3 Life Hacks for Making Motherhood More Awesome

Mom Moment 10

I could never be one of those people who writes parenting advice books full of handy tips and stern recommendations. For one thing, I don't really believe in the idea of one-size-fits-all parenting advice, aside from "children should be fed, watered, and occasionally released from their confining plastic kennels" -- and let's face it, if you need a book to tell you that, you're probably in trouble -- but also because I'm spectacularly unqualified to hand out ANY parental wisdom whatsoever, despite the fact that I have two children of my own that I have, so far, managed to raise from infanthood without too much permanent damage.

I'm not exactly a font of motherly knowledge. If anything, I'm more of a burbling brook of nervous second-guessing. I like to think I'm doing my best, but my best basically boils down to this: I'm winging it, big-time.

Which is all to say, I'm thrilled to have discovered three -- THREE! -- handy tricks lately for making motherhood a little more awesome.

"Tricks" may not be quite the right word. Habits, maybe. Routines. Hacks. "Thingies we do." (See? My parenting book would SUCK SO MUCH ASS.) Anyway, here's what these tricks/hacks/habits/routines/thingies help with:

• The fact that I'd like to keep a record of our family life
• The disaster zones that are my children's bedrooms
• The shiteous daily routine of figuring out what to make for dinner

Okay, thing the first -- keeping a record of our family life. I used to write about the day to day stuff in my blog, but between feeling more crunched for time lately and a waning desire to document the minutiae of my children's existences on the Internet, I've been doing so less and less. Enter the -- drumroll -- paper journal. I know, right? WHAT A UNIQUE AND TOTALLY UNEXPECTED CONCEPT TO WRITE IN A PRIVATE JOURNAL HOLY CRAP NOTIFY GUINNESS. Shut up.

Here's what I do: every night during the shitshow that is the children's ritual of getting ready for bed (you know, fighting over who gets to squeeze toothpaste all over the counter first, absentmindedly putting their pajamas on backwards, peeing all over the back of the toilet seat because they're busy shouting back and forth about what books they want to read, somehow unrolling half the toilet paper all over the floor, splashing water around until the entire bathroom looks like it's been through a minty, saliva-laden carwash) , I sit on the couch in the living room and write in our journal. Sometimes it's just a few sentences, sometimes I fill the page. I try and remember anything that happened that day that I think would be fun to revisit in the future, from the activities we did to the goofy things the boys said.

It's easy, it's fast, and it's something I can keep forever and give to the boys when they're older. On the downside, it also means a nightly hand cramp (longhand is HARD, you guys!).


On to the children's bedrooms! I got so sick of putting away toys and making beds every day, it finally occurred to me that the kids were old enough for me to outsource this task. Every morning, after breakfast but before we leave for the school bus, both boys are expected to make their beds and pick up any junk that's scattered on the floor. It took some power-nagging to start with, but now they run and do it without even thinking. It's been the BEST THING EVER, no kidding. It keeps them busy in the morning while I'm getting a jump on my work day, and it's one less annoying chore for me to have to do.

Plus, sometimes their weird little bed arrangements are downright hilarious.


Finally, the dinners. Since I'm at home during the day, it falls on me to be in charge of dinnertime, and I have been SO SICK OF IT. Particularly the daily ass-pain of trying to figure out what I'm going to make. So here's something that's been helping a lot lately: I signed up for a meal planning website, and it's made a huge difference. The one I use is The Fresh 20, and each week I can download recipes for five healthy meals that play off each other by using 20 ingredients (you get a shopping list too). For uncreative, uninspired, reluctant chefs like myself, it's absolutely brilliant. Now, to be clear, the kids don't always eat the same stuff my husband and I do, but it really has made dinnertime a lot more fun because I'm not constantly feeling burdened with the question of What the HELL Is Everyone Going to Eat Tonight Oh Forget It Let's Get Pizza Again.

(Unsurprising bonus: I've lost some weight since starting this plan. Turns out halibut and roasted carrots is a tad more healthy than pepperoni and cheese, who knew?)


Okay, your turn -- what are some 'life hacks' that have made motherhood more easier/more enjoyable for you?

Images via Linda Sharps

boys, eating healthy, emotional health, stress

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nonmember avatar Halyn

How much is that Fresh 20 site? I love cooking, but I feel like we get stuck in a rut--like we're having the same 10 dinners over and over. It would be fun to have some new ideas.
Also, I remember how awesome it felt to suddenly realize "Wait a minute! They're old enough to do that THEMSELVES. I don't have to do it anymore!!"

Linda Sharps

Halyn: there's a Groupon for it: http://www.groupon.com/deals/the-fresh-20-80 $24 for a year.

Ranee' Ethridge Steele

I make a menu every week..Kids and hubby give their ideas and we go from there..I have a goal of trying to use one new recipe every week.

Melis... Melissa1508

Linda, don't sell yourself short...a parenting book authored by you would be HILARIOUS.  That's not a knock against your parenting skills...I would totally buy it!

BubbsJNL BubbsJNL

I'm with Melissa1508!  It would be the best of "Girlfriend's Guide..." + so much more if you were to pen a parenting book!!  Plus, uber-practical!! :) :)


My biggest "hack" is Peapod.com and I've been using it so long that 3 out of 4 deliveries are free, so I don't even have to feel bad about the $5.00 delivery fee.  No hour or more lost in the grocery store, no $50.00 worth of extra crap that the boys sneak into the cart, no lugging it into the house and, 9 times out of 10, I choose the 6-8 AM delivery spot so that the groceries arrive, serve as alarm clock and are put away before the boys are even awake!!  TOTAL lifesaver for me!!!

Reen1 Reen1

Great article!


From the time my daughter started being able to talk, I kept a journal of the hilarious things she said. Like the one-off  "kids say the darndest things" quotes. It's a nearly full little notebook. To this day when I read it I laugh my butt off. It's hilarious, I should publish it. She also likes me to read it to her every now and again. She likes to laugh too at the funny things she said.


For example: As a toddler she thought the gas station was called the gas spaceship, which she pronounced "gas spashion".


Or: While walking behind me at age 3, "Mommy, y.. y.. yo.. your bum is biiiiiigg...." ;)

gamma4 gamma4

Yes document away cuz you may think...that was so good so funny so whatever I will always remember later....but you don't .....and take piks piks piks

gamma4 gamma4

Daughter and I discussing stuff in front seat...3 1/2 year old granddaughter in back.....question I asked my daughter to make a point in our discussion ...who was the first president...daughter answered of course correctly ....baby girl calls out from back.....No no no I her first present

mello... mellowknees

My life hack: Knowing I would never remember to keep important information in a baby book and I cannot be relied upon to write things out longhand (but I always have my iPad with me), I set up an email address for my son before he was born.  Whenever he does something, learns a new skill, or has an important timeline event (i.e. turning 1 month old, 2 months old, etc), I send him an email.  I plan to combine all of the first year's emails into a photo book with my messages to him and photos of him at the corresponding age and then repeat the process the following year.  Then I can give him the books when he's 18 (or whatever age feels right, depending on how much he might appreciate getting a gift like this).


 


I love your journal idea!

nonmember avatar Halyn

Thanks, Linda!

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