be a lifesaver long-term. This one thing alone has alleviated an enormous amount of mental overload!
2. Motivate With Rewards
I like to think that my kids are helpful without needing a push, but that’s not always the case. So, for the times that they need extra motivation, I use the free printable kids coupons that I keep for special occasions. They work like a charm and we both win.
The coupons have things like special time with dad, no chore day, 30 minutes of extra screen time, etc. and mean that I don’t have to resort to junk food or junky toys.
3. Get Your Partner More Involved
Now, so far we covered how to get the kids to pitch in, but what about your partner?
I’ve learned the hard way that my husband can’t read my mind and doesn’t always know when too much responsibility is on me. So, now when I’m feeling the pinch, I make sure that I’m extremely direct with what I need.
Instead of, “I wish you picked up the kids from school more!”
I now say “what two days a week can you pick up the kids from school?”
He picks and we mark it on the calendar. Drama is averted, and we are both happy.
Communication is key, and that goes double for when you need help.
4. Get Outside Help
Finally, when all else fails, perhaps it’s time to get help outside of your immediate family. Do grandparents live close and can you ask them to help? Do you have a friend that you can call on?
Or, would it be worth your time and sanity to hire something done?
We often don’t like spending money for something we can do ourselves. But the truth is that you need to consider your time to be valuable. Think about what you can take off of your plate that could actually be an investment.
For example, I broke down and hired more childcare and a housecleaner once a month last year. In doing so, I had more time to work on my business and my income has skyrocketed.
If nothing else, I hope that you see there are creative solutions to consider when you are feeling overwhelmed. It takes a little planning, but you can relieve a lot of the stress that comes with juggling family, work, and life if you take action.