Your Laziest Mom Hacks

lazy-mom-hacksWhat are your laziest/smartest mom hacks?  What are your best tips for getting stuff done around the house in “unperfect” ways? 

Some readers seemed miffed by my posts on photo organization and organizing kids’ clothes — but I am faaaar from perfect, and hate to give that impression.  (Sorry, ladies!)  Of course I’m going to write a post about the things that I feel like I’ve figured out, while skipping posts about the piles of laundry around my house (and lo, there are many).  So I thought we’d do a post about some of our laziest mom hacks — what are your imperfect systems for Getting Stuff Done?  Of course, some of these “lazy” things below are also some of the smartest things I’ve done. It’s like folding underwear (which I haven’t done in a LOOONG time, well before kids). Once you stop, you’re never going back.

For my $.02:

  • We have the same 10 dinners on repeat — and even those are pretty lazy dinners! I have a little board where I write what we’re having for the next week and make sure we have those supplies on hand. Fooey on new recipes and experimentation — that’s what ordering Seamless is for, right? (Which is what happens when I don’t have the week planned out.)
  • I “sort” the laundry by throwing it into different drawers. My boys are a wrinkled mess, and I toootally don’t care.  (Similar to this video, I suppose.)
  • We now put a lingerie bag on the top rack of the dishwasher filled with straws, pacifiers, Take and Toss tops, bottle nipples, et cetera, and see how they come out.  Some we redo by hand, but a lot are fine.
  • I’ve kept my baby in footed pajamas for most of his first year.  He only wears separate pants/shirt outfits when we’re going to a party or some other event.
  • I’ve adopted a “one touch rule” for picking stuff up around the house — it’s probably slower than making bins or something like that but at least some stuff gets put away. The rule: if I pick up something once I have to put it back where it rightfully belongs, not move it to another place.
  • I’ve talked before about how my new mom makeup changed after I had Jack, but I recently changed my makeup routine again based on the “one touch” rule — when I use eyeliner it’s liquid eyeliner (one touch) versus pencil eyeliner (which looks better, but requires me to draw the line with the pencil, put down the pencil and pick up the smudgy brush, open a pot of eyeshadow to dip the smudgy brush into it, and then use the smudgy brush); I’ve also stopped curling my eyelashes on most days and just swipe on mascara.
  • We only use three main credit cards (I haaaate store cards) and I have those three set up to automatically pay the minimum.  (We almost always pay them off in full every month, but I set up the automatic payment after I forgot once.)
  • I studied a few categories of big expenses (dentist bills, children’s classes, home/term/personal articles insurance), figured out what the yearly total was, amortized the expenses to a monthly number, and set up an automatic transfer to various Ally accounts for those big expenses.
  • I plan to outsource vacation planning to my son once he’s old enough.

Ladies, what are your laziest (or smartest) mom hacks? 

Pictured: Laundry delivery! Personal photo from Xmas 2012 (at my parents’ house). All rights reserved.

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Comments

  1. EB0220 says:

    Laundry: Each person in my house has their own laundry hamper (dirty clothes) and basket (clean clothes). Each person has a laundry day. The clean clothes go to the right room and can be folded/put away over the next week. The laundry basket doesn’t have to be empty until a week later. It also saves me from sorting the baby vs. preschooler clothes (impossible) and the me vs. my husband clothes (easy but still annoying).

    That’s about it! Looking forward to hearing what other people say.

  2. We wash the small bottle parts by soaking them in a large mixing bowl with dish soap on our kitchen counter. We rinse them under the faucet and put them straight into the microwave sterilizer, then onto a bottle drying rack. We wash the bottles in the dishwasher on the “Sanitize” setting.
    Another hack is to leave things at the bottom of the stairs to go up, so if you are going upstairs you take with you what you can carry. We didn’t invent this one, but it has come in very handy since our 6 month old was born.

    • Another hack- we have a changing table downstairs in the family room. It has storage underneath and is equipped with its own diapers, wipes, washcloths, towels, tissues, diaper cream, cutips, hand and face wipes, extra clothes, etc. We keep a diaper trashcan next to it and haven’t had any issues with smells from it. We made one of the cubes in the cube storage underneath a hamper for the baby’s dirty laundry (like bibs and things that accumulate downstairs) and we take the bin up when we do the baby’s wash. The table is the same color as our other furniture and is tucked in the corner, so it is not an eyesore, and it was only about $100. It has been so convenient to have the storage and to not have to take the baby upstairs for every diaper change and to have a place to put her down to give her medicine when she needs it. If you have two-story home and have the space for this, I recommend it.

      • Meg Murry says:

        We didn’t even bother with a changing table for the first floor- we put a folding pad from a diaper bag on the floor, and diapers and wipes on the lowest bookshelf. When not in use the changing pad slid under the bookshelf. We have a first floor bathroom, so dirty diapers went in that trashcan (which was small – plastic grocery bag sized, so it was emptied every day or two). I agree that not having to trek upstairs to change diapers was worth it.

  3. Famouscait says:

    I feel like I have ideas to contribute to this post, but I’d really prefer language other than “Lazy Mom” since I don’t associate with that idea at all. I think phrases like that encourage mom-guilt, which is unnecessary and unproductive. I’m not ashamed (nay – I’m thrilled!) to find quicker, more efficient ways to do things.

    1. We have a two hamper system in my master bedroom. Hamper 1 is all underwear, PJs, workout clothes, etc. Basically the kinds of clothes that cannot be messed up in the wash and can sit unattended in the dryer. My husband knows to do the laundry in this hamper whenever it piles up. Hamper 2 has all my work clothes and bras, plus any clothes of my husband’s that require attention while laundering. I wash this hamper on the weekends.

    2. I buy whatever veggies I can find in steamer bags, nuke ’em in the microwave, and then puree for the baby. Based on recs here, I freeze them in these ice cube trays (http://www.amazon.com/OXO-Good-Grips-Cube-Tray/dp/B00004OCLA) and then sort them into two bags in the freezer: green and colored. Each baby meal consists of equal parts green cubes and colored cubes. I refill the freezer bags with a big batch of each every 10 days or so.

    3. I also am only dressing the baby in footed sleepers. I am dismayed to learn that the options vastly run out after size 9m! Does anyone else have a source for size 12m+?

    • The Children’s Place, Old Navy, and Carters have larger sized footies.

    • Maddie Ross says:

      I purchased Carters ones (the Target brand and the normal version) up through 2T. I’m phasing out though now as we’re moving towards potty training (yipes!) and it’s way too hard to get through all that in the morning.

    • Shayla says:

      I had the same reaction to “Lazy Mom.” Thank you for saying something for more eloquent than I was trying to muster.

    • Sorry about that re “lazy”; noted for the future.

      Another thought I’ve been playing with but haven’t yet figured out how to word: are you more aggressively against doing certain stuff as a working mom? Like anti-Martha? My kitchen is a mess, laundry piles are everywhere, I can barely keep up with what my kid’s school needs from us this week… I make no apologies and try to roll with the punches because I know my time/energy is better spent on the business. I feel guilt, yes, but I also feel this aggressive… anti-Martha feeling. I don’t know how to put it.

      • I think this would be a great topic for a future post. I know what you mean and it’s hard to articulate. Like I want my son’s birthday party to be as not-Pinterest as possible. For me, I think it’s a feminist recoiling at the idea that I should work a full time job and then spend my evening making hand-crafted bumblebee cupcake toppers.

        • I totally identify with this sentiment. I encourage all my friends to embrace the “I will not Pinterest” philosophy, unless for some reason they enjoy the tedium!!

      • rakma says:

        I don’t think of it as anti-anything, but that I’m not super focused on anything in that kind of hyper-aggressive way. My house is not magazine ready (either in decor or neatness) I’m not trying to recreate a Montessori school type environment for my kid, I’m not cooking gourmet meals featuring my own organic produce and free range backyard chickens, and I’m not working 80+ hours a week. I could do one of those things, or I can do what I’m currently doing, which is keeping a lot of balls in the air in a mediocre but fine for me manner.

        Also, I keep saying I, but I mean we, because I’m not the only grownup in my household, and we’re both responsible for a reasonable level of work/life/kid/etc duties.

        • Famouscait says:

          +1 to all this. I don’t fully understand the anti-Martha view, but I would classify myself/my household as aggressively simplified. As in, we tend to think the “best” option is the simple option. Which seems rather counter to Ms. Martha.

      • anne-on says:

        I think I feel aggressively anti-Pinterest – I think most people know Martha Stewart’s lifestyle is one that takes lots of time/energy/money, but Pinterest presents itself as ‘easy’ and ‘down to earth’ so to me that’s much more insidious b/c it feels like all the other mom’s are doing this. When really, the very few crafty type moms I know all stay at home, or work drastically reduced hours…or have nannies that are never in their carefully curated photos.
        And DO NOT get me started on the dad-bod thing when every mom I know is expected to be lululemon model material within 6 months of giving birth. Ugh.

      • CPA Lady says:

        I have a couple of things that cause me irrational levels of rage:

        1. being expected to do anything DIY (e.g. make my own baby food)
        2. elaborate bedtime routines — the episode of How I Met Your Mother where Marshall and Lilly “can’t” have a nice evening out together/leave their baby with her father because the bedtime routine is so elaborate? That raised my blood pressure about 10 points. Get a grip, imaginary TV people!
        3. ETA- Elf on the shelf. Just no. Just. no.

        I realize these are totally my own hot button issues though, and lots of people like these things.

        • Meg Murry says:

          OMG, Elf on a Shelf. No, just no. I have threatened both my MIL and Mother that if one of those things ever winds up at my house the Elf will mysteriously disappear back to the North Pole one night, never to return. I have way too much to deal with, I’m not even going there with the stupid elf. Last week the tooth fairy forgot to come 3 nights in a row, which we were able to blame on forgetting to email her – I’d fail so hard at the darn elf.

        • This. Every one of these.

          To me, Elf on a Shelf represents everything wrong with modern parenting (not to take anything away from anyone who genuinely gets joy from their Elf–it’s not you and your Elf–it’s what the Elf means to me). It causes me irrational levels of rage.

          And do not ever ask me to bring anything, have my kids wear anything, do their hair in a particular way, or in any way deviate from the norm of my life without a weekend. I won’t do it.

          Daycare once specifically “required” red and green shirts (like, assigned colors to each child) for my twins’ holiday show with 3 days notice. They should be glad my husband talked me down because I was ridiculously close to buying red and green full body stockings off Amazon and sending my kids to the holiday show dressed as crazy holiday ninjas to make a statement. The idea that a place I pay to care for my kids precisely because I work and DO NOT HAVE TIME ever makes my life harder for no reason nearly made me lose my mind.

          I need to step away from my computer for a moment I think….

          • Just to add on, our daycare had a book fair the other day and encouraged parents to buy books and then donate them to our kids’ classrooms. Excuse me? What am I paying tuition at your FOR PROFIT DAYCARE for?

          • This kills me too. Our daycare just had a center birthday party (for the center…) at 3:30 in the afternoon that parents were supposed to be at. I just don’t get it. If I didn’t have someplace to be at 3:30, I wouldn’t be paying you to watch my child.

          • Spirograph says:

            Oh I hear you. My daycare had a meeting for parents at 1:00 a couple weeks ago. Since my office is 45 minutes away, that basically meant a half day for me (and this is a DC suburb where that commute is totally normal, so it’s not like I was the only one). At the meeting, they informed us that the daycare expects parents to come – without children – for conferences on a day that the daycare is closed – a federal holiday, but not one that is always recognized by non-federal offices. The woman actually suggested that both parents take the day off so one can stay home with the kid/s and the other can come to conferences. I’m sorry, what?!

          • I’m glad I’m not the only mother who is outraged that our super expensive for-profit daycare is constantly begging for donations, on top of a $100+ annual “materials fee” that is added to the already expensive tuition bill. Every other week, there’s some special bring-a-treat or dress-in-X day that I sometimes remember to adhere to, but the kicker for me was in May when management sent home a one-page detailed list of what I was to prepare and bring each day of Teacher Appreciation Week. Um…shouldn’t appreciation flow naturally? My husband and I give our son’s classroom teachers a generous gift of cash at major holidays, and when our son moves up, we also give them cash (because, honestly, that’s really all early childhood education teachers need/want). Oh, and because my son has severe food allergies to the big three: corn, dairy, and soy, I send his 100 percent homemade lunch everyday. Some days, it’s all I can do to get that lunch together, let alone pick out special “silly socks” or remember to dress him in pajamas. I’ve decided I don’t have time or energy to care.

        • My lazy mom hack last year was that I did not even put up a Christmas tree–I got a flat one that’s about 36” tall and hung it above the mantle. My little one was about 15 months old at the time and I knew I didn’t have the patience to chase after him when he starts grabbing at all the ornaments. He won’t remember that there wasn’t a traditional tree with presents under it.

      • kc esq says:

        At a bar association event, a federal judge started her talk about women in the law by saying that when you’re a working mother, you need to make sure you have good child care — and there are many different ways to achieve that, but that you are responsible for getting your kids quality care — but your kitchen floor does not have to be clean. I loved, loved hearing that.

        • Eleacouise says:

          I once overslept and Mr. Wonderful was out of town. I took my 4 mo old baby to a pretrial conference because I could make it to the courthouse or the daycare on time – but not both. The other lawyers passed her around bouncing her up and down. The crusty old judge was AWESOME. He appreciated that I thought his schedule was more important than mine. Great memories.

    • My 7 year olds still have footed sleepers–Target sells them for all the sizes.

    • Samantha says:

      Famouscait – well said! Lets call it “super efficient mom” rather than “lazy mom”!

      My anti-Pinterest pet peeve – preschool required all kids to make valentines cards for each classmate this year. My boy does not care to make cards for his friends, he barely knows what V-day is. And I can’t imagine other kids this age do, either. That means the parents do all the work. I emailed preschool teachers to suggest that we pick names and make one card each. That got me a long reply about enjoying doing crafts with your kid and teaching your kid values and “nobody has ever complained about this before”. Turned me into a total rage-y monster!

  4. Kat, fwiw, your photo post made me realize I need to do SOMETHING to back up my phone photos at the very least – and now both Google and Amazon have phone apps that will back your phone photos when the apps are open. Not organized, but at least not lost if I lose my phone (and it doesn’t require me to be married to iCloud storage).

    • Spirograph says:

      My non-iPhone, whenever it connects to wifi, automatically uploads everything in my phone’s gallery to my Google photos. It’s pretty much my favorite tech thing ever… my only complaint is that it doesn’t automatically load into something like Snapfish or Shutterfly where I can order prints.

  5. My boys are only a size apart in clothes (18 months difference) and over time, we have gradually just combined all their clothes into one, big, wardrobe. It means that some days my older son is wearing a shirt a little too tight or others my little one is wearing a big, baggy shirt (today he’s wearing a too big shirt that says “Suns Out, Guns Out”…shame….), but I’m ok with that.

    We keep little Rubbermaid containers in our living room filled with clean socks and underwear. We always get the boys dressed in that room, and it didn’t make sense to keep those essentials somewhere else.

    We also recycle probably the same 10 dinners over and over. I’ll throw in a new one every now and then, but we have a pretty good routine going.

    My boys eat peanut butter toast and fruit for dinner more often than I care to admit. It’s easy and we always have the ingredients on hand.

  6. shortperson says:

    not exactly a hack, but we have given up and hired someone to come to our house three times a week. in addition to regular cleaning, she does the laundry and puts it away and does the dishes. we stopped doing dishes and for the most part let them pile up on in between days. it’s expensive and we could definitely use the money for other things, but it enables us to spend a lot more time with LO and on our work.

    • anne-on says:

      When our son was smaller we had a mother’s helper 3x a week for about 2 hours a night who would feed my son dinner, clean him up, and play with him for a bit so I could do laundry/cook baby food/prep dinner/do lunches for daycare/etc. It was THE BEST. As he’s older the need to have someone supervise him lessened but it was suuuch a great thing at the time.

      • Ciao, pues says:

        I like this idea, but I’d want to flip the roles: Mother’s Helper does laundry, lunches, etc. while I feed and play with kid. I love all the helpers who are eager to hold and play with kid, but I somewhat resent the helpers taking the fun part leaving me “free” to do the tedious stuff.

  7. My best hack is expensive, but worth it: I buy many multiples of things we use every day, like pump parts, bottles, sippy cups, sleep sacks, crib sheets, etc. That way I can go a couple of days without running the dishwasher or doing laundry, and even if she pees on everything a couple of days in a row, I’m not scrambling to find bedding.

    • Famouscait says:

      I just tried something new: layering the sheets and mattress protector on the crib. That way when there’s a pee issue, you can just tear off the top sheet and (waterproof) mattress protector underneath and voila! there’s a clean sheet ready to go.

    • rakma says:

      I agree with buying multiples of things that get used daily. I had enough pump parts for a whole week, and more sippy cups than we’ll ever need, but I never have to run the dishwasher (or, shudder, handwash) something rightthisminute.

      Most of DD’s clothes are hand-me-downs, and there are bins and bins of them, so I can probably go 2 weeks with out doing laundry for her. She might not match well towards the end of that time, but really, who cares?

  8. acj5e says:

    We don’t fold laundry. We sort into 1 pile for each person on the guestroom floor, then everyone grabs what they need during the week.

    • Meg Murry says:

      Same. We moved both boys beds into one bedroom, and then the other small bedroom became the “dressing room” with their dressers and baskets and baskets of clothes, as well as the boxes of clothes the big one outgrew but the little one isn’t ready for. It’s a total disaster area right not- the dressers are mostly empty, the laundry baskets are overflowing, but at least there are more clean clothes than dirty and I can shut the door on the mess.

      I haven’t changed over the clothes for the next season/size thoroughly, so yesterday my youngest boys pants were more of a capri length, but hey, he was wearing pants, so winning, right?

  9. CPA Lady says:

    Totally agree with Famouscait’s dislike of the term “lazy”– considering working mothers are expected to do far more than SAHMs did a generation ago, I don’t think any of us are lazy. For me, I try to have an overall attitude of not getting overly wound up about having things “just so” more than any one tip or trick. That said, these are my tips and tricks.

    1. Not researching things to death– What’s the highest rated [whatever] on amazon? Buy. This daycare seems good? Sign up. There are 900 types of baby food? Just pick some and throw it in the cart. Reminding myself that its all good.

    2. My daughter doesn’t have a bath every day. My pediatrician said to bathe her once a week in the winter unless there was a blowout or something of the sort, and twice a week in the summer. This is going to change once she gets older, I’m sure, but for now bathing is not an everyday thing.

    3. Other than our silverware, we do not own any dishes, pot, pans, baking items, etc., that can’t go through the dishwasher. We also run bottles and bottle parts through the dishwasher, and only sanitize stuff we’ve just bought.

    4. Have formula and diaper delivery subscription through amazon.

    5. All bills on auto pay.

    6. All laundry gets washed and dried together without being sorted in any way. The only things I hang dry are my bras. I do fold the baby clothes, but it goes in two plastic bins under the crib- one for pjs, one for day clothes.

    7. Low holiday and birthday expectations. I think I got my daughter 2 board books for her first Christmas, and that was only because *I* was tired of the ones we had. I don’t know if we’ll have a 1st b-day party beyond having a couple of people over and eating cake from a box mix. These little kid “pinterest-worthy” parties I see make me feel like I’m going to break out in hives, and I plan to avoid that kind of thing until my kid complains.

    • rakma says:

      +1 to the Amazon delivery of diapers. I have never run out, because Amazon is better at remembering than I am.

    • (former) preg 3L says:

      + a MILLION to your number 1 — stop overanalyzing. Looks good? Done.

      Also completely agreed on Amazon diaper delivery subscription.

    • Samantha says:

      On your #7 – kids don’t care about 1st or 2nd birthdays. By the 3rd birthday, they maybe know what it is and like to blow out the candles. My kid didn’t even like cake. It’s only at older ages that you really need to celebrate “their” day – before that, just celebrate the way you want because it’s more the anniversary of your parenthood.

  10. rakma says:

    We never found a storage spot for bottles and all their pieces, so I just started throwing them in a big bowl on the counter. Now that’s where the sippy cup parts and kid utensils live. The come out of the dishwasher basket, and get dumped right in the bowl. Since this will all be gone one day, I don’t feel bad about not making a permanent home for it.

    I’ll second the changing table on each floor, so much easier than schlepping the baby around.

    I have the grocery delivery service set where I can click ‘guess my order’, then schedule a delivery, and I’ll get the basics like milk, eggs, bread and bananas. Even when I can’t manage to plan a week of dinners, there’s enough in that delivery to keep DD fed for a few days, and we don’t have to do a huge shopping trip.

    The only dusting that happens in my house is when DD runs around with a Swiffer and ‘cleans’. She’s actually getting pretty good at it…

    • +1 to grocery “guess my order”. I now order groceries from the bus on my iPhone during my commute, which might be the best thing ever. Then I dispatch DH to pick them up on the weekend. Haven’t been to the grocery store in weeks.

  11. NewMomAnon says:

    My biggest life hack: I moved to a condo so I don’t have to do (much) maintenance and have almost no commute. Less space also means less stuff, which means “cleaning the house” now takes the same amount of time that “picking up the main floor” used to take in the ‘burbs.

    I

    If kiddo spills something with many pieces (box of crayons, bowl of blueberries), I keep going with whatever I was doing and have her pick it up. She throws away her own diapers, she puts her laundry in the hamper, she finds her own shoes, she helps unload the grocery bags, she helps bring dishes to the table for meals.

    I use my gas grill instead of my oven for everything other than baking cakes; it takes less time to preheat.

    I’ve given up on bibs for meals; I’m doing the laundry anyway, so the bib is just another thing to clean. I’ve also started serving kiddo’s food on little plates instead of directly on her high chair tray; less to clean up.

    • Oh, grilling! You’re absolutely right. We grill a ton because it heats up quicker than the oven, cooks quickly, doesn’t make the entire downstairs hot, and we can pile a ton of food on there and cook it all at the same time. On Sundays, I’ll grill many chicken breasts to have to eat throughout the week.

  12. Lyssa says:

    Bottles and milk cups get put back in the fridge, rather than washed. When my little guy was on bottles, we just refilled the same one over and over until either it accidentally got left out for a while, we had to go out and couldn’t put it back in, or we realized that we’d been using it for more than a day or so. (This cut down on formula waste, too.) We use the same tactic with milk sippy cups – bedtime is “time to put the milk away.” (Obviously, we wash them eventually, just not every time.)

    Not a big deal, but it sort of revolutionized my laundry thought process when it occurred to me to buy a second bottle of Shout for the bedroom upstairs. That way, if I get a stain, you can treat it and get changed at the same time, rather than putting it off because I didn’t feel like going all the way back to the laundry room. I also got a separate basket to put delicates in, so there’s no need to sort, and my husband keeps two – one for lights and one for darks.

    We also make sure to plan for leftovers, for lunches and days when we don’t want to fix dinner, when cooking.

  13. Have your child wear only one make/model of socks. For us, that’s the tri-fold Gap socks in gray. That’s all DS wears. Never have to match socks again!

    • shortperson says:

      i do that for my socks! but there are so many cute baby socks out there…

    • anne-on says:

      Along those lines – I have about 10-12 pairs of socks and pjs for our son. It allows me to go from doing laundry 3-4x a week to 2-3x a week depending on messiness/sickness.

    • Meg Murry says:

      Yup, this is necessary. For us, it’s the Hanes easy-sort that are sold at Target- the littlest guy wears the ones with red letters, middle kid wears green letters and I wear either blue (boys large) or pink letters. We each get a new package of socks before a vacation – no sorting or packing socks, just throw in the whole package.

      As far as the “lazy mom” comment goes – I think the more appropriate term might be “how have you streamlined, and what have you de-prioritized or don’t bother with at all?”

      • rakma says:

        A new pack of socks before vacation? That is genius. I am actually a little in love with this idea.

    • Eleacouise says:

      Wow, I do this with my own socks – only they come from Smartwool!

  14. I’m late to this discussion, but just want to say 1) you ladies are brilliant, so many great tips and 2) I feel so much better about the state of my house. Love the idea of de-prioritizing things. For me, it’s dog hair. We just live with it.

    • In House Lobbyist says:

      I do most of these things especially like Amazon and buying the same kind of socks. I do the sock trip for my husband and me too. I gave up top sheets and my mother is still shocked by it. Making a bed – or throwing the comforter over everything – is much easier with the top sheet. I do this for my own bed sometimes too.

      I also keep a gift closet so I always have a girl or boy or gender neutral gift for any ransoms birthday parties that I might forget about until the last minute.

    • In House Lobbyist says:

      I do most of these things especially like Amazon and buying the same kind of socks. I do the sock trip for my husband and me too. I gave up top sheets and my mother is still shocked by it. Making a bed – or throwing the comforter over everything – is much easier without the top sheet. I do this for my own bed sometimes too.

      I also keep a gift closet so I always have a girl or boy or gender neutral gift for any ransoms birthday parties that I might forget about until the last minute.

  15. layered bob says:

    A working mother I had lunch with a few years ago introduced me to the concept of “things I don’t do.” It streamlines my mental space – I have a giant (mental) list of things I do not need to worry about because I do not do them. I could do them, I’m glad other people do them, I would even probably *like* to do them, but for me, right now, I just don’t.

    I don’t:
    craft,
    knit (“but it’s fun to learn!” I’m sure it is but I’m not going to),
    garden,
    make vegetable broth from scratch (“but it’s so easy!” I know it is but I don’t do it),
    iron,
    wear concealer,
    bake,
    launder anything on a setting other than “warm/cool/tumble dry medium” – if it doesn’t survive, it doesn’t survive,
    do anything that a professional or teenager could do more efficiently (mow the lawn, wash windows, paint, set up a website, etc.),
    buy or even briefly consider heels over 2.5″ or bracelets of any kind,
    pick up anything that can be delivered (dry cleaning, groceries, household supplies, gifts for all occasions, clothing),
    clean anything that cannot be cleaned with vinegar or baking soda,
    scrapbook or take photos,
    and many other things that I don’t even know about because I don’t do them.

    I DO add to the “donate” pile anything that does not immediately have a useful place in my home, write a very nice thank you note, and then never think about it again – that includes almost every gift I have ever received, regardless of the giver.

    • I love this concept. One of the things I don’t do is paint my nails – ever. I keep them trimmed and neat and have absolutely no interest in doing anything else.

      • Yes! I slap color on my toenails–the same color–because it lasts forever and no one is looking at chips. But hands? Never. Why even bother?

    • Love this – I’d add that if you do choose to do one or more of these things, mentally categorize it as luxury/me time and enjoy the heck out of it.

      I love knitting and baking and I do them for fun… when I can. I am not socially obligated to put a certain amount of time or effort in to them. HUGE difference.

      I could probably come up with my own mental list that is a bit different. The important thing is realizing that you can not do all the things.

    • Burgher says:

      I don’t wash my pump parts between pumping sessions (or even daily TBH – I reuse the horns a second day). I never sterilize anything. My kids have never gotten sick and makes pumping way less annoying.

      I leave all things daycare (physical AND mental work) to my husband. He also does all medical appointments and checkups…. and ALL laundry. This is a HUGE amount of work taken off of me.

      I don’t get any kind of beauty stuff done, other than an occasional indulgence like a pedicure before a summer vacation. I don’t shower every day – dry shampoo FTW! I only use shampoo, conditioner, and a bar of soap (so no separate face wash, body wash, etc) which cuts down shower time. I rarely shave my legs. I only wear the makeup that is the most beneficially enhancing on a daily basis.

      I don’t bake and I only cook on occasion. I am OK with my kid not having Pinterest-worthy lunches every day. He can survive on a Lunchable occasionally.

      I rarely deep clean or dust anything in the house.

      We took out all landscaping from our yard other than a few bushes so we only have to mow and weed-whack.

  16. I clean my bathroom while my 10 month old takes his bath.

    • Spirograph says:

      omg, genius. Why did I never think of this? (Probably because my husband usually does bathtime. So even better, why did I never think of asking HIM to clean the bathroom during kiddo bathtime?!)

  17. Eleacouise says:

    MEMORIES: My little ones are teenagers now, but when they were born, and I still was in Biglaw, a friend told me to buy a big plastic tote for each kid and just throw stuff in it as we go along- pictures they draw, the stories they write in misspelled words in the 2d grade, the notes from teachers (good and bad are funny later), everything that would get thrown away because it’s to overwhelming to organize once it becomes clutter. If you just throw it in, and organize it 10 years later, it’s a joy.

  18. Eleacouise says:

    Soccer. It. Eats. Your. Life.
    We didn’t do it. All our friends had practice and games every night. Multiple layers with multiple kids, all conflicting – different places at the same time. And all weekend. Multiple seasons all year round. It never ends. By the 7th grade most kids (or their parents) had burned out of it and were on to other endeavors that had discreet seasons, then a break, or that required only 1 or 2 days a week commitment. We just skipped soccer. I’d do it all over again.

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