I’m all about doing things the easy way so that I have more time with my family. When I went back to work after staying home with my kids for 9 years, I discovered some busy mom must-haves that made life significantly easier.
I wish I had known about these sooner. As a stay at home mom, I took on all of the “homemaking duties.” We didn’t have much money, so I budgeted and did a lot of DIY stuff. Once we had the financial means, I started finding tools that made the work easier and more efficient. Below are some of the gadgets I found worth spending money on because they made my life more enjoyable. I wish I had known about them years earlier.
I don’t love the term “busy,” and my goal is to be intentional in all I do. Yet, sometimes there are seasons in life where I feel like there is so much to do that I never get a moment to breathe. Hopefully, if you feel stuck in that place, some of these items will make your life easier or save time on less important tasks so that you can spend your precious time on the things that really matter.
Coffee is important to me. You don’t want to be around me if I don’t start my day with a delicious cup of coffee. For years we have had a Keurig with an assortment of flavors to keep me happy. I love this thing. It also makes hot chocolate and cider for the kids. It is convenient to use and quickly provides a warm beverage to start the day. Everyone can make their own flavor, so there is no fighting over what kind of coffee or hot chocolate we should make.
I would suggest that if you have hard water where you live, invest in the filter. We had a couple of our coffee makers break from the hard water. Keurig was wonderful and replaced them both, but it was not a good day when it would only make 2 oz. We haven’t had that problem since we got the filter. It has lasted years.
So… when I went back to work, I didn’t want to have to wait 3 whole minutes for my coffee anymore. I know I have issues. Don’t judge me. We purchased this Cuisinart coffee pot, and I have loved it ever since. It can be programmed the night before to start brewing at 5:15 a.m. That way, it is ready and waiting for me when I wake up. I usually set it up the night before during our 10-minute cleanup.
Although we don’t have tons of flavor options, my husband and I have found that adding cinnamon to our Folgers is great for both of us. We aren’t coffee snobs for our morning coffee. Dessert coffee is a different story. This coffee maker makes the right amount for my husband and me to have a cup or two of our coffee at home, and then take a big travel mug to work with us. It’s also better for entertaining because the carafe is 14 cups, which is bigger than most.
We do still use our Keurig for when someone wants a single cup. It works out nicely to not have to brew a whole pot. It’s also convenient when somebody prefers decaf or even apple cider.
As a mom and a teacher, I rarely have time to drink my coffee during the day. After trying out MANY travel mugs, I have found this Contigo insulated travel mug to be the best. On many occasions, I took my first sip of coffee at school after the students left for the day. With this mug, my coffee was still hot enough to enjoy! This is a great busy mom must-have and one of my #1 teacher must-haves.
My slow cooker was a lifesaver for when I was working long hours. I would fill the crockpot early in the morning and come home to dinner, ready to be served. Sometimes it was as easy as adding frozen chicken and green salsa to the crockpot in the morning. We’d serve it as chicken burritos with tortillas, beans, and cheese. The next day I’d add chicken broth, veggies and top with avocado and cheese for chicken tortilla soup. Another favorite was a roast with some Sweet Baby Rays BBQ sauce to make into BBQ Beef sandwiches.
One VERY LONG Monday, a friend and I assembled 15 different crockpot freezer meals in her kitchen. I wish I had onion goggles that day (I just learned that these are a thing). We cut SO many onions that my eyes were crying for days. However, those premade freezer meals made for many easy dinners in my first quarter of teaching. Only one was so gross that I had to throw it out. That’s a pretty good ratio… 14 out of 15 dinners were a win. I don’t recommend freezing tater tots in liquid and then putting them in a crockpot for 8 hours… they turn to mush. Gross! You can find a huge assortment of freezer meal recipes online. Need some ideas? Taste of Home has a post with 65! You can find them here.
Since then, I have discovered Citrus Pear. It is the same idea as making freezer meals in your friend’s kitchen; only they take care of the shopping and the mess for you. You assemble your meals in a grocery store… and the classes I’ve been to allow you to have fountain drinks to your heart’s content. It only takes about an hour instead of the 12 hours I spent with my friend. It’s brilliant. I believe that they currently operate in Utah, Idaho, Nevada, Arizona, and Colorado. Let me know in the comments if there is someplace like this near you. It is amazing.
If I’m honest, I was a little intimidated by a pressure cooker at first. It seemed a little too complicated and “Sciency,” but it totally won me over. My Instant Pot comes in handy when I get to work and think… Oh, snap! I forgot to put dinner in the crockpot! I have done this on numerous occasions. When I get home, I can still put the freezer meals in the instant pot, and it only takes about 45 minutes. Even better, I can call my husband before I leave and have him do it!
My instant pot also makes the perfect hard-boiled eggs. They peel easily and are cooked to perfection. I like the 5-5-5 method. Additionally, an Instant Pot works as a rice cooker. I am finding new uses for this gadget all the time.
Insta Hot– I just discovered how much of a busy mom must have this is!
Okay… this is my latest gadget that makes me feel like I have truly made it in life. You guys… I never have to wait for water to heat up. Ever! Want tea? The water is ready. Cup-O-Noodles? Pour that water in, and we’re almost ready to go. Peanut butter stuck on a spoon? Let me use this hot water to get it off. This thing saves me so much time. I feel spoiled. This must be how the rich and famous live.
ToiletWand Disposable Cleaning System
The first time I saw these toilet wands, I thought to myself, “Who would waste their money on these? It’s not that hard to grab the toilet bowl cleaner and toilet brush!”
Then I had two boys and realized I am this person. I have one of these by each toilet so that OTHER PEOPLE can easily grab them and clean the toilet. There is no gross mess of brown water puddled in the brush holder (Gross! That is what occurred when my kids used the other toilet cleaning method), making it more doable for my kids. The “toilet yuck” gets thrown away… by my children. That is well worth the price!
The smartwatch is another busy mom must-have. I didn’t realize how much I needed until I had it. My smartwatch has saved me on numerous occasions. Since we are an Apple family, my phone, computer, and watch all work together. While I am at work, I can see texts from my kids and husband and respond right from my watch. I also set alarms to alert me of important things, and it buzzes me on my wrist without alerting the rest of the world. Most importantly, every day I use my watch to ping my phone, meaning that I misplace my phone every single day. This has saved me hours of hunting for my lost phone.
Having a hook or a basket for keys (I have used them both at different times) has been a huge timesaver. I spend way too much time looking for my keys, and it is helpful to have a dedicated spot to put them. This busy mom must-have will save time for scatterbrained moms like me. I can’t tell you how many times I had to borrow my husband’s keys because I was late for work when my keys did not make it into the basket. I do have a tile on my wishlist for this purpose.
My kids do not love that I can control their screen time from my phone, but it gives me peace of mind. Now that my kids are becoming more independent, they must learn to be safe on the internet. Since most of their school work and social interaction happens online due to the pandemic, we need a way to regulate. All of our devices are connected to the Circle, and we not only block inappropriate content and give them a cut-off time, but we can control the amount of them they are on certain websites. My kids will watch Youtube for 12 hours a day if we let them. We now set a time limit for Youtube, and it won’t play anymore when their time is up. It can always be adjusted, but they need us to do it for them.
Mopping is one of my least favorite chores. This busy mom must have was given to me by my neighbor (also a busy mom and obviously a good friend… I mean who else would give you a mop) and has made mopping less annoying. It uses water, and the pad can be thrown into the washing machine. My kids are able to use it independently, which is a big plus. This is a weekly chore for both of my boys. Thanks to the steam mop, my kitchen floor has never been so clean.
Migraine and headache relief cap– A busy mom must have for anyone who gets headaches!
This little Magicgel cap has changed my life. I get migraines every month and am always trying to find creative ways to strap the ice packs to my head. I’ve tried headbands, shoelaces, and the decorative strap from a pillow. Nothing works. This hat provided a solution to that problem and truly is a lifesaver. It is snug enough to put pressure on my head, and the individual ice packs are perfectly placed to provide relief to wherever my head is hurting the most. If you get headaches, I highly recommend this! This has become one of my most essential busy mom must-haves.
These two items I do not yet own, but have always wanted. A light cordless vacuum for quick mess clean up, and a Roomba to do the work for me! As a teacher, I borrowed many cordless vacuums and always wished I had one for my house. And the Roomba feels very Jetsons to me. You guys… we live in the future! Who doesn’t want a robot to do the work for them?
These are some essentials that have made my “busy mom life” easier. Leave a comment and let me know what things have made your life easier. I’m all about working smarter, not harder!