Motherhood is conceivably one of the toughest jobs around. The number of hats you have to wear as a mom is staggering—nurturer, cook, nurse, housekeeper, chauffeur, teacher, craftsperson, landscaper, master organizer. And expert skills at hugging and wiping away tears is a must.
You need some mom hacks.
Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom or you work a job outside the home in addition to your full-time role as a parent, staying organized, accomplishing everything you need to get done while taking care of your children and ensuring their physical and emotional needs are met can seem insurmountable. Oh, and don’t forget the homework.
So we’ve scoured the Internet to cull a list of life hacks for moms to make your day-to-day easier. The job of parenting doesn’t stop, but hopefully, you can infuse a bit more ease into your daily routines with these ideas and make parenting easier.
1. Double up on bedding
Whether you’re taking care of a newborn, potty training a toddler, dealing with a school-aged bedwetter, or nurturing a sick child with the flu, once you give birth there’s seemingly no end to the laundry that comes with maintaining clean bedding. A waterproof mattress is a lifesaver—two that is.
2. Permanent marker doesn’t have to be permanent
Don’t fear the Sharpie. The markers may tout their permanence, but lucky for moms there are some tried-and-true hacks that remove these seemingly stubborn markers from just about any surface once they’ve fallen into the hands of your toddler:
- Carpet: white vinegar
- Furniture: milk
- Whiteboard: dry erase marker or pencil rubber eraser
- Walls: toothpaste or hairspray
- Wood: rubbing alcohol
- Clothes: Hand sanitizer
- Ceramic or glass: one part toothpaste with one part baking soda
3. Streamline the laundry process
You may think you know which clothing items belong to each of your children. But when you’re hurriedly folding laundry, in your haste everything appears to be the same size, and you find yourself wondering which clothes are whose. Dots can come in handy. Just take a magic marker and tag clothing items with one dot for the oldest child, two dots for the second child, and so on. The task of laundry will go much quicker without long pauses determining what belongs to whom.
4. “Hire” a personal assistant with a smart speaker
Let’s face it. We could all use a personal assistant to keep us on task, send reminders, and, of course, play our favorite tunes. But since hired help can be expensive, a smart speaker like the Amazon Echo—you can call her Alexa—is a viable alternative. Enter tech-savvy parenting. Use Alexa to:
- Set timers.
- Get recipes.
- Control your lighting, thermostat, and lock doors.
- Have Alexa read the kids a bedtime story.
- Tell Alexa important dates and information to be reminded of later.
- Play the music you want to hear.
All with the sound of your voice. You don’t have to press a button, type anything, or even get off the couch. At least someone in the house will listen to you.
5. Simplify your week
With a bit of planning you can make your mom week—morning get-ready stress, afternoons filled with tossed backpacks and shoes, kids demanding snacks—much less stressful.
Lay out clothes for the week for each child. If you have children that like to pick out their own clothes, let them help. This will eliminate the morning scramble for outfits and matched socks.
Prepare snacks at the beginning of the week and group them together in the refrigerator. Cut up fresh fruits and veggies. Have some hummus or dip on hand. No more scurrying to feed hungry children. Just direct them to what’s available. Over time they’ll know where to go for their after-school snack without asking.
Establish spots for shoes, backpacks, coats, and jackets so these items aren’t strewn all over the house after school. It may take some effort on your part to train your children. But in the long run your efforts will decrease your workload, reduce clutter, and teach your kids some responsibility.
6. Equip your car and reduce clutter
Using your car is not the same as camping. No need to pack it in, pack it out every time you drive somewhere. Keep essentials in the car you might need—first aid supplies, blankets, extra shoes/clothes for the kids. And a small trash can with a lid is a great idea. No hauling trash inside every time you get home when you have a garbage receptacle in the car. Oh, and stash a bin of books in your vehicle. You’ll always have entertainment for the kids on those loooong, boring car rides.
7. You’ll love the convenience of a key clip
Really. You don’t have to ride a motorcycle to clip your keys to your belt loops. A carabiner or some other clip allowing you to attach your keys to your pants, your purse, or backpack is more convenient than you might think. No more digging to find your keys as you cross a parking lot with kids in tow. Clip them, and they’re always in reach.
As a side note, keep some mascara in your purse. You never know when it will come in handy.
8. Track medication dosing by drawing a dosing schedule on the bottle
There’s nothing worse than having a sick child. You just want them to feel better instantly, which we all know isn’t possible. The path back to good health often involves a round of antibiotics with several doses each day. And keeping track of their medication dosing can be a challenge with everything else you’re juggling. Did you give them their morning dose? Have they had the evening does?
No more guesswork. Stay on top of things by drawing a basic dosing schedule on the side of the bottle using a permanent marker. Store the marker next to the bottle and after administering a dose, simply mark it off.
9. Digitally store your kids’ artwork and free up the clutter
Suffering from mom guilt about that giant drawer of your kids’ artwork? It’s not that you don’t love it, but what are you going to do with all of it? Rather than stuffing the latest masterpiece into a drawer, why not digitize the artwork? Scan or take a picture of the art (Office Lens and PhotoScan are great free apps for this!) and save the digitized artwork on your phone and computer.
The next time your kids are browsing pictures on your phone they’ll be delighted to see their artwork. You can even set the artwork as your computer’s screensaver. Digitizing the artwork not only preserves it and reduces clutter, but it actually makes it easier to more regularly view it.
10. Create a dedicated sock container
It’s not your imagination: your washing machine may actually be eating socks. While that may reassure you of your sanity, it doesn’t solve the problem of lonely socks. Rather than stuff those partner-less socks back in a drawer where they’ll likely get lost or remain single forever, store lone socks in a designated sock container.
Every couple of months go through your sock container, and you’ll probably be surprised at how many matches you find. If, after a few rounds of this you haven’t found a match, go ahead and toss the sock. Or give it to a house elf.
11. Save your feet with a Lego organizer
Once you enter the world of Lego, there’s no going back. They’re everywhere, in everything, and you’re stepping on them at every turn. Chances are all the pieces are stored in a large toy bin, so simply finding pieces and playing with them is a challenge for the kiddos. So why not organize and label them? Yes, all of them.
It’s easier than you think, and once the system is in place, you’ll pat yourself on the back daily for your ingenuity. Just sort the Lego pieces by color and store each color in a different plastic drawer—they’ll be easy to access and easy to clean up. A true win-win.
12. Let your kids help with the endless lunch-packing
Once you have the foods prepped, this will eliminate one of those things you do nearly every morning while giving the kids some autonomy and instilling in them a little responsibility.
Here’s what you do: Get a three-tiered cart and group specific, non-perishable food items on each shelf. Keep fresh foods in the refrigerator. Print off this guide and attach it to the cart, which provides your kids instructions about how to build their lunch each day.
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