Maybe you have time to scour Pinterest for healthy recipes and beautiful home decor. I do not. And let’s be honest, even if I did, I’m too lazy to waste valuable free time “working” at home management. I’d much rather binge watch The Walking Dead while binge eating Reese’s Cups. Pinterest is full of “long-cuts.”
With my second child on the way, I’ve decided it’s time to stand up and be proud of my mommy shortcuts.
Toss it. Call me cruel. If I have to ask my child multiple times to put away a toy and days later, it’s still underfoot, I toss it. Less clutter. Fewer toys to clean up. Lesson learned.
Stuff it. God gave us closets for a reason. If company (read: in-laws) are on their way, stuff all clutter in closets and under the bed. It’s faster than actually putting things away.
Put ‘Em to Work. It’s the circle of life. My mom made me clean, and I’m going to make my kids do the same. By 4 years old, my son was sweeping the kitchen floor, loading and unloading the dishwasher, Windex-ing the coffee table and using the Dustbuster. He thinks it’s fun, and it makes him feel grown-up. Fewer chores for me.
Delivery is your friend. If you’re lucky enough to live in an urban setting, you can order dinner right from your smartphone. Sometimes I order twice as much food so I also have lunch for the next day.
No delivery? Use your supermarket wisely. Most have a salad bar with more than just salad. You can toss some stuff into a plastic container and call it a meal. Or find some frozen foods that actually taste good and load your freezer up with them. Popping them into the oven takes a lot less time than preparing a whole meal from scratch.
Breakfast for dinner. Eggs are good for you. Throw in some of those pre-cut veggies from the salad bar and some cheese. There’s no shame in breakfast for dinner.
Hygiene and Style
Too many showers are bad for you. After having kids, most women find they shower a lot less often. Don’t feel so guilty about it. Leading dermatologists say Americans shower too often, drying out our skin. So there.
This goes for kids, too. Unless he’s been playing in the mud, once a kid is potty trained, he doesn’t need to have a bath every night. Unless…
Bath time is a great babysitter. My son will play in the bath for up to an hour at a time. Obviously, never leave your child unattended. But I’ve been known to meet a deadline by plopping him and some toys in the tub and taking up residence on the bathroom floor with my laptop.
When you have babies and toddlers, never waste precious child-sleeping time doing something you can do when your kid is awake. Use that time to do the tasks you can’t get done in their waking hours. Or for watching horrific yet compelling television. Organizing the Tupperware, wrapping presents, cleaning, cooking, etc., can all be done with the child involved. Granted, it will take longer. But think of it as their life’s education. Kids learn by doing.
Limit activities. I don’t have the time, energy or money to take my kid to regular lessons. What does a toddler need lessons in anyway? Bladder control? School will come soon enough. And I guarantee your child won’t be behind because he didn’t start violin or learn Mandarin at 2 years old. Preschoolers learn by doing life activities with you. Narrate what you’re doing. Make everyday life fun. But don’t throw away thousands or waste hours going to Baby Beethoven. It’s not necessary.
Admit you are overwhelmed. Feel out new moms you meet. I can’t tell you how many mom friendships have been formed by two women confessing to each other that they have no idea what they’re doing. When you find a mom who is as overwhelmed as you, offer to trade babysitting with each other. Kids get a playdate and you get free childcare. Win!
What are your favorite mommy shortcuts? What’s the longest you’ve gone without a shower?