Moms really do know best; and one thing we know for sure is how busy we are and how much seemingly gets piled on each day, with each child, with each task at home and/or work, with each self-improvement goal, with each line of the ever-expanding to-do list. I bet if you closed your eyes for a second you could just picture Oprah jubilantly shouting out, “You’re busy, I’m busy, we’re allllll busy!” Because seriously, we are busy, and that’s why mom hacks, also known as life hacks, are so amazing; anything that will save time and ultimately make life easier is A-ok!
I used to think the term “Mom Hack” sounded like the plot to a bad horror movie; a stressed-out mom succumbs to the pressure of everyday life and becomes a little stabby with her kitchen knife. But, dear goodness that’s not the case (and I clearly need more sleep), and thankfully mom hacks are real and effective and something we can all get on board with and appreciate! And, people seem to love sharing their time-saving hacks.
I am always in awe of all the clever and crafty moms out there; now I don’t even do Pinterest, but from the glimpses I’ve seen, this shiz is bananas (in such a good way), and I am sold on the idea of anything and everything that can make daily life go more smoothly and help moms stay sane and happy (instead of insanely hacky…tee hee).
So here are the ones I’ve used or at least gathered from friends and tried to lump into categories for easy reference because, hey, time is important and you have some mom hacking to do!
Mommy Makeover Hacks:
Let’s face it, mamas: We don’t always have time to shower, and if we do, we don’t always wash our hair. And especially when we don’t have time to shower and/or wash our hair, we need some assistance, right? So thank yoooouuuuuu, dry shampoo! What an absolutely effective way to spend $10 or less to make our hair look fab and fake it until we make it, to the shower that is. I love the dry shampoo from Ulta, but I also found some good stuff on Amazon. It’s out there ladies, and it is wonderful! Less grease, less hassle and more of you just killing it and momming so hard. Dry shampoo, I salute you. Thrice!
Random, but c’mon now, we know another area that sometimes surfaces is how we don’t get our full seven to eight hours of sleep (eight hours…oh my gosh, I just have to say, ha ha ha ha ha…and then tear up, suck my thumb and long for the days that eight hours of sleep was a thing). For whatever reason, stressing, sharting, screaming, pouting, nightmares, blowouts, shout-outs, to-do lists that haunt you, work tasks that haunt you, exes that haunt you, burritos that haunt you, whatever it is, sometimes the prescribed amount of sleep is not realistic. (This kind of sounds like the side-effects to Baked Lays, minus the oily discharge, and by the way, do they even still make those types of chips anymore?) Anyhoo, a quick fix to helping alleviate that tired look is putting spoons in the freezer for a bit, and then place the cold utensils under your baggy eyes for a few minutes to try to eliminate or at least alleviate some of the puffiness. Voila!
Food/Meal Prep Hacks:
Meal prepping can be significant for yourself and for your family/your kids. Why not make extra food for the whole week, or at least part of the week, while you’re cooking for today? It is so helpful to have something healthy and yummy on standby, as opposed to grabbing just anything, most likely less nutritious options, in an attempt to avoid that dreaded “hanger.” So, pick a day (I do my meal prep on Sundays), carve out an hour, and cook/prepare away! I make hard-boiled eggs, fried eggs, boneless chicken, shredded chicken, chicken thighs, pork chops, pork tenderloin, turkey bacon, green peppers…then Ziploc and Tupperware like crazy for the week! Also, the crockpot is your friend; it can be a daily delicious meal miracle that’s so easy, leading to much yumminess, especially in the winter. To me, the George Foreman grill is also life, cooking up lots of protein, and fast!
Meal prep can definitely include healthy snacks for the kids…round the goodies up, get ‘em organized and keep them handy for when your kids want a snack because let’s face it, kids always want a snack, right? You could be serving dinner and they will ask you for a snack to go with dinner. Snack, snack, snaaaaaack! My son even used to wake me up in the middle of the night to tell me he wanted a snack. Anyhoo, fruit, carrot sticks, yogurt, string cheese, peanut butter crackers, raisins, turkey slices, whatever; keep it all together it an easy, accessible spot for those tiny hands grasping for some good eats.
Healthy snack hack alert: My best friend suggested putting sleeves of GoGurt in the freezer. In regular form, they can be messy. But in solid form, they are transformed into a portable and much less messy snack that’s tasty and full of calcium and protein.
Outfit Prep Hacks:
Picking out outfits ahead of time for the whole week, or at least for the next day, can definitely save you some time and stress. This goes for you AND your kid/kiddos. We all know that trying to dress a toddler is like wrestling a kangaroo; any time we can shave some time by having those wrestling outfits already prepared (along with socks and undies) is a small victory!
Moms, setting out your workout clothes and shoes the night before for the next day will also make you feel more prepared and perhaps more inspired to get up and work out. I know it helps me to have my workout clothes ready for when the alarm goes off at 5 a.m.; one less excuse to get up and get at it! I also have my post-workout eggs and turkey bacon waiting in the fridge. Just one less obstacle standing in your way; the more prepared you are, the less stress, and the more apt you are to just get the darn thing done! (Insert smiley and heart emojis here)
Working out with your kids/babies is a great way to get some fitness on and make it fun for everyone. It also models healthy living for the kiddos. One friend said she used to work out to those Taebo videos with her son. I am impressed, as Billy Blanks is no joke, y’all, and when he yells “Double time!” you have to really move your booty or you feel like he’s going to reach through the TV and cut you.
Another tip or hack is to make exercise a part of your daily routine; making it so that if you don’t work out, you feel weird or “off.” You can work out first thing in the morning before the day gets away from you, or drive straight from work to the gym, or run, or sprint, to your car as soon as your spouse or partner gets home (so nothing stands in your way)! And, ultimately you don’t have to belong to a gym; exercise can take on various forms…walking your dog, pushing your baby in the stroller around the mall or neighborhood, doing yoga in the basement or tackling some body weight movements (squats, burpees, lunges, sit-ups, push-ups, etc.) in your living room. And I’m certain nobody is going to judge you if you want to get your fitness on with a blast from the past like Taebo or Buns of Steel! Bonus if you sport a hot leotard!
My car is really the only place where I have too much junk in the trunk; definitely talking about my actual car trunk. Hee hee. Yet, it is always a good idea to keep extra diapers, wipes, undies and a change of clothes in your car or trunk. Friends always tease me about my trunk being full, but hey, I’m prepared! If doo doo happens, literally or figuratively, you want to be ready.
Another way to stay ahead of the game with travel, short or long, is to keep a small trash can or bag in the car; you know how fast wrappers and garbage accumulate, especially from SNACKS (because yes, you should also have a stash of water bottles and travel snacks)!
We know that keeping up with everything in the house can sometimes (ok, always) prove daunting. Try breaking it down into smaller projects; maybe clean a different area of the house each day instead of expecting to clean it all at once. Throw in one load of laundry each day or every other day instead of trying to tackle the mountain of clothes all at once.
House Hack alert: One friend with four kids said they color code their cups for the day or everyone uses their own water bottle so they don’t have more dishes than necessary.
Another way to make your life easier: Purge! Donate! Sell! Give stuff away! Throw stuff away! Ultimately, purging leads to less chaos and less to organize and manage in your living space.
Now, I understand this is not always easy. Sometimes we have sentimental attachments to things. Or we long for the days where we can fit in that one dress, shirt or pair of jeans, so we are hesitant to let go. Or, our kids beg and plead to keep every stinking toy or truck or doll or Lego. Yet, as clutter increases, space decreases and it’s just more for you to dust or manage. So, if I had to make a flow chart to help guide on whether to get rid of stuff or keep it, it would look a little something like this:
“Do you really need that?” NO, get rid of it.
“Did you use or wear that within the last year?” NO, get rid of it.
“Do you think you might need that?” Who cares, get rid of it.
“Do you have too much stuff?” Yes, always, get rid of it.
It’s a good, solid flow chart, really. It just screams, “Toss it, leave it and don’t pull back up (to Goodwill) to retrieve it!”
By now SO many places offer grocery delivery (Peapod, Green Bean, etc.) or the ability for you to park and have groceries brought to your car (like Walmart, Kroger ClickList, etc.). Most of these places also save your list online, so every time you go to shop your list is pre-filled. Nice, right?! Saving time is key, and having groceries brought to your car or home can be so helpful, assuming they bring you the right items.
Another quick online hack: The auto refill options from places like Target or Amazon for make-up, toiletries, cleaning supplies and more! You designate the items you want to be shipped, and how often (every four weeks, six weeks, whatever) and they will automatically ship so you won’t ever run out…or forget!
The Best Hack of All…
Ultimately, as a good friend offered, the best mom hack is just lowering your expectations to be the best. Most things, if not all, each day aren’t as big of deal as they may seem in the present moment, and inevitably won’t matter a week from now or a month from now or a year from now. So with this advice, as well as the hacks outlined above, your to-do list has nothing on you now, mamas!
What are your favorite mom/life hacks?