Stress is the enemy, but it’s also a fixture of your daily life as a parent. With your infinitely expanding to-do list and only 24 hours in a day, it’s easy to understand why you feel overwhelmed. (We all do!) Instead of letting parenting pressures snowball until they crush you under an avalanche of anxiety, check out how you can melt the stress away and actually enjoy your busy, hectic, and totally rad parenting life. So take a breath, close your eyes, and relax: You’ve got this.

A family makes dinner together

1. Turn your kids into pint-sized sous chefs. Dinner is topping the mountain of things that you have to do today. But what if instead of a chore it was a chance to get in some family bonding time? The kiddos can measure and mix as you and your S.O. do the heavy lifting (in other words, the un-kid-friendly cooking parts). Instead of looking at meal prep as yet one more tedious task, turn it into family fun that you all look forward to.

2. Ditch the chore board. A chore board is a good idea — in theory. It organizes your life and helps you divvy up the household tasks among everyone in the family. But it’s also a nagging reminder of unmade beds, unwashed floors, and unfolded laundry. Do something totally daring: Drop the chore board from your life, trading it for a game of “who can fold the laundry the fastest” with your preschooler or a dance party dusting session.

3. Split school dropoff duties. Daycare drop-off is 100 percent your job. Why? Um… you don’t really know. It just kind of became a mom thing. Which is to say, a “mom has to do it as she runs to work, trying not to be late and get a 25-minute lecture from her boss on what is and isn’t ‘company time'” thing. Have your other half take on drop-off (or even drop-off and pickup) duty a few times a week. Better yet, split the job 50/50. If this absolutely, positively isn’t a possibility, try asking a grandparent to help you out.

A mother plays with her toddler

4. Take a “mess day.” Maybe you’ve heard of “yes day,” when you give only yeses to your kiddo’s requests. Take this concept in another direction, and try a “mess day.” Forget about following your tot around like their on-call maid. Give up one day of constantly containing all of the clutter, and let it flow. Just try not to step on any of your preschooler’s five billion LEGOs (nobody’s feet enjoy that plastic brick crunch).

5. Let loose. Keeping your stress bottled up inside is a task that is… well, undoable. Even more than that, it isn’t healthy. The delicate work-life balance that you’re reaching for isn’t easy on anyone. Give yourself a chance to let it all go. Put on your favorite playlist, let go, and dance, dance, dance. (Bonus points if you invite your family to do the same.)

6. Work together. Your inbox is busting out, and you need to answer emails before going into work tomorrow. Set up a family workspace where everyone does their “job.” You can catch up on after-hours work while your kiddo crafts, draws with crayons, or pretends to do what mommy is doing.

7. Schedule songtime. Rushing from preschool to ballet class to soccer to the grocery store to the… whoa, you just spent an hour in the car with your kiddo, and all you’ve done is stress over the route to your next destination and why you’re so late. This is precious time that you can use to your advantage. Forget about the schedule for a little bit (10 new minutes won’t grow on a magical time tree and make you early for your tot’s playdate), ditch the “go, go, go” mentality, and sing a song. Turn up the (kid-friendly) tunes, and just enjoy jamming with your little one.

How do you relax during your busy day? Tweet us your tips @BritandCo.

(Photos via Getty)