Motherhood can, at times, feel like guerilla warfare. Looking back on raising seven children, while growing my career, there were many moments that I was brought to my knees thinking, “This is a little more than I signed up for.” But it’s that soul-crushing, heart-expanding, I-need-a-nap-the-size-of-a-coma work that makes us who we are. Some days you kill it, some days are a disaster.
But you survive, and the only way I survived was with the help and support of some amazing women.
I believe with all of my heart that moms need other moms. There is nothing better than getting together with sisters and friends who understand the (wonderful and crazy) chaos of my mom-life. We chat about the struggles of nap time and dinnertime and keeping the calendar organized and managing screen time.
And we exchange shortcuts, creative ideas, and workarounds that make the job of being mom a little more manageable.
These “mom hacks” that we’ve invented mean that, at the end of the day, we have more time to read that chapter book with the kids (or enough energy to change into our PJs before bed!). Over the years I’ve collected or created hundreds (thousands?) of these little tips and tricks, and I’ve tucked 107 of my favorites into my new book, Real Moms, Real Hacks.
Here are five that changed everything for me.
1. Make bath time blissful. While your kids are taking a bath, load it up with toys and bath art, and use that time to do something for yourself while you sit with the kids—like a hair mask, a manicure or just washing your face.
2. Dance the blues away. When life gets busy, and everyone is a little grumpy, turn the music up and start dancing. Within a few minutes, everyone is smiling again and life is good.
3. Raise easy eaters. Never warm a bottle. My babies were conditioned to not be picky and grew to enjoy a room temperature or even cold bottle.
This will save you during those late-night feedings.
4. Outsmart the blowout. Layer two fitted sheets on a crib or mattress: When your child has a middle-of-the-night blowout or accident, you already have a fresh set of sheets on the bed.
5. Keep a tidy state of mind. Always make the bed.
It only takes a minute to do, but when I walk into my room after a long and sometimes hard day, seeing a well-made bed makes me feel like I’ve got my act together.
These can seem like such simple ideas, but when you’re down in the trenches, it’s little things like these that can bring small victories to tough days. And once you’ve outsmarted the punches motherhood can sometimes bring, it’s only natural to want to share them with the world!
No matter how you do it, your version of motherhood is completely your own and completely beautiful. But, in the craziest moments, don’t forget to lean on your tribe of female friends to remind you that “you’ve got this!”