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5 real ways parents can get more help around the house

What you can do now to eliminate one or two chores from your list and lighten the mental load.

5 real ways parents can get more help around the house

There is a lot of encouragement from postpartum and mental health experts for new moms to ask for help. As a new mom, you should be focused on resting, bonding and adjusting to your new role. Amen, right?

But what happens as you come out of those first 40 days? What about the moms who are a couple years into this whole motherhood thing who feel like they are drowning in the sheer volume of work that has to get done? Because let's be honest, it all can feel like work after a while.

The constant routine of getting everyone out the door in the morning, accomplishing your job and then some at the office, coming home to prepare dinner, clean up from dinner, play with the kids, get them ready for bed, take care of the laundry, pick-up and as you have time or energy, tackling a few other projects around the house that you've been meaning to do for far too long.

You are a high achieving woman. You always have been. You can certainly handle it.

Sure, you might have a meltdown every now and then as you crack from the pressure of all of it, but on the whole, you know what needs to be done and you just do it. You vent to your girlfriends and emphatically like those silly memes that a little too accurately describe the sad state of affairs in your life as a mom, but you don't usually ask for help. You can do it.

But have you ever stopped to think about what it would feel like to have one of those chores eliminated from your responsibility list?

Would you feel relieved, grateful, happy, a little lighter and less stressed? What does that even look like?

You've probably dreamed of having a full-time housekeeper, a nanny who takes care of much more than the kids, or a chef who prepares your weekly meals each Sunday so all you have to do is heat and enjoy. Heck—you'd take all three if you could! But I don't know anyone with that arrangement, and I'm guessing you probably don't either.

So what could you do now to eliminate one or two chores from your list? How can you get creative and get more help at home?

Because with even one or two fewer chores on your list, that's time that you could do something fun—whether that's for you or for the kids. That's five or so minutes of relaxation that could make you feel like a totally different person at the end of the day.

This week, try one of these five ideas for getting more help around the house and challenge yourself to get at least five minutes back in your day... for you.

1. The obvious answer: Outsource

Outsourcing is the obvious idea here, but ask any mom who has outsourced one item from her life and she'll more than likely tell you it's worth every penny. If it's in the budget, or if you can re-work your budget to accommodate hiring out, here are some ideas:

  • Find someone to clean for you, even if they come just once a month for a deep clean so all you have to do is maintenance work.
  • Hire a virtual assistant (I've used this one) to help with making appointments, getting pricing, or placing orders.
  • Outsourcing your weekly cooking to a meal-delivery service is another easy one. Not quite a personal chef, but if it takes even a couple of meals off your plate (no pun intended), that is a huge relief.
  • Yard work is another big one that can take time depending on how much you have to maintain. What high-schooler in your neighborhood is looking to make extra money by mowing your lawn?

2. Hire a mother's helper

Maybe you don't have the resources to outsource all of your chores. Instead, you can get help entertaining the kids while YOU take care of the chores. You will no doubt get them done much faster than if you had to constantly fulfill requests for snacks and water and "play with me." Mother's helpers do still exist and really are a win-win for you and for the kid who wants experience with childcare before going out on their own for full-blown babysitting.

3. Get creative with your village

Maybe hiring anyone, even a mother's helper, is not in the picture for you. That's the case for many working moms with the cost of childcare being what it is. But surely you know other working moms, other mom friends, who feel the same as you—like they never have enough time or energy to do all the housework.

  • Can you do a childcare swap on the weekend, again to buy you dedicated, interruption-free time to clean and take care of things while she watches your kids, and then you do the same for her?
  • Can you get together and batch cook some dinners or put together freezer meals for the upcoming weeks making it more fun over a glass of wine and some conversation?
  • How can you leverage your community to get more help and in turn help them?

4. Have a clear and even division of labor

I realize not everyone may have the luxury of having a co-parent or partner to share in the workload, or that some may have a partner whose schedule absolutely does not lend itself to helping out around the house. But, if your co-parent is working a similar job to yours or with similar hours, you should absolutely be able to split the household responsibilities.

Make sure you are doing that and not falling victim to the old "I'll just do it myself" mentality because you think you do it better. Having a chore done is better than having it done your way.

If you've not had this conversation before, it's not as scary as it sounds. Trust me. You just need to be open to compromise and make sure that you're each assigned the chores that are easiest for you to do. And then you have to trust each other to get them done. That last part is key.

5. Get your kids involved

Are you a mama who thinks that chores have to wait until the kids are either asleep or otherwise entertained? Have you ever tried involving them in the chores, even if it takes a little longer than when you just do it yourself?

Teaching your kids how to take care of things and that you're all a part of a team is GREAT learning development. Try starting young, by wearing the baby around in a carrier while you vacuum or load the dishwasher or sort laundry. Then, as they are old enough, have them start putting their clothes into the wash, wipe down their chair after meals, or put clothes, groceries, etc. away.

Kids are capable of so much, and doing chores together is much more fun. If they see you having fun with it, rather than complaining about it, they'll be even more eager to get in on that!

Bonus: Doing the chores while they're awake means less that you have to do after they go to bed, which could mean a few minutes to yourself (gasp, I know!).

If you're continually frustrated about how much you have to do around the house, and how little time you have, it's time to get creative and do something different than what you're doing.

Life is too short to be miserable working around the house. It takes a team to maintain daily life and you should start building yours.

Originally posted on The Mother Nurture.

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These challenges from Nike PLAYlist are exactly what my child needs to stay active

Plus a fall family bucket list to keep everyone moving all season long.

While it's hard to name anything that the pandemic hasn't affected, one thing that is constantly on my mind is how to keep my family active despite spending more time indoors. Normally, this time of year would be spent at dance and gymnastics lessons, meeting up with friends for games and field trips, and long afternoon playdates where we can all let off a little steam. Instead, we find ourselves inside more often than ever before—and facing down a long winter of a lot more of the same.

I started to search for an outlet that would get my girls moving safely while we social distance, but at first I didn't find a lot of solutions. Online videos either weren't terribly engaging for my active kids, or the messaging wasn't as positive around the power of movement as I would like. Then I found the Nike PLAYlist.

I always knew that Nike could get me moving, but I was so impressed to discover this simple resource for parents. PLAYlist is an episodic sports show on YouTube that's made for kids and designed to teach them the power of expressing themselves through movement. The enthusiastic kid hosts immediately captured my daughter's attention, and I love how the physical activity is organically incorporated in fun activities without ever being specifically called out as anything other than play. For example, this segment where the kids turn yoga into a game of Paper Scissors Rock? Totally genius. The challenges from #TheReplays even get my husband and me moving more when our daughter turns it into a friendly family competition. (Plus, I love the play-inspired sportswear made just for kids!)

My daughter loves the simple Shake Ups at the beginning of the episode and is usually hopping off the couch to jump, dance and play within seconds. One of her favorites is this Sock Flinger Shake Up activity from the Nike PLAYlist that's easy for me to get in on too. Even after we've put away the tablet, the show inspires her to create her own challenges throughout the day.

The best part? The episodes are all under 5 minutes, so they're easy to sprinkle throughout the day whenever we need to work out some wiggles (without adding a lot of screen time to our schedule).

Whether you're looking for simple alternatives to P.E. and sports or simply need fun ways to help your child burn off energy after a day of socially distanced school, Nike's PLAYlist is a fun, kid-friendly way to get everyone moving.

Need more movement inspiration for fall? Here are 5 ways my family is getting up and getting active this season:

1. Go apple picking.

Truly, it doesn't really feel like fall until we've picked our first apple. (Or had our first bite of apple cider donut!) Need to burn off that extra cinnamon-sugar energy? Declare a quick relay race up the orchard aisle—winner gets first to pick of apples at home.

To wear: These Printed Training Tights are perfect for when even a casual walk turns into a race (and they help my daughter scurry up a branch for the big apples).

2. Visit a pumpkin patch.

We love to pick up a few locally grown pumpkins to decorate or cook with each year. Challenge your child to a "strongman" contest and see who can lift the heaviest pumpkin while you're there.

To wear: Suit up your little one in comfort with this Baby Full Zip Coverall so you're ready for whatever adventures the day brings.

3. Have a nature scavenger hunt.

Scavenger hunts are one of my favorite ways to keep my daughter preoccupied all year long. We love to get outside and search for acorns, leaves and pinecones as part of our homeschool, but it's also just a great way to get her exercising those gross motor skills whenever the wiggles start to build up.

To wear: It's not truly fall until you break out a hoodie. This cozy Therma Elite Kids Hoodie features a mesh overlay to release heat while your child plays.

4. Have a touch-football game.

Tip for parents with very little kids: It doesn't have to last as long as a real football game. 😂 In fact, staging our own mini-games is one of our favorite ways to get everyone up and moving in between quarters during Sunday football, and I promise we all sleep better that night.

To wear: From impromptu games of tag to running through our favorite trails, these kids' Nike Air Zoom Speed running shoes are made to cover ground all season long.

5. Create an indoor obstacle course.

Pretending the floor is lava was just the beginning. See how elaborate your personal course can get, from jumping on the couch to rolling under the coffee table to hopping down the hallway on one foot.

To wear: These ready-for-any-activity Dri-FIT Tempo Shorts are perfect for crawling, hopping and racing—and cuddling up when it's time to rest.

This article was sponsored by Nike. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

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14 toys that will keep your kids entertained inside *and* outside

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With fall in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in outside-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

$120

Detective set

Plan Toys detective set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

$179

Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

$100

Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$33

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$88

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

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Mama, all I see is you

A love letter from your baby.

Mama,

I can't see past you right now, I'm so small and everything's a little blurry.

All I see is you.

When you feel alone, like the walls are closing in, remember I'm here too. I know your world has changed and the days feel a little lonely. But they aren't lonely for me.

You are my everything.

When you feel like you don't know what you're doing, you're making it look easy to me. Even though we're still getting to know each other, you know me better than anyone.

I trust you.

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