Oh, who knew being a mom would mean wearing so many hats and getting our creative groove on – constantly! I now realize that all my high school and college classes, sports training and basically anything I did before having kids was just to help me learn how to juggle each one of their needs & personalities while trying to survive and even thrive throughout the day.
So how to do it all? Here are some things I found that help me with my kiddos, maybe they will help you with yours as well.
1. Breastfeeding Wristbands
Middle of the night feedings and actually breastfeeding in general after having more than one kid to pay attention to, made me quickly forget which side I started on last time. So on my 3rd child, I realized I could wear a wristband (or in my case a ponytail holder) and switch it from side to side, so I didn’t have to think about it. I could just take a quick glance and know instantly which side to start on. This is easily and much more beautifully accomplished with a cute bracelet but for me, the person who rarely wears jewelry, a ponytail holder is perfect.
2. Morning, Homeschool & Evening Routine Charts
With 4 kids that wake up at completely different times, I often forget who has done what. So instead of constantly asking, “Did you take your vitamins, brush your teeth, practice the piano, do your math, etc?,” I made a routine chart and painted clothes pins with their favorite colors. As they complete each task, they attach their clothes pins to it. This helps me be able to see how far along they are with a quick glance.
3. Hide Vitamins in Yogurt
Two out of 4 kids know how to swallow pills, which makes taking vitamins tricky for the other two who don’t like the taste. I’ve learned that by emptying the contents of the capsules into plain yogurt with honey added, vitamins are consumed without any complaints or fighting.
4. Double Up on Recipes
I love cooking double batches of whatever I’m making for dinner because then I know I will have leftovers for either the next day or to freeze for another time. It also allows me to easily invite friends over for dinner.
5. Prep food in Bulk Quantities
We do this with pancake mix but I’m going to start doing it with other baking items as well. It’s the convenience of a store bought box mix without all the extra unnecessary ingredients or the high cost. Here a great link to some yummy brownie, chocolate cake and chocolate chip cookies.
6. Personal Mugs & Water Bottles
Each person in my house has their own personal mug & water bottle that no one else is allowed to use. My original goal was to keep from having to wash so many dishes throughout the day but it is also really helpful when sicknesses are going around, except of course for that one child who tries to steal a drink from others cups.
7. Hanging Stuffed Animals
Instead of the stuffed animals forming a mound on someone’s bed, or heaven forbid in the corner of the floor, I started hanging them up with clothes pins on a thick piece of fabric. I saw this on a friends’ FB page and thought it was pure genius! For me, this is also helpful to see which ones don’t get played with often so they can easily be moved to the donate pile.
8. Packaging Paper Fun
My kids are thrilled every time we receive a package. They could care less about the item I actually paid for but are rather interested in the packing paper. We use it for everything from art projects to fort canopies. It’s even great to use as personalized wrapping paper. We go through so much paper since my kids love to draw that this saves me from having to buy paper all the time.
9. Poop in the Tub
It’s disgusting but it happens. When it does, do not make the same mistake I did the first time and reach for the toilet paper. You will have a horrific mess, literally, on your hands as the paper disintegrates between your fingers. Instead, I keep an empty yogurt container nearby so if it happens, I can just scoop it up, plop it into the toilet and throw the container away.
10. Speed Cleaning
The moment I have a clean house, I blink and it’s dirty again. Instead of getting overwhelmed, I just set my oven timer. My competitive nature comes out and I see how much I can clean in the chosen amount of time. Usually, I find the dreaded task didn’t take as long as I assumed it would have.
11. Closet Separators
Super cute separators are sold in catalogs but they never have on them exactly what I want, so I made my own out of 3×5 notecards. They aren’t fancy but they do the job and help my kids know exactly where their clothes should be hung in the closet.
12. Reusing Glass Jars
We go through lots of pasta, jelly, peanut butter, and salsa jars, so I’ve learned to reuse them in many different ways including (but not limited to!): freeze & store left overs, store dry food, use as containers that don’t need to be returned when we take meals to friends (great for side items), homemade salad dressing jars, drinking mugs, and Pinterest has oodles of ideas for mason jars. We also use baby jars as starter cups because they are perfect for little hands once they stop throwing cups. Baby jars also are the perfect portion size for bedtime.
13. Erasable Pens
Erasable Pens are a must for my calendar and my children’s school work. My daughter prefers to write in pen but makes a lot of mistakes so when we found these pens with all the cool colors we both got really excited!
14. It’s all in the Marketing & Presentation
At my house we don’t eat salmon patties, we eat fish cakes. Emphasis on the CAKES! And we don’t have nap time instead it’s rest time. I’ve learned how I present things to my kids makes all the difference in their willingness to try it.
15. Mommy’s Emergency Oils Kit
If you have kids that are constantly getting bumps & bruises, scratches & scrapes AND you enjoy using oils, then you’ll want to pack up these oils & create an emergency oils kit:
- Valor to give them the feeling of courage when they’re hurt.
- Lavender to help disinfect cuts & scrapes. Purification is also great too.
- Helichrysum – I use this as an anti-inflammatory and I’ve noticed it can help with varicose veins as well.
- Cypress – I use this as an anti-inflammatory.
- Geranium – I use one drop of this to stop bleeding immediately.
Whenever one of my kiddos hits his head and a bump starts to form, I quickly put one drop of valor, one drop of helichrysum and one drop of cypress on the area and I notice it keeps it from swelling. I also notice that usually within 45 minutes the discoloration has subsided and the bump is almost gone. With my amazing grace passed onto my kiddos, this is something I use a lot.
16. Truck Back Massage
I love massages, so, of course, I have found a way to trick my kids into giving me massages. Sometimes, I will dump toy trucks on the ground that have big tires (Monster Trucks are best) and as I lay on the floor I tell the kids to roll the trucks over the mountain (aka my body). Sometimes, this inevitably ends in a dog pile but until it does, I get to lay on the floor and relax for a few minutes.
What are your tricks of the mommy trade?