There’s no one-size-fits-all handbook when it comes to kids. Hell, there’s not even a handbook. While there are people and a slew of mediums to help guide us, most of parenting is learning as you go and doing what’s right for you. It seems like every day I discover something new — whether it’s about my kids or myself as a mom. And sometimes it’s a new system or hack to make our day-to-day a little bit easier. Recently, it was that Costco offers free, same-day delivery. (It’s the little things.) Below are 15 hacks and tips from other parents that help make life a little less crazy.
1. INSTACART GROCERY DELIVERY SERVICES
“Instacart! Most large grocers use it and there are coupon codes for free delivery! I also LOVE how it calculates your cart as you shop, so I actually end up saving more money than when I am in the store. Delivery is super fast too.” – Jenn, 3-year-old and 6-month-old
“Costco [also on Instacart] offers free, same-day delivery on groceries! It’s great because you get a text when your items are being shopped for, and if something isn’t available, but it’s stocked by another brand you get a notification asking to make the switch. You can also just choose to get a refund, which is automatically reimbursed. Delivery was right within the window we selected and the produce was great! No bruised/smashed apples or overly-ripe bananas.” – Ravelle, 3 and 2-year-old
*Note: if you do get an item that needs to be returned (like moldy blueberries), you can email customer service and get it re-delivered free of charge.
2. TARGET MONTHLY SUBSCRIPTION BOX
“For us it’s the Target monthly subscription baby box. You pick what you need — I get diapers, wipes, detergent, and everything I need for the baby’s bath. Being a work from home mom that has 3 kids under 5, it makes my life so much easier. I can switch my order around as needed and every month it comes without me putting any thought into it. Also, the Target in-store pickup saves the day every time! ” – LaDonna, 5 and 2-year-old, 12-week-old
3. SCHEDULING A SITTER 1 to 2 MONTHS OUT
“Scheduling a babysitter once or twice a month, one to two months in advance before I have any actual plans made. It guarantees we have date nights cause if I have the babysitter booked I will then plan something for us.” – Andrea, 2-year-old and 5-month-old
4. WAKING UP BEFORE MY KIDS
“Having routines help my days run smoother. Scheduling out my months and weeks down to the days and hours helps me plan ahead and stay on top of things in each day. Of course things come up and change so we have to be flexible, but I have found that the most important part of my day is getting up before my kids and starting it with prayer and quiet time. I’ve noticed the days I don’t start my day before my kids everything is more rushed and I feel like I am playing catch up.” – Kristel, 10, 6, 4, and 2-year-old
5. AMAZON SUBSCRIBE AND SAVE
“Amazon’s ‘Subscribe and Save’ saves us a lot each month. I did the math and we’re saving more than if we bought the items at Costco. We do have six to eight items that we get delivered monthly, things like wipes, diapers, snacks, Tide pods, etc., so that helps increase the total savings.” – Ravelle, 3 and 2-year-old
6. KIDS AND BABY CLOTHING HACKS
“I fold laundry into outfits to make sure my sons aren’t wearing the same three shirts over and over — just open the drawer and pull out an entire outfit.” – Kelly, 10, 6, and 3-year-old
“Onesies that zip from the bottom up (found them at Target), are great because it keeps my son from being open and exposed to the cold, especially useful for those late night diaper changes. They’re also much better than snap onesies. [Author side note: I just saw that there’s such a thing as magnetic onesies! I mean no buttons to snap — wish I had these when my kids were still in onesies. Find them here.]
Another good hack is kid’s consignment stores You can get anything from high-end strollers to Halloween costumes at a fraction of the price. You can also sell many gently used items at the stores or expensive baby gear that you may no longer have a need for so it’s a win-win.” – Kenia, 4-year-old and 9-week-old
7. MEAL AND SNACK PREP
“We use Tupperware and reusable sandwich bags to organize food so the kids can help themselves. Things like pre-peeled clementines, berries, cheese cubes etc. get put in the bottom drawers where they are easy to reach.” – Kelly, 10, 6, and 3-year-old
“Making big batches of quinoa or grains and using it throughout the week, or washing and cutting my veggies and storing them in glass containers so that it’s easy to throw them on a plate or in a pan. I like to have an idea of my menus for the week and shop accordingly. I save so much that way, and far less goes to waste. I also go to the farmers market every Tuesday for the week’s veggies. That save lots of money.” – Marquita, 10-year-old and 8-year-old
“Pre-made smoothie bags. If the kids need a snack and I haven’t properly prepped for the week, I just grab a quart-size bag out of the freezer filled with frozen fruits and greens and throw it in the blender.” – Regina, 5 and 2-year-old
“I plan out my meals — I choose 3-4 breakfast recipes, 3-4 lunch/dinner recipes, and a few snacks and sweet recipes. Then I base my grocery list off those meals. I bring the grocery list to the store with me when I shop and then post it on the fridge when I get home. It keeps me on track and accountable.” – Andy, 15-month-old
8. DIAPER STATION IN LIVING ROOM
“We have a diaper caddy in the living room, which is where we hang out. It saves us a lot of time since we don’t have to go back and forth to the nursery and can just grab and change the babies in the living room. It’s also a lifesaver having it on hand with baby wipes and essentials to clean up right away after accidents!” – Cynthia, 16-month-old and 4-month-old
9. BATHTIME TRICKS
“The shower visor I found for my daughter makes bathtime a breeze — washing Sofia’s hair used to be a nightmare as she hated any water or soap getting in her face.” – Kenia, 4-year-old and 9-week-old
“I put the shampoo into trial size containers so my kids stop dumping out $15 shampoos every shower.” – Kelly, 10, 6, and 3-year-old
10. PREPARING NIGHT BEFORE
“Getting the kids’ stuff (food, bottles, supplies, etc.) together and ready to go the night before, makes for one less thing to do in the morning, which helps with getting to kids up and out of the house on time.” – Andrea, 2-year-old and 5-month-old
11. HELPFUL APPS
“Houseparty is a true multi-channel video conferencing app that allows us to keep in touch with family and friends who live far away. It’s great for when you have friends that suffer from FOMO!” – Sofia, 9-month-old
“The Wonder Weeks is super helpful! It’s nice to know what is going on in your baby’s head and what psychological things to look out for.” – Katie, 5-month-old
12. A DONATE BOX
“I keep a ‘donate box’ out at all times. Once a month I ask Sofia to choose a toy she no longer wants to play with and put it in the box so that we could give it to another child. This helps keeps toys from overtaking the house and also helps teach her about giving back. Now she often picks a toy and puts it in the box without me asking.” – Kenia, 4-year-old and 9-week-old
13. MEAL DELIVERY SERVICES
“After our son was born it was really hard to find time to cook healthy meals. My husband and I both love eating homemade dinners, but could never find the time to prep, buy, or cook the ingredients. I discovered Hungryroot and after trying it once, was hooked. The meals are all vegan, gluten-free, and delicious. Even better, they are super fast to make. We are not vegans, but love using this service and will add a side of pre-made meat if we want. My favorite thing they have is the black bean brownie batter!” – Katie, 5-month-old
14. PLANNING AHEAD
“I like to put the storytimes at my local library in my iCal — even if I’m not attending, it’s good to have it at my fingertips for last-minute needed breaks. Most have bedtime storytime at least once a week, so it’s a great way to calm the kids down.” – Regina, 5 and 2-year-old
“My kids’ school has lunch accounts that we deposit money in because they don’t want kids handling and losing money, but on special days where they sell chips or giant pretzels the kids have to bring a dollar in an envelope. Now they each keep $2 in an envelope in their backpack that says “Just in case snack money,” because they’ve totally forgotten before and been sad.” – Kelly, 10, 6, and 3-year-old
“Having lots of videos of the kids on my phone so that Amelie can watch videos of herself when I need to get stuff done.” – Andrea, 2-year-old and 5-month-old
15. NEW BABY HACKS
“As a mom who no longer breastfeeds and uses formula, my daughter loves her milk warm. My electric kettle heats her water in seconds. I then fill the bottle and add the formula and I’m done in a jiffy. It cuts meal-prep time tremendously.
Also, for those who don’t want to take their trash out every single day, the Diaper Genie is a dream. I never smell the diapers. It locks in the odor and holds a ton of diapers before needing to be emptied. Then when it’s time to empty it, they make it pretty foolproof. Love that thing.” – Gabby, 10-month-old
Ravelle Worthington is a wife, momma of three, and the founder of Mommy Brain. Follow her on Instagram here.
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*Cover photo by Shitota Yuri via UnSplash.
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