When Stephanie Read posted on the Bad Moms of Long Island Facebook page asking members to share “mom hacks you swear by,” she thought she would get some good ideas. But she didn’t expect more than 400 comments from moms who offered tips — some as seemingly outlandish as feeding your kids dinner while they're in the bathtub or using scissors to cut pizza — and other moms who effusively thanked them for sharing. “This is genius,” was posted on more than a few suggestions.
Read, 31, a retail manager from Deer Park, has a son, Kaleb, who is 20 months old. She posted her request after she saw a mom in another Facebook group share that she keeps a toy chest in every room of the house, so she doesn’t have to keep bringing toys back to her child’s room to put them away. “Who thinks of these things?” Read says. “I thought, ‘That’s a great idea. What other mom hacks are out there?’ ”
Newsday talked to moms who posted six of the unique tips:
1. Outsource just the baby and toddler laundry. “It was actually my husband’s idea because he saw me getting so flustered after my second child was born. It was all piling up,” says Vicki Donato, 36, a first-grade teacher from Patchogue who has two daughters, Josephine, 4, and Ronnie, 1. “He was like, ‘I got this. I’ll take it all to the Laundromat.’” Mark, 35, a physical education teacher, dropped off all the onesies, feet pajamas, socks and other clothing to be washed and folded by the Laundromat staff. Because the laundry fee is determined by weight, and the baby and toddler clothes are so small, it wasn’t that expensive — between $25 and $40, Donato says — so they decided to keep doing that. “Every two to three weeks we pack it all up. It comes back all folded and pressed. I just pile it in the drawers and I look like a supermom.”
2. Feed the kids while they’re in the bath. Michele Langevin, 42, of Bellmore, is a stay-at-home mom with 5-year old twins Scarlett and Juliette, and daughters Marlowe, 3 and Ophelia, 10 months. When the kids were younger, giving them dinner while they were in the bathtub combined eating, cleanup and bath into one activity. She asked herself, “What could I do so I didn’t have to get them into their high chairs, clean up the mess from them throwing the food around?” This was her answer: "It basically killed two birds with one stone on days when it was really hectic."
3. Embrace the kitchen scissors. Lacey Rose, 36, of Seaford, a director of events and mom of Sadie, 7, says she was at her sister-in-law’s house with her family when her daughter was younger and she saw her sister-in-law cut pizza for her kids with scissors. “I was like, ‘What are you doing?’ Our minds were completely blown.” She was an instant convert. “You’re not trying to saw pizza with a steak knife,” she says. She's used kitchen shears to cut cooked vegetables and other foods into pieces for her daughter.
4. Keep an egg crate mattress rolled up in the child’s closet. That way, when your child gets sick in the middle of the night and wants you to sleep in the room with him, you can just pull it out of the closet, unroll it, and have a comfortable place for yourself on the floor, says Lucrezia Jambelli, 45, a part-time administrative assistant from Massapequa with two children, Valentina, 10, and Enzo, 9. She keeps a twin-size egg crate with a sheet already on it tucked in the closet and just grabs a pillow and blanket from her room.
5. Employ the 15-minute power clean. “I work full time in the city and I live in Patchogue,” says Marie Kropp, 35, a designer with two children, January, 4, and Shepherd, 7 months. “Cleaning is not one of my priorities at home. I try to hang out with the kids.” But everyone has 15 minutes to spare, she says. “It’s surprising how much you could get done within that time frame,” she says, noting that she can clean all her counters, vacuum and more. “You set that timer and you just go. It doesn’t feel like a big chore.”
6. Let your kids fake finger-paint. Jennifer Zuccaro, 33, of East Meadow, first saw this tip on Pinterest. She took a gallon-sized plastic bag and taped it on three sides on top of white construction paper, leaving one side open. Then she put dollops of finger paint inside the bag, sealed it, and taped that side down as well. Then she let her toddler daughter "finger-paint." It worked like magic, Zuccaro says. "She just started smooshing the paint around in the bag," Zuccaro says, convinced she was finger-painting just like her older sister. "She was having a great old time. She was very happy," she says. And so was Zuccaro — no mess, no stress. And no paint stains on her counter.