Okay, being a mom is arguably the toughest job on earth. The good news? Thanks to modern technology and the world wide web (thanks, Al Gore!), it's now easy to find and share tips and tricks that make the job just a little bit easier. Below are some of the best hacks the internet has to offer for reigning those kiddos in and maintaining the peace. Good luck!
1. Monster Spray
Do you have kiddos who hate bed time because they are afraid of the dark and those monsters who may be (but are definitely not) under the bed? Well, you're in luck. Simply pick up a spray bottle from the store (often found in the dollar bin section) and throw in some scented oils. Label the bottle "Monster Spray" and let your little ones spray it around their room before bed time.
2. Label Clothing Items
Okay, so whether you have little ones or big ones or ones that fall somewhere in between, labeling laundry is going to be your new favorite trick. Because no one likes accidentally ending up with mom's underwear or little sister's training bra in their laundry pile, the smart thing to do is to simply initial the tags of everyone's clothes. That way, when you're exhausted after a long day of work and the only thing standing between you and your bed is a huge pile of clean laundry, you can turn on Bravo, take your brain out of your skull, and mindlessly watch TV and fold laundry. Thanks to these labels, you don't have to spend any time wondering if that shirt you're folding belongs to Emma or Ella.
3. Lunches Made Easy
For this one to work, you need to take a section of your fridge and dedicate it to lunches. Every Sunday night, make enough sandwiches for each kid for every day of the week. Place sandwiches in a Tupperware. Now grab a few more Tupperware containers and add in cut up fruit, veggies, chips, desserts, etc. in individual plastic baggies. Same goes for juice boxes or bottles of water. And guess what? Lunches are completely made for the week! Depending on the age of your kids, you can either go through each morning and easily "make" their lunch in about .02 seconds -- but if your kids are old enough, then you're really off the hook. It's up to them!
4. Cleaning Toys
Okay, so you know those Legos and action figures that pretty much either live on the floor or in your kid's mouth? Yeah, those are dirty. But have you ever thought to seriously wash them? Probably not. Here's a super easy way to get it done: take a mesh laundry/bra bag and place the toys inside. Pop that bag inside your washing machine and head out to run errands (it's going to be louddddddd). When you get home, your kids have clean toys! Everyone wins. Oh, and a side note: this hack works well with hard plastic toys (again, think Legos and action figures). We'd definitely advise against throwing Barbies, dolls, or toys with super tiny pieces in the wash!
5. Bins for All
No matter how old your kids are, they always seem to have a lot of stuff. And that stuff can get really, really messy really, really quickly. So instead of letting your kids drop their backpacks and lunchbags and shoes and jackets and sports equipment AND band equipment AND whatever else they're holding onto, assign everyone in your family his/her own basket or storage container (these can be kept in the mud room, entry way, homework room, laundry room, wherever). This allows each family member, including you and your partner, to have their own "landing area," if you will.
6. Getting Them to Do Their Chores
Having trouble getting your kids to do their chores? What are we saying? Of course you are. Well, try this #amazing life hack. Each morning, change your wifi password, and then print out a list of chores that must be completed in order to get it. For example: "Make your beds, put away your clothes, and rake the yard. Once all of this is completed, you'll get the wifi password." This really is the most beneficial during the summer and on the weekends, but it's a great tip, nonetheless.
7. Cheerio Necklaces
Okay mamas of little ones, especially teething ones. This hack is going to save your life. Take a string/piece of dental floss and string Cheerios on it to make a necklace. When your baby gets fussy, pick him or her up and let your baby snack while you get your errands/chores/work done. Seriously, this is simply genius. And just a reminder: do NOT place the necklace around your baby's neck. This only works if the mama is wearing it and keeping a close eye on baby.
8. A "You Got Grounded" Get out of Jail Free Card
So your kids misbehaved, and now they're in trouble. But grounding them for two weeks? And being forced to be *around* them for two whole weeks? No thank you. So, what's a smart mom to do? Create a "get out of jail" map for the little monsters. The map/note should say something of the following: "Surprise! You're grounded. In order to gain your freedom back, you need a total of 500 points. Points are as follows: dusting the whole house = 100 points, washing my car = 75 points, etc." This way, you get some free help around the house, your kid actually has to work to get out of trouble, and you don't have to stare at them as they play video games for two weeks straight.
9. Trashcan in the Car
When you're a mom, your car tends to look like a warzone. From school drop offs to sports practice, it seems like you are always in the car. And that can create quite the mess. So in order to avoid sitting amongst McDonalds cups and granola bar wrappers, take a plastic cereal container, plop in a plastic grocery bag, and name that the car's SOLE trash area. Every few days, toss away the old bag and pop in a new one. Instant mess saver. We'd advise you to place the "trash can" on the floor of the passgenger's side. It's small enough that it won't get in the way or bother the person up front!
10. Frozen Marshmallows
No matter the age of your kids, everyone experiences an "ouchie" every now and again. The problem with ice packs is that they're hard...and they leak. So, what's a mom to do? Freeze marshmallows, of course! Place a bunch of large marshmallows in a ziplock and freeze. It's as easy as that. Next time your child hurts him or herself, simply grab the bag and prepare yourself for an easy, no-mess booboo fixer.
11. Mark Your Kids' Shoes
Little kids shoes are so small that it can oftentimes be difficult to tell the right from the left. Plus, once kids start tying their own shoes, they get fiercely independent about the task. And they don't often ask "is this the right shoe?" until it's 30 seconds before the bus arrives and they're standing there with the left shoe double knotted on their right foot. So, to make things so much easier and avoid temper tantrums and blisters alike, simply grab a Sharpie and write a small but easy to read "L" and "R" on the soles of your kids' shoes. Problem solved.
12. Pencil Case in Purse
Okay, no matter how old your kids are, it seems like they ALWAYS need something from mom's purse. Whether it be a granola bar, inhaler, gum, Tylenol, a pen...you name it, there's a laundry list of stuff you seem to be carrying around for your kids. To make this stuff easier to find, place it all in a pencil case and write "KIDS" on it. This way you don't have to sort through every corner of your bag each time your kid asks for a Tic Tac.
13. Sick Bucket
When you have little ones, it seems like someone is always getting sick at the worst times. So, in order to be able to act on the go, keep a "sick bucket" ready. Store items like chicken noodle soup, stomach medicine, Gatorade, fever reducers, and a thermometer in a basket or bucket. The next time one of your littles gets sick in the middle of the night, you'll be ready.
14. Beverage Holders in the Car
Sometimes fast food is unavoidable. Same goes for eating said fast food in the car. But when you have kids in the back, things tend to get pretty messy. In order to combat this, ask for a drink tray for every one of your children, and then place their meals on the drink trays. This keeps the mess contained while also allowing them to eat easily. It's really a win-win.
15. Bracelet With Your Number on It
Even in our digital age, most kids don't have a cellphone until middle school. But what to do about those little ones who are too young for a cellphone but old enough for playdates? Make them a bracelet using letter and number charms that list out your phone number. That way, if they ever want to come home early or ask to spend the night, they can easily jump on the phone and get ahold of you. It's pretty genius if you think about it.
And there you have it! Being a mom is the toughest job on earth, but thanks to these tips and tricks, life is about to get a little bit easier. Happy hacking, mamas!