Mama s Big Book of Little Lifesavers

by Kerry Colburn

Author Kerry Colburn Isbn 9780811878647 File size 44 7MB Year 2011 Pages 224 Language English File format PDF Category Family and Friendship To survive the tumultuous first years with kids smart parents learn to do things faster cheaper and easier Wouldn t it be great if their hard won shortcuts were collected into one handy reference Here s a book that does just that Featuring 400 of the best tips and tricks from veteran moms and dads Mama s Big Book of Little Lifesavers gets straight

Publisher :

Author : Kerry Colburn

ISBN : 9780811878647

Year : 2011

Language: English

File Size : 44.7MB

Category : Family and Friendship

MAMA’S
BIG BOOK
of

LITTLE L I FESAVERS

398

WAYS TO SAVE YOUR TIME,
MONEY, AND SANITY

by Kerry Colburn

CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION................................................................. 8
HOW TO USE THIS BOOK.................................................13
QUICK HELP GUIDE..........................................................14

TIME-SAVERS........................................................16
MONEY-SAVERS..................................................80
SANITY-SAVERS................................................140

EPILOGUE: SMOOTH SAILING.........................................220
INDEX............................................................................221
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS....................................................224

INTRODUCTION

A

s a parent, you very quickly become an expert in
day-to-day family survival—because from the
moment your beautiful baby is born, it’s sink or swim
time. It’s up to you to learn how to get through each
day with your child reasonably taken care of and
your own wits (and hopefully your sense of humor)
reasonably intact. And so you do. You unravel the
mystery of how to move your sleeping infant from car
seat to crib, high-five yourself when you remember
a spare outfit in the diaper bag, and call your mom
friends to celebrate your first successful babysitter
drop-off. You learn new essential skills such as how

to salvage a favorite action figure from the toilet,
negotiate a meeting without revealing the spit-up
on your back, and keep your eyes open during date
night. You are awesome!
Without even really realizing it, every day you are
succeeding in dozens of small but significant ways.
And along the way, you are filling your own personal
parenting toolbox with what works for you: a trick
here, a bribe there, a funny song that diffuses a
battle, a seemingly insignificant technique that
helps you navigate the hours from wake-up to bedtime
over and over again. You, my friend, are becoming a

Introduction

5

parenting pro. But as you’ve certainly learned by now,
even a pro can use a little backup—especially when
new surprises crop up that you never saw coming.
The years from birth until your kids enter grade
school is a wondrous, challenging, and eye-opening
period, full of change, discoveries, and major peaks
and valleys. This is arguably the time you log the
most active and strenuous parenting hours of your
career—and the time you need all the help you can
get. Wouldn’t it be a beautiful thing if other parents’
toolboxes were open for you to paw through and test
out? Alas, it’s not always that easy. Moms and dads
simply don’t share their insider tricks with one another
with any kind of consistency or frequency. There are
several possible reasons for this: They’re tired. They
do what they do so unconsciously they might not even

6

Little Lifesavers

remember that it was once a hard-won technique.
They are so enmeshed in their own quirky systems
that they forget to ask what works for someone else.
Sure, everyone asks for advice on big things such
as discipline and potty training and sleep. But what
about the myriad little techniques that help smooth
over the bulk of each day? If only you could be a fly on
the wall at other parents’ houses, you’d learn a lot of
good stuff. And it sure would be a lot faster than
figuring it all out on your own.

Introduction

7

Let Mama’s Big Book of Little Lifesavers do this for
you. Inside this book you’ll find hundreds of ways to
save time, money, and your sanity—culled from my
own experience and that of parents of young children
from coast to coast. Parents of all types generously
contributed their big and small secrets for success,
in hopes of helping their compatriots: city parents,
suburban parents, parents of multiples, single parents,
and even a few grandparents. (Happily, this meant
I learned a lot of new tricks, too.) There’s a reason
for the old adage that “it takes a village to raise a
child.” Parenting is a team sport. Don’t try to figure
everything out on your own. Instead, raise the white
flag (a clean diaper will do nicely) and tap out your
SOS—other parents will always come to your rescue.
And let this book be your handy personal flotation
device to cling to. Hey, it just might buoy you up to
face another day.
Good luck to you, fellow parent! I salute you.
—Kerry

8

Little Lifesavers

HOW TO USE THIS BOOK

Mama’s Big Book of Little Lifesavers is organized into
three main sections: TIME-SAVERS, MONEY-SAVERS,
and SANITY-SAVERS. The content within each section
is loosely organized from babyhood through kindergarten. The book is meant to dip in and out of, whenever
you need a little pick-me-up or some fresh inspiration
on navigating life with kids. (After all, who has time to
read chapters?) Flip through it and see what catches
your fancy or speaks to a challenge you’re struggling
with this week. Share the ideas with your friends. For
times when you need help on a specific subject—say,
toothbrushing or airplane travel—refer to the Quick
Help Guide that follows.

How to Use This Book

9

QUICK HELP GUIDE
While you’ll find dozens of tips on these subjects and
more throughout the book, here’s a handy way to get
started if you’ve got a specific challenge right now.

BATHING AND BRUSHING

Tips: 3, 18, 30, 43, 95, 159, 263, 302, 311, 328
BED - AND NAPTIME

Tips: 29, 33, 36, 117, 133, 257, 259, 260, 270, 372
BIRTHDAYS AND HOLIDAYS

Tips: 85, 87, 153, 172, 181, 184, 188, 246, 256, 336
DIAPERS AND THE POTTY

Tips: 1, 38, 52, 138, 156, 158, 160, 170, 192, 331
BEHAVIOR AND BRIBES

Tips: 55, 61, 220, 245, 302, 334, 335, 336, 359, 391

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Little Lifesavers

GETTING DRESSED AND OUT THE DOOR

Tips: 12, 41, 54, 63, 68, 80, 81, 101, 108, 120, 358
HOUSEHOLD CHALLENGES

Tips: 4, 7, 91, 105, 109, 121, 235, 236, 300, 304
MEALS AND SNACKS

Tips: 23, 31, 39, 44, 48, 78, 116, 177, 278, 349, 376
TRAVEL SURVIVAL

Tips: 21, 37, 46, 114, 163, 293, 297, 375
YOU AND YOUR PARTNER

Tips: 24, 59, 118, 255, 301, 303, 346, 353, 398

Quick Help Guide

11

TIME-SAVERS

T

ime becomes an even more precious commodity when you’re a parent. Not only will
you always long for just a little more time for
yourself—to sleep, to read, perchance to shower—
you will also crave more time to simply enjoy your
children. What parents need are simple, easy-toemploy efficiencies that can save a few minutes
here, a few minutes there, and lots of irritation all
around. After all, no one likes to feel rushed, and
nothing slows down kids (or frankly, adults) more
than yelling, “Hurry! We’re late again!”
My hope is that these time-savers will do just what
you need: help you cut down some valuable time
that’s spent on annoyances or drudgery (getting
shoes on, doing laundry, putting toys away, etc.)
and leave you with just a little more cushion for
fun. After all, if you can make yourself even fifteen
minutes more efficient tomorrow morning, that’s
fifteen more minutes to tickle your baby, chase
your naked toddler, dance around the living room
with your preschoolers . . . or just finish your cup of
coffee while it’s still hot. Dream big!

Save time (and your back) by not trudging
upstairs or to the other end of the house for
every diaper change, for Pete’s sake! Throw a towel
on the couch, floor, or ottoman, and save yourself
several thousand trips. Keep small baskets of diapering supplies in different spots in your home, too, for
further efficiency.

1

If you’re bottle-feeding, resist automatically
warming up the bottles. Instead, take your
premade bottles straight out of the fridge (or mix your
dry formula with unheated water). If baby accepts
bottles either cold or at room temperature from the
get-go, you save yourself time, effort, and future
headaches—especially when you’re out or traveling.

2

14

Little Lifesavers

A sponge bath—or simply dunking baby’s
bottom into the sink when needed—saves
time, water, and mess, and it’s better for baby’s skin
anyway. Even older kids do not need a bath every
day; consider a hands-and-face wash (or handsface-feet in summertime) as part of the bedtime
routine instead. You’ll not only save tub time, but
cleanup and laundry time as well.

3

Take a cue from busy hotel housekeepers and
keep extra garbage bags and/or diaper-pail
liners at the bottom of the pail, so you can replace
easily when you take out the trash.

4

Time-Savers

15

5
“On my shopping trips before she was born,
I bought extra of everything we normally
would run out of, such as toothpaste, detergent, toilet paper, contact lens solution . . .
things that you might have to make a quick
stop at the store for, but that isn’t as easy
to do with a newborn.” —Jennifer

If you’re bottle-feeding at night, keep premeasured formula and a bottle of water on your
nightstand to save a trip to the kitchen—especially
if it’s on another floor. If you’re using breast milk,
remember it keeps at room temperature for up to
eight hours, so if you’re nodding off at 10 p.m. and
baby will be eating at 2 a.m., you can just set it on your
nightstand. If feedings are farther apart (or not that
predictable), keep the bottle and an ice pack in
a portable cooler, insulated lunch bag, or dorm
fridge, ready to go.

6

16

Little Lifesavers

If you live on two floors, keep a handled
basket or reusable shopping bag at the top
and bottom of the staircase, to transport all the things
you need to go up or down (stack of diapers, bottles,
blankie, toilet paper, your own water bottle, book,
etc.). As kids get older, the system still works—and
they can help—by using the bag to cart toys, jackets,
books, and more.

7

A good telephone headset means you don’t
have to wait for nap time to make your personal or work phone calls. Put baby in carrier of choice
and walk or bounce on an exercise ball while making
hands-free calls—you get some exercise and the baby
enjoys the sound of your voice, so you might as well
use it. A headset will also allow you to multitask while
breast-feeding or pumping.

8

Time-Savers

17

9
“I use my time pumping as my personal
hygiene time: flossing, brushing teeth, taking
vitamins, putting on under-eye concealer,
plucking eyebrows. A hands-free bra is
essential for this.” —Christina

Keep a good selection of food-delivery menus
right next to your phone, with favorite dishes
circled, for quick meal solutions when your energy
is low.

10

Instead of pumping into those special bottles
that come with your breast pump and then
transferring the milk to freezer bags, pump right into
a bag by attaching it with a rubber band. You save
transfer time, bottle-washing and drying time, and
avoid any chance of spillage—which will take even
more time to replace.

11

18

Little Lifesavers

Keep a pre-packed diaper bag (or what you’re
using as a diaper bag) near the front door so
you can get out of the house more quickly. The less
time it takes you to get organized, the more likely you
are to follow through on planned outings.

12

Have everything you can think of delivered,
and save yourself not only shopping time, but
the time it takes to get yourself and baby dressed and
out the door. When your new baby is sleeping, register
for several delivery services that will be helpful in the
coming months: meals, diapers, groceries, organic
produce, drugstore items, etc. Once you have online
accounts and basic shopping lists set up, it will be
a breeze to get your shopping done—just click to
reorder—and many sites offer free delivery, too.

13

Time-Savers

19

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