It’s important to create a sense of shared responsibility as a family, and that means putting your kids to work! Even pre-schoolers can manage jobs like putting the toys away, or unloading the groceries (they may not execute the jobs perfectly… but it’s helpful all the same). School-aged kids can clear the table, unload the dishwasher, or help wash the car. On certain nights you could cook dinner as a family, or you could walk the dog together while debriefing about the day – it’s a lovely way to spend time together. Finally, don’t be afraid to outsource. Consider having a cleaner once a fortnight (try companies like UrbanYou), or dropping your laundry to the local laundromat for washing and folding – it is immensely helpful and surprisingly cost-effective.
2. Reign in the extra-curriculars.
You know the drill: soccer on Tuesday and Saturday, dancing on Tuesday and Friday, Netball on Wednesday, drama class on Sunday… and that’s just one of your kids. Instead of spending your time as an unpaid chauffeur, consider whether each activity is a true source of learning and growth. If these extra-curriculars aren’t having a tangible, positive impact on your child’s wellbeing, cut them from the schedule. While you’re at it, schedule some time for yourself! You need it, and you deserve it.
3. Remember you’re not a contestant on MKR.
A nutritious meal shared with family or friends does wonders for our physical and emotional wellbeing, and stress has no place at the table! Create a weekly meal plan so that you only have to go to the supermarket once or twice. You can plan to get adventurous in the kitchen on less busy evenings, but give yourself nights off, too. Order a healthy meal ahead of time and feel good about what you’re eating, instead of finding yourself caught short and dialling for pizza.
4. Reach out to others.
Organise carpooling with another parent from the soccer team. Arrange for playdates if that gives you a few hours to yourself each week. Reach out to your community and take it in turns to help each other. You’ll save time, stress, money, fuel… Sharing the load is a win for you, your community, and your planet. What are you waiting for?