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Mom burnout is real—here’s what you can do to make it better

Make specific requests. Our partners don’t know we’re overwhelmed and have no idea how to jump in mid-project to help.

Mom burnout is real—here’s what you can do to make it better

You don't have to do everything yourself. I need this stitched on a pillow strapped to my head so I see it every time I pass a reflective surface. Even though I know the key to overcoming mommy burnout is to share tasks with my teammate husband, I still resist.


It's too hard to explain what needs doing, he won't do it right, it's my job anyway, etc.

The problem is that every time I fail to share the load, I further entrench myself in the role of resident expert. After starting to work from home, I found myself more stressed than ever and resentful that I was working and keeping up all the household management.

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Things had to change. Here's how I learned to do it in a way that keeps my husband and I both happy.

Create a system

I love systems because they allow you to share almost any task with anyone competent. Once someone learns your system, you’re done.

Meal planning used to take me a ton of time. After my husband was forced to eat eggplant three weeks in a row and listen to me complain about how much time the planning was taking up, he asked if we could take turns planning week to week. Great idea honey!

So I developed a meal planning system. I got a great app, Paprika Recipe Manager for iPhone and iPad, to store our favorite recipes. I designated meal themes to different nights of the week. And we share the grocery list on Todoist. This way, if either of us finds ourselves at the store or home early to start dinner, we can just jump in.

Share important information

A big part of my mommy burnout was being the repository for all the household information. So I signed us up for a password management system online (LastPass Password Manager) and created a shared Google calendar for all our family events. Now my husband knows what we’re doing tomorrow and how to pay the water bill without asking me.

Make it a conversation, not an order

Notice that I haven’t used the word “delegate” once? Delegation implies that you are the boss and your spouse is the lowly worker striving for his one chance to prove himself. Feeling like we’re in charge of everything is how mommy burnout happens in the first place!

Start by talking about how you feel, rather than what the other person isn’t doing. “I feel overwhelmed by all that needs to get done before Lucy’s birthday party,” is a good example. Keeping the focus on your feelings keeps your partner off the defensive and more likely to want to help.

Hopefully your partner will jump in with, “How can I help? but in case that miracle doesn’t happen, try asking what they would be able to do to lighten the load. Using the word “would” gives volition back to your partner rather than asking if they “could” do something, which implies they might not be capable of it.

Also, make specific requests. Most of the time our partners 1. don’t know we’re overwhelmed and 2. have no idea how to jump in mid-project to help. Asking “would” they help by picking up the cake since they drive that way home from work gives them the ability to volunteer to help in a specific, manageable way.

Let go of the process and focus on the result

So here’s the thing. Even if you create a perfect system that you think is the best, your spouse may not want to do it that way. Different people work better by doing things in different ways. We’re all individuals with our own best practices. So remember that the process doesn’t matter so much as the result.

If you can’t handle someone messing with your system, then maybe that’s a task you care too much about to have someone else do. Share a different task instead, and keep the one that you enjoy or really need to control.

Play to everyone’s strengths

Do you love spending time in the sun doing yard work? Does your husband enjoy getting the bathrooms sparkling clean? Well, don’t assign him the lawn while you scrub the tile if that’s not what you both enjoy.

Playing to your teammate’s strengths makes for a happier and more efficient team. Some people are not very good at details and some people thrive on them.Knowing your team and accepting your gifts and limitations will serve you both better in the long run.

Compliment and encourage

Acknowledgement is a huge motivator. When tasks go unacknowledged, on the other hand, we start to think they’re not important. Then we either stop doing them, or start feeling resentful that we’re still expected to do them.

So say, “Thank you,” or “Good job,” or “You are so good at that!” Compliments and encouragement will inevitably start flowing your way too, which is a crucial key to preventing mommy burnout (and resentment).

14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school 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 summer-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.

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

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

Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective 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

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden 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

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

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Time-saving formula tips our editors swear by

Less time making bottles, more time snuggling.

As a new parent, it can feel like feeding your baby is a full-time job—with a very demanding nightshift. Add in the additional steps it takes to prepare a bottle of formula and, well… we don't blame you if you're eager to save some time when you can. After all, that means more time for snuggling your baby or practicing your own well-deserved self-care.

Here's the upside: Many, many formula-feeding mamas before you have experienced the same thing, and they've developed some excellent tricks that can help you mix up a bottle in record time. Here are the best time-saving formula tips from editors here at Motherly.

1. Use room temperature water

The top suggestion that came up time and time again was to introduce bottles with room temperature water from the beginning. That way, you can make a bottle whenever you need it without worrying about warming up water—which is a total lifesaver when you have to make a bottle on the go or in the middle of the night.

2. Buy online to save shopping time

You'll need a lot of formula throughout the first year and beyond—so finding a brand like Comforts, which offers high-quality infant formula at lower prices, will help you save a substantial amount of money. Not to mention, you can order online or find the formula on shelves during your standard shopping trip—and that'll save you so much time and effort as well.

3. Pre-measure nighttime bottles

The middle of the night is the last time you'll want to spend precious minutes mixing up a bottle. Instead, our editors suggest measuring out the correct amount of powder formula into a bottle and putting the necessary portion of water on your bedside table. That way, all you have to do is roll over and combine the water and formula in the bottle before feeding your baby. Sounds so much better than hiking all the way to the kitchen and back at 3 am, right?

4. Divide serving sizes for outings

Before leaving the house with your baby, divvy up any portions of formula and water that you may need during your outing. Then, when your baby is hungry, just combine the pre-measured water and powder serving in the bottle. Our editors confirm this is much easier than trying to portion out the right amount of water or formula while riding in the car.

5. Memorize the mental math

Soon enough, you'll be able to prepare a bottle in your sleep. But, especially in the beginning or when increasing your baby's serving, the mental math can take a bit of time. If #mombrain makes it tough to commit the measurements to memory, write up a cheat sheet for yourself or anyone else who will prepare your baby's bottle.

6. Warm up chilled formula with water

If you're the savvy kind of mom who prepares and refrigerates bottles for the day in advance, you'll probably want to bring it up to room temperature before serving. Rather than purchase a bottle warmer, our editors say the old-fashioned method works incredibly well: Just plunge the sealed bottle in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes and—voila!—it's ready to serve.



Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on Comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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Becoming a mother has been life-changing. It's been hard, tiring, gratifying, beautiful, challenging, scary and a thousand other things that only a parent would ever understand.

It is these life-changing experiences that have inspired me to draw my everyday life as a stay at home mom. Whether it's the mundane tasks like doing laundry or the exciting moments of James', my baby boy's, first steps, I want to put it down on paper so that I can better cherish these fleeting moments that are often overlooked.

Being a stay-at-home-mom can be incredibly lonely. I like to think that by drawing life's simple moments, I can connect with other mothers and help them feel less alone. By doing this, I feel less alone, too. It's a win-win situation and I have been able to connect with many lovely parents and fellow parent-illustrators through my Instagram account.

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