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Challenge: Best Parent Hacks

3 simple hacks from a mom of 3

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Life with three kids under the age of 5 and a full-time job is a roller-coaster. Sometimes, I feel like super-mom. The little voice in my head is yelling “you got this” and its high-fives all-around. The next minute, I am completely overwhelmed and that same little voice is yelling “wait, help, what is going on here?!”

I can’t defuse a toddler meltdown and installing a car seat leaves me in a cold sweat. But I do have a few tricks up my sleeve that help me feel like a super-mom- even if it’s only for a few moments. Here are my top 3.

#1: the family calendar

Like many moms, one of the hats I wear is that of traffic-control cop. I spend about an hour each week plotting out everyone’s schedule- school, work, appointments, childcare, play dates, etc. All of this activity is captured on our family Google Calendar. The calendar is used by me, my husband and our nanny to keep the trains running on time. Without it we would be lost.

#2: the routine board

The morning and bedtime routine with preschoolers often feels like Groundhog Day. But in this version I’m repeating the same instructions to the same children but yet they look at me like I’m speaking a foreign language. The common scenario:

Mom: please get dressed and brush your teeth…

Child: can I get a pony for my birthday?

Mom: please focus, its late, you need to get dressed…

Child: Why? How about I stay in my underwear and have an imaginary duel with Darth Vader?

To accelerate this process, I bought a large cheap cork board and installed it in the hallway next to the kids’ room. Harnessing the few creative skills I have, I made a sun to symbolize morning and a moon to represent nighttime. Then I took pictures of the kids doing tasks like getting dressed, brushing their teeth, putting on shoes and jackets, etc. See PJ pic above. I arranged the pictures in the order that the tasks should be performed. Now we use the board as a guide. The kids know what to expect and completing our routine has become a game. Fun for everyone!

#3: party time

When you have kids, someone should warn you about the birthday party circuit. Yes, all the celebrations are fun. But with three kids, it’s easy to have a party every weekend. What’s wrong with that? Well, many require a gift and there is nothing fun about frantically running around Target on your way to said party because you completely forgot the gift. So my system is this… gather all invitations into a pile next to computer. At the end of the week, enter all the party deets into the Family Calendar. Then immediately, log into Amazon, and re-buy from my list of tried-and-tested gifts. Sometimes I will buy an extra gift or two to have on-hand just in case. No last minute running around and no going over budget because the party starts in 5 and you just need something.

That’s all for now… nap time is over. The circus will resume shortly.

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