Asking for help is the key to getting *all* the things done, mama

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Most moms are simply doing too much. Our days are not 9 to 5—they are from the minute we open our eyes until the minute we close them at night. And those days . . . well, we pack those days, don't we?


Play dates and errands, laundry and cooking, cleaning and driving (Oh, the driving!). Maybe you work, too. Well it's no wonder we are overwhelmed.

The average stay-at-home mom works 96.5 hours per week! It's time for you to become the Chief Executive Officer of your family—instead of the Chief Everything Officer.

What's the difference? A Chief Executive Officer delegates. A Chief Everything Officer does everything herself. To move toward a little more margin in our value as CMEO (Chief Mom Executive Officer), we must delegate.

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What do you think of when you hear that word delegate?

That you don't have anyone to delegate to? Or you don't have time to teach someone to do what you need? Or you can't afford to delegate? Or (admit it) that nobody else can do these things as well as you can?

Maybe you think delegation needs to be to a staff member or an assistant—one that you don't have, of course. But there are many other kinds of delegation.

Here are nine ideas for things you can delegate. Of course they won't all apply to you. It depends on your situation, your stage of motherhood, and what you do. Still, I am willing to bet that there are at least one or two things on the list that can work for you.

Nine things to delegate:

1. Cooking

No, you probably can't hire a cook, but there are a variety of ways you can make cooking easier:

  • Buy pre-cut fruits and veggies instead of doing that step yourself
  • Try a service where you get the ingredients for several meals that you prep and store in your freezer until you're ready to cook them.
  • Buy cupcakes for your kid's party instead of making them yourself.
  • Do a meal swap with other moms where you each make multiple servings of one meal and then trade them for others.

Cooking and baking take tons of time. If you love it, well by all means, keep doing it. But I bet there is at least one area where you can delegate out some of the time-consuming work.

2. Food shopping

How much time does your food shopping normally take? For me, my big weekly trip easily takes two hours of time between driving and shopping.

If you order online, you can get that down to a quick trip to the market for some fresh essentials. You can subscribe to a company, such as Thrive or Amazon Fresh. My groceries are delivered right to my door! Life changing!

3. Driving

We drive and drive as moms. We are truly a taxi service. We drive to school and to sports.

Carpool, for goodness sakes! Find some other moms and drive a group! You can get your daily driving down to one drive per week if the carpool is big enough. Truly treat your fellow moms like a village. If you are going to Target, find out what your neighbor needs. Help each other out!

4. Cleaning

Now I know some of you are thinking that I'm suggesting luxury items that are hard to afford. I totally get it! But think about the value of your time. How long does it take you to clean the whole house? The toilets included? That would take me an entire day. If you didn't spend the day cleaning, could you do something more valuable? Share quality time with your family? Or make more money?

You might hire someone to do laundry. My friend started a brilliant company called Laundry Ladies; she does your laundry, folds it, and puts it on your doorstep. It's your call. Only you know what you need. But it may be worth giving up a latte here and there to have your house cleaned for you.

4. Chores

Don't forget to find cleaning that the kids can do. They can start helping out with age-appropriate chores pretty young.

My kids take out the trash, do the dishes, and do their own laundry! Kids can help you make dinner. Your kids can pack lunches, too! Create little bins of foods they should choose from to make it easy for them to pack a well-balanced lunch. Kids can vacuum and sweep. Yes, kids can even clean bathrooms. Create a chore chart (like the one here http://www.moretimemoms.com/media/kids_chores_chart.pdf)

I know most of us give up on this because kids don't do a good enough job or we have to nag them. Do the chore with them a number of times. Create a habit, and stick with it until it becomes second nature. Any help you can get is work that you don't have to do.

5. Volunteering

I know in the past that I felt like I should volunteer in my kid's classroom or on the school field trip. If this is difficult for you, come up with a plan.

My husband and I decided that he volunteers for school field trips and I volunteer in the class. I usually volunteer to be the art mom because it is less time intensive than being a weekly helper.

If the school doesn't advertise a position as a shared position, let the teacher know that you're happy to help if you can share the work with another parent. This year I'm sharing art-mom duties with two other parents. I get the joy of helping in my daughter's class, but I only have to commit to being art mom every other month.

6. Family support

Sit down with your partner and talk about all the things you do every day. Bring a list—you do a lot! Ask if there is anything that they might be able to help with.

My husband, for example, does all of the laundry. Maybe your partner could help by running an errand on the way home from work, taking your car in for service, or dropping off clothes at the cleaner. It all helps. If you ask nicely, I bet you will get a yes.

You can also ask other family members to help you once or twice a week with the kids. If you are lucky enough to have grandparents on the scene, they would probably feel honored to have some private time with the kids.

7. Virtual assistance

If you are a working mom, you have got to check out fiverr.com and upwork.com. These sites offer virtual assistants who do everything from social media and podcast editing to graphic design and bookkeeping. There's a site called Fancy Hands where you can hire virtual assistants to do anything from planning your vacation to ordering your holiday cards.

If hiring virtual help is of interest to you, I highly recommend that you also check out Chris Ducker's book and program Virtual Freedom: How to Work with Virtual Staff to Buy More Time.

8. Online Shopping

One last way to delegate is to shop online whenever you can. I rarely go out shopping because it takes too much time! Get Amazon Prime, and get everything from your dog food to your makeup delivered.

Don't have time to hunt through big department stores for a new outfit? There are now subscription services for clothes. Seriously, Le Tote is like Netflix for clothing. Stitch Fix is another popular one. It's like having a personal shopper, but you never have to go to the store.

The ultimate thing you need to do to manage your time better is to stop trying to be super mom.

Let go of the guilt. Let go of feeling inadequate. We will be better wives, mothers, and people in general if we can get ourselves out of being overwhelmed.

Don't worry if things aren't done just right or your way. Stop being the whirling dervish spinning doing ten tasks at a time. Yes, we know you can do it. But there are people around you who can help. Take that help and you will be given the ultimate gift—a little bit of time.

And it's up to you to make sure you don't just fill it right back up again. To be a truly great leader in your family, you need to slow down and be purposeful with your time.

I'm not sure who said it, but I'll share it again: You can do anything, but you can't do everything.


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[Editor's note: While Motherly loves seeing and sharing photos of baby Archie and other adorable babies when the images are shared with their parents' consent, we do not publish pictures taken without a parent's consent. Since these pictures were taken without Markle's permission while she was walking her dogs, we're not reposting them.]

Meghan Markle is a trendsetter for sure. When she wears something the world notices, and this week she was photographed wearing her son Archie in a baby carrier. The important thing to know about the photos is that they show the Duchess out for a walk with her two dogs while wearing Archie in a blue Ergo. She's not hands-free baby wearing, but rather wearing an Ergo while also supporting Archie with her arm, as the carrier isn't completely tight.

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When British tabloids published the pictures many babywearing devotees and internet commenters offered opinions on how Markle is holding her son in the photo, but as baby gear guru Jamie Grayson notes, "it is none of our business."

In a post to his Facebook page, Grayson (noted NYC baby gear expert) explained that in the last day or so he has been inundated with hundreds of messages about how Markle is wearing the carrier, and that while he's sure many who messaged with concerns had good intentions he hopes to inject some empathy into the conversation.

As Grayson points out, these are paparazzi photos, so it was a private moment not meant for world-wide consumption. "This woman has the entire world watching her every move and action, especially now that she and Harry are leaving the umbrella of the royal family, and I honestly hope they are able to find some privacy and peace. So let's give her space," he explains, adding that "while those pictures show something that is less than ideal, it's going to be okay. I promise. It's not like she's wearing the baby upside down."

He's right, Archie was safe and not in danger and who knows why the straps on Markle's carrier were loose (maybe she realized people were about to take pictures and so she switched Archie from forward-facing, or maybe the strap just slipped.)

Grayson continues: "When you are bringing up how a parent is misusing a product (either in-person or online) please consider your words. Because tone of voice is missing in text, it is important to choose your words carefully because ANYTHING can be misconstrued. Your good intentions can easily be considered as shaming someone."

Grayson's suggestions injected some much-needed empathy into this discourse and reminded many that new parents are human beings who are just trying to do their best with responsibilities (and baby gear) that isn't familiar to them.

Babywearing has a ton of benefits for parents and the baby, but it can take some getting used to. New parents can research safety recommendations so they feel confident. In Canada, where the pictures in question were snapped, the government recommends parents follow these safety guidelines when wearing infants in carriers:

  • Choose a product that fits you and your baby properly.
  • Be very careful putting a baby into—or pulling them out of—a carrier or sling. Ask for help if you need it.
  • When wearing a carrier or sling, do not zip up your coat around the baby because it increases the risk of overheating and suffocation.
  • Be particularly careful when using a sling or carrier with babies under 4 months because their airways are still developing.
  • Do not use a carrier or sling during activities that could lead to injury such as cooking, running, cycling, or drinking hot beverages.

Health Canada also recommends parents "remember to keep your baby visible and kissable at all times" and offers the following tips to ensure kissability.

"Keep the baby's face in view. Keep the baby in an upright position. Make sure the baby's face is not pressed into the fabric of the carrier or sling, your body, or clothing. Make sure the baby's chin is not pressed into their chest. Make sure the baby's legs are not bunched up against their stomach, as this can also restrict breathing. Wear the baby snug enough to support their back and hold onto the baby when bending over so they don't fall out of the carrier or sling. Check your baby often."

Meghan Markle is a new mom who was caught off guard during a moment she didn't expect her baby to be photographed. Every parent (no matter how famous) has a right to privacy for their child and the right to compassion from other parents. If we want people to learn how to safely babywear we can't shame them for trying.

Mama, if you've been shamed for wearing your baby "wrong" don't feel like you need to stop. Follow the tips above or check in with local baby-wearing groups to get advice and help. You've got this.

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At one of the most important nights of their career, celebrities made sure their hairstyles stayed put at the 26th Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards. As a collective, the hairstyles were beautiful—french twists, bobs, pin curls and killer cuts filled the red carpet on the night to remember.

And surprisingly, the secret wasn't just the stylist team, mama. For many of the celebs, much of the look can be attributed to a $5 hairspray—yes, you read that correctly.

Dove style+care micro mist extra hold hairspray was one of the top stylist picks for celebs for a lightweight, flexible finishing spray, leaving tons of body and bounce. Unlike most hairsprays that can take several minutes (even a half hour) to set the look, this extra-hold one contains a fast-drying, water-free formula that helps protect your hair from frizz in minutes. As a result, celebrities were able to hold the shape of their styles with mega volume.

"Dove hairspray works well by holding curls in place with maximum hold and ultra shine, while still maintaining soft, touchable texture that is easy to brush out," says Dennis Gots for Dove Hair, who styled Phoebe Waller-Bridge for the SAG Awards. Translation: It's great for on-the-go mamas who want a shiny hold that lasts, but doesn't feel sticky.

Here are a few awesome hairstyles that were finished with the drugstore Dove style+care micro mist extra hold hairspray at the SAG awards:

Lili Reinhart's French twist

"I sprayed Dove style+care micro mist extra hold hairspray all over Lili's hair to lock in the shape and boost the shine factor, making the whole look really sleek," says stylist Renato Campora who was inspired to create the look by Reinhart's romantic gown. "Lili's look is sleek and sharp with a romantic twist."

Cynthia Erivo's finger waves

"This look is classic Cynthia! I knew I wanted to keep it simple, but it's actually quite detailed and intricate up close," says stylist Coree Moreno. "While the hair was still wet (yes—I needed to work fast!) I generously spritzed on the hairspray for all night hold without flaking. The hair continued to air dry perfectly while she finished up makeup."

Nathalie Emmanuel's curly high pony

"Nathalie wanted a retro Hollywood glam for the SAG Awards, so I used her natural texture and created a high pony with loose tendrils framing her face and neckline," says stylist, Neeko. "I finessed the look with the hairspray to lock in the style while keeping her hair looking and feeling touchable."

Phoebe Waller-Bridge's slicked back bob

"I used duckbill clips on different areas of her hair to keep the shape and curl while the hair air dried. Air drying the hair allowed for maximum shine and then I sprayed lots of hairspray all over to truly lock in the sleek shape and enhance the shine," says stylist Dennis Gots, who was inspired by a 90s vibe for Waller-Bridge's look.

Dove Style+Care Micro Mist Extra Hold Hairspray

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Who doesn't want a hairspray that makes your hair feel as good as it looks? Dove Style+Care Extra Hold Hairspray holds body, volume and enhances shine. It gives your hair touchable hold while fighting frizz, even in damp or humid conditions.

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We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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We often think of the unequal gender division of unpaid labor as a personal issue, but a new report by Oxfam proves that it is a global issue—and that a handful of men are becoming incredibly wealthy while women and girls bear the burden of unpaid work and poverty.

According to Oxfam, the unpaid care work done by women and girls has an economic value of $10.8 trillion per year and benefits the global economy three times more than the entire technology industry.

"Women are supporting the market economy with cheap and free labor and they are also supporting the state by providing care that should be provided by the public sector," the report notes.

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The unpaid work of hundreds of millions of women is generating massive wealth for a couple of thousand (predominantly male) billionaires. "What is clear is that this unpaid work is fueling a sexist economic system that takes from the many and puts money in the pockets of the few," the report states.

Max Lawson is Oxfam International's Head of Inequality Policy. In an interview with Vatican News, he explained that "the foundation of unpaid work done by the poorest women generates enormous wealth for the economy," and that women do billions of hours of unpaid care work (caring for children, the sick, the elderly and cooking, cleaning) for which they see no financial reward but which creates financial rewards for billionaires.

Indeed, the report finds that globally 42% of women can't work for money because of their unpaid care responsibilities.

In the United States, women spend 37% more time doing unpaid care work than men, Oxfam America notes in a second report released in cooperation with the Institute for Women's Policy Research.

"It's an economy that is built on the backs of women and of poor women and their labour, whether it's poorly paid labour or even unpaid labour, it is a sexist economy and it's a broken economy, and you can only fix the gap between the rich and the poor if at the same time you fix the gap between women and men," Lawson explains.

According to Lawson, you can't fight economic inequality without fighting gender equality, and he says 2020 is the year to do both. Now is a great time to start, because as Motherly has previously reported, no country in the world is on track to eliminate gender inequality by 2030 (one of the Sustainable Development Goals adopted by 193 United Nations member countries back in 2015) and no country will until the unpaid labor of women and girls is addressed.

"Governments around the world can, and must, build a human economy that is feminist and benefits the 99%, not only the 1%," the Oxfam report concludes.

The research suggests that paid leave, investments in childcare and the care of older adults and people with disabilities as well as utilizing technology to make working more flexible would help America close the gap.

(For more information on how you can fight for paid leave, affordable childcare and more this year check out yearofthemother.org.)

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It's been more than a decade since federal guidelines were implemented to ensure nursing mothers have the time and space to pump at work, but as Motherly has previously reported, many mothers still find it extremely challenging to maintain a pumping schedule in the workplace.

This week a new study out of the University of Georgia showed that while most women report having access to private spaces and break times for pumping there are still significant "gaps in access to workplace breastfeeding resources" and the researchers recommend employers take action to reduce breastfeeding disparities.

"We know that there are benefits of breastfeeding for both the mother and the infant, and we know that returning to work is a significant challenge for breastfeeding continuation," says Rachel McCardel, a doctoral student at UGA's College of Public Health and lead study author. "There is a collective experience that we wanted to explore and learn how can we make this better."

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The challenges of breastfeeding in 2020

There is a lot of pressure on mothers to exclusively breastfeed, but nearly half of mothers feel like they must make a choice between breastfeeding and keeping their job. A baby's mother is the best person to decide whether the infant should be breastfed, formula-fed or both, but it should be her choice. When workplace supports for breastfeeding are not in place many mothers feel like they don't have a choice at all.

Public health campaigns and social norms reinforce breastfeeding as the best choice, but a recent survey from Areoflow found that 1 in 3 people (31%) "do not believe employers should be required to provide a lactation room" but at the same time, 90% of those surveyed stated that they believe women should be allowed to pump at work.

For too many women, those contradicting messages mean that pumping at work is an uncomfortable experience, something they need to do nearly in secret. It's an example of the many ways in which mothers are supposed to parent as though they don't work but pretend they aren't parents when at work.

Calling for change in 2020

Half the states in America explicitly protect the rights of nursing parents in the workplace, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, and federal law also provides protections to nursing workers under the Affordable Care Act. Section 7 of the Fair Labor Standards Act—but millions of working mothers are not covered by those protections, and the new research out of the University of Georgia's College of Public Health suggests that even mothers who are need more support from their employers.

Heather Padilla is an assistant professor at UGA's College of Public Health and the co-author of the study. She recommends employers "designate a person who is responsible for making sure that women who are preparing for the birth of their baby understand what resources they have available to them when they return to work," she said.

Supervisors or HR directors could fill this role, and would fill a gap between company policy and personal experience. Padilla and McCardel found that many women "said they hadn't expected to get much help from their employers, and there was a general lack of communication about the resources available to them."

The work Padilla and McCardel have done reinforces the work we at Motherly are doing: In 2020 we are calling for change, and demanding support for mothers feeding their babies.

Mamas need to work + babies need to eat

For many American mothers work is not a choice, it is a necessity. Mothers are increasingly the breadwinners for their families and it is very hard for mothers, even those with working partners, to be a stay-at-home parent in 2020.

We need paid family leave and protection from breastfeeding discrimination. We need employers to support working mothers who choose to pump, and we need to reduce the stigmatization of formula feeding.

Mama, we see you pumping in your office and mixing formula bottles to take to day care. We see how hard it is and we support you. Know that no matter what your baby is eating—bottled breast milk, formula, or some combination (because breastfeeding doesn't have to be all or nothing)—we know you are working so hard to provide it.

We have declared 2020 the #yearofthemother. Join us, and call for change because McCardel is right—this is a collective experience and it is one we can make better for the mothers who come after us.

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