Whether you are a stay-at-home Mom, a work-from-home Mom, or a Mom who goes to the office every day, finding little hacks to help make life a little easier will lead to a happier, less stressed family overall. After more than ten years of parenting four kids, I’ve discovered a few ways to take shortcuts and where it’s worth spending a little more to reduce a little more stress and get some more time to spend with my family. Here are some of my favorites!
Clean While You Sleep: If your kids are like mine, they track mud, sand, and dirt into the house nearly everyday. Strict “no shoes in the house” seem to fall by the wayside before too long and it’s enough to make you want to give up. The answer for me was a Deebot robot vacuum. Although these vacuums are an investment, vacuums that can be set to run while you sleep or operated via an app to run right before guests come over or even self-empty will do wonders for your stress level when the kids arrive home fresh from making mud pies or your mother-in-law invites herself over in a half-hour.
Outsource Grocery Shopping: Many Moms find that grocery shopping is something they have to do rather than something they want to do. One way to simplify the process is to simply order online. Most major grocery stores have online ordering systems and services like Instacart that allow you to choose from among many grocery stores and then sends a personal shopper to do your shopping for you. I like entering my shopping list as I’m looking through recipes for the week for convenience. But what’s better is not having to choose between dragging a toddler with me to do my shopping or taking up weekend time to stock the fridge.
Look for Everything Online: While it’s certainly an app-based world and shopping malls are going the way of the dinosaur, there are still some things that most people think they need to buy in person. I look for everything online, although especially for big ticket items an easy return policy is a must. As an example, when shopping for a new mattress recently, I was surprised to find that even choosing where to sleep didn’t need to take a trip to the store. Companies like Muse Sleep are making it easy to choose the right mattress with an online quiz. Mark Quinn, the founder of another online mattress company, HeroBed, discussed how sales of online mattresses are growing. Another surprise? Framing available online through Framebridge that allows you to see what your framed art will look like before you order. Other items you thought you had to purchase in person are probably finding their way online too, no matter how far-fetched it may seem.
Washable Everything: Kids are messy. And I’ll admit that I am too. Before I was Mom I thought it was okay to have some things that weren’t washable. Among these were shoes, pillows, and rugs. After seeing how messy kids can be, and how time consuming it can be to wash things that can’t go in the washing machine I look for washable everything. Some favorite finds are Keen sandals that can be put in the washing machine and Lorena Canals rugs and pillows that still look pretty good even after a rough flu season.
Open-Ended Toys: Sometimes Mom just needs a little downtime. Sometimes using the TV as a babysitter works, sometimes you don’t want to go that route. For my family, Legos and Duplos have worked wonders in keeping kids busy. Kids can work from directions or just free-build for hours. Or, given them a job and ask them to build something like a utensil or letter holder. Another option is to keep a box of small toys hidden and bring one out when you need to make a phone call that can’t wait or just need a break. Wrap the toys for extra excitement.
Stay Organized On The Go: Staying organized at home is challenging enough, but staying organized on the go is easier said than done. I’ve found that a well-organized bag is essential to knowing where everything is and being ready to leave the house. For diaper bags, choosing one with lots of pockets is just as important as finding one that is the right size. After a second child was added to the mix, I also found that keeping my things separate from the kids’ was a lifesaver and I use a small Joyn Bag for my keys, phone, and wallet so I never loose those!
Look for Items that Simplify: Always be on the lookout for how you can simplify. While this often means reducing and getting rid of unused items and clutter, with kids it can also mean finding ways to make life simple. A couple of hacks I like? A mifold Grab-and-Go booster to help make getting around with older kids easier since it’s 10x smaller than a regular child’s car booster seat, super-light, and can easily be carried around by the child using it in his backpack or a mifold carrying case. With little ones, a good stroller organizer like the SoYoung Andi 3-in-one-travel organizer is a lifesaver in keeping essentials like your phone and snacks for the little one easily accessible on strolls and it can be easily removed and used as a tote when you head indoors. Another hack? An all-in-one cleaning system like the all-in-one STEVA+ that changes from upright vacuum to a hand-held to a stem mop all in one so you can easily clean whatever you need to on the spot -- and it’s a space saver to boot since it’s not larger than a standard vacuum. The hand-held steamer and vacuum can easily be detached to use quickly in any room in the house or even the car.
Energy Boost: Moms and coffee go together like sugar and cream. While coffee itself isn’t exactly a hack getting the KRUPS Savoy Turbo Coffee Maker was. Motivate yourself to get up in the morning with a timed start and add in a special aroma-enhancing feature and you are good to go for the day. Want cold brew quickly for the summer? A great midday pick-me-up is easy with a system like the Dripo Cold Brew coffee maker that makes your iced treat right into a travel cup.
By finding little ways to cheat time throughout the day, you can free up a lot of mental and actual space in your day. Give them a try!
Contributor has no interest in anyone or anything mentioned.