I’ve been at this since 2012 and I’ve picked up some tricks along the way. Parenting is hard. It really is – so many moving parts and with three (or more – I couldn’t imagine) – even one- there is so much to do.
I wouldn’t call these ‘short cuts’, they are definitely parenting hacks. Things that make your life easier or make you look like the world’s most amazing parent with minimal effort, time and money (the three things you see disappear with the addition of each child).
Take and Toss
When Maddox was just transitioning to a cup from a bottle we spent so much time and money trying every different cup out there. The ‘No-Leaks’ cup that dripped all over, the straw cup that inevitably got turned up like a regular cup and dumped in his face, and of course the sport top bottle cup that – well I guess that one was OK. Yet they all had one major thing in common – they were a pain in the ass to clean. They each had so many pieces to the cup and of course if you didn’t get in every crevice, BAM – mold.
Not to mention it hurt my wallet so much when I found a nasty one under the couch or the seat in the car with milk in it and i had to throw it out, $5+ or more in the trash on the regular gets old fast.
I had seen the take and toss cups in the hours I spent in the sippy cup isle but my green self always looked past them because the concept of using something and throwing it out was so wasteful. Then one day I caved and bought them in a pinch. Best day ever. You know why? When I went to wash the cup, there were only two pieces – the lid and the cup. That was it. No special tiny piece that clicked into the lid that allowed you to change the flow of the cup that would sprout some yet to be identified by science strain of mold. Two, easy to clean pieces. ‘Oh but you can’t adjust the flow’. I call BS. I just stab a pair of scissors into the lid and it flows plenty fast enough for my four year old.
And if I find one in the car, growing a small city? I just toss that baby in the trash with no hesitation because at $2.99 for a four pack, that sucker only cost me 75 cents.
Indoor Race Tracks
Paper tape and some oatmeal and tissue boxes, that’s all you need. I bought some paper tape at target a while back to help make my boring hour by hour day planner look a little prettier. I have had several rolls from the pack sitting on the counter at home and one day the boys were getting bored after several inside days due to rain. So I made them an indoor track. Put some paper over some random empty boxes, drew some windows and let them have at it. If you don’t have a stationary addiction like myself, masking tape would also work just as well 🙂
Thrift/Second Hand Shopping
I heard on the radio the other day that raising a girl can be on average as much as $35K more over 18 years than raising boys because of all the toiletries and other crap girls needs – bows and shit. I call bull. These boys go through clothes between growing and playing like no ones business. I love it – my bank account does not. THANK JESUS for consignment shops. If you haven’t gone to one, go, now. I bring the clothes in that they have grown out of that aren’t covered in some mystery substance and they give me cash for the ones they want. Then I walk through the store and pick up new to my boys clothes. Pants for $3.50 are the best and if I am lucky, I can find stuff on clearance for $.99.
If you don’t have one near you, or would prefer not to round up the gang to hit the store, use thredUP like I have. I get a bunch of clothes for all three kids on there, and I never have to leave the house! Win Win. The clothes come wrapped nicely, and the kids don’t even know they’re second hand. While mine do, because we send stuff back through their bags as well, so they know the whole process. They even have women’s; petite, tall and maternity in addition to regular sizes. It’s awesome, I have been so pleased with everything I’ve gotten from them and their process for collecting clothes.
Treats that aren’t treats
I am constantly searching pinterest for recipes that I can make that give my boys the impression that they are getting a sweet treat but are in fact just eating awesome foods. This fruit salsa is one of my favorites. To be clear, my boys LOVE fruit. Thatcher could eat blueberries all day every day and Maddox would eat an entire apple including the core if we let him. It’s veggies. My newest trick, flavored greens ice pops. So easy and gets them the veggies that they are missing.
Later Bed time with extra 1:1 time
Currently the boys share a room and we have had them going to bed at the same time. Well every night was a battle. Goofing around and talking, they didn’t end up asleep until 8:30 or some nights even 9 after being put in bed at 7:15. Well one night we tackled the bedtime routine together, my husband took Thatcher, read to him then snuggled until he fell asleep and I took Chloe and Maddox. We went out into the living room and spent some extra time reading and talking. Maddox got to stay up a little later (15-20 minutes) and felt like he got special privilege for being the big brother. He in turn went to bed with no issues, no battles. There were no requests for water, or to give an extra 15 hugs. He went to bed. Amazing.
Friday nights are pizza and movie nights at our house. We don’t watch TV during the week and this special night is the only night they are allowed to eat away from the table. In our old apartment this was no problem as it had vinyl wood floors – easy to clean. Well our new apartment has carpet. Brand new carpet. I thought we would have to turn ‘dinner and a movie’ into ‘dinner then a movie’. Then my genius mom light turned on. We have moving boxes, lots of them. I took one box that was likely going to make it’s way to the trash into our indoor picnic. Easy clean up and no mess on the carpet. Win!
What parenting hacks do you have? Tell me about them!
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