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

To be a truly great leader in your family, you need to slow down and be purposeful with your time.

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

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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    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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    Tips parents need to know about poor air quality and caring for kids with asthma

    There are steps parents can take to keep their children as healthy as possible.

    When wildfires struck the West Coast in September 2020, there was a lot for parents to worry about. For parents of children with asthma, though, the danger could be even greater. "There are more than 400 toxins that are present in wildfire smoke. That can activate the immune system in ways that aren't helpful by both causing an inflammatory response and distracting the immune system from fighting infection," says Amy Oro, MD, a pediatrician at Stanford Children's Health. "When smoke enters into the lungs, it causes irritation and muscle spasms of the smooth muscle that is around the small breathing tubes in the lungs. This can lead to difficulty with breathing and wheezing. It's really difficult on the lungs."

    With the added concern of COVID-19 and the effect it can have on breathing, many parents feel unsure about how to keep their children protected. The good news is that there are steps parents can take to keep their children as healthy as possible.

    Here are tips parents need to know about how to deal with poor air quality when your child has asthma.

    Minimize smoke exposure.

    Especially when the air quality index reaches dangerous levels, it's best to stay indoors as much as possible. You can find out your area's AQI at AirNow.gov. An under 50 rating is the safest, but between 100-150 is considered unhealthy for sensitive groups, such as children with asthma. "If you're being told to stay indoors, listen. If you can, keep the windows and doors closed," Oro says.

    Do your best to filter the air.

    According to Oro, a HEPA filter is your best bet to effectively clean pollutants from the air. Many homes are equipped with a built-in HEPA filter in their air conditioning systems, but you can also get a canister filter. Oro says her family (her husband and children all suffer from asthma) also made use of a hack from the New York Times and built their own filter by duct taping a HEPA furnace filter to the front of a box fan. "It was pretty disgusting what we accumulated in the first 20 hours in our fan," she says.

    Avoid letting your child play outside or overly exert themselves in open air.

    "Unfortunately, cloth masks don't do very much [to protect you from the smoke pollution]," Oro says. "You really need an N95 mask, and most of those have been allocated toward essential workers." To keep at-risk children safer, Oro recommends avoiding brisk exercise outdoors. Instead, set up an indoor obstacle course or challenge your family to jumping jacks periodically to keep everyone moving safely.

    Know the difference between smoke exposure and COVID-19.

    "COVID-19 can have a lot of the same symptoms—dry cough, sore throat, shortness of breath and chest pain could overlap. But what COVID and other viruses generally cause are fever, chills, vomiting, diarrhea and body aches. Those would tell you it's not just smoke exposure," Oro says. When a child has been exposed to smoke, they often complain of a "scrape" in their throat, burning eyes, cough, shortness of breath, chest pain or wheezing. If the child has asthma, parents should watch for a flare of symptoms, such as coughing, wheezing or a tight sensation in their chest.

    Unfortunately, not much is known about long-term exposure to wildfire smoke on a healthy or compromised immune system, but elevated levels of air pollution have been associated with increased COVID-19 rates. That's because whenever there's an issue with your immune system, it distracts your immune system from fighting infections and you have a harder time fighting off viruses. Limiting your exposure to wildfire smoke is your best bet to keep immune systems strong.

    Have a plan in place if you think your child is suffering from smoke exposure.

    Whatever type of medication your child takes for asthma, make sure you have it on-hand and that your child is keeping up with regular doses. Contact your child's pediatrician, especially if your area has a hazardous air quality—they may want to adjust your child's medication schedule or dosage to prevent an attack. Oro also recommends that, if your child has asthma, it might be helpful to have a stethoscope or even a pulse oximeter at home to help diagnose issues with your pediatrician through telehealth.

    Most importantly, don't panic.

    In some cases, social distancing and distance learning due to COVID may be helping to keep sensitive groups like children with asthma safer. Oro says wildfires in past years have generally resulted in more ER visits for children, but the most recent fires haven't seen the same results. "A lot of what we've seen is that the smoke really adversely affects adults, especially older adults over 65," Oro says. "Children tend to be really resilient."

    This article was sponsored by Stanford Children's Health. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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    Kate Hudson’s kids prove that siblings with a big age gap can still have a close bond

    These pics of a big brother and baby sister are too sweet.

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    To be born close in age to your siblings is a special experience. You have a built-in playmate and BFF for life, but being born after an age gap certainly has its benefits, too.

    Parents who are expecting again when their older children are already into double digits may wonder what the sibling bond will look like when the kids have more than a decade between them. Well, look no further, because Kate Hudson's oldest son, 14-year-old Ryder Robinson took to Instagram to show the world that while he and baby Rani Rose may not be playmates they have an equally powerful sibling bond.

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