As a mother, so often it seems I have to take the path of most resistance. Whether it’s making sure I have the safest car seats installed correctly or the most educational extracurricular activities picked out for my kids, often I feel as though some parts of my life have to be hard or I just might fall short of what I want to be as a parent. So, it’s nice at other times to have solutions to common things I have to do as a parent that are in fact easy and leave me without guilt. I’ve found that to survive and thrive at this stage of life, especially after adding baby #3, I have to choose easy when I can. Here’s a list of some of my favorite easy things.
Grocery Pick Up: I use to love grocery shopping. Even when my older kids were little, it was cute. I’d put them both in one of those “car carts” and they’d pretend to drive around the store. Yes, they would go absolutely nuts from time to time, but I got a ton of adorable pictures, so it was ok. Baby #3 was a complete game changer, so I tried Walmart pick up for my own sanity. There are a lot of options for groceries or other shopping from Instacart to Target Drive Up. I chose Walmart because its close by and free, and I haven’t been back to traditional grocery shopping since. Nothing says easy like having your pre-ordered groceries loaded into your car for you. The app is easy and its great on a budget to prevent impulse buying.
Audiobooks: I love and believe in reading to my children. I am also a part-time working, part-time stay-at-home mom. I wish I wasn’t so tired at the end of the day. But, the end of the day comes, and between pre-bedtime sibling bickering and my own exhaustion, reading together is sometimes a bust. I’ve found that for these times, audiobooks are a perfect easy thing I can play that the kids will listen to. They get “read to” and it requires no effort from me. In fact I enjoy listening too.
TV Webcaster: Our children are morning people, we are not. I limit my children’s screen time as much as possible, but sometimes for the sake of sanity, screen time can be helpful in small doses. In our household, screen time often happens in the morning to give those of us who are not morning people a chance to take a shower and down a cup of coffee before we are expected to be “on” for the day. To make matters easier, we bought a webcasting device a few years ago that allows my husband or me to control our television from our phones. This means that when the kids get up at 6 on the weekends, we can turn on the TV in our family room with our phones and control programming without getting out of bed.
Instapot/Crockpot: I’ve never been the queen of meal prep. But, since having Baby #3, I have started using my crockpot or Instapot almost every day. Googling a recipe or just using the included recipe book has provided our family with great meal ideas that are easy to pull off and good every time. The Instapot is also helpful for making bulk food specifically for my baby (sweet potatoes, black beans, quinoa etc) so I can use it throughout the week for fast healthy food for her.
Online Photobooks: I imagined I would be the mom that had ongoing albums of pictures of my children. The reality is that my son who just turned 4 still does not have a “Baby’s First Christmas” album. It’s hard to parent and also document it. I learned from my cousin who is the master of photo albums that the way to go is to find an online photo book company ( like Shutterfly or Snapfish) to create albums. This way, multiple copies of the album can easily be printed as needed and your work is saved and can be picked up during rare and short free moments. In order to make sure we have a family album commemorating each year, I make one album and give copies as Christmas presents to all the grandparents each December.
Laundry Basket Organization System: My husband and I hate folding laundry, so both of us have always tried to do it as little as possible. This means that at one point after our second child was born, we had a pile of unfolded laundry on our bed that weighed at least 50lbs. Every night we would work together to move this pile to a chair in our bedroom so we could sleep. This went on for a while until my husband (brilliantly) made the call to set up a “laundry organization system”. This consists of some metal shelving and several well labeled laundry baskets. Each family member gets one laundry basket with his/her name on it. We also have one for socks, cloth diapers and baby accessories. The baskets fit nicely on the metal shelving. All clean laundry can be quickly separated into individual baskets and folded (or not folded) later. We no longer have a giant pile of unfolded laundry and separating family laundry into baskets is easy enough that even my 4 year old can help.
What are some of your favorite “Easy Buttons” in your home?