As a busy mom of 3 full of energy, full of extra curricular and just busy busy children, I have found some things that have saved me and thought 'why am I keeping this all to myself, I need to share these things with other mama's so we can ALL have an easier life'
Now I will warn you, this is not a secret answer to making life with little's easier, just items I use or things I do that make my life easier, and most of the time its the easy way out so if you're a mom that makes your own baby food, bakes your own bread, and sow's your kids clothes than probably not the post for you. Basically I cheat all over the place to make my life easier, and I'm really just admitting it and passing it along to others who have given up the never-ending rat race to 'do it all and be it all.' That ship has sailed for me. With my first baby yup all the way, she only ate hand-made kale-quinoa, had a strict sleeping schedule, we abided by the eat-play-sleep rule and all the 'right' ways to raise a child. My second, oh my poor second, she came into the world and she sister wasn't even 2 yet so her baby days are such a blur. All I know is I used store-bought baby food, she learned 'baby led weaning' for eating way sooner than she should have probably. She ended up on a bottle at night (for a reason I actually can't remember--that's how blurry her first year was) and she drank it and fell asleep (I KNOW GASP RIGHT-HOW COULD I?!) Now I am on my third, a little guy who has thrown me for a loop. I really thought I had parenting down until he came along and reminded me-you know nothing. We have had a whack of issue's with him that I never had with my older girls and am now learning how to navigate through it all.
So like I said, I have found some item's I use that make my life easier, or different things I buy to make things easier. Basically the gist of this whole post and my life is: how can I make my life easier?
So something about me: my floors are my 'thing' I feel like every mom has their thing that bothers them, and they want clean. I am sure most it's the kitchen counter or bathrooms, but for me its the floors. We have a puppy that likes to swim in a swamp on our property then roll around in the gravel driveway then comes inside and literally layers my floors with sand and dirt. I was vacuuming at a minimum 3 times a day and sweeping in between that. I was going crazy, but I couldn't leave it because it was driving me crazy seeing it or walking on it. Then enters the Roomba into my life. I seriously consider this guy my 4th child,that is how much I love it. It was a christmas gift from my mom (who was sick of hearing me cry about my floors I think) I got it a few weeks before baby #3 arrived, and I contribute the fact that all my children are still here and alive to this robot-and yes I am totally ok that a robot is helping me clean my house (my husband is all worked up because robots are going to run the world one day and Im over here like 'IF THEY CLEAN MY HOUSE,LET THEM') I am a firm believer that now, as mothers leave the hospital, this should be a gift given from the government to each new mom. Like here, your floors will now be a mess and you wont be able to keep up so here let this robot do it for you. I literally turn it on, go out with the kids for the morning and come home to CLEAN FLOORS. Its amazing, its miraculous, its one of my favourite things in my house, and yes I know my family lives here....some days they are on par with who I like more. Moral of the story, go buy a roomba right now.
This glorious little but mighty machine saves my life at dinner time. I can't explain how amazing it is in this post, so if you don't know what it is, go google and watch in amazement all it does. This guy saves me if I forget to take out meat from the freezer, or get home late from dance or swimming and haven't started dinner. The other night I layered frozen meatballs, dry pasta, dumped tomato sauce in and pressed start and in 10 MINUTES-yes 10- dinner was READY and my family actually ate it all!! Today I have it on slow cooker mode and have pulled pork cooking away all day. I literally make dinner 4-5 times a week in this. It has revitalized dinner time for me, especially because dinner is usually made at the witching hour.
Speaking of dinner time, my kids like many go wild around the time I start making dinner. They are running around crazy, fighting with each other, making a crazy mess and I couldn't take it. My new strategy is: Send them outside! There is something about outside, the change of scenery and the fresh air that changes things. Even if they don't go out for long they get some energy out and generally come back in a better mood. Today, as I write this its a snow/ice day, and we are all going stir crazy but definetly not taking them out anywhere. So every time things start to get a bit too much, I bundle them up and send them outside. I'm not that mom who does everything my kids do, I am much more of a 'watcher parent' often confused with a lazy parent.....which I also am, so I usually drink a coffee and sit on the couch and watch them outside unless I'm making dinner (I can still see them, and if you know my kids, hear them)
The reason we are using formula is a LONG story that I wont get into, but will be writing a blog soon on our journey through these first 3 months with our new baby boy and how we got to the point we are at. Anyways judge away but we use formula as well, and this machine is a must-have if you are going that route. It is the 'keurig for formula' Basically, you hit one button and it makes a bottle the perfect amount and perfect temperature. So easy. So time-saving. So perfect for my life.
COUNTER TOP OVEN
I don't know why I feel like this makes my life easier, maybe because its quicker. We got a countertop oven a while back and I love it. It cooks food faster I find, and heats up super quick so I think the speed it what I like about it. And I can get away with cooking with it a lot, and not having to heat up my big oven for most meals.
I do involve my daughter in making her lunch, but as the school year has gone on somehow I am back to making them more often than not. I got these lunch boxes that are awesome, especially for kinder-kids. Its one Tupperware to open rather than a bunch of smaller ones, and also only one to clean rather than a sink filled with different Tupperware that I seriously lose the lids like one per day it feels like. I also use them for car rides and for my 3-year-old when we are going out for a day. Just fill up the slots and your good to go!
Speaking of snacks, I am not the good mom who brings cut up veggies and fruit to the playdate anymore. I once was, but that lady is long gone and has been replaced by a sleep deprived monster. Honestly I am super proud of myself when I actually bring my kids snacks these days, usually I forget and then one of my poor friends ends up sharing her kids snacks with mine. Of course my kids act like they have never been fed and if they miss a snack time it will be the end for them, so of course people feel bad for them and share. When I do manage to remember to bring snacks, I'm all for easy and quick to grab ones these days. Once I brought a bag of marshmallows to the park (that was a one time thing, and it caused such an uproar with the kids whose parents care about their nutrition and bring the cut up veggies, I can't ever do that again) Anyways now I try to meet in the middle, healthy-ish + easy for my to grab and pack. Tupperware is really my nemesis which creates my other nemesis dishes, so if something can come in a package I can throw out, or I can put it in a ziplock bag-that is my kinda on the go snack.
This is not actually the bottler holder I use, but it made me laugh because I feel like this is how my poor 3rd child drinks his bottle sometimes. Some contraption that will hold his bottle so I can continue to make lunch or do something else because life is life and I can't always just stop everything the minute he gets hungry. This is one luxury of bottle feeding b/c nursing you really do have to stop-or get super good at nursing and walking/cooking. I think it's actually a treat these days if he gets held to drink his bottle. Oh this poor 3rd child seriously, the struggle is seriously real for him.
This is a small but helpful strategy. Buy the bottles you can squeeze rather than get a knife-cuz whose got time to spread mayo on a sandwich these days?! If you do, don't tell me but you are living the life man. This also accomplishes my number one goal: Make less dishes.
CUT UP LETTUCE
I'm eating healthy these days and so that means I am eating tons of salads. Buying lettuce cut up is the ultimate laziest thing I do, but seriously I love it. Dump it in a bowl and its done! Again less dishes....maybe that's what this post should actually be called 'how to be so lazy and use less dishes'
MAIN FLOOR LAUNDRY
So this year my husband moved my laundry upstairs to a spot that's basically in between all our bedrooms. Oh.my.gosh. Its like housewife heaven. I am finally doing laundry consistently because it's so easy to get to it and then I see it when its done and sitting in bins (we used to just live out of clean laundry bins until enough things were dirty enough) This has been a game changer for my housewife game, which is pretty weak to begin with. All I know is I can never go back, if we ever move we will have to build new or renovate a house to make this happen because I have seen the light and there's no turning back.
LESS DISHES IN CUPBOARDS
When I went to write this post I really didn't realize how much it would revolve around my hatred for dishes but if you know me I guess this makes sense. Something I have tried over the last few years is if you have less dishes, the less they pile up because you will be forced to deal with them. I guess that's what I need, to be forced to clean the kitchen because I clearly don't have the motivation on my own. We got a nice set of 12 set's of dishes for our wedding. I keep 6 in our cupboards and 6 accessible in another cupboard if we need them for a dinner party or something (because we are that sophisticated to have a plated dinner party um....never)
This is my jam right now, I am the decluttering queen these days, to the point I get so excited while purging that I start purging things we use and need and then have to backtrack and reel it back in. But seriously I didn't realize how much the clutter in our house was connected to my anxiety. It is SO freeing and liberating to get rid of things that you DON'T need!! I keep telling my husband how much I enjoy being a minimalist, every time he reminds me very clearly 'you are NOT a minimalist' so I guess I am just a wannabe minimalist. The great thing about decluttering, is there is less stuff meaning...you got it, less to clean!! Also my kids are actually playing with all their toys now, rather than just what they see or being overwhelmed by the amount as well that they don't play with what they have. It has been such a revelation, I am in the process of going through every single item in my house and selling and donating everything we are not using.
I have been intentionally listening to multiple podcasts a week one several different subjects; parenting, marriage, decluttering, faith etc etc. I feel like this is my own little time and I can do it while I exercise or do things around the house. Its been something that has been helping me grow as a person and has made me continue to learn in the major area's of my life. It has actually inspired me to try to do a mini version of a podcast through this blog that will be coming out in the future!
Ok so after listening to a great parenting podcast, I learned about something one of the speakers was talking about that I have implemented in our day. Its called 'Mommy Time' and it is 10 minutes each day with each kid, they get to pick the activity and you do whatever they want for 10 minutes. What the podcaster was saying, and I find this to be SO true. The kid who is being the most frustrating, clingy and annoying is usually the one who needs you the most. I find I get so busy doing everything I need to do in a day, I am not giving my kids that one-on-one quality time and filling them up with my attention and love and that is when whiny kids or misbehaviour comes up. So my kids are loving this as well, they each get 10 minutes and we set the timer, IF another child interrupts the other's mommy-time, the timer gets started over! It has been amazing, filling up their tanks before they get empty has prevented a lot of issue's, they have been asking for it now if I forget! The first few days of mommy time with my older daughter we spend 'babysitting ladybugs' and literally that's what we did and she was OVERJOYED to share this with me because she is 100% convinced she is the babysitter to some ladybugs in our window seals at this time of year. It has caused us to then do some research together about lady bugs and have had this really cool thing we do together now. My other daughter is only 3 and the first time we did mommy time we painted her nails, so that's what she thinks mommy time is so we are just constantly painting her nails now.
SO folks that is it. Most of these stem from laziness and my hatred from dishes, but ALL of these make MY life easier and allow me to be a better wife and mom and women which in the long-term that's what I would rather other than having a perfectly clean house. I would LOVE to hear anything you do that makes your life easier!!! Leave them in the comments or message me somewhere else so I can steal your great idea's to make my life easier haha!
Always remember #thestruggleisreal