Little Voice Big Matter

How to Make Life Easier (and Less Stressful for You AND Your Family)

(This post may contain referral links. Please read my disclaimer for more info.)

What mom out there doesn’t want to make life easier for herself?  After all, mom life is a lot.  

But it doesn’t all have to fall on your shoulders – the responsibilities in your household can and should be shared with your partner and your kids.  

By creating some new systems and family routines around your home, you can divvy up the workload and make life easier and less stressful for the whole family.

How to Make Life Easier (and Less Stressful for You and Your Family)

Related:  “The Real Truth Why Being a Mom is Hard”

What does it mean to make life easier?

Making life easier means implementing some simple routines and systems that involve the whole family in an effort to share in the responsibility of maintaining your home.  

This will help you feel less overwhelmed and burdened by all the chores there are to do around the house every day.

I’m talking about letting your partner and kids help with laundry, meal prep, grocery shopping, tidying, dishes, and everything else that goes into keeping our household running smoothly.

Sounds great, right?  But, easier said than done!  

This post is as much a learning experience for me as it is for you because I’m actually not so good at involving my kids in the management of our home and family life.  

This point was driven home a few weekends ago when we rented a mountain house with another family and I saw firsthand how little responsibility my kids have compared to other kids their ages.

Even outside of their actual home, the other family’s children were pitching in to keep our rented house clean.  Their usual routine of clearing up after mealtimes and helping to load and unload the dishwasher were still expected of them while they were on “vacation”, staying in someone else’s house.

It got me thinking – why don’t I ask more of my own children when it comes to chores around the house?  If they were expected to help out more, wouldn’t this make life easier for me??

After some consideration, I had to admit that the problem is not with my kids, it actually originates with me.

Related:  “#1 Reason for Mom Overwhelm and How to Fix It”

Why don’t we let our families share the load?

My boys are good kids. At times when I have asked them to help out with certain tasks, they’re more than happy to pitch in.  But these times are few and far between because I rarely ask anything of them.

One reason I hold onto so much of the household load is because I see it as taking care of my family and this is a way I show love to them.  Taking care of my family contributes to my sense of purpose and self-worth.  

I think a lot of us moms feel this way, but then the result is that we end up resenting that we “do everything around here!”, amirite?  A lot of the time, I feel like a servant in my own home!

My husband has even complained that I don’t let him help enough either.  

For example, I don’t allow him to do the grocery shopping because I know he won’t buy the exact brands I like.  

Whenever he takes it upon himself to fold the laundry, I often re-fold most of it because he folds the shirts and pants differently from how I do it.  

And heaven forbid I take him up on his offer to pack the kids’ clothes for a vacation –  I fear they wouldn’t have the “right” clothes or possibly no socks or underwear at all to wear for the trip!

But seriously, he’s totally capable of helping with these tasks, as are my children capable of doing more, but I think I may have an issue with control and have a hard time delegating responsibility to them.  Yikes!

Hence, I wind up bearing the brunt of it myself.  Oftentimes, it’s just easier to do it myself rather than taking the time to explain it to my husband or demonstrate how to do something to my kids.

I’m sure many of you feel the same way, but I know that if I were to put some time and energy into establishing some new habits and routines where the whole family is more involved, it would get easier in time.  

I just have to let go and be okay with “good enough”.  A lot of the time, ‘done’ is far more important than ‘done perfectly’.  Wouldn’t you agree?

Related:  “Mama, You Can’t Do It All: How to Let Go of What No Longer Serves You”

Why get the kids involved?

Getting the kids involved in the management and upkeep of your home is actually a really wise choice.

As I mentioned above, things might take more time and not be done perfectly at first, but getting the kids involved is an investment that will be worth it for a few different reasons.

It isn’t something that will magically happen overnight, but eventually they will become good at the tasks at hand and it will ease the burden that falls on you. That is the goal, isn’t it?

Additionally, it adds to their sense of self-worth.  Little kids especially like to be seen as equals and to feel included.  They see everyone else doing chores and little kids like to contribute and feel valued too. 

Furthermore, getting your kids into the routine of basic chores will mean an easier adjustment for them when they become grown-ups and have to do all this stuff for themselves.  Basic household chores will already be something they’re used to doing, pretty much without thinking about it.  

I like to think of it as setting my kids up for success.  It’s an investment in their future as capable humans who will one day have an easier time “adulting” once they leave my home.  (But really, I try not to think about when that day will come!)

Related: ““Motherhood Is…” (True Meaning of Motherhood in 25+ Quotes from Moms)”

How do we make life easier?

On that note, how do we actually go about creating these new routines that are supposed to make life easier?

I’ve done some research on the topic and I now have a pretty good idea of what we need to do to get this going.  

Not only does it involve creating new systems in our households, but these systems MUST include our kids!  

At 12 and 7 years old, I’m confident my own kids are definitely ready to take on some more responsibilities around the house.

Below are 9 best practices when creating new household routines that will make life easier for you and your family.

9 Tips to Make Life Easier

1.) Get everyone in the family onboard 

So first and foremost, you can’t do this alone and you shouldn’t have to.  Managing your family life and home should be the responsibility of everyone who lives there. 

Start by calling your family members together to share honestly about how you’re feeling and why you need more help around the house.  Tell them your idea to create some new routines whereby everyone helps with the chores and ask for their support in this endeavor.  

2.) Make a plan & delegate chores

Breakdown exactly what needs to be done around the house and then brainstorm together some ideas for creating new routines and delegate who will take responsibility for what tasks.

You might even ask for the kids’ input on how they feel they can each individually contribute.  

I did this the other night and learned that my older son wants no part of the dishes, but is happy to clear the table after meals and take out the garbage, while his little brother would love to help with dishes and wipe down the countertops after dinner.

Of course, you want to keep the assignment of chores age appropriate, but keep in mind that your child may actually be able to do more than you think. 

Elizabeth Pantley, author of 12 parenting books including “Kid Cooperation: How to Stop Yelling, Nagging, and Pleading and Get Kids to Cooperate”, provides the below breakdown of recommended kids’ chores by age (source: WebMD):

Chores for children ages 2 to 3

  • Put toys away
  • Fill pet’s food dish
  • Put clothes in hamper
  • Wipe up spills
  • Dust
  • Pile books and magazines

Chores for children ages 4 to 5

Any of the above chores, plus:

  • Make their bed
  • Empty wastebaskets
  • Bring in mail or newspaper
  • Clear table
  • Pull weeds, if you have a garden
  • Use hand-held vacuum to pick up crumbs
  • Water flowers
  • Unload utensils from dishwasher
  • Wash plastic dishes at sink
  • Fix bowl of cereal

Chores for children ages 6 to 7

Any of the above chores, plus:

  • Sort laundry
  • Sweep floors
  • Set and clear table
  • Help make and pack lunch
  • Weed and rake leaves
  • Keep bedroom tidy

Chores for children ages 8 to 9

Any of the above chores, plus:

  • Load dishwasher
  • Put away groceries
  • Vacuum
  • Help make dinner
  • Make own snacks
  • Wash table after meals
  • Put away own laundry
  • Sew buttons
  • Make own breakfast
  • Peel vegetables
  • Cook simple foods, such as toast
  • Mop floor
  • Take pet for a walk

Chores for children ages 10 and older.

Any of the above chores, plus:

  • Unload dishwasher
  • Fold laundry
  • Clean bathroom
  • Wash windows
  • Wash car
  • Cook simple meal with supervision
  • Iron clothes
  • Do laundry
  • Baby-sit younger siblings (with adult in the home)
  • Clean kitchen
  • Change their bed sheets

3.)  Keep it simple (K.I.S.S.)

The first time I heard the acronym K.I.S.S. (aka, Keep It Simple Stupid or Keep It Simple and Straightforward), I think I was in an intro to business class in college. 

The idea definitely holds true when it comes to creating systems in your home.  You want to make them as simple to complete as possible.  

In other words, make them so easy and simple that it would be really hard (or “stupid”) to fail at them.  The easier something is, the more likely everyone is to follow through and be consistent.

So take some time to consider your family’s natural personalities and rhythm. What is the simplest way to get a particular task done?

It might mean cutting some corners, like allowing your kids to place their laundry in the drawers, rather than having them fold it first. You might also think about adding baskets in certain high traffic locations in your home so it’s super easy for them to put their things away or step stools so they can reach what they need to in order to complete a task. 

As you implement new routines, continuously reassess how you can make things as easy as possible for everyone to be successful.

4.) Make your systems visible

If you want your new routines and systems to stick, they need to be visible, day in and day out.

When things are out of sight, they will likely be out of mind as well, so add visual reminders like a chore chart to complete each day and/or signs at key places in your house.  

You can also set reminders for yourself and your kids with Alexa, your phone or tablet, other smart devices, or with a traditional alarm clock.

5.) Implement one new routine at a time

Something important to keep in mind is that it’s not a good idea to try to overhaul your whole household all at once.  This will be overwhelming and will only lead to greater stress for everyone involved – the opposite effect we’re going for!

Focus on the one area that gives you the most gripe at first and then build from there.  

For me, that will be cleaning up after dinner and I already have the boys on board for much of that routine!

6.) Practice habit-stacking

One way to build regular routines and habits is to try habit-stacking. 

The concept comes from James Clear, the author of “Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones”, who explains that, “one of the best ways to build a new habit is to identify a current habit you already do each day and then stack your new behavior on top.”

This makes total sense – it’s much easier to adopt a new habit when you add it on to something you’re already doing anyway.

For example:

-You can get your kids into the habit of making their beds every day by having them do it as soon as they wake up and get out of bed each morning.  

-If you don’t want to have a pile of dishes in the sink at the end of the day, make it a rule that everyone washes or puts them in the dishwasher immediately after use throughout the day. 

-As soon as the kids walk in from school, have them create the routine of clearing out their lunchboxes right away so it becomes a habit.  Soon they will start to associate coming home from school with emptying their lunchboxes.

7.)  Praise good behavior

It’s important to praise your kids’ efforts, even if they’re not perfect.  Progress over perfection is what matters most.

Focus on the fact that they are trying and offer praise & encouragement to your children while they’re doing their chores.  This will build momentum and hopefully lead to more involvement and development of skills as they get more comfortable with their tasks.

You could also offer monetary compensation or “allowance” for chores well done, although there is a wide range of opinions from parenting experts on whether a monetary reward should be tied to household chores.

I personally feel that kids should pitch in around the house simply because they are part of the family unit and the upkeep of the family’s home should be shared by everyone who lives there.  However, if they go above and beyond in helping out, perhaps a monetary reward would be deserved.

8.) Make routines work around your schedule

One thing I am pretty good at already is scheduling my day to be as productive as possible and an integral part of this is creating routines that work for my schedule.

A key component of this is segmenting my tasks into “manual” vs. “focus” tasks.  Manual tasks are kid-friendly, while focus tasks are not.  

Some examples of manual tasks would be folding laundry, washing dishes, straightening up around the house, or anything else that doesn’t require a lot of brain power or focus.

While focus tasks include most of the things I do at my computer, like working, responding to personal emails, paying bills, scheduling doctor’s appointments, and researching various things like vacations and extracurricular activities.  These are all tasks that require me to think and be focused.

Therefore, I segment the majority of my focus tasks to be done during the school day when the kids are not home and most of the manual tasks are saved for after school and evening hours.  

That way I get uninterrupted quiet time to do the tasks that require thought and focus and by doing manual tasks when the kids are around, which are often household chores, it will give me the opportunity to involve them more in these chores.

Plus, they physically see what needs to get done around the house, rather than thinking the magical laundry fairy comes while they’re at school. 🤦🏻‍♀️

If your kids are younger than school age or you work full-time, then try segmenting your tasks around your schedule in another way.  You might have to do some of your focus tasks at night while they’re sleeping, or maybe this strategy simply won’t work for your phase of life.  

It’s all about making your routines work for your schedule, whatever that means to you!

9.)  Have periodic check-ins

Once you establish some new household routines, make sure to have periodic check-ins so your good intentions don’t just get lost in the busyness of family life.

This also allows you to evaluate what is working well and what is not and if everyone feels happy with the way things are going.

Well my friends, that is what I’ve put together on how to make life easier for the whole family.

By getting everyone involved in creating household routines that simplify and share the upkeep of the family home, it eases the burden we feel as moms and lessens our tendency to get overwhelmed and resentful.  

And at the end of the day, this helps to make life easier and less stressful for us and our families.

By the way, I will be trying to put some of this advice into practice over the next few weeks.  Wish me luck!

In the meantime, if you have any tips on what works to make life easier for you and your family already, I would love to hear them.  Please comment below and share the wisdom with us all. 🥰

Did you like this post?  Check out some others along these lines:

How to Create Routines and Habits that Stick

How to Create Balance in Your Life (in under 30 minutes a day)

How To Be a Fun Mom (when it doesn’t come naturally)

How to Plan Your Week to be Productive (9 tips that really work)

If you liked this post and want to read more, drop your email in the subscription box and I’ll send all my updates straight to you.

4 thoughts on “How to Make Life Easier (and Less Stressful for You AND Your Family)”

  1. Very important post for all moms to thoroughly
    absorb. Two important points here are 1) Involve your kids in choosing which chores they would like to own. Secondly, and most important, you must get comfortable with the concept of
    “good enough”. It doesn’t have to be perfect.
    This idea needs to be internalized in other aspects of your life and you will feel happier!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *