Mama, you can’t do it all, so please delegate

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.

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

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 and 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.

Lisa Druxman is a mom, entrepreneur and founder of FIT4MOM and author of The Empowered Mama: How to Reclaim Your Time and Yourself While Raising a Happy, Healthy Family (Fair Winds Press).

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