I’m often asked for advice on how to “juggle it all” or for general tips on work-life balance. Guys, I am probably the worst person to ask because I literally feel like I’m one cough/cold/flu/ear infection away from a nervous breakdown. Tao is eleven months and still not sleeping through the night (actually, we have a sleep consultant coming tomorrow, wish us luck… I am very nervous!), Ren has had back to back ear infections and colds, Tom had the flu, and I had PNEUMONIA, for Pete’s sake!, and my asthma—which I haven’t had since the age of 16 and WHO wants to be reminded of themselves at awkward AF sixteen—has come back. Sigh.
So while I can’t honestly answer the “juggle it all” question, I can try to answer “how to do save time/try to juggle all 239084 things”! Here are a few of my mom/life hacks to try to make things run a tad more smoothly…
Automate your life: Whatever you can set on a recurring schedule, do it. Autopay bills and auto-order/ship everything in life that you know you will need on a monthly basis. Honestly, Amazon Subscribe and Save is a game-changer. I set it to arrive the first of the month and everything we need for home/kiddos (oatmeal! Paper towels! Detergent! Q-Tips! Sonicare toothbrush heads! You name it!) is delivered in a ginormous box on the 1st. You save an extra few bucks if you Subscribe to more than 5 things. And bonus: the aforementioned giant box is Ren’s favorite thing to play with for a few days.
If you can’t see it, it doesn’t exist (or: why everything should be in a clear plastic pouch): You know how you see apartments on Instagram and everything is in gorgeous rattan baskets or like gorgeous lacquered boxes? That is literally the opposite of my life. I keep as much stuff as possible in hideous, clear plastic containers (boxes! Pouches! Drawers!) for visibility and so you can find what you need crazy-quickly. In my purse, I use a few of those nifty pink pouches that Glossier’s orders come in to store receipts/beauty products/cards. My pantry/linen closet is all clear stackable plastic storage boxes from the Container Store organized by Ren/Tao’s stuff, my stuff, house stuff, etc. Is it Instaworthy? Heck, no! Do I find stuff super quickly? Yes!
Pre-sort laundry: So when I put smaller laundry things into the laundry hamper, I pre-sort them into mesh (see-through, like the previous tip, lol) laundry bags by category: kid socks, Tom’s socks, kid unmentionables, adult unmentionables, Tao’s bibs, etc… when you fold laundry, which honestly I HATE DOING, it is so much faster because you’re not finding mates for socks, etc. Try it! Sounds crazy but it does save you time.
Use email settings to remind yourself of everything: The latest version of Outlook has a setting where you can send emails later at a pre-determined time… I’ll often email myself reminders to buy birthday gifts for Ren’s friends a few days before the party, doctor appointments I need to make a year from now, etc. There’s also a Chrome extension for Gmail called Boomerang (no relation to Instagram's Boomerang) that can “boomerang” messages out of your inbox and return it to your inbox at a pre-ordained time. Super super helpful for reminding yourself of appointments, birthdays, etc. I also use a virtual assistant service called Fancy Hands (I am not crazy about the name but it is what it is) once in a while… They’re the most helpful anytime you have to do a call where you know you’ll be on hold for three hours (hello, UNITED AIRLINES). They can call for you and patch you in when they have someone real/live on the line for you.
OK that’s all I can remember in my sleep-addled state (thank goodness the sleep consultant is coming tomorrow). And, yes, I know this was another grimly utilitarian newsletter! I feel like I have to balance it out with some beauty…
So here is my favorite base coat and top coat. The key to DIY manicures, FYI, is how well you clean your nail before. You MUST clean off the nail with nailpolish remover (my favorite is this Zoya one, btw) before applying top coat. And you must always use base coat to protect your nails. Reapply top coat every 2-3 days and you should have a manicure that lasts a full week!
K, ‘til next week!
PS: the past newsletters are here…
Random Stuff I Like, Part II: including a horrible yet great toy that the kids love so so much.
Beauty Stuff I Like: including the most hydrating PM lip balm ever—it’s the middle of winter! Get it to tide you over ‘til balmier days.
How to Travel with Kids: Repress your germaphobe instincts.
Random Stuff I Like: including grape slicer kitchen tool you didn’t know you needed.
Kids Books: I plan to update this list next week! Well, maybe… I said that last week too.
OG Baby List: this is the list to send your friends who are expecting! It’s on my (vast) to-do list to add a few things to this list, so will do that in the coming weeks… (which I realize I said last week too)