Being a mom is a tough job, and with four kids, I was always in search of ways to streamline my schedule and make life run a little more smoothly. Now that my kids are older and almost on their own, I miss the chaos, to be honest. But I’m so thankful for the tips, tricks and hacks I learned along the way that helped keep me sane while I had four little munchkins under foot.
Here are my favorite 10 life hacks every mom should know. They helped unleash my mommy super powers.
1. Snacks in a Tub: Kids want a messy snack? Tub time! When my toddlers clamored for anything involving chocolate, ice cream, marshmallow cream, or (God forbid) all three, I’d combine treat time with bath time. They’d have their snacks in the tub, get all ooey, gooey and icky, sticky, then I’d turn on the bath water and clean them up. Easy peasy.
2. Crayons for Scuffs: Use crayons or Sharpies for touching up scuffed up shoes. I’m not too proud to admit that I colored my kids’ shoes to make them look better and ultimately last longer. Kids grow out of shoes so fast anyway—I didn’t want to buy new ones any more often than I had to.
3. Shoes in Shower Caps: When vacation time rolls around you’re packing a million pairs of shoes, keep everything organized by packing each pair in a shower cap. It keeps shoes together, plus it keeps your clothes clean in case there’s a little dirt on their Keds.
4. Baby Clothes in Lingerie Bags: If you have a little one, you know that baby and toddler socks can be a pain in the laundry—they’re so tiny they get lost or stick easily to clothes in the dryer. Keep them together by washing them all in a lingerie bag. Makes pairing them together so much easier.
5. Over-the-Door Supplies: Eliminate your under-the-sink mess of cleaning supplies by using an over-the-door shoe holder/organizer in your laundry room, back of your linen closet or on your pantry door—whichever is most convenient. Your sprays and liquids will be at eye level instead of in hard-to-reach spots.
6. Drying Rack Artist: Got a budding artist in your family crew? Most of us do, or at least did at one point. Use a dish drying rack to keep your little artist’s supplies organized. A drying rack is just the right size for coloring books, and its caddy can hold markers, crayons and more.
7. Monster Spray Away: If your child is afraid of the dark or, more specifically, what might be lurking in the dark, decorate a spray bottle and turn it into Monster Spray. This comes in handy when you need bedtime to come sooner than later. Just a few spritzes of Monster Spray under your child’s bed and in his closet, and voila—he’ll sleep like a baby knowing he’s armed and dangerous. (Or hopefully better than a baby.)
8. Bedside Alarm: Here’s a safety tip that I love, especially as a single mom: Keep your car keys with the car alarm by your bed. If you hear a noise at night that sounds like an intruder, you can hit the alarm button to scare them away and notify neighbors while calling 911.
9. Don’t Boil Over: If it seems that your kids get particularly needy while you’re cooking dinner and they become a distraction, here’s an easy tip: Lay a wooden spoon across a boiling pot of water. It’ll prevent it from boiling over.
10. Wine Down: And finally—my favorite hack of all. When you settle down in the evening and your cherubs are snoozing in bed, pour yourself a glass of white wine and keep it chilled with frozen white grapes. You’ll be able to sip and enjoy it slowly while it stays cold but not watered down.
Before you shop: Looking for more mom hacks? Check out our Best Mom Hacks for Summer infographic and discover clever ways to have fun with your kids this season.