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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

9 Life Hacks for Young Parents

We're two weeks into the New Year and the internet is full of people getting fit and eating whole and loving better. Unlike previous years I didn't make any resolutions this year because #aintnobodygottimeforthat. I am planning a few changes for the blog in the near future that require no additional time at the gym and do not necessitate me giving up my chocolate-chips-eaten-straight -from-the-bag habit, so there's that.

Something I have been pondering however that could fit into the "resolution" category is this: how can I make less of my day about kid and household maintenance and more about things that are not life-suckingly tedious. I think it's a valid question for all young parents to consider.

When your family is compromised of 50% or more little people, it is SHOCKING how much time you spend servicing the needs of those kids. Approximately 90% of my day is spent handing things to my children and then later picking those same things off of the floor. I cannot count the number of times my children have asked for a second helping of breakfast before B Daddy or I have even sat down at the table. FOR THE LOVE children. It is overwhelming and completely exhausting. How's a girl supposed to drink her coffee before it gets cold?

Because they start out so small and needing so much, I often fail to recognize when they are ready to start doing things on their own. When I was hugely pregnant this summer and actually incapable of doing everything for everyone all of the time we got serious about streamlining our routine and making little changes that save me big time. The hacks below save me minutes per child per day, which adds up to hours a week. Basically, the following things enable my Bravo TV addiction.

Read on and if you have a parenting hack of your own - please share the love! We all thank you in advance.

1. Buy your children shoes they can put on all by themselves. This is possible from the age of 2 on and it will save you six million hours over the course of your parenting life. My favorite brands in no particular order are Uggs, Crocs and Vans. No laces, no Velcro, no socks needed.
    2. In the spirit of getting out of the house quickly, hang your kids' coats (and/or backpacks) within their reach and make them responsible for getting them. (Full disclosure: we have yet to do this and it's the primary reason we could never move North of the Mason-Dixon line. I cannot imagine a life where I have to put tiny people in tiny jackets more than once in a blue moon. If you see us out in 30 degree weather and my kids have nothing but long sleeved tees on, don't believe me when I tell you they took their coats off in the car...)
    3. Designate a lower cupboard or drawer in the kitchen for all your kids' plates, cups and utensils. Show them where it is and what it's for. This means they'll be able to help set the table, help empty the dishwasher and get their own cup of water by about age 2.
    4. I'm convinced kids don't need baths every day. If I only need to wash my hair twice a week, why should my daughter need hers washed any more? We aim to bathe the kids 2x a week. It's a lofty goal I realize. They really don't sweat much in the winter and in the summer, the pool is basically a bath right? The Squirt (age 5) is learning how to shower by himself and it is a game changer. 
    5. Keep your children's clothing in drawers or bins they can open and close by themselves.  Having clothes within reach means they can put away clean clothes and pick out their own clothes much earlier. It takes a lot of manual dexterity to hang up clothing even if the bar is within reach! It's a much simpler task to sort clothing into drawers.
    6. Toy storage - see #5.
    7. Figure out the Crock-Pot. Experiment until you have 4-5 meals that you LOVE that come out of that bad boy. Serve them unapologetically once a week for the duration of your parenting career.
    8. Don't put a top sheet on your kids' beds. A fitted sheet + a comforter/quilt = a bed a 2 yr old can make neatly. (Can you tell yet what my age for making kids pull their weight around here is??) 
    9. This one is just for the truly wise (and/or truly lazy) - ditch your really cool SUV and get a minivan already. Sliding doors that open with the push of a button mean your kids can climb in and load themselves up for school all before your coffee has finished re-heating.

I figure I'm basically preparing my kids for life and saving myself a load of work at the same time by doing the above. Is it lazy? Is it brilliant? I like to think it's a healthy balance of both.  I'd love to know what your favorite parenting hacks are so I can spend less time running this place and more time in the coming year checking Instagram reading to my kids.


  1. I love all of this Katie! I think we have integrated everything you mentioned except the crock pot and I'm taking your challenge to try that. Maybe you can give me some ideas of your favorite recipes?

    We have kid sized hand sweeper and tray for kids to clean up their own spills. It's amazing how much less stressful this for me when we spill now!

    My 8 year old does almost all the loading and unloading of the dishwasher for meals. This is s game changer! And he's more respectful and happy with responsibilities appropriate for his capabilities.

    Little ones can fold towels and help collect trash from bathrooms around the house. They're so happy to help!

    Love this post!

    1. I need to get my kids on the towel folding train - that is GREAT. And I am officially on the lookout for a new hand sweeper that is easier for my kids to use, such a great suggestion. Thanks Ashley!

    2. Love the idea of giving jobs to kiddos early on. Now that our little dude is 2, he definitely needs to start pulling some weight. :) He does love to Swiffer, so we let him do that:


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