Though I no longer have kids at home (how can my oldest be 31?) I remember how exhausting being a mom sometimes can be. So when clients come to me and share how they seem to have no energy left in the tank. And are feeling, well, a little burned out due to all the demands they face daily – between work, aging parents, and all the activities with their kids.

This is when I like to go back to basics. Because if you feel as if you might not make it through the week, there are small changes that you can make to help reduce your stress levels.

One – Reduce Clutter

Always look to your environment to see if it’s affecting how you feel. Because clutter and messes are draining. Besides, the less stuff you have, the less upkeep you have to worry about. If you have more than two kids, then you may find that belongings add up really quickly. Being particular about what stays in your home will make the job of cleaning up much easier.

Clutter has a ton of negative effects and sometimes it can trigger a lot of anxiety too. Don’t waste time organizing things you don’t need to, as this will help you to stay on top of things.

Even if you do not want to go on full-minimalist mode, try and at least do a big declutter a few times a year, such as when the seasons change.  If you can do this, then you will soon find that your life becomes much more manageable. You may even try the one-in, one-out rule. This will keep the items in your home at a reasonable amount.

You might also want to spend some time decluttering your wardrobe too, as this can free up space in your closet while also saving you time when getting ready in the morning. Believe it or not, little things like this can make a huge difference to your life.

Two – Plan out Meals

If you have kids who are always asking you what is for dinner, then you will know what a source of stress it can be. If you can plan out your meals ahead of time, then this can greatly reduce your daily stress. I like posting the weekly meal plan the fridge, too, as a way to get everyone on the same page.

Some families choose to write out meal boards for the week so that they can avoid discussions and questions. They can also get right to cooking the meals they want each week. The great thing about meal planning is that it means you’ll have to make fewer trips to the grocery store and you can also save a lot of money when it comes to ordering takeout too. Try and plan some super easy meals per week, for the days you know you will have less energy.

And don’t be afraid of trying new recipes that feel easy, even if you have picky eaters. Because you never know, you may find that these are the meals that your kids end up loving the most.

Another trick I use is to cook enough to last more than one meal. It’s easy to double a recipe. Or throw a couple additional chicken breasts on the grill.  And if you want more variety, simply freeze extra portions for later in the month. I especially love how using my Crockpot both allows me to do this and have minimal clean up!

Three – Create A Solid Routine

Routines are ideal because they make your family life a little easier. You will spend less time yelling and you can also get the whole family on board when it comes to knowing what to expect from each day. Kids sometimes need to have a visual checklist as a reminder of what they need to be doing, so try and be mindful of this if you can. You may well have an afternoon routine for your kids, whether it is putting away their school things, spending time outside or anything else.

Either way, if you can get them into a predictable routine, then this will save you a great deal of energy. Especially at a very young age, it is more than possible for you to make your kids feel both safe and secure. When they know what is coming next, you may find that they have less time to argue.

If you have a toddler and they know that they have to put toys away before they have their snack, then this can lead to less tantrums. If you are having a hard time getting your kids to do their homework then remember, it is entirely possible for you to download math worksheets online so you can help them to develop their skills.

Four – Use Smart Devices

You might be somewhat skeptical about things such as home technology, but these devices do have a lot of convenience to offer. If you have some smart speakers placed around your home, then this can help you to call your kids when they are upstairs. The great thing about having a smart speaker is that it can serve as a kitchen timer, or it can be a music player.

You may also find that it can tell you the weather forecast for the day and that it can also help you to put on songs for your child without you having to look for your phone. If you have a smart plug, then this means that you can control when the device can be used. You can program it, so it comes on each morning and then turns off each night. All in all, it is one less thing for you to worry about.

Five – Simplify Everything

Modern-day schedules can easily get out of control. In this day and age, there isn’t much time to think, let alone do things like relax. Sure, it can be tempting for you to try and enroll your children in lots of enrichment programs such as ones suited to sport, or even music, but you have to take the time to consider the effect that this is going to have on them.

If you do not give your child enough free time, then this will work against them. Kids need time to be kids, and unstructured play really is crucial for their development and their learning. If you can, it is wise for you to have one extracurricular activity per child. Your child can easily swap everything out seasonally, but if you stick with this rule then you can easily stop yourself from constantly being in the car, planning out where you are going to have to take your kids next.

Saying no will become easier with time, so be sure to keep this in mind.

Six – Create a Calendar

A shared calendar is a great way for you to make sure that you keep up with any appointments you may have. If something isn’t on your calendar, then it probably won’t happen. Your brain isn’t capable of remembering everything and there’s nothing wrong with this either. If you can make a family calendar, then this will help you to prepare for the week ahead and it will help you to take note of anything that has to be done.

Everything goes on my calendar – my workouts, appointments, and every appointment JB has as well. So, put in the baseball games, piano practice, and special school functions. I like to also block of “travel time” if I need to be somewhere at a specific time.

If you don’t suspect that a physical calendar will do you much good, then use an app instead. The great thing about using an app is that it gives you an open form of communication and it stops your already over-stretched mind from trying to manage absolutely everything.

Make sure that if you do create some kind of calendar, you allow yourself some downtime. You have to make sure that you allow for self-care and that you also make time for family bonding too. If you can do this, then you will stop yourself from being so overrun with chores all the time.

Seven – Stop Mom Guilt

It is so important that you stop any guilt in its tracks. It is normal for even the best mothers to feel stressed over the job that they are doing, and it is normal to worry that you are not doing enough too. A lot of this comes down to the fact that you love your kids so much and that you are simply trying to do everything you can.

If you want to help yourself here, then take the time to remind yourself that you are a fantastic mother. Remind yourself of this time and time again. It is normal for your guilt as a mother to become quite intense at times. If you can, remind yourself that everyone makes mistakes from time to time, and this is normal. Everyone has a moment when they lose their temper, or they say something that they regret.

Last but not least, you don’t have to do everything. Be willing to ask for help.

Though you may feel like you know the “right” way to do everything, having your partner or even your kids take over some chores can be a big relief. And it models to your kids not only to keep going, but how life is easier with shared responsibilities.

When you can reduce stress in even the smallest ways, you can enjoy your kids more. Because having fun together will be a memory they take with them no matter how old they get!

Would you like to discover more tips and tricks on dealing with stress and loving your life more? 

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