Whether you're already making this "mom" thing look like a cakewalk or can't remember the last time you went to the bathroom alone, anything that makes parenting a bit easier is always welcome. Here are nine simple parenting hacks you can use to make your day less stressful.
1. Plan your outfit the night before. Sadly the rotating closet from Clueless still doesn't exist in 2015. But you can cut down on the time it takes you to get ready in the morning by laying out your outfit the night before. Convince the kids to adopt the habit as well, and you might have time for breakfast together before you all head out for the day.
2. Don't make the bed. Grandmothers everywhere may cringe at this advice, but leaving the sheets askew isn't sloppy; it's sanitary. Microscopic dust mites love to come hang out with us and nibble on our dead skin while we sleep, and making the bed helps trap in moisture and keep them alive. Leaving your bed unmade not only buys you a few extra minutes in the morning, but it helps dry out your sheets and send those dust mites packing.
3. Pack snacks for yourself. You always remember to grab a squeeze pouch for Junior before heading out to run errands, but when hunger strikes, you're forced to stop and get something or deal with being hangry. Keep some quick snacks for yourself in your bag, like Perfectly Simple Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk bars, so you can avoid the drive-thru line and conquer that to-do list.
4. Make your baby's formula once a day. Most infant formulas are good for up to 24 hours if refrigerated. Instead of having to measure, mix and heat an individual bottle while being serenaded by a hungry baby, mix up a pitcher of a day's supply in the evening to pour and heat as needed.
5. Use frozen fruit to cool down hot food. Oatmeal too steamy to eat? Toss in a handful of frozen blueberries or other fruit. Now your kids can get a dose of antioxidants and avoid burning their tongues.
6. Stop folding your kids' play clothes. Slaying the laundry monster takes a huge chunk out of your free time, but you can cut down on hours you spend in the laundry lair by laying toddler and baby clothes flat instead of folding them. Not only will this save you time, but it will create some more space in their drawers.
7. Stop picking up all day long. Although running up and down stairs is a great way to get in some extra cardio, if you've got little ones to keep an eye on, it's impossible to spend the day putting things back where they belong. Instead, place some small baskets on the stairs, and assign one to each person or zone of the house. As you come across misplaced items during the day, toss them into their respective basket. Everyone's responsible for taking up their own things at night and putting the basket back on the stairs the next morning.
8. Get out the door faster. It's great when your toddler wants to exert their independence by putting on their own shoes, but it can really slow you down when you're trying to get out of the house. Help speed up the process by cutting a large sticker in half and placing a piece inside each shoe. This will help them learn which shoe goes on which foot.
9. Make dinner in the morning. After a long day of momming, the last thing you want to do is prepare dinner at the end of the day. Enlist a Crock-Pot as your sous-chef — put your ingredients to work in it in the morning, and come home to a delicious meal and a more relaxing evening.
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