It's true what the other gals said about it being almost easier sometimes when we're not all home. Other than that, here's what keeps me sane when trying to balance it all:
1. Hubby and I give a lot of grace! We seem to have a moderate tolerance for the messiness when we're so busy / exhausted that it's not reasonable to push the issue - put your health and relationships first. We're pretty good about switching on and off when it comes to who cooks, etc. There is a LOT of give and take daily for us and we seem to be a pretty good team.
2. Little bits: try to be disciplined about not letting things pile up in the first place - mail, clothes, etc - try to deal w/them in the moment so they're not piling up and stressing you out. (I'm terrible about this MOST of the time - HA! - but when I'm good with it, it really makes a difference in my mood / stress level)
3. Multi-task: If your LO likes to watch a show, you can sweep the room (s)he is in and clean around. When my son is in the tub, I clean the rest of the bathroom. If I have to clean the office / table, he'll be in the same room working on something. That way, we can still be together and talk and connect - and I can teach him to help!
4. I shop / do laundry on the weekends.
5. We do not schedule many activities during weekend mornings - we really take it easy so we can be together, sleep in, take our time, have breakfast, etc
6. I usually work out 5-10 min before my morning shower (core / planks & abs) and at night while watching TV after DS is in bed. Even when I'm exhausted, I'm always glad I made the effort. Even though the amounts of time are small, my job keeps me pretty busy during the day, so it all adds up. Workout efficiently by combining weights w/cardio to up your calorie blast and maximize each minute!
7. After shopping, I try to work up a menu for two weeks worth of dinners so I don't have to think about what's for dinner when I come home. Also, if hubby gets home before I do, he can get things started. It's saved a lot of time and money.
That's about it! My house is NOT spotless, but we don't have people over too often, so I don't feel pressured about it. Also, i just discovered this site:
She has some great ideas. I'm still checking them out.
I'm looking forward to hearing others' ideas, too. Good luck finding the "groove" that works for you and your family!