Make Bathtime Easier with These 10 Tips

make bathtime easierBathtime with babies and little kids can be many things: fun, relaxing, hectic, boring, etc., depending on your kid’s age, current mood, and general attitude toward baths. Have you developed any tips and tricks to make bathtime easier?

First, I’ll share a few things we’ve done at our house to make our son’s bathtime easier:

1. Cushion your knees with one of those squishy kneeling pads that some people use for gardening or other home chores, like these. (I may have even picked up ours in the dollar section of CVS.) They make kneeling on the floor in front of the tub much more comfortable! This product is even fancier and more functional.

2. For a kid old enough to stand when you get her out of the tub, buy a hooded bathrobe like this one. It’ll keep her warm without any effort on her (or your part) — when you’re getting out the hair dryer or whatever — and it’ll start the drying-off process before you turn to a towel.

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The Mom Voice: On the Playground — and at the Office?

Today’s topic: the mom voice. Do you think you have a “mom voice”? Have you heard your friends’ mom voices — and did it bring you comfort or freak you out? Have you ever noticed your mom voice encroaching at the office — and was it welcome or unwelcome? 

A few weeks ago, an old friend who lives in a different city posted a video on Facebook of her three-year-old son. She was off-camera, with her little boy front and center, and my friend K was at first encouraging him, then scolding him when he started making a mess.

It was a cute video, but what I loved most surprised me: It was her MOM voice. It’s that distinct voice that we all found once we became parents to an unruly toddler — equal parts educator, disciplinarian, cheerleader, and perhaps world-weary battle warrior. It’s something I’ve often recognized in my own home videos (“GAH, is that what I really sound like? What a nag…”), but it was kind of AWESOME to hear my friend’s mom voice. I’m not sure if it was because I was so happy to hear it in someone else — a kind of validation, like, “Look, another previously cool chick has turned into a MOM!” — or if it was because we haven’t kept in touch and her voice tells me a lot about where she is in life, which I suspect is the same place I am. Like if we were to meet up on a playground or coffee shop we’d instantly fall back into that happy old rhythm of friends.

What was really interesting was how, after she posted the video, a LOT of people commented on how nice it was to hear her mom voice. So I’m not just a weirdo! (Nah, I totally am.)

So here are the questions, ladies: Do YOU have a mom voice that you recognize? (Did it start after you grew out of the POOPCUP stage of parenting?) Have you heard your friends’ mom voices — and did it bring you comfort, solidarity, or something else? (Have you found your mom voice encroaching at the office? I’ve definitely noticed that I’m less willing to take any BS these days in any circumstance, but I’d attribute that more to being a grownup and less to a mom — but I’m curious to hear your thoughts.)

Pictured: Pixabay.

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How to Level Up Your Childcare/Personal Help (When Money is No Object)

how to level up your childcare | extended options for very busy momsIf you’re a busy working mom, good childcare is a must — but what happens when a nanny doesn’t even begin to cut it? How can you level up your childcare and household management? (Warning: this post is not terribly budget-friendly.)

I’ve wanted to talk about this ever since I read this post from Penelope Trunk (written in 2008 but I first read it more recently than that) about hiring a house manager — an entire position I never knew existed but would love to have if money and time allowed. So if you need more than a nanny, let’s review the “additional childcare options for very busy moms” that I know of (beyond, obviously, getting your husband to be an equal partner and sharing parenting duties)…

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How to Save Money on Baby Gear

Save Money on Baby GearWhen you’re pregnant, it can be overwhelming just thinking about all the stuff you’ll have to buy and get ready — but thankfully, parents can find plenty of ways to save money on baby gear. Before you run out to start your registry at a baby gear superstore like Babies “R” Us or Buy Buy Baby — or before you click over to Amazon — do your research and think about what you’ll really need. If there’s something that you won’t use right away (i.e., something for an older baby, not a newborn), consider putting off the purchase until you know whether it’s really necessary.

To complement our baby registry series, we thought we’d gather some money-saving tips for new parents and parents-to-be. Please add your own in the comments! What are your favorite ways to save money on baby gear? Did you (or will you) set a budget for pre-baby purchases or just play it by ear?  

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The Best Gifts for Kids with Too Many Toys

The Best Gifts for Kids with Too Many Toys

Does it feel like your kids have too many toys? What have you done about it, if anything? Do you rotate toys so that everything’s not out at once? Yes, it’s a First World Problem, to be sure (too many toys! oh, the humanity!), but if you’ve got kids with too many toys, you know the drill: Stuff often ends up all over the house, many toys sit unused in storage bins for months (or years), and, maddeningly, new toys that are begged for are often played with for a couple weeks and then abandoned.

Ruth Soukup of Living Well Spending Less wrote an essay in 2012 called “Why I Took My Kids’ Toys Away (& Why They Won’t Get Them Back)” that went viral, and it’s worth a read. She explains why she took away her kids’ toys after getting tired of them not cleaning up their room and noticing that they kept wanting more and more “stuff” without being satisfied with what they had. She donated more than half, kept some, and put a few toys on high shelves in her daughters’ bedroom — and she started taking out one at the time for her girls to play with. A year later, Soukup wrote an update and answered some common questions from readers, like “What are your guidelines for the toys that you keep?” and “What do you do about birthdays & holidays?”

This season is a great time to talk about this issue! Here are some ideas of gifts to give kids who have too many toys, focusing on experiences rather than physical things:

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Finally Friday: Compressed Towels (aka Emergency Wipes)

compressed-towels-emergency-wipesSeveral weeks ago, we were on a plane and had a toddler poop emergency — and I had packed the extra wipes somewhere “clever,” which is Casa Griffin code for “no idea where.”  YEP, super smart. I found myself wishing desperately I had this odd little compressed/condensed towel that I’d found years ago at one of those random card/gift stores in New York. I came home, hunted on Amazon, and BEHOLD: super teeny tiny towels.  These individually wrapped towels, when compressed, are about the size of a very large pill (maybe 3-4x the size of a Tums or Zicam) but, if you add water, they expand to be slightly larger than a diaper wipe, and of similar quality.  My bet is that they’ll be a better option than just plain wet bathroom paper towels or toilet paper if there is another similar bathroom or sticky-hands emergency in our future. They’re small enough that I have two of them in my purse’s makeup bag (even though we’ve started potty training).  You can buy a set of 12 for $3.59, Add-On shipping at Amazon. SE NW9510-12 Compressed Towels (12 Pack), Small/9-1/2″ x 10″, White

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