Parents, I hope you have the Pinterest button installed in your browser because you are going to want to pin the hell out of these parenting hacks.
Okay, so the word “hacks” is probably a little generous given what I’m about to describe and these definitely don’t belong anywhere near Pinterest. If you look up “mom hacks” on Pinterest you’ll get really clever ideas from moms much smarter and more well-rested than I am where they take a toilet paper roll and transform it into an elaborate organizational tool that entertains their kids at the same time.
By that definition, these aren’t really hacks so much as they are parenting shortcuts. And by shortcut I mean things I do that are integral to my survival…and of course, my children’s. Sure, you may have a slight twinge of guilt deploying these “hacks”, but doesn’t our sanity depend on doing things we wouldn’t normally do if we weren’t in a hostile, hostage situation? And yes, that’s sort of what parenting feels like approximately 75% of the time.
Some may call it lazy parenting and to those people I either ask “How many kids do you have?” and then say F you. In my head. Because I’m way too passive aggressive to ever do any of those things out loud.
Parenting is hard. Am I the parent I want to be 100% of the time? No. Not at all. I am human. Do I beat myself up because I’m not the parent I want to be 100% of the time? Of course! That said, there are seriously times where you have to pull out your “in case of emergency” tricks and give zero Fs while you do so. Without further ado, here is a short list of semi-questionable things I do in order to get through the day.
Mom Hack #1: Grocery shopping
Open up every box in the store that contains the words “cookies, fruit snacks, and chocolate” on it. Throw these foods at your child as you desperately try to recall what the hell you ventured into the store in the first place for. When all else fails, and it will, leaving behind a Hansel and Gretel-like trail of chocolate chip cookie parenting failure, pull out your phone loaded up with YouTube kids as you waltz to the checkout line and say to the Trader Joe’s cashier “yo, let me get some of those stickers for my kid”. This hack alone ensures that you’ll get at least 60% of the things you actually needed from your list and 100% of the things that you didn’t. Silver lining: you now remember how good Teddy Grahams taste.
Mom Hack #2: Getting your kid to nap
Step 1. Read a book. A really short one. Lay down and softly sing songs. Walk out of the room.
Step 2. Go back into the room and attempt to bribe your child. Candy. New toys. A pony. Black market organs. Anything.
Step 3. Open bedroom door of unsleeping child as menacingly as possible. Threaten threaten threaten, i.e. I will take away your trains. I will take away your children’s trains. I will take away your children’s children’s trains. And then I will make you watch while I do it.
Mom hack #3: Entertaining the kids
Lay completely flat on the floor. Say nothing. Just your mere presence on the floor will immediately draw their attention and they will do the rest. The injuries you suffer will be significantly less painful than the whining of bored children.
Mom Hack #4: Freezer Bags
I throw so many snacks into a single freezer bag that it becomes a processed food cornucopia. I’m anticipating the wants and needs of two children and I don’t have time to be fancy or worry about my carbon footprint. My favorite part of this hack is when my kids reject everything I’ve offered and when I’m just about to lose it, they end up taking the very first thing I offered them after all.
Mom Hack #5: Bath Toys
Cups. Just a regular plastic cup. Sure, you could spend money on things like this and this – I sure have. But nothing seems to appeal to small children so much as a cup. Whether they use it to drink their own dirty bath water or pour water all over the bathroom floor while you shriek KEEP IT IN THE TUB, you can’t beat a cup. Side note: if you bathe more than 1 kid at the same time pray to God you have two of the same cup. Because they will know. They will not be fooled. And if they are not the same, then you will hear nonstop whining about the differences.
Mom Hack #6: Lollipops
In my short time as a parent I’ve learned that there aren’t many things that can’t be resolved with a lollipop. Need a bribe for a nap? Lollipop. Kid doesn’t want to leave the park? Oh, come see what I have lurking in my car – LOLLIPOP! Mommy needs three minutes to herself to sip the rest of her cold coffee? LOLLIPOP LOLLIPOP LOLLIPOP! The fact that “pop-pop” is a prominent part of my 18-month old’s growing vocabulary is a testament to how much I’ve relied on this hack. I remember being so nervous the first time I gave AJR a lollipop after his first professional haircut. Now I’m all like “oh you got this, baby. Try not to run around too fast with it. Thanks.”
What sorts of things do you rely on to get by as a parent? Please, share your wisdom and help me expand my repertoire.