With three children aged four and under in my house, it takes a lot of time and energy to keep our family moving. Aside from tantrums, dressing and undressing, baths, meals, and the sixty finger and toenails ready to cut at any given time, I realized there are many items on which I rely to get me through the day.
And then I realized I had it better than my own mother did, and my mother’s mother, who neither had the luxury of epidurals (for her seven births) or disposable diapers. So, I cuddled my Swiffer Wet Jet tight, and thought long and hard about the best modern inventions for mothers — the items I simply cannot live without — and these are what I came up with:
1. Baby Wipes. Sure, you’ve heard jokes about cleaning the entire house, the car, yourself, your pets, and your children with baby wipes. Well, I’m here to tell you today that it’s all true. With kids (and, dare I say, husbands) at home, there’s always something dried to a wall, a floor, an appliance, or a window. Baby wipes saw me through the Soft Serve Incident of 2013, the Valentine’s Day Donut Massacre, and the Uh Oh! No Paper in the HESS Restroom! debacle just a few weeks ago. They’re abundant, they’re portable, and they’re indispensable. Do NOT leave home without them.
2. DVR. Thanks to modern technology (and a $200 cable bill), my family and I have become experts on the art of the DVR. Kid won’t leave the new episode of Dora for dinner? Freeze it! Movie continuing past bedtime? Finish it in the morning! Kids screaming through a weather forecast you need to hear? Rewind it! Never end your day early enough to sit down for that 8 o’clock show? Set the series to record! DVR was made for families. Use it!
3. Squeeze Pouches. Have you seen what your kids look like when they finish a container of yogurt? And yogurt dries quickly, doesn’t it? Ever have to scrub it off your kid’s arm? Dries like plaster. Likewise with a bowl of applesauce. You’d be surprised how quickly that stuff spreads, and how easily it slides off the surface of a spoon. Single-serving pouches are a godsend. Though I was first a little grossed out by the thought of my kids sucking a spout from a foil bag filled with fruit paste, turns out they really love it. And I don’t have to clean up the mess. Win -Win. End of story.
4. The Magic Eraser. For those precious and memorable times your kids decide your chair rail moldings are actually frames for their art, your hardwood floor just looks a little too ‘woody’ for their liking, or when, despite your best efforts to secure it, your daughter pulls a Zsa Zsa with your makeup, the Magic Eraser has your back. Made from melamine foam (thanks, Google!), the Magic Eraser quickly and simply rids your home of your kids’ crude artwork. From ink to crayon to marker to paint, the Magic Eraser deep-sixes their bad choices permanently. The only way these little rectangles of enchantment could be any more perfect? If they could erase the greater part of the ’80’s.
5. Smartphones. Don’t smartphones somehow seem to make parenting just that much more tolerable? Waiting in a line and your kid’s whining and reaching helplessly for the gum rack? Tweet about it! Got a squirmer in the hairdresser’s chair? Cue up Minnie’s Bow Toons. At the playground and not in the mood to chat? Catch up on your email. From weather to coupons to restaurant recommendations, smartphones make leaving the house with kids almost doable. And when sitting alone, in your van, enjoying the only sliver of peace and quiet you’ll have that day, over a bottle of Honest Tea and a bag of gummy worms, you can read the news, watch a movie trailer, or just scroll mindlessly through your social media. Your smartphone loves you, your smart phone listens, your smartphone is your friend.
What can’t YOU imagine motherhood without?