Parents excel at many things: multi-tasking, loving, caring, thinking on their feet and rising to the occasion with humour and resourcefulness. They also very good at guilt, and taking too much on. Real families need a break from the endless round of chores and cooking that their busy lives can be full of.
This Spring, dare I encourage my fellow parents to take some items off their to-do list? Freeing up time gives you energy back, to tackle the important stuff: being there for your families (and yourselves). That doesn't just mean the children - it also means using the longer days for you and your other half to wind down of an evening, sit outside in the garden with a cup of tea or something stronger, and just chat. And for you to sneak off for an hour, sit by the river and read a book. Drop the chores and you'll find that you may just have the time ...
When you are both working, and you have children - plus maybe a commute or children's activities to get to, by the time working parents get home at the end of a long day, there is precious little energy left to tackle the laundry basket, clean up after the dog and cook a fresh meal from scratch.
The same goes for the weekends. Parents often don't get the chance to enjoy their weekends or their free time, as while they are out working or looking after the children, the chores can mount up. Without help - be it a cleaner, housekeeper or gardener - these jobs will occupy parents' free time.
Be realistic about how short a weekend really is, and don't fall into the trap of "just starting" to repaint, pressure wash the patio or other lengthy jobs. Break these down into achievable chunks - so that you end the day with a sense of achievement without compromising your family time together.
Know when you need to ask for help. Deep cleaning a house cannot be achieved by one willing woman alone. Call in help using Care.com's army of housekeepers, and you'll be pleasantly surprised how quickly and efficiently these tasks can be completed. Then relax - it's all done for another year!