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December 18, 2007


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Rachel E.

FIRST! (Sorry...I couldn't resist this tired, lame-ass joke since I'm almost never first.) I do my daughter's hair the night before. Curl it, braid it or whatever so the next day there's a nice wave to it and all she has to do is brush it and go. Otherwise she's look like a ragamuffin and I'd look like a bad mom letting her go out with her hair au natural - she's a pretty girl but wasn't gifted with particularly stylish hair.


Too true, what you say about being more efficient about use of time. In my pre-kid days, I would think "Whatever, I only have 15 minutes, I can't get anything done in 15 minutes, so I'll just putter around." Not anymore. If I have 15 free minutes now, I think "Wow, I can get 5 things done!"


Time saving trick: I always have cooked pasta; cooked rice; home-made, pre-cooked and frozen mini-hamburger patties; frozen, pre-cooked chicken sausages and two kinds of steamed veggies (often prepared in 5 minutes from frozen bags) in the fridge. That way, I can get home from a hectic day at 6 pm with a kid who's clamoring for dinner and have her balanced, healthy meal on the table within 5 minutes.

jake d.

Oh man, those lazy Sunday mornings seem like EONS ago!


We just had our second four months ago and I have redefined hectic (first energy ball just turned three). Don't believe anyone who tells you it's easier going from one to two than it is from none to one...BS!


Babe, remember the child-free days when we'd get offended if people called us before noon on the weekends? And now we get offended if people call us after 9pm. sigh.


our twin parent hacks(we need double the short cuts)

-bath, only every other day.
-frozen pancakes, waffles, frozen anything that i know they eat..we have literally fed them.(in one sitting) frozen pancakes, frozen peas, and frozen congee(all defrosted of course)
-pajamas all day long, if they are not leaving the house (and sometimes, even when they are)
-when bottle feeding (they are only 1)they are strapped in, and sit in their old car seats, and feed. then we can be picking up, cleaning without having to sit there and feed them. thankfully they hold their own bottles now.
-if it ain't(too) dirty, it doesn't get washed. baby laundry can take over your life.

i'm sure i've got more hacks.. just to busy to type them!

ms. bitter

My husband's time-saving hack is to not spend any time alone with our kids. Sure does seem to free up a lot of time for him.


some suggestions for daycare/preschool teachers's gifts (I worked in a preschool for 7 years and have had my fair share of "interesting" gifts!): gift cards to starbucks or Dunkin Donuts (or anywhere, really), gas cards, something made by the child, and good candy.

Rachel C

oh yay Santa photo! I've been waiting anxiously for it :)

Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah

Why bathe the kids at all?

That is what I say!


i wash my kid and dog together..saves at least 20 min and soap...
when my kids eat dog is on the loose and cleans my dinningroom floor saves 15 min...
reading the ny times as night story saves 15 min my kids are so bored the fall asleep in no time..

hope it helps


We don't have a laundry machine so I make my 2.5 year old twins take off their clothes when they eat. Dinner at our house is like a nudist colony.


*Never bathe alone - the girls (6 and 11) used to shower together until the older one became body conscious. Now, my 6yo bathes with her 3yo brother.

*Wake up early - it takes me a solid 90 minutes to get three kids ready for school in the morning. The kids' wake-up times are staggered (6:15a and 7:00a) so the older ones can be dressed, fed and help with their younger sibling who wakes up a bit later.

*Mobile breakfasts - scrambled eggs in a pita pocket, Oatmeal To Go, French toast sticks

*Online grocery shopping - need I say more?

*Crockpot - so 1950s but it works and I can prepare it while the kid are all away at school instead of constantly underfoot.

*Delivery - sometimes I'm just not up for cooking, crockpot be damned. Thank goodness for delivery. We get restaurant food in about an hour, which gives us time to bathe, read, and play with the kids. Then, after dinner, it's bedtime!

*Telecommute - when work is slow, it's the only time I actually get to do things I want to do (like go skiing) without the children.

Going from one child to two was moderately difficult, but having three children has made me nearly insane. Seriously.

Paige Jennifer

Christmas for this Jewess is not Christmas without a photo of Peanut screaming and squirming from the grasp of an old man bedecked in red velvet trimmed with white fur.

(sigh) Goys have all the fun.


Gifts for the daycare providers? Cash, cash and cash. They are likely underpaid and stretched too thin. If you give gift cards or other stuff, add it to an envelope of money.

Parents hacks?
Teach your kid to brush her own teeth as soon as possible.
Have a TV in your bedroom so the early morning wakeups can turn into your kid watching TV from your bed while you sleep another 30 minutes with the pillow over your head.
Don't be afraid to exploit her inability to tell time by putting her to bed up to an hour early if she's cranky, sick or generally in a bad mood.

Can't wait to see the Santa pic!

I keep the mini van stocked with little baggies of cheerios, goldfish, granola bars, etc - if there is no time for breakfast, then we can do it on the road.

I've trained them as much as possible to take off their shoes as soon as they get inside the door and leave them there so there is no "where's my other shoe" crisis in the morning. Also, all shoes are velcro, even if you are in the 5th grade.

I limit TV as much as possible so that when I really, really need to get things done, they are sufficiently mesmerized by it.

Swimming in a chlorinated pool = a bath.

running through sprinkler = a bath

febreeze = doing laundry


Yesterday morning, my son smelled terrible and I realized that he hadn't had a bath in over a week. What did I do? Spray him with some of my husband's cheap cologne and send him on his merry way!


Since Booger is old enough to enjoy bathing, she'll happily entertain herself in the bath for up to 20 minutes. That's more than enough time to wash my face, brush my teeth and slap some makeup on. If I'm in a real hurry, I will add a few pumps of baby soap into the water. That's just as good as manually soaping her down myself, right? I will also skip washing her hair if it passes a smell test.

Kate C.

I'm still laughing over the Santa pictures. The look on his face! Awesome.


Hey! I see several mentions of Scotch in your post. What brand do you prefer?


I actually did a 'shopping guide' post that mentions the teachers. Honestly? Do not get them a scented candle or any shitty item with an apple or animated crayon on it.

Gift certificates. Always.


For some reason (because she's 3 years old maybe?) my daughter always refuses to stop what she's doing to pee. I was getting sick of her running to the bathroom a minute too late. So, now when she refuses, I've started challenging her to the "I bet I can pee louder than you" contest. She runs to the bathroom - first I pee, then she pees. No matter who's truly louder, I proclaim her the winner and she proclaims me the loser. Since we don't like the word "loser" in our house, she will then smile and award me the silver medal in the peeing contest.

This is not a hack for anyone who thinks privacy is a good thing.


a little cornstarch in the greasy hair and some patchouli when they smell bad and they're good to go! the diaper wipe bit was very funny. How about a Swisher Mini Duster just for for filthy tots?

I'm stumped on the teacher gift too. A few lottery tickets perhaps? Teachers need to win the lottery.


Ok, so here is how we sleep in. We have taken one of those playyard gates and stretched it across all dangerous sections of our bedroom. (It's about 20 feet long I would guess?) We removed our sitting area and all furniture except our bed and turned it into a giant play area. A lot of her favorite toys are there and we just plop her down after breakfast and go back to sleep for 2 hours. Not dead yet. Whoopee!

Once she is big enough to climb over the gate we are thinking about getting a tv to sedate her. We don't do early mornings.


I second Anjali's tips on pre-prepared foods--my son has benefited from her pre-made meals on many an occasion!

As for the teacher gifts, our daycare (a coop) has an anonymous pool of cash that gets divided up for all the teachers. So you can give as much or as little as you want. Has worked well so far.

Good luck and happy holidays!


Oh, I forgot to mention that trading adult dinner duties (just food via tupperware, no entertaining) once a week is a total life saver! It helps if you have similar taste in food! We've swapped yummy Vietnamese soups for Osso Bucco and jambalaya. Win-win situation all around. Plus, we both get the added benefits of eating things that aren't in our usual repertoire and no clean-up! Yippee.


When Boo's face is dirty I casually nudge her into proximity of my labrador's tongue. At times this technique has generated spirited streams of incoherent toddler expletives, but I stand by the results - clean kid happy puppy. Also after she eats I call in the dog for clean up.

Jamie E.

Now I know why so many parents get dogs when they have kids!


I've taught my daughter many of life's more important lessons. However, I think the most valuable one was teaching her how to use the television remote by herself. Now I keep it by my bed and just toss it to her on Sunday mornings.


ok..the dog thing works if you have a md/ big dog. i have a 4 lb yorkie that is now a 7 lb yorkie, and is going to be in danger of death by over eating of cheerios...

1 daughter is obsessed w/ the cel phone.. when she wakes up too early, she gets my phone, reprograms it to french, sets my alarm to go off at 4 am, but keeps busy for a good 1/2 hour while i snore away.


None of my own kids yet but I am the oldest of eight. Older ones help take care of the younger ones, baths together, that stuff definitely helps. But the best was when my brother (5 at the time) decided that pajamas were stupid, because you don't get dirty while you sleep. So he would just sleep in his clothes! He's 10 now and I think he still does this. Smart guy!

Chief Family Officer

I'd actually be thrilled if my almost-three-year-old's dinner took more than 15 minutes. I could actually eat myself AND clean some dishes before he was done!


As soon as my daughter could open the fridge by herself, each night I would put a mini pitcher of milk, and little glass of O.J. in the fridge easily reachable for the wee one. I set the table the night before with a bowl of cereal and a spoon. Toddler was instructed not to wake mommy and daddy but to 'fix' her own breakfast in the morning. She felt grown-up and we were able to revel in our slacker parent roles. She is 18 now and still has fond memories of her early independence. HA!


baths are only taken when i can smell her...

i can't wait to see the infamous santa pic!


Yay! The "Peanut vs. Santa" picture is one of the highlights of my holiday season. Any chance we could see some video this year too?


Glad to see I'm not the only one using the dog for cleaning purposes. I almost never have to wash a face after a meal!

Asha (of parenthacks.com)

How funny. JUST this week I was telling everyone how I save time in the morning by throwing my kid's clothes on over her PJs, because they look just like long underwear anyway.

That was one I came up with, but the majority of the hacks on the site come from readers. In fact, I started Parent Hacks precisely because I figured somebody somewhere was doing the whole parenting thing better (in a practical sense) than I was.

Lazy parents unite!

Happy holidays, MD.

Angie in Texas

haha alice: peanut 2, santa ZERO!

definitely pre-packed snacks in the car. (the drive to school is 12 minutes - that's long enough to eat "breakfast"!)

other parent hack: make enough dinner for several leftover meals - just reheat. =)

Mama Nabi

woohoo! can't wait to see Peanut vs Santa picture this year!

Hmm, that whole dress her up in the next day's outfit to bed idea sounds tempting... except my little rascal LOVES her jahm-oht. I've done the bribing to get food to disappear act... I guess my one guilty pleasure on a weekend morning is, strapping LN to her carseat, drive to the only drive-through coffeeshop that I know of (20 minutes drive), get my coffee and drive around aimlessly with Laurie Berkner blaring in the car as I sip my soy latte in peace. If I can learn to read a newspaper and drive at the same time, I am golden.


'Real Simple' magazine has a holiday tip guide on their website that includes day care teachers. I found it helpful.

pnuts mama

we tip everyone like crazy this time of year- cold hard cash, baby, none of that "here's a tin of cookies" bullshit, either. my husband is a tradesman (email me if you need some blinds) and gets tipped all year round, and i just know how much that cash makes a difference and we like to pay it forward.

we were in a waiting room today with a couple who are expecting what is *clearly* their first baby- watching movie commercials on the tv and debating which movies were 'must see' vs. 'watch if nothing else'- my husband and i looked at each other and were like- "going to a movie- riiiight." we barely had the free time to even say that to each other- we were so busy with distracting our kid from tearing apart the place and trying to convince her to use her "indoor voice."

my hack is mini m&m's. god that is so embarrassing- but when you are sitting in a public place trying to get your 2 year old not to scream the place down, it's your only chance sometimes. sigh. i've turned into that mom.

p.s. after a week of excited anticipation (hers) our pnut saw santa sunday, froze in terror, wouldn't sit on his lap, refused eye contact while he chatted her up, yet ever since then hasn't stopped talking about how great it was. kids.


You're supposed to bath kids? :O Why? they're just gonna get dirty again :P


During these winter months, most of the kid is covered up. Just make sure her hands and nails are clean, and wash her hair quickly in the kitchen sink, and she'll look and smell clean.

We don't do breakfast. The kids each drink a tall glass of chocolate milk, and they are good to go. It's all they want in the morning.

When they were toddlers they always went to bed in clean clothes, already dressed for the following day.

I can't wait to see this year's Santa photo. BTW, if she goes to daycare, she must have heard about Santa by now?


The reason your kids are getting up early is they are going to bed early. Keep their butts up late !


If I told you the corners I cut I would lose my standing in the parenting community. You don't want that on you.


Looking forward to seeing the Santa+Peanut pic!
My hack is letting my 29 month-old ride her "bike" (sit-on) all over town. She can ride it faster than I can walk so we get places at least as fast as if she'd been in the stroller. Then I just tie it to the stroller handle. She steers well, hasn't taken out any old ladies. Yet.


Wow, I'm happy to read that I'm not the laziest bather of children on the internet. But seriously, MD, nightly? Give yourself a break on that one.

As for the parenting shortcuts take, man, I wouldn't hijack your comments like that. It could go on forever.


I can't believe how consistent Santa's expression is from one year to the next in your pictures. It is absolutely perfect! Personally, I think those pictures are perfect for a holiday card. I hope the Peanut reacts better this year, but if she doesn't, I hope they capture it as well as they did the last 2 years.


I so thought of you this morning when my son went to school in his PJ top because I wasn't up for the fight of getting him undressed & redressed! Besides...at 19 months...they still look cute in jammers!

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