Mother’s Little Helpers

Though I do make an effort not to over complicate or over schedule our lives, life can still be pretty hectic sometimes.  There’s just a lot to remember and a lot to do to manage a household, parent, work, make it all work.  I’m certainly not the most organized, or the most motivated. Example: yesterday I ate some Oreo Thins and took a nap instead of prepping meals for the week and organizing the toy room (a task that desperately needs to be done – we’re drowning in Matchbox cars and Duplo blocks!).  But I have found some tools and things that help me get stuff done, so I thought I’d share them.

 

Stuff that makes my life easier/more fun/less complicated…

I’ll start with the most obvious: my husband.  He’s amazing.  I’m also very lucky to have supportive family nearby and a kind and moderately flexible employer.  I am so grateful for all of these.

 

A shared calendar: My husband and I use a shared Google calendar.  We use an app called Tiny Calendar on our phones to access it there, too.  I could just use Google Calendar, but it didn’t work on our phones when we needed it 4 years ago, so we ended up with Tiny Calendar.  So I stuck with it.  I like it.  Admission: our calendar is color-coded, but only a little bit.

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A housekeeper:  For the cost of dinner out for 2 (with an adult beverage or two), I can get my house cleaned beautifully.  We hem and haw over this luxury.  Because it IS a luxury.  And it is not something we do all of the time. But it makes a huge difference in my stress level.  I love having my entire house clean at one time.  Someone once told me that when it comes to house upkeep and maintenance, you can pay with your time or you can pay with your money.  At this point in my life, though I am certainly capable and willing to clean my house (and I do!), my time is precious.  I’d rather spend three hours on Sunday with my children picking strawberries, or playing at the park.  So we occasionally pay to have the house cleaned by a professional.  I never feel like it is money wasted.

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Grocery list app:  There are several out there, but we use AnyList.  Mostly we use it for groceries (duh), since we share the shopping and cooking duties but you can make all sorts of lists.  Each week, my husband and I add items to the list from our phones and when one of us shops, we can use the list and cross things off with a touch.  We have a list of favorites that are easy to add to the weekly list, and updates are pretty much made in real time. Often I’m adding things to the list while he’s on the way to the store.  Very handy.  We also share a more general “to do” list using this app.  Very helpful when things get busy, or when we’ve got to pack to go away.

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Shutterfly app: This is a little glitch-y and imperfect in my experience but for the most part is a good way to make sure that the photos I take with my phone actually end up somewhere other than just on my phone.  The app is on my phone and my husband’s, and photos get uploaded to one account, so everything is in the same place.

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Chatbooks: I really love this app.  It links to my Instagram account.  Once I’ve reached 60 new photos, Chatbooks prints them into lovely 6×6 inch books ($8 and free shipping!). My favorite part is that you can set up subscriptions – so the lovely little books ship out automatically to grandparents and special people in your life. There is NO extra work on my behalf.   Win!  I also love that the books are customizable – the photo of my kids painting the walls of the shower au naturale isn’t really Instagram-appropriate, but it IS adorable, and I can add it to my Chatbook before my book goes to print.  I order the slightly more expensive hard cover edition as a keepsake for myself, and let my kids enjoy the soft cover ones.  Use my code to get your first book free: CYKKMXVK.

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Amazon Subscribe & Save: This is useful with small kids and saves on trips to Target (which always cost at least $75 more than planned).  I set up to send diapers and wipes on a monthly basis and there are some other household goods we get less frequently.  It is a time saver for me.  Prices typically end up being comparable to my local Sam’s Club.  I suspect I’d love the Dash Button too, but I’m reluctant to commit. Plus, I’m a little concerned that my kids would find the buttons and we’d end up with 45 packages of paper towels.

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Stuff I’m working on…

Who has advice on the best way to deal with all of their iPhone videos?  I do back up to the Cloud, my computer and an external drive, but I’d love to put them in a format for my family to enjoy. Advice?

I’m going to try to devise a way to keep in better touch with people who are important to me beyond Facebook.  I’ll let you know how I do!

 

PS – No affiliate links, they are just provided for your convenience.

Honey DO!

First, it must be said that I am married to a great man.  He is the kindest person I know. And I know a lot of people.  He is a true partner and friend, and I consider myself lucky every day.  That said… he does drive me crazy sometimes.  Or rather, some of his habits drive me crazy.  In no particular order…

1. Stepping over objects.  For days.  I feel like I’m doing some pointless anthropological study on the habits of the North American male when I leave objects on the floor for days to see if and when my husband will pick them up. The study is pointless because he won’t. Ever.  Broccoli steamer in the middle of the hallway he walks down 34 times a day?  It’s been there for weeks gathering dust in the middle of the floor.  Baffling.  Truly.

2. Deciding that only the inside of pots need to be washed.  The outside covered in drips?  Nope – clean.  The pot top lined with spaghetti sauce splatter?  Nope – clean.

3. The Classic Mom/Wife Complaint: put the clothes in the hamper, not next to it. This is an epidemic in this country, clearly.  They should focus studies on the male brain on this.

4. Size matters?  One small dinner roll gets placed in one large plastic container and placed in the fridge.  One cup of soup left?  Keep it in the gigantic crock pot insert and put the whole thing in the fridge, filling the fridge up completely.  I’m not sure why appropriate-sized food containers is such a challenge.  But clearly, it is.

I am no angel.  Don’t ask my husband about the constant pile of clothes in our bedroom.  Or my dish washing habits.  Or… well, there are a lot of things.

Honey, if you’re reading this, I love you!

Kiss My Kitsch!

When I think about adding another baby to the mix, I imagine the craziness, I worry about the cost, I remember the sleepless nights.  But then I stop myself and remember what it is like to be the only one awake in a dark, quiet house, rocking a sweet-smelling (usually) little human being in my arms.  Watching the eyelids flutter, looking at the little bowed mouth, hearing the soft breaths.

I’m chalking it up to the hormones, because I’m typically not a fan of anything that looks good in cross stitch, but I like this old house-wifey poem from the 1950’s.  I’m not particularly domestic, but it is a nice reminder of what is important (baby) and what is not (dusting).  And it reminds me of the hours and hours I spent rocking my little one, when I had 4 million other things I could/should have been doing.

Song for a Fifth Child by Ruth Hulbert Hamilton

Mother, oh Mother, come shake out your cloth,
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing and butter the bread,
Sew on a button and make up a bed.

Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking!

Oh, I’ve grown shiftless as Little Boy Blue
(Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
(Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo).

The shopping’s not done and there’s nothing for stew
And out in the yard there’s hullabaloo
But I’m playing Kanga and this is my Roo.
Look! Aren’t her eyes the most wonderful hue?
(Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).

The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
But children grow up, as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep…

(Printed in Lady’s Home Journal, 1958)