As parents, we are always looking for that little bit of advice from another parent or new gadget to help us in any way possible; just to make our days run a little smoother. Because let’s face it, Parenting is tough! Well, I have gathered a plethora of awesome Mom Hacks from a few mothers who have been there, smelled that, heard all about it, and found a way to make things a little easier. Are you ready???....
1. Always carry a potty seat in the car.
This tidbit is especially helpful when potty training our littles. When they need to go, you’re ready! But let me tell you, this has saved me many times even after the potty-training stage. Not only have I not had to wake a sleeping baby on a long car drive just to drag everyone in for a potty break (probably 2 minutes after our last stop), I have also used it myself on occasion when there is no toilet in sight and Mommy really has to go! The seat was also a wonderful surprise one birthday party at the park which come to find out had no toilets. Can someone say, “Potty Party in my minivan!”
When selecting said potty seat for your vehicle there are a few things to consider… First off size. It must fit in your car right. Second, GET ONE WITH A LID!!! Sloshing and smell WILL occur, and you do not want that in your car. Lastly, don’t forget to empty once home or to your destination. Day old urine and stool are not pleasant smells in your vehicle Monday morning on the way to school or work.
2. Add frozen fruit or veggies to meals.
You may be saying, “how is this a hack?” Well, let me tell you…. I may have almost scalded my child with her oatmeal at breakfast on more than one occasion. It’s not that I didn’t check the temperature before serving it, okay I didn’t, but I didn’t do this intentionally; I was of course distracted by ten million other things going on in the kitchen and gave her the bowl of oatmeal to calm the wining and attend to the next crying child wrapped around my legs.
So, to solve this accidental oversight that may have happened more than once, I started adding frozen berries to my daughter’s oatmeal. She loved the berries and they cooled the oatmeal to the perfect temperature to consume. I then started to do the same with frozen peas in rice, stir-fry, and pasta dishes. Crisis averted.
3. Snacks, Snacks, and more SNACKS!!!
A hungry child is a fussy child, ‘nough said! But truly, I ALWAYS have snacks on hand. Whether we are out and about, and they are in my diaper bag, purse or stroller or we are in the car and I have Costco sized boxes of granola bars, squeeze pouches, or popcorn/chip bags in the trunk, I ALWAYS have snacks.
4. Travel Pill Container.
When on a long car or airplane trip, travel pill containers are awesome! You can put toys or snacks into it and toddlers have a blast opening and closing the little flaps finding surprises in each one. Empty it all out, then fill it again and again!
5. Baby powder and sand.
You know that baby powder you got at your baby shower and have never used…. Bring it along on your trip to the beach. Keeping this little bottle in your beach bag is a must! As you load into the car, have your children sit down and pour baby powder on their feet and legs, then simply brush away all of that stuck on sand. Your kiddos will smell nice, and you won’t have half the beach in your car.
6. Fitted sheet on the beach.
Speaking of trips to the beach, don’t forget to pack a fitted sheet as well. This is the perfect beach blanket. Place the fitted sheet down and your bags, umbrella, cooler, etc. in each of the four corners holding it up. It is a perfect way to keep sand off the blanket and keep a little one from eating sand too ;0)
7. Mesh hamper for beach toy storage.
One final beach hack is to bring your beach toys in a small mesh hamper. Whenever your done with the toys, place them in the hamper and the sand will fall out the holes as you walk back to your vehicle. In addition, wet toys air out and dry more quickly. No more moldy, smelly, stagnant water filled toys that end up being thrown out when found the following summer!
8. Diaper blow outs and onesies.
I always thought onesie clothes had shoulder flaps to make it easier to put on babies’ heads and to fit children more comfortably. I was somewhat correct; however, these shoulder flaps also serve a very specific purpose. Whenever your child has a diaper blowout, it's always all over their clothes making it almost impossible to lift off their shirt without getting it all over. Problem solved! Simply fold down those onesie shoulder flaps and peel their poop-soaked outfit down off their body. No need to pull it over their head risking more poop spreading on their bodies. Genius!!!
9. Messy popsicles and muffin cups.
Okay it’s summer and your kids are dying of heat (which they spent all winter asking for), what will fix this…a popsicle! This is such a great idea, however, if you don’t already have your kids in their swimming suits and outside ready to hose off immediately after eating, you’re in trouble…sticky messy trouble. Never fear muffin cups are here! Simply place a muffin cup on the underside of the popsicle stick to catch all of those sticky drips.
10. Pool noodle to help children from falling out of bed.
Imagine you’ve just made the transition from crib to toddler bed. You’re ready to go and your child goes to bed wonderfully. Then it’s about 10pm and your child falls out of bed screaming from hitting the floor. You rush in and calm your child placing him or her back in bed. Then again at 12pm, 2am, and 4am, it happens. Phew what a rough night!!! You see, the toddler bed you researched day after day and finally decided to purchase is not working out, despite having a “bed guard” (which let’s be honest is not long enough to prevent any child from rolling out of bed). So, back online you go researching bed guards because you cannot have another night like the last! Well, I have a much cheaper and more convenient solution. Place a pool noodle under the bed sheet and mattress protector along the side of the bed. This may not seem like much, but the height of the pool noodle is just enough that your child will roll towards it, hit the noodle and not be able to roll over it and fall out of bed.
11. Hair clips and nursing.
After 3 children, I can’t tell you how many times I would nurse my baby in the middle of the night, then wake again for the second feeding and nurse on the same exact side again!!! I would wake in the morning confused and in pain because I never nursed on the left. You see in the middle of the night we have very few brain cells working, and we usually just go through the motions especially if it is the 4th or 5th time we’ve been awoken that night. So, I started placing a small hair clip on my bra strap. Each time I nursed my baby, I would switch the clip to the other side. Then the next time I was up and nursing I would feel for the clip and that’s the side I would nurse. Now, this was NOT fool proof. There were times I was just too tired after being up 7, 8, 9 times in the night and would forget to switch the clip or feel for it and end up in that same pickle. But, for the most part this saved me a lot of discomfort several nights and days when breastfeeding my children.
12. Prepping for the day.
This may not seem like much of a mom hack, but it is the one thing that saves my sanity time and time again. At the end of the day we are tired, physically and emotionally. Usually, I just want a tall glass of wine, a binge worthy Netflix show, and sleeping children. The house is usually a mess, laundry and toys everywhere, and the dishes in the sink. But I force myself to look past all this and prep for the next day. I make lunches, pack portable snacks for myself and young kiddos not in school and get bags ready for the morning rush out the door. I also keep a bin at the bottom of my staircase. Everything throughout the day that needs to be replaced upstairs to its original location including dirty clothes that have been shed throughout the day, are placed here. At the end of the day on my way upstairs I take the full bin. Then I deal with its contents in the morning bringing an empty bin back down for the next day’s items.
Once these things are finished, I sit down and veg. The mornings that I wake and have not done these things the night before are CRAZY!!! With three children, driving across town to 2 different school drop offs, and a hungry toddler who has been in the car for an hour already, being prepared saves me!!! Then when I arrive to Stroller Strides class ready to get my sweat on or lead those wonderful mamas who made it to class for their workout, I AM READY and hopefully not a hot mess. (but I can’t guarantee that…. Sh*t happens, am I right!?)
13. Squeezing juice boxes.
An ingenious hack I got from another mom when my second child was about 2 years old was about juice boxes. Up to this point I refused to buy juice boxes for my oldest daughter. I had a love-hate relationship with them. I loved how convenient they were and how much kids love them; but I hated them because it was always a mess. One accidental squeeze too tight and juice everywhere requiring a wardrobe change not only for my child, but for me as well. Insert hack…. pull up the little carton tabs on either end of the juice box and voila, the perfect handles for little fingers! No more accidental squeezing and wardrobe changes for the family!!!
14. Stock up on party favor sized playdough containers.
Any time I am at the store and there is a sale on that little party-favor-sized playdough, I stock up! These little containers are perfect size for the diaper bag and make great distractions for kiddos while waiting for a dr. appt, or food at a restaurant. Then if it gets dried up or left behind, I don’t fret because it was little and cheap anyways.
15. Leaving the house.
Let’s face it, leaving the house with children is not an easy or quick task. I recently got this hack from an awesome mom of four, and it was genius! Start by getting one child fully dressed and ready to go. Then place that child in the car. (if winter, car warmed and outside -- not in the garage of course) Move on to the next child, and so on until all children are in the car. Finally get yourself ready and into the car. This will prevent the dressing and undressing and redressing of several children and the forgetting of your own shoes, coat, or items which, let’s face it, happens ALL THE TIME!!!
Hopefully, I have given you a laugh here or there. Maybe you’ve even had some tears because the struggle is real. But most importantly I hope you can take away at least one hack that will save you time, money and most of all, your sanity.