I think we can all agree that life can be hard sometimes, life with little kids is tough more often than not, and there’s no shame in taking shortcuts and finding help wherever you can to make life easier. I’ve been keeping a running list of things that I have found that made my life easier — some in little ways and others in big ones. Some are super random and a few are kind of obvious but took me a while to figure out. So I thought I would share them in case they might help make your life easier too 🙂 Because life with kids is chaotic and crazy on the best of days!
Laundry Sorter Bag
When you have three boys there is just SO.MUCH.LAUNDRY! And it is more of a hassle to wash their clothing separately than just throw it all in together. I don’t know why it took me so long to think of this but only in the last month did it occur to me to get a laundry sorter. I bought this one, which has three bins — one for each kid’s clothing. I keep a hamper in their bathroom and all of their dirty clothes go in it together. When it is full, I carry it to the basement where our laundry room is (two flights down), do it all together, and then as I empty the dryer of their clothes I sort each kid’s laundry into their own bin. Then I can carry it up to the main floor, where it sits next to the couch for 3-4 days until someone finally caves and folds it 🙂 But still, it is SUCH a lifesaver and cost less than $10!
Dry Erase Board Calendar
When you have mom brain and multiple schedules to keep track of, a dry erase board monthly calendar is life. I have a simple one from the Dollar Spot at Target, but this one is also a great choice and the reviews say the marker doesn’t stain and erases easily. I also love that there is a place to write notes or keep a to-do list or a grocery list.
I think this is the biggest discovery that has been a game changer in my life. Since I got my Instant Pot around 6 weeks ago I have cooked dinner every night unless we had leftovers from a previous home cooked meal. Not only has it saved us money from eating out or throwing out old food, but it has helped us to eat healthier meals as a family. I had heard about the Instant Pot for a while but kept thinking “do I need another appliance/device for cooking?” If you are asking yourself the same question then your answer is: YES!
The instant pot is a pressure cooker but is safer than other stovetop types. It can cook your food (from frozen!) up to 70% faster than traditional cooking methods. One of my meal planning problems was planning ahead — I always forgot to thaw items out ahead of time. Now I can literally decide what to make for dinner around 4:30 pm and we can be eating by 5. Also, the food is so much more delicious! It is juicy and tender. I’ve especially loved chicken and corned beef as well as soups and stews. If you only buy yourself one thing this year, let it be an Instant Pot. I can’t believe it took me so long to get one.
My Sleep Buddy
You’ve probably heard of OK to Wake Clocks (we used to have this one, which also worked well). But the My Sleep Buddy has been a game changer for us. It is an ok to wake clock that you can set for nap or night sleep (you can have alarms always set for both without constantly changing or setting each night). The light is a soft soothing blue (you can also choose an amber light) and you can change the settings to make it brighter like a nightlight or dimmer (which I love because my kids sleep best in the dark). It also comes with a book explaining what the Sleep Buddy is for and makes it fun and special for your kid. My toddler doesn’t always stay in bed until it goes off at 6:45 but it has helped.
I can’t believe it took me so long to buy chewable ibuprofen. Like, I’ve been a mom for 7+ years and only recently have I bought my first bottle. My kids HATE drinking medicine, so if something comes in chewable form then give me all the chewables. Just make sure your child is old enough to have it (I think they need to be two years old but check with your doctor and read the instructions before giving your kids any medicine). But honestly, chewable ibuprofen — SO SIMPLE AND YET SO HELPFUL!
Command Hooks & Hanging Strips
If you aren’t using command hooks and picture hanging strips for pretty much everything, then you are missing out on a major life convenience. I get the chrome looking hooks ones for hanging towels in the bathroom (each kid has their own hook so there is no excuse to not hang up their own towel!), backpacks, winter hats, etc. We have designated spaces where the hooks are, each kid has his own, and therefore we know where to find things and they know where to hang things up on their own.
And the hanging strips are genius for hanging art and photos. They let me hang things without stressing over hammering holes in my walls or changing my mind and wanting to change things up down the road. It also means I can do projects while the kids are sleeping because I don’t have to worry about the noise of hammering.
Apple Watch + Reminder App on my iPhone
So I know this is big ticket item and it better make life easier with the price tag that comes with it, I wanted to share in case anyone has been thinking of getting one but is on the fence about whether they actually need one. I got this one for my birthday (we never do big presents but my husband knew how badly I had been wanting one to help keep myself on track with my wellness) and I’ve found it so helpful in the 4 months since. The things I love best are the activity app (so you can keep track of your steps, time spent standing, moving, and exercising), the breathe reminder (which helps to remind me to do some deep breathing/quick meditation to keep my mental health on track all day), and the stand reminder (for when I’m working and forget to get up and move around. I also use my reminders on my phone synced to my watch so that I can set reminders to take my thyroid medication in the morning, my supplements after breakfast, and to drink water throughout the day. I even have one that goes off at 9:45 pm each night telling me to go to bed 🙂
I’m sure this is a given, but Netflix makes a great babysitter when you need 15 minutes to shower or get dressed or just need a momma timeout. And these days there are so many shows (pretty much everything but Mickey Mouse) that my kids watch, as well as movies that are new releases. We haven’t had to purchase a movie for the kids for a while because they are available for free on Netflix. And when I need to decompress at the end of the day, it is a great source for binge-watching some great shows.
If you have a school-age kiddo you may have heard of GoNoodle because chances are your child’s brilliant teacher uses it at school. Charlie came home talking about “brain breaks” and I looked it up and downloaded it on the spot. Anytime my kids clearly need to get out some energy and can’t get outside or are starting to get on each other’s nerves (usually right before dinnertime) we throw on GoNoodle and they get their bodies moving and focus on the fun little physical challenges and silly songs. And then we end with one of the Flow videos for a more calming effect.
It seems simple, but took me a while to actually use a timer with my kids. Whether it is for a time-out, or as a warning of an impending bedtime, or a timer on the iPad that turns off shows or games after a certain period of time — timers become the bad guy and let you off the hook a little. Every kid will agree to a specific time period to get what they want in the moment (5 more minutes!?) so the first time they ask you can agree and set a timer reminding them that when that timer goes off it is time to move on without complaining or whining. It usually works for me!
I love to read but rarely have time to read actual books (and when I do I often fall asleep) so getting an Audible subscription has been a game changer. I can listen to audiobooks in the car (especially with my littlest) or while on a walk, or even in bed at night as I’m falling asleep. You can set a sleep timer so your book shuts off after 15 minutes if you are likely to fall asleep (like I am) and you get two free books each month with your monthly subscription (which is under $16). I also have an easier time actually getting through parenting books this way, versus reading a physical book. If you are looking to try it out, you can get a free trial and if you have never accepted a book before, a friend can send you one for free! I recently finished this parenting book and HIGHLY RECOMMEND it. I also loved this, this, and this (though I’m probably a little biased.) If you have never received a free book, feel free to shoot me an email and I’d be happy to send you one of those.
Non Contact Forehead Thermometer
With three kids and a major cold and flu season this year, our non contact thermometer has been a gamechanger. My oldest can never seem to hold a traditional oral thermometer under his tongue. My middle can’t deal with keeping one under his arm long enough, and my baby won’t even let me use an ear thermometer on him. So the non contact one has been the only way I’ve been able to check temps this season. While not as accurate as a rectal or oral thermometer, it does at least let me know whether or not a fever is present. And for around $20, it is a great tool for your mom arsenal.
Do you have any mom sanity savers that didn’t make my list that I need to know about? What is your biggest life changing tip or product? The simpler the better!
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