We are busy people, aren’t we?! Things to do, places to go, people to love.
Some may call these “life-hacks,” but when I come across ways to make living easier and more ENJOYABLE, I call it genius! Where the heart’s intention becomes practical, you might say.
Below are 21 of my favorite mom hacks that allow for more quality time with my loves.
If you have some life hacks of your own, please pay them forward in the comments so another mama (i.e. me) can benefit from your genius zone. Even if it was inspired by someone other than you, it’s genius of you to put it into practice. 🙂
1. Anticipate the sour. Ugh. It’s Wednesday morning and suddenly you realize the milk’s gone sour. (And if you drink almond, you’ve probably noticed you can’t really rely on your nose!) So as soon as you open the milk or juice, add 7-10 days from today’s date and write it with a sharpie on the lid so the expiration date can be seen at a glance.
2. Set your intentions. Each week, set aside time to envision the week you want to have, how you want to feel, and plug any planned actions into your calendar.
3. Designate an arts & crafts area. We used to have coloring books, beads, and supplies strewn all over the house. With one designated area now in our kitchen, the kids know where everything is when they feel inspired, have a choice to help with dinner prep or make something, and know exactly where it all goes when they’re done.
4. Avoid the “What’s for dinner?” scramble. Plan out your meals in advance and write them up on a chalk or dry erase board for the entire week. Our menu board has (mostly) become a matter of fact. What we’re having is what we’re having, so with my boundaries clearly in place, my kids don’t sense an opportunity to negotiate (a.k.a. whine, beg, plead) for something else, so we (mostly) avoid the back and forth. (I say “mostly” because on the rare occasion we’ve made an impromptu decision to go off-grid, it’s caused a shit show. All the more evidence of why we have the board.)
5. Make fewer trips to the store. Keep a notepad and pen in a designated drawer or in sight, and add to it as soon as you run out of something. You’ll save time, gas, and energy. More for dance parties!
6. Get R.E.A.D.Y. Being a mom is both a gift and a challenge. Other than getting dressed in a way that brings me confidence, beginning each day with Reflection, Exercise, Affirmation, Devotion, and Yoga, allow me to feel supported all day long.
7. Give your handbag a staging area. Shoulder/neck pain? Can’t find those keys? Maybe it’s time to rethink your purse strategy. I keep a drawer for all the things I typically grab for an outing, and empty my bag completely when I get home. Just knowing whether it’s an outing sans-kids, saves me from lugging around unnecessary items.
8. Sneaky greens. Add kale or spinach to fruit smoothies for an instant veggie boost. We love a combo of banana, frozen blueberries and/or strawberries, kale and/or spinach, almond milk, and protein powder.
9. Spend less time nagging. Instead of the constant prodding to get ready for school or for bed, write down the routine tasks (or even better allow the child to write them), and tape it up in plain sight. We have a “Good Morning” list and “Goodnight” list in each child’s room, and we’ve seen a big improvement in taking ownership of their routines.
10. Sleep better. Create your own bedtime routine. A warm bath and a cool bedroom allows your body to gradually cool down as you slip into dreamland. Make your bedroom a device-free zone, allowing at least 1 hour to detox from screens (even more for young brains). The darker your bedroom, the better too.
11. Give toys a home. We just did a big spring cleaning at our house, and if something didn’t have a designated place to “sleep” when not being used, it found one or moved on. Some found a home in our attic and rotated with some others that were like brand new again!
12. Say goodbye to folding. Rolling t-shirts, pants, and leggings, allows us to see at a glance everything in a drawer. But the real reason, I spend less time refolding bunched up, wrinkled wads of clothing after little hands have rooted around trying to find the piece that speaks to them that day.
13. Priorities. We all sometimes fall into the “too busy” trap. But, I never regret stepping away from my writing to have an impromptu dance party with my kids, going for a walk instead of doing the laundry, and making my bed each morning because it looks pretty when I walk by. Choosing love over self-imposed pressure is always time well spent.
14. Reduce preservatives. My kids love spaghetti, so we have it almost every week. Here’s a fresh sauce that doesn’t take much longer than opening a jar of the prepared stuff. Slow simmer for 2+ hours or use a crock pot: tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 diced onion, 16 oz. can of tomato sauce, 1 tsp. each of Italian seasoning, Garlic salt, Parsley, and Oregano, 1 squirt of refrigerated basil (about a tablespoon). P.S. On taco night, forgo the seasoning packet for a sprinkle of cumin, chili powder, onion salt and garlic powder on your favorite ground meat or tofu.
15. Frozen grapes. Portable popsicles for summer time and instant wine chiller. Happy kids = happy mom.
16. Keep chemicals out of reach by using a hanging shoe organizer for cleaning supplies. This one would’ve come in handy when my little ones were learning to crawl!
17. Invest in a rice cooker. We use ours nearly every night. In fact, I don’t know why we went so many years without one of these, other than we didn’t know they existed.
18. Hire a coach. We often can’t see the forest for the trees. In fact, I don’t know how I went so many years without one of these, other than I didn’t know they existed. 🙂
19. Warm more servings at once. Any mom of 2+ knows that perceived equity is a big deal. Microwave 2 bowls at the same time by sitting one on top of a glass so that it sits higher than the other.
20. Hot water with lemon. A cup of this before anything else in the morning flushes out your organs and purifies toxins from your system.
21. Speak in a language they understand. According to The 5 Love Languages of Children, each child has their own love language. While our children are still young, and respond to them all, my daughter’s emerging love language is quality time together. On the other hand, I sense that my son feels most loved by hugs and physical closeness. Others include words of affirmation, receiving gifts, and acts of service.
22. Make screentime intentional. We use closed captions for our emerging readers, and so we never have to skip back to catch missed dialogue on the shows we enjoy. (As a side note, I wasn’t always conscious of how quickly developing brains get overstimulated by screens. The ipad was a thorn in my side, so about 4 months ago we did away with it completely, and it’s been so worth the initial withdrawal.)
23. Meditate. One practice, so many benefits. Mostly, it helps me be more patient and sane.
Now over to you. What practical tips do you have to share for living and mom-ing intentionally? Please leave a comment and share your genius. 🙂