Parenting Hacks for the Win!

Whew! Happy Monday and welcome back to the blog, if you made it through last week’s highly controversial deep dive into spiritual practices.

Thanks for sticking around! I didn’t mean to ruffle feathers, but man alive. It happens whether or not you mean to, doesn’t it?

Anyway, today I’m in mama mode. Specifically, clever, creative mama mode, where I share all of the things I do that are absolute GAME CHANGERS in raising kids.

Stop in next time for the secrets to becoming a millionaire.

KIDDING.

I’ll be the first to tell you that I don’t have this parenting thing figured out. I’ve been doing it for a lot of years, y’all. I stepped into parenting for my nephews 20 years ago and it’s absolutely come around full swing, because I’m going through the preschooler-who-thinks-she’s-a-teenager phase right now.

Some things never change, and preschooler attitude is one of those things.

Anyway, all that sass is tough to gently, mindfully parent when you’re already a whole lot of, well, sassy on your own. So I’m choosing to focus on parenting wins today and sharing a quick little roundup of mommy hacks that have come in clutch for us.

Let’s get to the wins, shall we?

{from Pinterest, original source unknown}

I’ve talked about our travel essentials on the blog before, so this isn’t a new one. But y’all, when I say LIFE CHANGING. Having a potty in the car is all that and more. We use EV’s training potty, lined with a diaper. It’s easy to roll up the diaper and throw it away after it’s been used, and we’re using up diapers she grew out of, so it’s a win-win for us.

Also, my kid has a bladder the size of a mustard seed, so literally, this is a win-win. For us, this is an all-the-time necessity, because when she says ‘I gotta go’, we basically have just enough time to pull over, unbuckle her, and hurl her over the back seat into the trunk to pee.

Another item I’ve mentioned on the blog, but it’s worth mentioning again because it’s absolutely a mom hack. We call this our ‘safety bracelet’ and EV is comfortable and confident with it. She can walk independently, but still close enough for comfort. It’s double velcro, so it’s not easy to take off, and the cable is steel coil, so it’s not easy to cut through, either. I’m not a fan of backpack leashes for her at this stage, honestly. They’re fine for little littles, but she’s bigger now. And while I want her to have a little freedom to roam, I’m also an overprotective mama, so this wrist leash right here is our bestie.

Sidenote – I’m not an Amazon affiliate, so clicking that link does me no favors, but it will most definitely do YOU a favor if you have a feisty toddler like mine.

We’re ALL the way in Miss Independent territory with our 4-year-old, y’all, so getting her dressed in the morning is a delicate negotiation with a tiny terror. She’s determined to do it herself, but that means it takes three times as long as it would if she would just LET ME DO IT.

Also, we’re in the middle of this weird aversion to anything touching her legs. Like, say, pants. Because how dare I try to cover her legs and keep her warm, right?

IT’S TOOOOOOO COOOOOOOOOOOOOLD, mommy.

So I’ve implemented an old trick from my housefull-of-boys days; every Sunday evening, we pick out 5 complete outfits. Socks, bows, the whole thing. I roll each outfit up and put them into a basket in her room. Each morning, when I grab one to put on her, I remind her about a thousand times that SHE PICKED THIS OUTFIT, for the love.

Just put it on, sweets, before mama loses every last shred of willpower and you go to school in a too-small nightie and mismatched socks.

Obviously, the system isn’t perfect, but it helps. If you have an independent preschooler – or, say, a sleepyhead pre-teen who won’t want to get up and find his own socks until the bus is already driving up the road – this little hack is absolutely worth the effort.

Kid items in the backseat of a mommy car is NOT news, I totally get this. But I was actually shocked to hear that there are parents out there who do not, in fact, tote along kid items on purpose. I use a cute little basket (just like the one I use for the hack above, incidentally) and it sits on the floor under her carseat, since her feet can’t reach the floor anyway. We always carry these items:

  • Extra outfit, underwear, and socks
  • Plastic grocery bags folded into a Ziploc bag (I use these a LOT, so I carry quite a few, but you could also use a roll of small trash bags)
  • Baby wipes
  • Toys, books, and color wonder coloring kit
  • Blanket
  • Ziploc bag of hair ties, a pick, and a travel bottle of non-aerosol hairspray (she’s a curly girly, so hair ties alone don’t do the trick for us).
  • Bug spray
  • Sunscreen
  • Sanitizing spray
  • Sanitizing wipes

I regularly rotate through the toys and clothes we carry, not only because they’re constantly used, but because I’m paranoid that we’ll be trapped in a blizzard and I’ll have packed her a sundress.

Because obviously blizzards in coastal south Texas are common occurrences.

Anyway. I’ve used every single one of these items at one point or another. It’s like an expanded version of a diaper bag that I don’t have to carry around everywhere, and it is GLORIOUS to be prepared, y’all.

I cannot tell you how devastated I was when I snipped one of EV’s curls with a pair of cuticle scissors last year. It was bath time and I was trying to get her hair elastic out with as little grief as possible, so the cuticle scissors seemed like a great idea at the time. Turns out it’s hard to see very well when you’re working with small scissors and a clear elastic, and I caught a little of her hair while I was doing it.

CUE THE GUILT, because I’m fierce about leading my girl to love and protect her hair in all of it’s wild, curly glory.

I saw the seam ripper hack on another mama blog and had to try. It actually works really well, and because only one side cuts, you can pull the elastic away from the hair to make sure that you’re not accidentally grabbing hair along with the elastic, if that makes sense.

GENIUS.

There are SO many other, probably more helpful things I could be gleaning from the wisdom of the internets about parenting right now, but tbh, I’m gonna bask in the positive glow from these hacks that are, you know, actually WORKING for us.

Catch me later on the gentle parenting and mindful discipline, ok? I’m BASKING right now.

Happy Monday, friends!

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