Ever feel like you don’t have your life together? That no matter what you do, it’s not enough? Of course you do – it’s called parenthood. We signed up for Social Media Perfect, but what we got was a whole different story. Some days are funny and we see the silver lining. But other days are full of the struggles of parenting. It can be hard to lift the funk, but one thing I do know how to do is to learn from my tribe. And not just my BFF or the friends I have my monthly meet ups with. I glean tips from the playground parent who comments on how she got through her morning, or the office colleague who rushes by with a story. Sometimes, the best parenting advice comes from another parent leaving me a comment on Facebook.
I’ll be frank – most of the parenting advice and tips I’ve found helpful weren’t anything I asked for. They were provided to me in passing or during a short, hurried interaction at the park. Rather than question their motives for “handing out advice,” I decided to just listen. I simply took the bits and pieces that seemed helpful (which wasn’t everything, as I’m sure you know).
In addition to this advice, I’m also learning to let the small stuff go (less control on my part) while remembering that my kids are still learning. It’s helped me to accept that life won’t be perfect, so now I find myself asking, “Is it bedtime yet?” less often each week. Without further ado, here’s some unsolicited parenting advice that I’ve actually found to be helpful.
Have two laundry baskets for the kids
Once they’re old enough (around Kindergarten-age), have one basket for their dirty laundry and one for their newly washed (hold your hats, not ironed) clothes. Have them dress out of the clean clothes basket. Let them mismatch, try new styles, and let go of your control a little. This could be the path to help them become a little more self-sufficient in life, so let the wrinkles go and embrace the back-to-front tee. It also prevents the pile of clothing we end up finding at the bottom of the closet, which the kids have claimed “slip off the hanger.” And they can’t figure out how to hang them back up.
Can’t handle NOT ironing everything?
Hanging storage might be your answer. There are great closet storage solutions for kids, including these “Day of the Week” hanging cubes (Randi discusses how to use these, here). Take a few minutes and have the kids help you put clothes in the cubes one day during the week/weekend. This should eliminate the morning chaos (slightly). You could even try getting one for yourself or perhaps spending an afternoon purging your own closet. It’s amazing how decluttering makes decision making easier and mornings smoother.
Ready to-go snacks
Keep an easy-to-reach basket filled with pre-packaged snacks in small Ziploc bags in the pantry. Let the kids help you fill them up, too. This way (hopefully), the complaints of, “There’s nothing to eat!” and “Mom, mom, mom!” when you’re in the middle of an important call will stop. Just remember to restock, and maybe include a treat once in a while as a surprise. We like the Annie’s Gummies (for the treat surprise), since anything sticky and chewy is a win in our house!
Put sprinkles on everything!
It’s incredible how putting sprinkles on anything makes a child excited to eat whatever’s in front them. Sprinkles make everything more fun, and sometimes that’s all we need in life. I’ve put them on cereal, sandwiches, and rice. I also keep a small stash of food coloring for the milk. I don’t suggest this every day, but the look on the kids’ faces when we mix food coloring and milk to make “potions” for them to drink is priceless.
Be prepared for your beach day
Headed to the beach this summer? These ideas by WCMB writer Rebecca Doty on how to keep beach days more fun and less chaotic are brilliant. I love her tips to freeze water bottles so they double as ice packs (while creating less to carry home), as well as hiding valuables where no one else will want to look (think stink and baby essenentials – it’s pure genius parenting advice).
Do you have any parenting advice to make family life easier? Let us know via Twitter @winecountrymoms or comment via Wine Country Moms Blog Facebook page.We could all use some help with parenthood life!