Thursday, February 27, 2014

My 7 parenting hacks

This post is brought to you by Green Cross Insect Repellent Lotion.

My blog sponsor Green Cross asked me to blog about parenting hacks. Hacks is what you call techniques that increase productivity or efficiency. It's computer programmer language that's been adopted to mean anything (short cuts, tricks) that can make life easier and less complicated. So today I'll share my parenting hacks.

I am all for minimalist parenting a.k.a. slacker parenting. I know that's shocking in this Age of the Supermom where moms cook organic food sourced from farmer markets, or where iPads and TVs are the tools of lazy mothers, and infant formula is milk straight from the gates of hell. There seems to be a prevailing belief these days that anything that makes your life easier is proof that you don't deserve to be a parent.

Okay. All valid points.

It's a good thing I don't care what people think hehe!
Yes, we use the iPad!

What matters to me is I'm a happy mommy because when I'm stressed out and angry, then I'm an unhappy mommy, and the kids suffer because I yell and throw things around and cry behind the bathroom door. For example, one night, while Vince was out running, I decided I wanted to surprise him with my special adobo. I had two kids, no household help. But I was sure my husband was going to be impressed with his very pregnant wife, who not only cared for his two kids while he was at the gym but cooked him a fabulous dinner as well! How hard could it be? I can't even begin to describe it.

I was running out of the kitchen every few seconds because the boys were climbing on top of the dinner table and I caught Iñigo swinging from the chandelier. I ran back to the pot to find that it had bubbled over and I cursed aloud because that means I'll have to clean up the sticky mess after. Then I ran out again because I heard the boys banging their die-cast metal cars on the glass coffee table. Then I ran into the kitchen again because I smelled something burning (I forgot to turn down the fire). By the time I set the table, I was such a nervous and angry wreck that I broke one of my gorgeous gold-rimmed plates (because I wanted to serve my special adobo on the pretty plates of course), the kids were crying, Vince arrived to find not a fab dinner but chaos, and I wanted to run out into the night and smoke a cigarette except I had already quit 4 years ago.

All this drama and pain could've been prevented if I had just ordered Chinese food! We all want to do our very best but sometimes the best doesn't have to be so difficult. Perfect parenting is not what I aspire for. I just want to be a good and loving parent and to be that way, I have to be relaxed and happy, so I've resorted to a few tricks to keep me sane and parenting fun!

So, without further ado, I hereby present My Parenting Hacks:

Order in. Eat out. 
1. Order food. I think my story up there explains this. You don't have to order every meal (that's expensive and unhealthy!) but neither do you need to cook every single meal your family eats. Unless it's your thing since some moms love to cook. I don't. It's a stressful activity for me even though I'm actually a really good cook. So if you're too tired from a too long day, don't be a martyr. Call for pizza now. It's okay!

2. Give kids fresh milk. Of course nothing beats the ultimate hack of all: breastfeeding! But since both my boys weaned on their own (I'm very proud of this no-drama development) and yet they're still just 3 and almost 2, they still need milk. I considered powdered milk (I still haven't said no to powdered milk yet!) but we found it easier to just buy fresh milk in the carton. Instead of making timpla pa, we just pour it out. Easy!

3. Put a mini cooler/ref in the bedroom. Iñigo wakes up at 3am asking for milk, Vito wakes up at 5am to do the same. I used to wake up groggily and stumble to the kitchen, make them their milk then stumble right back to bed. Now Vince and I just prepare their bottles before I sleep, put the milk in a mini cooler of ice, park that cooler beside the bed, and when the kids wake up, I just pop open the cooler and grab their milk! Life is so much easier! Vito even doesn't wake me up anymore, he just gets his own milk from the cooler!

That's the Hulk chasing after Wreck-It Ralph.
4. Use Lego for everything. There's no need to buy new toys when there's Lego. Vito builds his own Avengers. The boys build new toys every day for sword fights, epic battles, towers and cars. We teach them colors and patterns and counting with Legos. Legos are amazing!

5. Mattresses make great slides. For those days when the kids are bursting with energy but can't be forced to wear shorts and shoes to go outside and play, we take the kiddie mattress from the bed frame, plop it against the sofa and the kids can slide down all afternoon. Physical activity is non-negotiable, so if they have to do it pants-less, then so be it. I don't want to fight anymore!

A crafts service has taken out all the headache of crafting activities! 
6. Subscribe to a crafts box service. Some moms love planning crafting activities for their kids and they get excited to go to Divisoria and get good deals on art paper, glitter and stuff. I'm not that kind of mom. Anything that lets me stay at home (like online shopping!) is a good thing, so I'm so happy I have Sandbox crafts service. Every month, a box of arts and crafts—with a lesson plan, too!—arrives on my doorstep and the kids and I learn and have fun. No stress!

7. Use machines. Life can be much easier with intelligent appliances. We use a steamer instead of an iron—a 2-hour ironing session is over in 20 minutes with a steamer. Moms, invest in a water heater, vacuum, washing machine and dryer. I'm finally buying a microwave oven this year because I'm tired of bringing out and washing pots and pans just to heat leftovers. I want a dishwasher and a good big oven, too. If I can buy a robot to do every chore in this house, I would. Less time doing chores means more time being with my kids and doing my work!

That's just a few of what we do to survive and enjoy parenting. I'm not saying you should do what I do. Some mothers really enjoy the hunt for the perfect slab of organic beef, or they enjoy preparing quinoa and kale salads, or they find fulfilment in running their household on a strict schedule. You know what's best for you and your family. In my case, I love being super hands-on with my kids (I enjoy washing poop off their butts, strangely) but for the other parts of parenting that I don't enjoy, I've found ways to make life easier for both me and my family. Because, yes, parenting is the hardest job in the world but, really, it doesn't have to be any harder than it already is.

Do you have parenting hacks? Do share in the comments! For more parenting hacks, visit the Green Cross Facebook page now!

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17 comments:

  1. Taking note when I am a mom myself :) I found the mental image of Inigo in the chandeliers strangely adorable :)

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    1. Trust me, Tee, when it was happening, it was all sorts of horrifying!

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  2. My favorite hack that I just recently discovered: I make my 17-month-old daughter wear squeaky shoes around the house. Because we have no yaya, whenever I am doing something, I just listen to where the shoes is and I know where she is already! Makes it super easy for me to prevent her from doing something dangerous.

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    1. Oh hey, that's a good idea! Thanks!!!

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  3. You are a real mom Frances, I love it.

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  4. A happy nanay is a happy bahay :)
    My biggest hack would really be our nanny. We live in the Middle East with our 3 girls and having a maid is really a big investment. So I gave up on luxury items just so we can afford to have one. I don't know how I'd live without her, she's such a gem! With all the mommy blogs I read, almost all of them have got their own "maid/ nanny horror stories", so I really feel blessed that I got a good one who's been with us for 6 years now. She's quite an investment, but I'd rather have her than designer bags or shoes! :)
    One other hack I intend to keep long term is the afternoon nap. My girls are 5, 8 and 11 and they still sleep from 3-6pm everyday, even on school days! Effectively, they're sleeping 11 hours per day. Can you imagine how much time I've got on my hands to do other things? --- ooops wait, I don't really do anything much except go work and help the girls with homework. :)

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  5. I love the "order in-eat out". It's really better to eat al fresco!

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  6. I love this post. It's a good reality check. Thanks for sharing :)

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  7. My hack? A healthy snack in front of the tv playing Disney Junior. I know, I know, all these child experts are gonna say I'm a terrible mom for letting my kids watch tv. Like you, I'm a stay at home mom with 2 kids (aged 3 and 1), with no yaya, no maids, but unlike you, my husband is at the office from 8am to 6pm! So
    I'm alone with the kids all day! I won't be able to get anything done without my little hacks. Hence the tv time!

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  8. Let them watch cartoons in the afternoon. My mom did this and we have all good study habits - so I don't feel "guilty". While my kids watch TV, I can enjoy my afternoon coffee in peace and prepare dinner.

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  9. Love #1!!! I may be a kitchen goddess of sorts but when I'm really, really tired (aka really, really lazy), I order food na lang. It's always Mc Donald's kase they have the most efficient delivery service in our city. :) And one of my parenting hacks when my daughter was a toddler was to make stories out of what I have in our baby bag: alcohol is the dad, baby powder is the mom, cologne is the baby, etc! Haha! And yes, whenever I tag her along with me on events, I bring paper and crayons and my fully-charged phone because she'll use that to play her apps when she gets bored. :)

    Thanks for this post, Frances!! Apir sa smoking. LOL. Me naman, I always keep a bottle or two of Tanduay Ice in my ref in case chaos hits home. :D

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  10. I give my kids fresh milk too! Super agree with everything you've said!

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  11. I already do most of what's on your list, except for the subscription craft service (which I've really been meaning to try) and the cooler in the room. One of my parenting hacks, similar to Legos, are blocks. They're guaranteed to make my 3-year-old boy occupied. Plus, I let him use his tablet too but fill it with lots of entertaining and educational apps. :)

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  12. Hi! I'm curious about Sandbox Crafts Service. Is this local? I tried Googling them but didn't find any. Would love to try them for my toddler!

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    1. Oops! Sorry! I updated the post t include the link =) I'll be writing about Sandbox next week =)

      http://www.exploresandbox.com/

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  13. Hi Frances. This write-up is awesome. I especially love the part where you said parenting doesn't have to be perfect. I just want to be a good and loving perfect too :) Also, I would like to know more about the Sandbox Crafts Service also. Thanks!

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    1. Oops! Sorry! I updated the post to include the link =) I'll be writing about Sandbox next week =)

      http://www.exploresandbox.com/

      Delete

This is all pretty new to me so please feel free to share your mommy wisdom!