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Planning playdates. RSVPing to birthday parties. Researching and buying ALL the gifts. Meal planning. Sports schedules. Making sure you never run out of dog food or toilet paper. Knowing what your son will eat for breakfast but your daughter definitely won’t. Decisions, decisions, decisions. Always anticipating everyone’s needs. OMG. Being a parent who manages the majority of the mental load (hello, moms!) is not just mentally, but physically taxing too.
As a mom of three kids — all under the age of six — myself, I should know. Honestly, I’m tired all the time. My husband runs his own company with 70+ employees, while I work part-time, so most of the mental load (of running a household and managing the kids) naturally falls on my shoulders. This is something we’ve mutually agreed upon, but I know I can’t do it all. And that’s okay! It takes a village, right?
In the past, I’ve been pretty resistant to help, believing I could do everything myself. And maybe I wasn’t a good mom if I couldn’t? When my mental health began to suffer and I found myself lashing out at my husband and kids more often than I’d care to admit, I knew I needed to get some help — for the sake of not only my own sanity, but for the wellbeing of my family. It was then that I began looking for ways to share the mental load, as an investment in my mental health.
From paying for a parenting personal assistant app to putting everything on autopay, here’s how I outsource the mental load as a mom of three.
Divide and conquer with your family
Don’t be afraid to delegate! Sit down with your partner and have an open and honest conversation. Where are you struggling? What can they realistically take off your to-do list? Then hand off some of those tasks — whether that’s taking the trash out when it’s full, organizing one play date a week, or packing the kids’ lunches every day. Or, you know, all of the above. Write out a list of responsibilities and stick it on the fridge, or set up weekly/daily (whatever works for you) calendar alerts on your phones so no one forgets. If you have family members who are more than willing to pitch in, let them! Grandma wants to babysit or have the kids over for a sleepover twice a month? Sure!
Involve the kids in cleaning and decluttering
A messy house is a huge trigger for me, personally. Before every holiday and birthday, I enlist my kids to help with decluttering their toy collections. My 5-year-old has gotten pretty good at it, while my 4-year-old daughter could admittedly use some work. We do, however, have a designated place for everything so they know exactly where things go when it’s time to clean up. What works for us is setting a timer and blasting a clean-up song playlist, then it’s a race against time to see how fast we can get everything put away. They also have age-appropriate chores, like feeding the dog or helping unload the dishwasher, so Mom and Dad don’t have to do it all.
Sign up for a kids’ clothing subscription service (or purchase curated bundles!)
Because shopping for kids’ clothes is another thing that often winds up on mom’s plate, and frankly, it’s exhausting. Browsing all the sites, searching for the best deals, finding cool new brands, panic purchasing when they hit a growth spurt—you get the gist. There are tons of options out there, but my family personally uses Dopple, a cool kids clothing subscription service (for ages 0-14) delivering the best luxury and boutique brands — tailored to your kiddo’s style — direct to your doorstep every season. Keep what you want, and send back the rest for FREE. Most of these services do have a $10+ service fee, but this is typically credited back toward whatever clothes you decide to keep, so really it’s like having your own personal stylist for free. Psst, there are loads of options for grownups too!
If subscriptions aren’t your thing, there are so many kidswear brands that offer curated clothing bundles, based on your child’s age and/or your personal style. For ethical baby and toddler clothes, I love Young Days, which offers a range of bundles, from the essentials to the perfect play clothes for boys and girls.
Try a parenting personal assistant app
Way more affordable than a real personal assistant, but just as helpful. In November of last year, I signed up for Yohana, which is a digital concierge service for families to manage their never-ending to-do lists. You pay a set fee per month ($249, but you can get three months for $99 each when you sign up) and you can outsource as many personal AND business-related tasks to your virtual assistant as you can think of. From finding a plumber to researching the best birthday venues and weekend kids’ activities, they do it for you (and they can even schedule that plumber or book the venue, if you’d like!). I just babyproofed my whole house, and found the perfect AirBNB and couch cleaning company thanks to Yohana.
Hire a weekend sitter, nanny or mommy’s helper
Day dates are the new date nights! Every Saturday (or every other) my husband and I hire a babysitter to come from 3-9pm to watch all three of our kids. I know many parents wait to go out after putting their kids to bed, but knowing we get one day a week to skip the whole figuring out dinner (and making it!), brushing teeth, doing baths, putting our children to bed routine is a huge weight off. Plus, when we get home, we still have time to relax and watch a show together, not to mention get plenty of rest before the inevitable 6am alarm clock that is our kids.
If you’re looking for a more affordable option, a tween/teenage mother’s helper is a great idea. Our family hires a 13-year-old (who lives a few houses down) for two hours, one weeknight a week, to just entertain our toddlers while we relax or catch up on work. Mother’s helpers can also assist with things like folding laundry, putting away dishes or other light household tasks you may need help with!
I love Bambino (it’s like an Uber for babysitters!) to instantly book trusted child care recommended by your friends and neighbors.
Set your bills to autopay
Including that monthly preschool payment! This is such a huge timesaver for me, as I don’t have to stress about sending in checks every month or setting aside time to pay things like the electric and water bills—it just happens! I do, however, make sure I review every statement and bill in my inbox, as well as my bank account monthly, to check for any suspicious activity or charges that don’t add up.
Automate the essentials
I love Amazon Prime Subscribe and Save for everything from diapers to dog food. Figure out roughly how often you need certain essentials (toilet paper, paper towels, laundry detergent, coffee beans, snacks, etc.) and subscribe to have them automatically delivered at the right time. Bonus: you’ll also save money this way! If you hate meal planning, try a meal delivery service. Don’t love grocery shopping? Download Instacart. Or simply order your groceries online and pick them up to save time.
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