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Friday, 29 April 2016

#12 Seven Life Hacks if You Have Babies / Toddlers

Efficient in the extreme

Ah, life hacks. Or cheats. Call me old-fashioned, but aren't these just the same as 'hints' or 'tips' from back in the day, mainly to be found in naff women's magazines (the type with soap actors on the front and puzzles at the back)?

Well, it seems that in this world of so much to do and so little time, we are all looking for shortcuts these days. And who needs to save time and resources more than parents of little ones?

Over at Here's Looking At You I certainly didn't want you to miss out, so here goes.

Oh, and rest assured that these have been tried and tested by yours truly.  Many times over.

1. Wiping the Slate Clean

Don't waste precious baby wipes, or your time! Upon each trip to the bin to dispose of one of these multi-use bad boys, providing it is not too completely scummy (your call), make sure the clean side is faced down, and there you have it: a wipe for any surface en route, including that bin lid that's always got pesky tea splashes on it.

  • Got some dried-up ones lying around? Use them to give things a little buff n' polish.
  • Concerned about hygiene? Surely you've given up on that by now.

2. Cot Pit

On a rainy day, why waste time and money going to a soft play area? You can simply put your toddler in his cot and fill it with all his toys. Yes, all of them. You can even leave them in there at sleep time; my son loves to roll around over bits of Duplo while snoozing and it really doesn't wake him up! It's like a spiky ball pool minus the cost. And the nits.

3. Wardrobe Mal function

Is your baby’s clothes drawer too full, hence being tricky to open and close? Help is at hand if you follow these simple steps:

1) Remove clothes you do need for right now; stuff back in the ones you don’t.
2) Close drawer, with force if necessary.
3) Walk away.
4) Your short term memory is so shot you'll forget this problem exists in a minute.
5) If you do remember it exists, repeat steps 2-4 ad infinitum.

4. Bounce n’ Bronze

Aching for a tan but that ‘me me me’ baby just won’t let you sunbathe? Easy. Attach one end of a metre-long piece of ribbon to the safety harness of your baby’s bouncer. Tie the other end to one of your big toes, give that foot a rhythmic jiggle and...boom! Sun yourself, sip your pina colada and satisfy your sprog with bounce-time, all at once.

Footnote: OK, I have never tried this but I’ve seen it done by ladies in Italy. Seriously.

I’ve also heard that Greek ladies extend this same trick to when they’re having sexy-time with their husbands. Seriously.

Have you tried either? Please write in and let us know how it went!

5. Prehensile Toes

Continuing from  #4 is this little nugget. Don’t waste time, effort and your precious back muscles bending down to collect toys or clothing off the floor; simply get used to picking stuff up between your big and second toe, and then perfect the ‘kick and flick’ where you kick your leg out, flick up the item and either catch it in your hand or deposit it straight in its rightful place. One for mums who are often carrying and /or feeding babes-in-arms on foot.

6. Schmindow Cleaning

If your windows look filthy, make sure you only invite guests to come over in the evening. Just wait for darkness to fall and...presto! Those naughty marks/ smears / rain spots literally disappear from view, leaving you with twinkling glass. This hack can be adapted to most grubby surfaces, including your own face / hair. The term ‘mood lighting’ doesn’t exist for nothing.

7. Neighbour Saver

Live in a flat / terraced house, where you’re constantly worrying about the noise pollution created by your little ones’ loud night-time crying/ tantrums / crashing about on wooden floors at 6am? 

Fret no more by practising The Sorry Simper. Here’s how it works:

  • Assuming you have failed to avoid the neighbour-in-question completely in the hallway, at the corner shop, etc, meet their dead-eyed and resentful smirk with a barely audible ‘hi’ and an awkward half-smile and be relieved when the exchange ends there. There, you’ve been friendly / British.
  • If you still feel some guilt, try the Excessive Hello: smile, joyfully greet them and wave your arms about so ostentatiously that they will feel forced to say hello back. This way you can say to yourself ‘it must be fine, or they wouldn’t have said hello’ as you part company. Job done.

Do you have any great parenting shortcuts? Feel free to send them in!

Bye for now and happy hacking,

Erica :)

Seen the book? Take a look!
Twitter:  @ericajbarlow
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