### Managing Life with Young Children: Embracing the Chaos or Striving for More?

Dear Carolyn,

Are parents with young children destined to feel worn out while barely meeting the minimum requirements all the time? My children are 3.5 and 1 year old, and both my husband and I work full-time. Despite having adequate childcare and paid assistance (due to the absence of family nearby), and managing daily chores efficiently, I constantly find myself lagging behind.

My husband argues that this state of affairs is typical when raising young children. Given his fluctuating work hours compared to my stable schedule, he contributes his share during lighter weeks, and I pick up the slack during his busier periods, acknowledging his need for rest. While I am concerned about the accumulating clutter, including outgrown children’s clothes, toys awaiting sorting and donation, and our boxed belongings from the previous move that require attention.

With another relocation planned for next year, I aspire to declutter as much as possible beforehand. However, I struggle to muster the motivation after enduring a long day. Should I simply wait until my children are older before tackling these tasks?

— Exhausted Parents of Littles

Exhausted Parents of Littles: It’s a common sentiment that if each parent feels solely responsible for all the work, it’s likely a shared experience.

Raising young children can be undeniably draining for many, though not everyone may relate to this intensity.

Breaking overwhelming tasks into brief, scheduled intervals can render them more manageable. For instance, dedicating 15 minutes daily to decluttering, with a couple of rest days per week.

Here are some insights from readers:

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  • Your emphasis on being the one concerned about sorting and donating doesn’t diminish these tasks’ status as household responsibilities. Unless your husband undertakes similar duties, this issue may persist even as the children grow older. Creating a comprehensive list of tasks based on frequency and effort needed, then dividing them, could be beneficial.

  • Does your husband allocate time for you to rest during his less demanding weeks? It’s crucial to schedule personal time for self-rejuvenation. While things will improve over time, prioritizing self-care is essential. Avoid assuming the role of a complete martyr.

  • Consider scheduling a thorough check-up with your doctor. Ensure your thyroid function is assessed adequately, including a full panel examination beyond just TSH levels. Additionally, check your ferritin and B12 levels, as low iron or B12 levels can impact energy levels significantly.

  • Your fatigue is valid. During similarly challenging periods in my life, I would set a timer for 15 minutes or a suitable duration, accomplish tasks like clearing tables, packing items for donation, or preparing snacks, and aim to complete them within the set timeframe. This approach prevents tasks from feeling never-ending and overwhelming. Remember, it will get easier.

  • Do what you can and then transition to acceptance mode. As the years pass, challenges may evolve, but change is inevitable.