Being a mom is the most exhausting, wonderful job I’ve ever had. It is hard work. Some days, I don’t have much left in the tank.
As a mom, it’s too easy to feel like you’re failing at everything (you’re not). Even the best of us aren’t immune to mom burnout. There’s just so much to do all the time. It seems like someone is always needing something.
If you want to feel less overwhelmed as a mom, this list of ways to make life easier is here to help. There’s no simple trick to make all your chores go away, but there are plenty of life hacks you can use to make daily life more manageable.
Whether you’re a working mom, stay-at-home mom, single mom, or any type of mom, these ways to make life easier can work for you. I’m not offering a magic wand. Instead, these are sensible and doable tweaks for life that can help reduce your stress levels.
This post contains some affiliate links, which means I earn a small commission if you use them (at no cost to you). Full disclosure. Tips are based on personal experience and should not be considered medical advice. Full disclaimer.
Ways to Make Life Easier
1. Reduce clutter to make housekeeping easier
Less stuff means less upkeep. With four kids in my home, personal belongings add up quick. I’ve found that being more particular about what stays in our home makes cleaning up a lot easier. Otherwise, I could spend all my time picking up things around the house.
Even if you don’t want to go full-on minimalist, a major decluttering effort a couple times a year can help keep your household more manageable. You might consider trying something like the “one in, one out” rule to keep the number of items in your home at a reasonable amount.
Don’t let stuff overrun your life. Clutter has many negative effects, such as triggering anxiety.
Did you know the average American household has 300,000 items?! America has only about 3% of the world’s children but buys 40% of the world’s toys.
Don’t waste tons of energy forever organizing things in your home. Use the less is more principle to reduce to your most loved, high-quality belongings.
Decluttering your wardrobe can also help simplify your life by saving you time getting ready and freeing up space in your overstuffed closet.
2. Become a master at meal planning
Please tell me it’s not just at my house where the kids are asking “what’s for dinner?” before 9 am. Having the week’s meals planned out ahead of time can reduce daily stress, particularly afternoon anxiety.
Some families write out a menu board for the week so they can avoid the dreaded dinner question and get right to preparing the planned meal each night. Meal planning also makes for fewer trips to the grocery store, and I think helps save money by reducing takeout and fast-food runs.
I try to plan two super-easy meals per week, like spaghetti, breakfast food, or fish sticks, for when I know I might have low energy. Funnily enough, these are often the meals the kids enjoy most. My teenager can even cook some of these meals for the family.
We also have one planned dinner out per week to give ourselves a break. We do this on Wednesdays to give us something to look forward to mid-week, but it could also make sense on a day when you know you have a busy evening, like soccer practice night.
Another simple trick you can use is doubling a recipe so you can have a leftover night later in the week (or use the leftovers for lunches). Some moms swear by crockpot or pressure-cooker recipes to save time.
3. Create easy-to-follow routines
Routines make family life run a lot smoother. This means less directing (and yelling) from mom. If you teach your kids that they wake up with their alarm, brush their teeth, and get dressed, then with some practice, their morning routine will become habit. Younger kids may need a visual checklist as a reminder.
You might have an afternoon routine for doing homework, putting away school things, and then spending time outside. Kids do better when they have predictable expectations to follow, and it can save you a lot of energy.
Even at a young age, routines can make kids feel safe and secure. When kids know what comes next, there’s often less arguing. For example, if your toddler knows it’s time to put away toys before snack, they may be less likely to have a tantrum.
Fewer power struggles means a happier mom and child.
4. Use smart devices to your advantage
I admit, I was skeptical about smart home technology at first, but I have found these devices to offer some conveniences for which I’m grateful. Some strategically placed smart speakers in our home help us call to the children when they’re upstairs.
A smart speaker can serve as kitchen timer, be a music player, and provide the day’s weather forecast, all hands-free. I can turn on toddler songs without stopping to look for my phone.
We have our most-used living room lamps on a smart plug so they can be controlled by our smartphone or our voice via the smart speaker. They are also programmed to come on each morning and turn off each evening. It’s one less thing to worry about.
Even the TV is voice controlled by the smart speaker. All I have to say is “turn off the TV,” and it happens. I immediately have the kids’ attention without having to search for the remote.
Robot vacuums are much more reasonably priced nowadays. Why not save yourself time on one regular chore?
These are a few of the ways smart devices might be able to make your family life a little easier.
5. Simplify your family schedule
Modern day family schedules have gotten out of control. There’s hardly any time left to think, let alone relax.
It might be tempting to put your child into multiple enrichment programs for music, sports, and other activities, but carefully consider the effect this will have. Children can suffer when they don’t have enough free time, including time for play.
Unstructured time for play is critical to kids’ development and learning. For this reason, in our house we have a one scheduled extracurricular activity per child rule. They can swap out activities seasonally, if they wish. This helps keep parents from being chauffeurs all week long.
Feel free to say no to extra commitments on your calendar too. You don’t have to do it all. Saying no gets easier with practice. It’s OK to be protective of your time for your own well-being.
6. Create a shared family calendar and use it religiously
While we’re on the subject of calendars, a shared family calendar can help a mom keep her sanity—and make her appointments. If something isn’t on our family Google calendar, it isn’t happening.
My mom brain just can’t remember everything. By sharing a calendar with my husband, we can both see upcoming plans, even if we forget to tell each other. We each make it a habit to see what’s coming up for the week ahead.
We also use shared digital lists on Google Keep for everything from groceries to vacation planning. You can use whatever app or system that works for you. The important part is the open communication and not relying on your overstretched mind to manage everything.
You can also block off time on your calendar for downtime, self-care, and family bonding time. Try scheduling family game night or a day hike so you won’t forget and have these opportunities taken over by chores.
7. Learn to ask for help
I have a big secret for you: it’s OK to ask for help as a mom. There is no such thing as super mom, and you are only wearing yourself out by trying to do everything on your own.
I’m willing to bet there are people in your life whom you could offload tasks to—your kids included.
If you have a significant other at home, how does the division of labor feel? This can be one of the biggest sore spots for couples and lead to harboring resentment if not addressed.
Remember the adage, “it takes a village.” You can also call on family and friends if you need a hand.
Hiring help may even be an option. Outsourcing some work doesn’t make you any less of a mom.
Consider everything that’s on your plate and whether you could get help with some of these tasks.
8. Stop mom guilt in its tracks
Forget perfection once and for all. It seems even the best moms stress over the job they’re doing, worrying they’re not good enough. It’s because they love their kids so much.
I have news for you: You’re a good mom. Repeat that to yourself as many times as you need to hear it.
Mom guilt can be intense. Try to remind yourself that everyone makes mistakes. We all have moments when we lose our tempers or say something we regret. Parenting is hard.
Don’t beat yourself up when things don’t work out. Model to your kids how to recover and keep going. You can only do your best and keep trying every day.
9. Don’t forget your own needs
Daily life can feel really hard when you’re not getting the self-care you need. Start with the basics: are you feeding yourself healthy foods, moving your body, drinking plenty of water, and getting enough sleep?
Aside from the essentials, every mom needs a break from time to time. Almost certainly more often than we get!
Self-care is an activity that refuels you, and it’s essential for your mental health. You need to do something you enjoy that’s just for you.
Remember what it’s like to have your own passions outside of motherhood? Why not try a hobby?
You might say, “I don’t have the time.” You’ve got to make the time—it’s that important. Schedule your self-care time into your day and make it happen, even if you can only get 15 minutes.
10. Focus your attention on the important stuff
As parents, we quickly learn to pick our battles when it comes to our children. The same could be said for life. Some things just aren’t worthy of your attention.
Somebody cut you off in traffic? Take a deep breath and let it go. Have a toxic family member? They don’t deserve your time. Learn to forgive yourself for past mistakes and stop wasting your energy.
Practice living intentionally, which involves thinking about the why behind where you’re spending your time. As a result, you can more selectively apply your efforts to what matters most to you, like family, charity work, or career.
You’ll also feel better about your decisions to cut out the things that aren’t serving you in life. Your time and energy can only stretch so far, so make them count.
11. Set small, achievable goals
I think everyone should dream big in life. But even the biggest goals start with small steps. Break your dreams down into bite-sized pieces so you can make progress. Otherwise, it can feel like you’re just spinning your wheels.
Smaller goals give you an opportunity to celebrate each little success and watch how far you’ve come as these successes mount. They give you short-term motivation to keep moving towards your dreams.
No one wants to feel like a failure or like they’re wandering aimlessly, so set yourself up for success.
12. Make arduous tasks less painful
We all have to do things we don’t enjoy; it’s part of life. Take your most annoying responsibilities and try to make them a little less bothersome.
Listen to a podcast or audiobook while you do the dishes. Watch a favorite show while you fold the laundry. Blast your favorite playlist while you clean the bathroom.
You can also treat yourself with something small after a tough task is complete. For example, you could get a fancy coffee or have a piece of chocolate.
These small tricks can take some of the negative association away from the task and give you motivation to push through.
13. Have family or house rules
Have a few simple family rules so kids will know the expectations in your house. They’ll be able to behave better when there are clear and consistent guidelines to follow.
You can even work on coming up with these together. House rules are meant to solve a problem, like people not picking up after themselves or hurting others’ feelings. Children will be more invested and internalize the rules better if they are part of the creation process.
House rules can help prevent arguments and keep you from having to offer the same corrections repeatedly, which can feel like banging your head against a wall. Just remember that everyone has to follow the house rules, not just the kids.
14. Get organized
How frustrating is it to not be able to find something you need? Everything in your house should have a proper place to live so it doesn’t just get shuffled from one area to another. If you don’t have enough space for your things, that’s a sign you need to pare down your belongings.
You can also save time and frustration by storing things near where they’re used most, with frequently accessed items up front.
Aside from organizing your house, keeping your email inbox and digital files organized can also help streamline your life. Try creating rules and filters to automatically shuffle emails to the appropriate folders.
15. Automate your finances
Bill paying is one of my least favorite tasks, and I’m sure I’m not alone. If you haven’t gone completely digital yet, it can help to have all your bills online. Then you can set up as many automatically drafted payments as possible.
If you’re able to, you might even consider pre-paying some of your expenses by going with an annual or semi-annual payment option instead of monthly. This can sometimes save you some money, and you won’t have to worry about these bills as often.
A finance app like Mint can help you keep track of all your accounts at a glance. Money is one of the biggest stressors in life, so anything you can do to make managing it easier will make your life that much better.
16. Slow down
Aside from asking for help, embracing slow living might be one of the biggest game-changers on this list of ways to make life easier. When you’re not caught up in the rat race, you can actually enjoy the little moments.
“A quiet and modest life brings more joy than a pursuit of success bound with constant unrest.”Albert Einstein
Don’t feel like you need to have your days jam-packed full of activities. It’s OK to just be for a while. Enjoy your kids. Stop worrying about the future and breathe in the present.
Try not rushing for once and see how good it feels. Practice mindfulness. Have a do-nothing weekend.
Slow living helps you appreciate life that much more.
17. Batch your tasks for greater efficiency
Try to batch your tasks throughout the week to make better use of your time. For instance, instead of stopping at the store a few times a week, schedule Thursday afternoon for your shopping trips. It can save you from running all over town multiple times.
You might batch your mail for sorting once a week. Respond to emails at certain times of the day rather than continuously all day long.
You get the idea. You don’t want your days to feel like they’re a series of never-ending chores that you just turn around and do the next day. You’ll feel more focused and accomplished if you batch your tasks.
Multitasking may also make you feel like you’re getting a lot done, but spreading your energy across multiple tasks can actually make you more distracted and less efficient. Focus on one task at a time and conquer it, then move on to the next one.
18. Spend less energy on social media
Spending lots of time on social media can start to affect you mentally. It’s hard not to start comparing your life to the filtered lives of others, even subconsciously. What you see on social media isn’t reality, yet these messages can get to you when seen repeatedly.
If you start to not feel good enough after looking at your social media feed, that’s a sure sign that you need to cut back. Consider decluttering who you follow to real friends and family, or at least people whose feeds make you feel good.
Then watch the amount of time you’re spending on social media. All that scrolling can add up. Could you be doing something that gives back to yourself rather than something so mindless (or even negative)?
There’s no requirement that you even be on social media at all. Try a little social media detox and see how it feels.
19. Give your kids age-appropriate responsibilities
Your kids need to pitch in around the house. Helping out is part of being a family, and it’s good for kids to learn independence and responsibility.
Every little thing kids can learn to do for themselves is one less thing mom has to do for them. We often underestimate how much kids can do.
One of my kids went to Montessori preschool, and I was amazed at what those little ones could do when allowed! They’d prepare and serve snacks to each other, clean up their activities, wash their own hands, and more.
Children as young as toddler age can learn to put toys away, hang up their coat, and do small sweeping jobs, for example. Check out a list of age-appropriate chores for kids to get ideas.
Having my sons take out the recycling and the trash or empty the dishwasher can be a huge load off. Chores take a lot less time when multiple people split the household work.
20. Prepare ahead of time
I don’t know about you, but a last-minute rush can really stress me out, even for several hours afterwards. It’s hard to get anywhere on time when you have kids, so preparation is key.
Little steps in the evening like packing lunches, prepping bottles, having backpacks ready, programming the coffeemaker, and even setting out the next day’s clothes can help make mornings a lot smoother. Overhauling your mornings can have a big impact because they set the tone for the whole day.
Practicing being more prepared can also start to trickle into other areas of your life such as having an emergency fund or saving for a vacation.
When you feel one step ahead, you’ll find you aren’t running around yelling at your kids as much. “Hurry up!” should not be your most-used words as a mom. Hopefully you’ll also feel your anxiety decrease significantly.
21. Embrace free-range parenting
Modern-day parents sometimes feel like they need to entertain their kids all the time. If we’re not giving our children attention or enrichment activities 24/7, we can feel like a bad mom. This couldn’t be farther from the truth!
I’ve already talked about the importance of free unstructured play time. It’s vital to teach kids how to entertain themselves. They might struggle at first, but they will get the hang of it.
Free-range parenting came about as the antithesis to helicopter parenting. It encourages giving kids independence and letting them explore their surroundings. You’ll need to decide what freedom your kids are ready for, but letting go of some of the fear associated with parenting can be freeing for you both.
At a minimum, try letting your kid practice finding things to do on their own at home and in your yard.
Reduce Stress Starting Today
I hope this post has given you plenty of inspiration for ways that you can start to make everyday life a little less stressful. Sometimes it’s the little things that can add up to make a big difference.
Don’t feel like you have to change everything at once. Start with one or two tweaks and come back to tackle more once you’ve got those down.
Anything a mom can do to relieve frustration from her everyday tasks will help her conserve energy for the more important things in life. You and your loved ones will benefit when you’re at your best.
Do you have a favorite life hack from the list? Share in the comments!