Mom Hack #2.
THIS cordless vacuum. The competitor is hundreds of dollars more but I am in love with my little knock off sucking picker upper. When the kids are home from school, I need to sweep at least three times a day, under the kitchen bar counter where they eat. Brooms and dustpans are cumbersome and time-consuming. This light-weight machine maneuvers beautifully to get all the nooks and crannies. It hangs up right in your pantry for easy accessibility. And the best part is that it’s simple to use and fully height adjustable which means a 2-year-old can do it.
Mom Hack #3.
Weekend Power Hour. Ahhh…one of my most favorite mom hacks. My kids are very familiar with the power hour – a time when the music gets turned up loud and the girls and I go all around the house looking for stuff to pick up, or areas to be tidied/cleaned. I identify something for them to do (“put this game away and back in the game drawer”) and once they do it they come back for more. They do this again and again until the house is blissful again. We end this ritual by turning on some candles or a diffuser and basking in the glory of our work. “Chores” sounds boring and, well…..like a real chore. With this alternative to the traditional “chore time” the music and collective effort and energy makes it much more pleasant. Eventually, the girls started even enjoying it. They are starting to learn that A. team work makes the dream work and B. it feels good to have a clean and organized environment. It’s also more collaborative than everyone grumbling their way through independent tasks. With Power Hour, we are all in it together. Sometimes we make a game (and work out!) of it and see how much we can get done before the timer rings.
Mom Hack #4.
Silence Sessions. I don’t know about you but there is something about the car that makes my kids crazy. And not in a good way. They make faces at each other and make each other scream. They fight and bicker and yell. And it enrages me. I’ve done two things to combat this. #1. I have on occasion, moved their seats and put one in the second row and the other in the third. Not seeing each other or being able to touch each other makes it really hard to fight and annoy me. But when that’s not possible, I recommend you invoke a Silence Session. I say something to the effect of, “Girls, your fighting is making me frazzled and it’s not safe because it distracts my driving. Since you can’t seem to get along or refrain from being obnoxious, neither of you are allowed to speak for five minutes. At the end of that five minutes, if you can figure a way to coexist in this car without annoying the living daylights out of me, the talking can resume.” (I mean, I try to say it nicer than that but you get the gist.)
Mom Hack #5.
OPI Infinity 2 Nail Polish
: As a busy mom, making time to get my nails done can be a challenge. Add COVID to the mix and a trip to the nail salon is merely a pipe dream. When left to manicure myself, I’ve never really been happy with my two options: 1. Put gel on by myself and then struggle with ripping it off a week or so later (ouch!) or 2. Sticking with regular polish and watching it chip away on day 2 of endless dish washing. But then I discovered a life changer. This stuff wears like gel but comes off like polish! I get a week of a high-gloss, chip-free color. And I’m saving time and money by forgoing the salon.
Mom Hack #6.
These TOTALLY random miniature plastic cups with lids.
“What in the world?!” you might say. Well, let me tell you what these little cups can do. 1. They are used almost daily in my kids lunches for sauces, ranch, etc. and can be thrown away! No more keeping track of tiny tupperware and washing it each day. Plus, when my kids brought home tupperware cups with ranch, it always seemed to end up all over the lunch box. Ick! 2. Put medicine or supplements in them to carry in your purse or car. 3. They are the perfect container for traveling when you don’t want to bring your whole bottle of expensive shampoo or conditioner or even face cream. (Or when you want to share a sample of your new skin care product with a friend!)
Mom Hack #7.
Leg lifts with hair curls. One of the main excuses people have for not working out is lack of time. I say that like I am an expert on exercise and I most definitely am not. In fact, I am a self-proclaimed anti-exerciser. And yet, the girl who schedules ZERO time to exercise manages to close all three rings on my Apple Watch, (including the exercise one) on most days. How do I meet an exercise goal of 30 minutes of exercise per day without exercising? Well, I embed (let’s just call it) “elevated heart rate time” into mundane daily activities and by the end of the day I’ve clocked thirty minutes of “exercise.” For example, why just stand there and discover new wrinkles in the mirror while you are waiting for your hair to curl? Get in 15 leg lifts with each strand! Jog during trips unloading groceries into the house. Plié while you pan-sear pork chops. Zumba for a few trips around the kitchen island while you’re waiting for the microwave to ding. Dance in your seat like no one’s watching (even though everyone’s definitely watching ) while you wait at stop lights. I will die on a hill taking on critics who say “no one can really multi-task well.” (I heard that in a Ted Talk once.) I say B.S. to that. This is multi-tasking at it’s finest. And it’s awesome.
Mom Hack #8.
Cubby bench in laundry room.
A few years ago I bought a bench that had four little cubbies like this
. When I no longer needed it for its original purpose, I threw it in the laundry room thinking I could at least pile clean clothes on top. Little did I know, my life was about to change. Pre-laundry bench, I would pile clean, folded clothes anywhere they could fit hoping they wouldn’t topple over. Then, after looking at them for a few days and dreading touching them again, I would walk back and forth with my piles to put them away or put them all in a big bin which I carried from room to room having to separate along the way. Now, I have a cubby/bin for each member of the family. When clothes get folded they go straight in there. Once a week, one of the girls’ jobs is to take their cube to their room, put their clothes away and bring back the empty cube to its place. SO much easier! It serves many purposes. A safe place to store carefully folded clothes throughout the week while also separating them. And an easier way for the kids to contribute. It also makes my laundry room less cluttered to have folded clothes hidden away. And don’t forget to minimize laundry in the first place by instituting CETWA – “Clean Enough to Wear Again.” (You’ll have to wait for another blog to hear more about that one.)
Mom Hack #9.
Strategic Meal Planning
. By now, many of you are familiar with meal planning or even preparing multiple meals on the weekend to eat throughout the week to make life easier. But, I encourage you to take this one step further and be more strategic or intentional with what you make. You’ll be amazed by how much money you can save. My meal planning always starts with going through the refrigerator and pantry and making sure nothing goes to waste. I try to make meals that allow me to use at least 1-2 items I already have. A half used tub of sour cream nearing its expiration date means I need to make enchiladas this week. Or stroganoff. A little leftover heavy cream means I should make Chicken Divan. Extra deli meat means we’re having King’s Hawaiian sliders
. Repurpose leftover cooked meats. Find creative uses for vegetables. Make it a mission to have little to no waste. It’s quite satisfying.
Mom Hack #10.
. You know how you can do kegels right in the middle of a conference call and no one is the wiser? (I mean, I’ve never done that but I hear it’s quite important.) Well, I have discovered how to bring the benefits of a 5-star spa to the school pick up line. I was once in line at T.J. Maxx when suddenly, this blue ball called my name
. I had a horrible knot in my back, no time for a massage and snagged it for a quick, spontaneous purchase. Little did I know, that ball would become one of my dearest friends like Tom Hanks’ “Wilson!” in Castaway. That day in the school pick up line, and almost every school day since, the ball goes between my back and the seat back of my car and for the agonizing 96 minutes it takes to wait in the school pick-up line (ok, I am exaggerating; it just feels like 96 minutes) I work out all the knots and sore spots. I can even use the steering wheel to push against with my arms to yield more pressure on my back. Seriously, the ball lives in my passenger seat and that’s how I stay more relaxed when a real massage isn’t possible.
So there you have it. And now….I present to you, my most favorite tips* from other awesome mommas.
*Used with permission!
Local Moms Share THEIR tried-and-true mom hacks.
“Xfinity App! I can regulate the Wifi from anywhere!” – Pama Wama
“When my five kids were babies, I would layer the crib sheets and waterproof mattress covers twice so if they got wet in the middle of the night I just had to pull the top layers off and a clean sheet would already be there!” -Courtney Landers
“I use something similar to this (see below) to prep my son’s outfits for the week. If he has soccer or whatever else on that day I put those items in there too. Then he can just go grab from the compartment for the particular day.” -Sarah Watkins-Wilson