It may be 2020, but full-time working moms are still more likely than full-time working dads to do the majority of domestic chores, with 49% managing the bulk of the cleaning and 52% taking charge of all the laundry. No matter what new demands are placed on you at work or how many more hours you do, the demands of running a busy household never change, and it seems there is always more to do. Whatever challenges you face as a busy mom, organization is your secret weapon in staying on top of it all. Here are a few ways you can take the edge of running a busy home.

Plan everything ahead 

When you have kids, pets and competing schedules flying round the house, you know that flexibility is vital. However, it’s also helpful to have a plan to keep the stress out of day-to-day tasks. Keeping a family planner on the fridge is a good way to keep track of everyone’s activities and know who will be home for dinner when, and who needs driving to karate or ballet. When you log your family’s activities for the week, create a separate planner to keep beside the schedule, outlining meal plans for the week.

It doesn’t matter if you deviate from the plan, but having it there means you can shop quickly with all the necessary ingredients in mind, and whip up your evening meals without the decision problem. It also means you can plan for a variety of healthy meals across the week without worrying about whether your kids are getting enough diversity in their diets. For busy days, plan meals you can leave in a crockpot all day, or cook double quantities of stews and sauces that you can pull out in a jiffy.

Implement house rules and delegate tasks

Once children are old enough to help out, they should. A 75-year Harvard study found that children who were given chores were more likely to become healthy and happy adults, as well as being equipped with the skills to make them embrace independence. Assign your children different tasks, and use the time to complete different jobs around them.

For example, if your older child takes the dog for a walk every afternoon, this is a good time for you to do a once-a-week ‘pet clean’ when your furry friend is safely out of the house. Having animals in the home makes domestic management even more challenging, and hairs and stains can plague even the cleanest of homes. Mia’s Carpet Cleaner Review recommends pairing pet cleaning solutions with carpet cleaning machines to adequately remove stains, hairs and odors from carpet fibers, and this is definitely a task best done when your dog is out for walkies.

To avoid argument, set your kids’ tasks on another schedule on the fridge so everyone can clearly see what their jobs are. You can give them ownership by allowing them to tick off completed jobs themselves, and you can reward tasks completed on time with a sticker system. Once daily chores are a part of everyone’s routine, most kids will do them without too much resistance. Good tasks to assign include emptying the dishwasher, taking the dog out, dusting the surfaces and emptying the trash. With minor tasks assigned, household management is no longer your sole responsibility — it’s a family effort.

Redefine ‘tidy’ and make daily sweeps

As your children move through different stages of their lives, the levels of chaos in your home will change. Relax your idea of what ‘tidy’ means. As long as everyone tidies up what they’ve been playing with before moving onto the next activity, it doesn’t matter if your surfaces are a little cluttered. A 10 minute sweep of the house at the end of every day should be enough to keep some semblance of order. Assign each of your kids a basket and leave it by the stairs — at the end of each day, put any stray toys or games in their baskets and instruct them to take them to their rooms the next morning.

Running a household is a major task for anyone, and if you’re working full-time, it can be even more challenging. Plan ahead and involve the whole family in the process to make it easier, and most importantly, remember to take a little time for yourself at the end of the day.