In our Moms & Stress series, Lea Curtes-Swenson talks with leading experts on stress management and life balance. She brings you tips, tricks, and advice for understanding your stress and getting it under control – so you can enjoy your time with your kids and teach them to live stress-free too.

Now that you’ve learned about modeling stress management and reprogramming your stress responses, it’s time to address one of the ultimate questions when it comes to being a mom in today’s world.

Can you be a modern mommy multi-tasker and still reduce stress?

Yes, you can, says Jennifer Antkowiak, mom of 6, author of “Take Care Tips,” and an expert who’s passionate about helping caregivers – including moms – create balance by caring for themselves.

But what if you don’t have that time? Trying to juggle an already full schedule to include an hour for relaxing or pampering, can ultimately pile more stress on moms.

Instead of killing yourself trying to “find more time,” Antkowiak says multi-tasking moms can maximize their minutes by doing what they do best: combining tasks.

Try making memories and relieving stress while still chipping away at your to-do list with some of these ideas:

  1. Move with the kids. Get outside and walk around a zoo or park, ride bikes or shoot hoops. On rainy days, try a computer fitness games (Antkowiak loves Wii Zumba Fitness), dance, bowl, or play indoor putt-putt golf.
  2. Involve the kids in daily jobs and errands. “Sometimes it’s all in the marketing,” says Antkowiak. Don’t call it “cleaning,” tell them you’re working together to get some things organized. Don’t just weed the garden together, bond with your kids by telling them stories about the things you used to plant with your parents, what you made to eat with what you grew, etc.
  3. Make it fun. Going to the grocery store or post office can also include a quick stop at a park, or getting a small treat first. Taking pictures is another way to “change the whole vibe,” says Antkowiak. So it isn’t just mailing letters – it’s an experience you can remember through photos.

“Sure, some of these things take a little more time,” says Antkowiak. “But the quality of that time increases tremendously. Rush less, smile more!”