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Life with babies, toddlers, and young children is fun, wild, surprising, challenging, sweet, frustrating, beautiful, and chaotic in the best and worst ways possible. I adore it and really feel like I'm living the dream, but I'm also not above employing some good life hacks. Here are a few that I've found that are truly life-savers for me.
1) Amazon Prime
I love a good Target outing as much as the next mom, but, as any mom can confirm, Target outings with 2 under 2 is far less attractive than a solo Target outing. Thus, we buy everything we possibly can from Amazon. It's so easy; they have everything, and I don't have to worry about Adia needing to nurse or Afton having a meltdown because she wants Goldfish or any of the other things that could so easily spoil an otherwise enjoyable trip. With Prime, you have free 2-day shipping, at most (depending on where you live, you can have same-day delivery), access to movies and shows, and no minimum amount spent. If you're an online shopper but don't have Prime, you should check it out.
2) Grocery Pick-up/Delivery
I love to cook, but that doesn't change the fact that meal planning, prep, enjoying, and clean-up are huge tasks. We've cut the amount of time required of me to do all of this considerably simply by signing up for grocery pick up. It's super simple: just make your list, add all the items you need to your cart on the website of a participating store, order it, and pick it up the next day. They'll email you when it's ready, but you also put in your desired pick-up time. Some stores also offer grocery delivery. Regardless, they're all awesome!
3) Good Protein Powder
I know this one seems odd, but, if you're like me, you sometimes are so caught up in making sure that everyone else has a good breakfast that you neglect to make one for yourself. Or, you're running out the door and want an easy snack for the road. Enter: protein powder. And not the cheap, nasty, chalky stuff. Splurge on some good stuff because then you can just put a scoop in a pint jar with some milk, shake it up, and enjoy. Fast, easy, tasty protein. Obviously, it's better with fruit and honey and all the things, but, in a pinch, it works. And, when you're in less of a pinch, you can add all the extras and have a truly decadent treat. Either way, good protein powder is essential. These are a couple of our favorites:
4) Mommy's Helper Kitchen Stool
Need to wash the dishes, but your toddler wants you to play with her? How about cook supper? Basically anything in the kitchen can be made 100 times easier if you have one of these stools. Give your child a task that helps you accomplish what it is you're needing to accomplish, and voila! Everybody's happy: your child is happy because you're interacting together; you're happy because you're working on something that needs done. Afton has one that her Papa made her, and she loves it. She rinses dishes for me to put them in the dishwasher; she dumps in the ingredients and helps stir for all baked goods; sometimes she just climbs up to watch what I'm doing. It's the best invention ever. Check it out below.
5) Pick a Task and Focus
It's so easy to look around our homes and feel overwhelmed by the multitude of things we need to clean, finish, put away, etc, and, once we start down that slippery slope, it's easier still to put things off until tomorrow. But, instead of looking at all the things that need to be taken care of, if we pick one task for today and focus on it, we can usually accomplish it. Then, and only then, is it permissible to look around for a new task. For example, Tuesdays are laundry days; mornings are for dishes; Fridays are for bathrooms. And so it goes.
6) Phone Schedule
This one might sound crazy, but you'll be amazed by how much extra time and energy you'll have if you limit your phone-checking to a pre-determined time of day and a limited amount of time total. This includes Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Email, Texts, all of it. For me, with a few exceptions, I only check my phone at 1pm and 8pm. It's been amazing. I focus on my children so much better, and I've learned that emergencies are rare.
7) Find a Tribe
I know it's a catchy phrase these days, but it really is necessary. We all need shoulders to cry on, friends to vent to and ask for advice. We all need a community to help us in this motherhood journey. Obviously, an in-person tribe is ideal, but, for those of us who don't have that or who want some additional support and maybe even a touch of anonymity, check out our forum. You can ask questions, help provide support to others, vent, whatever you need. Check it out here. :)
What have you found to be necessary parts of life since becoming a mom? Let me know in the comments!