“How to clean without any effort.” “World’s easiest dinner recipe.” “Tricks to make toddlers fall asleep fast.”
That last one is my favorite. What do these all have in common? They’re all things I’ve googled. Things I’ve tried to “hack.” With New Year’s resolutions piling on my to-do list, life can seem extra shiny and wonderful…as well as extra overwhelming. Mommy-ing is hard, but add “work-out 7 days a week, eat Paleo, wash face every night, eliminate screens on weekdays, try ‘Earthing’, and engage in 20 minutes of deep breathing every day” to the pile of laundry and it is almost laughably hard. It is literally the hardest thing I’ve ever done. There are not enough hours in the day and, as a cruel joke, my body hates caffeine so home-girl is sipping decaf.
To alleviate this madness, most of us have probably trolled some stunning momma’s Insta-life hoping to glean wisdom from her life-hacks. Much to my dismay, however, 99% of the hacks I’ve tried somehow create more chaos. For instance, I read a book once that swore by scheduling your weekly calendar in 15 minute increments. 15 MINUTES PEOPLE. This is my effort to save you from collapsing over your calendar, huddled in a bathroom, rocking back and forth because you can’t remember which 15 minute increment you’re supposed to be executing (that didn’t happen to me…). I’ve compiled a list of hacks that I think are truly legitimate. These things ACTUALLY made my life easier. Sip your hopefully caffeinated beverage and enjoy.
- HOMEMADE COUNTER/SWIFFER WIPES. For the love of all things easy and clean, grab yourself a .5lb GLASS jar (like this one), 5 microfiber washcloths, 1 cup of white vinegar, ½ cup of rubbing alcohol, 2 cups of distilled water and 30 drops of whatever essential oil scents you enjoy. Throw the cloths in the jar, mix the liquids in a bowl then pour over the cloths. Slap on that lid. Super economical, easy, yummy smelling, incredibly effective and kid-safe cleaning. I have one on my kitchen counter for a nightly wipe-down. The mixture works on glass, stainless steel, most finished wood, tile…everything. I also keep one jar upstairs and one by my Swiffer since they work wonderfully as refills. Goodbye overpriced Swiffer refills! Sayonara bleachy Clorox wipes!
- MAKE YOUR OWN HAND SOAP. Okay, before I get a collective eye roll, hear me out. It’s incredibly easy and incredibly cheap! You already bought distilled water for the wipes so bust that out again, add to a glass FOAM soap dispenser (like this one), until there’s about an inch left. Add two tablespoons of unscented pure castile soap (like this one), add 20 drops of an essential oil you think is fabulous. Lid on, shake up and VOILA hand soap that is great for sensitive skin, sulfate-free, great for kiddos and again, crazy cheap! This recipe will save you so much trouble and when your kid goes through the soap-is-yummy phase.
- SUPER EASY CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP. Literally. Super. Easy. With winter and sniffles very much here, a hot soup is so on fleek right now. Don’t judge. This one is by far the easiest I’ve found.
4 oz any noodle ya’ like (we like Lensi’s Red Lentil Fusilli from Wal-Mart)
2 32oz containers of whatever broth ya’ like
2 frozen chicken breasts (yes, frozen! Lazy mommas rejoice!)
A chopped onion
2 chopped carrots
2 chopped stalks of celery
2 tsp thyme
2 tsp parsley
2 tsp minced garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
Boil the broth, veggies, spices and frozen chicken breast (yes, frozen!) about 20 minutes. Remove chicken and chop or shred. Add chicken and noodles to the pot. Simmer about 10 more minutes or until noodles are doneskies.
- SLEEP MORE. Okay, this is also a cruel joke because who gets great sleep when they have kiddos?! But there are a few hacks that make sleep come easier for us mommies… and not just “avoid caffeine.” That tip is a great way to get punched.
- Nap less than 45 minutes.
- No wine right before bed because it increases subconscious nighttime waking (I know that’s borderline punching material).
- If you’re looking for a supplement, try a good quality Magnesium as an alternative to Melatonin or prescription drugs. We use this Magnesium. Talk to your doctor or chiropractor for clinical dosage levels for your specific age/weight and to make sure it is not contraindicated with any other medications you may be taking.
- No screens an hour before bed.
- If you can’t sleep, get OUT of bed. Your brain is an extremely associative organ and will associate wakefulness with the bed if you spend too much time scrolling Quad City Moms Blog. Move to another area and read a book or try meditating then go back to your bed.
- Adults require 8 hours of sleep a night for optimal mental acuity and physical health. Little ones tend to revolt against that, but we can do our best. For more sleep tips, check out the National Sleep Foundation website (https://sleepfoundation.org).
There you go. Those are my four favorite hacks these days. To my fellow mommy-warriors, may your counter wipes be cost-effective, your hand soap easily refillable, your soup yummy and your sleep sweet.