12 Things to Make a Parent’s Life Easier

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There are a few great ideas that have come into my knowledge of how to make life easier on parents (albeit new ones) and I decided to share them. Since I’m a parent, myself, I’ve already begun some of these. Some are money-saving, some are hassle-saving, and some are just smart. Take a look :

1) Join “Mommy” groups. This can serve as a useful resource since all your friends who don’t have kids won’t seem to understand why you no longer feel like meeting them for coffee (too many things to do, lugging a kid around is like moving with all their supplies, and not to mention the TIMING issue of naps, etc). You can look on sites like Meetup.com or other similar sites based on what city you live in.

2) Develop a babysitting barter system. Have a few friends on your list that are reliable and dependable (preferably that have kids) where you can swap watching each others kids with. This way, instead of paying a babysitter who may cancel on you last-minute, you have someone reliable who can watch your child(ren), whom you know, and where you just trade off a service. Or if your friend doesn’t have kids, you can always offer to clean their home (or parts of it), clean their car (inside and/or outside), get them an oil change, do a family photo session, put air in their tires, etc. Added bonus of your friends having little ones is that your child(ren) will have playmates when they get a bit older.

3) Sign up for mom promo-type memberships. Such places as Amazon, Diapers.com, and other major retailers have a “mom’s club” or similar where you can get discounts, free samples, etc on products. With Amazon, we get our baby’s diapers and wipes delivered to our door and get a 20% discount on the items since we’ve got the Amazon Mom promotion (also comes with Prime- 2 day shipping). Which means we’re paying $35 for 200-some diapers. Can’t beat that price ! Our local grocery store, Publix, also has a mom/baby club and we got a bunch of stuff from them either heavily discounted or free !

4) Scrounge garage sales, thrift stores, Salvation Army, Goodwill, CraigsList, Ebay, kids resale shops, etc to find great deals on used kids items. A lot of our son’s clothing came from the baby shower but a lot of his now-clothes came from the aforementioned locations. Just the other day I paid $20 to get about 15 bibs and 20 outfits. Another day it was $10 for 5 pairs of baby shoes and a garbage bag full of clothes. Don’t be ashamed by not buying “new” items- if you were to do that you would be spending so much money on something that your child is only going to use short-term. Spend the big $ on long-term items (playground, crib, high chair, etc- but try to get these used too !) The deals I got on those items were from a group on Facebook where everyone is selling infant/toddler stuff. I’ve gotten so many great items from the people on there and it’s saved me quite a bundle !

5) Make your own baby food. I know this one will probably cause a lot of readers to say “I don’t have TIME for that !” but it’s really simple and takes just 5 minutes of prep/work time. Most of the process is steaming or cooking in a pot on the stove (or in a specialized baby food cooker) and you can do something else while the timer is going. What I do is make a whole bunch of baby food all in one go on the weekend. It’ll take me maybe an hour or so of active time and I’ll have 50+ portions of baby food. Not only is it easy, it’s cheaper than store-bought baby food. And aside from that, baby food is made with GMO foods and usually will have a potatoes added to the foods to make them less “strong” in flavor and to dilute the real ingredients, making them more money. I have the Béaba Babycook and the silicone trays for freezing the baby food once it’s puréed. All you need is a pot for the stove with a lid, a food processor/blender, and some way to freeze the baby food. Once it’s frozen you then transfer it to a freezer-safe ziplock bag and write the name and date it was made on the label. Depending on the type of freezer, you can store it from 6 weeks-6 months.

6) Read all the information on Lucie’s List : http://www.lucieslist.com/ – this was probably the most helpful information I ever read on the topic of babies because when I was pregnant, I had no idea about ANYTHING and the insight on this website made me not be so fearful of the unknown. There’s so much gear, so much “stuff”, and so many things that I found myself wondering “Do I really need that ? Will it be useful or a waste of money ?” She made me knowledgeable on the subject (very intensive info !) and able to make better decisions.

7) Ask your mommy friends (if you have any) what they recommend you buy, do, have etc before baby comes. I asked a few friends and the things they mentioned were things I never thought would be useful- a sound machine, swaddle blankets, a swing/bouncy seat, etc.

8) For expecting parents : Develop an online registry at MyRegistry.com and have all your coveted items from many different stores all in one place. I’m a very savvy money-minded girl and I love saving money on a product that is the same but cheaper someplace else. So this was a great find for me- I could add things from Amazon as well as add things from local baby stores, etc. Even still, most of the things we got at the baby shower were clothes, so it was kind of fruitless… haha !

9) Do your research and decide what kind of immunizations (if any) you want your child to have. I am very holistic-minded and as such have different views from many other people with children. But be advised that there are risks on both sides and that getting immunized doesn’t guarantee protection from any disease or illness. Being healthy and avoiding processed foods is the best way to ward off infection, disease, and cancer in addition to having good hygiene practices.

10) Make sure to spend time with your partner. Many times when people have a baby, all their energy and focus goes to raising and caring for that little person. The problem is that your child looks up to you to show them how to treat others and your relationship with your partner will affect how they interact with others, how they treat someone they care for, and if they grow up in a healthy home or a dysfunctional one.

11) Be on your best behavior as often as you can. You, as a parent, are your child’s first role model. You set the example for everything : eating, dressing, washing, toileting, talking, walking, manners, habits, driving, and so forth. The old “Do as I say, not as I do” reinforces the idea that what a person says is best isn’t necessarily the standard they hold themselves to. Be a role model and act kindly toward others. Hold doors for others when you can. Show your children how to properly greet and say goodbye to others. Show them how to be polite and have good table manners. They learn from observing you and so, without even formally “teaching” them, you are.

12) Make sure to take care of yourself. This will help you stay happy, healthy, and sane for being around your child. Everyone needs a break and we all know that when we come back from one we’re energized and ready to take on the stresses of daily life. Try to allot yourself 30 minutes on 3 different days for some “me” time where your primary focus is doing something you truly enjoy doing. Whether it’s relaxing, reading, doing yoga, or playing with Fido in the yard, it will do you and your family good to keep yourself operating at your best.

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