One of the biggest struggles my wife and I encounter is trying to find the time, patience and energy to get basic household chores done with two small children constantly underfoot. It's nearly impossible.

Most parents of young children understand this challenge. The kids are too young to do many things for themselves so they need our help all of the time. Between assisting them and making sure they are not running roughshod over each other, it can be extremely difficult to get anything done — short of pulling out your hair.

If you can't hire a housekeeper — and how many of us can? — you need to figure out a way to work together with your spouse to maintain your home with the kids in the fold. Here are a few tips to accomplish your chores and still effectively pull off your parenting responsibilities:

Designate Time

Set aside a block of time — an hour a week, for instance — that is reserved for cleaning your house. Try to get the kids involved in a time-consuming activity that they can do alone — puzzles, Lego's, coloring — and get to work. Understand that you will be interrupted occasionally but you will probably be able to squeeze in some precious cleaning time.

Get Kids Involved

Another strategy is give your children a job to do and let them join you. Is your child old enough to sweep the floor? Put some of the non-breakable dishes away? Fold clothes? Spend some time teaching them how to do those chores and you've got an extra set of hands for your family to-do list.

Make Priorities

It helps to have a game plan and you and your spouse need to decide which chores are the ones that need to be done right away, without delay. If your floors need to be mopped each week, make that the first chore that gets done. Even if nothing else is accomplished during your cleaning session, you can still feel satisfied that your time wasn't wasted.

Remove the Kids

This might require a coin flip. One of the parents might need to leave the house for a few hours with the kids in tow, of course, so the other parent can focus solely on getting the chores done. If necessary, switch off each week so one parent isn't left constantly scrubbing the bathroom walls while the other parent is off climbing rock walls at a nearby park.

Lower Expectations

Ok, this tip is not a how-to. It's more of a mindset change. You have small children. You probably have a job. You're exhausted during all the hours that your eyes are open. Cut yourself some slack. Sure, we all want to have a spotless home but with small children running around, is that even possible? Scale back your expectations on what your house should look like, focus on what you and your spouse can get done and simply do the best that you can. The most important thing is to do it together.