My favorite mom hacks –My best tips and tricks for making the everyday, in-the-trenches stuff easier.
Last time, I shared The Best Mom Advice I’ve Ever Gotten. It’s the outlook that totally changed how I moved forward with my parenting. Next up, I thought I’d share some of the best tips and tricks that made the actual day-to-day, in the trenches stuff go so much more smoothly. In no particular order, here are my favorite mom hacks…
1. Keep your bedtime routine short.
I have two children who don’t sleep very well – Sophie has insomnia, wakes in the night, and wakes early in the morning. Milo suffers from night terrors and is a super early bird. Neither child ever really napped well. The one thing I can say is that even if my children don’t stay asleep very well or sleep very long, they GO to bed pretty well. I completely and totally credit having a short and sweet bedtime routine.
Bedtime is a special time of day, but it’s also great to give your children some consistency and some quick cues to send the “it’s bedtime” message. For us, the best approach has been no long song and dance, no hour-long fight about which book is the last book. Keep it simple.
Everyone needs to do what works well for them. What works for us is to do a simple routine – books, prayers, teeth brushing, bed. About 20-30 minutes before bedtime, we gather a stack of books and pile on the couch to wind down. Then, we pray together as a family, and march upstairs to do teeth brushing and one last trip to the potty before tucking them each in bed. The pray/brush teeth/go potty/tuck in bed section only takes 5-10 minutes at most.
It works remarkably well most of the time, even if it takes them a while before falling asleep. Plus, it’s simple enough that nearly anyone can replicate it if need be.
2. Have a project.
This is one of the best tips we got for out-and-about errands and adventures with kids. Sometimes, just having a little “project” can help smooth out some of the waiting, errands, and adventures with little ones. A few examples …
- A special rock collection. I have a friend who started a heart-shaped rock collection with her kids. Now, everywhere they go, the kids go hunt for rocks. It’s the cutest display in their house!
- A special book. I have another friend who keeps a read-aloud book in her purse for the many doctor’s appointments they go to. Waiting rooms aren’t quite so bad when you get to see what’s next in an interesting story. And you don’t have to worry about batteries or Wi-Fi.
- A special game. Count the blue cars on the road or in the parking lot, play a rhyming game, or draw pictures of a few items you need at the grocery store and give the “list” to your little helpers. When I can keep Milo and Sophie working on a project or game, they’re less likely to get into trouble (or have a nuclear meltdown).
3. Baby wipes are good for everything.
Baby wipes are kind of like the Windex in My Big Fat Greek Wedding. I use them for everything –diaper changes (obviously), but also little smudges on faces (or my desk), and even taking off my makeup on nights when I’m exhausted.
Not all wipes work for this – some are harsh, rough, or have even been chlorine treated, but I love the Simple Truth ones. They’re soft, thick, gentle and fragrance-free, which is great for sensitive skin. Plus, they’re made from plant-based materials, which I like, AND I can pick them up while I’m grocery shopping (no subscription necessary!). Wipes are the solution to everything. Pretty much.
4. You can never have too much sunscreen.
Maybe this is a “we live in the desert” thing, but sunscreen is a daily occurrence at our house. Packing a little sunscreen stick with me takes up almost no space and is great for touch-ups, or when the sun is a little brighter/hotter than you thought it would be. (I shared all my favorite natural sunscreens here.)
5. Pack a Go-Bag.
You know how it can feel like you have to pack up your whole house any time you go anywhere? I love having a go-bag that always has everything I need and takes up WAY less space than a full-on, stuffed-to-the-rafters behemoth diaper bag.
I slip a little travel pouch of wipes and a few diapers into a zip-top bag in my car. If I needed to do a diaper change while out, I could either slip the wipes and a diaper or two into my purse and bring them with me, or just leave them in the car and do my diaper changes there.
The other things I always have in my purse are: a sunscreen stick (see above), some hand sanitizer, and some Band-Aids. No giant diaper bag necessary, and I have all the essentials with me at all times.
I could talk about this all day, since I love hearing what works for other families, but I’m dying to know: