Struggling as a Stay-At-Home Parent? Do These 5 Things

I've been a full-time work-at-home parent for 2 years now. Writing is my full-time job. Kids, especially preschoolers, are also a full-time job. Sometimes it feels like I rarely get a moment to myself and on tough days it can feel like I'm failing at everything. But I've picked up a few tips over the years that can help in those especially difficult times. When you feel overwhelmed by both work and children, try these steps:

1. Ask for help

Just do it already. It might be tough to admit that you can't do it all, but guess what: No one else can, either. Ask a partner, parent, or friend to help with some chores or to entertain the kids while you work.

2. Make the most of nap time

Sometimes this means cleaning the house, but more often it means finding the time to write without little ones jumping on your head. You might even find yourself napping alongside the baby. You need rest too, so don't feel too guilty.

3. Use the microwave

You can save time and money by cooking some big batches of food over the weekend and reheating them throughout the week. Or maybe you just want to microwave a hot pocket, no shame. Pack yourself a PB&J and chips, whatever. Just because you have access to a full kitchen doesn't mean you're obligated to use it. Time is money, and the time that you're not cooking is time that you can be earning.

4. Lower your standards

Sure, we all dream of being the perfectly put-together Pinterest parent who brings home the bacon and finds time for educational crafts involving pom-poms and wooden letters. In reality, we sometimes don't even have time to sweep the kitchen floor. That's ok. Your kid will probably still be all right if he eats some floor Cheerios, and the distraction might just be enough to finish that project before the deadline.

5. Remember that everyone struggles

What you see on your friends' Facebook walls is their best moments, not necessarily their typical day. There's probably a full basket of laundry and a clingy toddler on the other side of the camera when your bestie caught that perfectly charming baby smile. Do the best you can get through the day.