None of us want to be the “hot mess mama” but in these years of littles it’s just bound to happen at least time to time. Babies, moves, job losses, new jobs, losing my dad, new churches and regular life stuff have kept me in survival mode for my 10-year mothering career. I’ve been the very definition of “hot mess”!

But mama, lucky for you, I’ve learned a few things. I’ve learned how to cheat the system. And I know how to “fake it ‘til I make it”!

1. Drink LOTS of coffee!

Or at least some hot tea or water…something that gives you LIFE! My chosen poison is coffee. And oh, how I adore coffee. Stick around…you’ll see this theme a lot!

And while you’re at it, invest in an Ember mug. Need to poop mid-coffee? Maybe your toddler needed to poop mid-coffee? Forget where you put your cup? No worries! Ember keeps it your perfect temp so when you do get another moment of peace (do those really exist?) your coffee will still be as perfect as when you left it!

2. Meal Plan

I’ve done this so many ways. You can ask your family to make suggestions, you could keep a running list of ideas or you can just have some staple meals. That’s honestly how I’ve handled things most. I know what we like and repeat meals a couple times a month. This makes grocery shopping easier too!

Recently, I did splurge on an eMeals subscription. Their app has greatly improved since the last time I subscribed! I favorite meals so I can save them even after the menus expire. Then I add them to the week’s meal list.  And my favorite part? You can go directly from eMeals to your grocery store’s website! Which brings me to my next point…

 

3. Order Online Pick-up!

When I was pregnant with my third, the grocery gods shined down on my locale and gave us moms the gift of all gifts: Online grocery pick up!

I personally love Kroger because I can use my Plus card to earn fuel points. With Kroger, you can also add e-coupons to your Plus card and if you’re a loyal shopper they even give you personalized coupons! Annnnd, you can link your card to Ibotta to get even more bang for your buck! (I am all about stacking and saving the money! Get a $20 bonus by using code: wnapoox at sign up!)

But whatever store you shop, this has revolutionized grocery buying for our family! Lately I’ve been meal planning and then grocery shopping on Thursday evening after the kids are in bed. Then I choose a Friday afternoon pick up for us to grab after our weekly library trip!

Before you lament the $5 service charge, let me say, IT. IS. WORTH. IT! For one, who really wants to lug 3 kids to the grocery? Never mind that I have consistently spent at least $80 MORE any time I’ve opted for in person shopping! I will gladly pay $5 to save $80! Still not convinced? You get the fee waved for your first 3 orders. I guarantee you’ll be hooked after that!

No Kroger (or Kroger family stores) in your area? Here’s a coupon for $10 off your first Walmart order!

 

4. Get an Instant Pot

Have you hopped on this bandwagon yet? I got my first IP in 2015….before they were super cool because I’m apparently a trendsetter. HA!

Anyway, I use mine several times a week. It was especially helpful when I wasn’t on my menu planning game and would without fail act surprised at 4 pm that I had to cook dinner yet again. Except all of our meat was frozen. But with the IP that wasn’t a problem! We went from frozen to cooked in as little as 20 minutes!  It also saved us from so much take out!

And we really love how tender the IP cooks meat. This has been huge for the picky eaters that live with me!

Needless to say we love it and it’s no surprise I asked for a new one for Christmas! The new one even makes yogurt! I had planned to sell my older one but guess what, I find plenty of opportunity to use both!

 

5. Use Paper Plates

I know, I know, it’s not very “green” of me to suggest this. But during my third pregnancy we starting eating on paper plates. This makes kitchen clean up super easy and leaves room in the dishwasher to fit in the pots and pans too. It saves so much time!

Bonus tip: Line your baking sheets with parchment paper too!

6. Let your kids sleep in their clothes

Around here we live in comfy clothes. So it’s really no surprise that the kids often settle into bed in the clothes they wore all day.

Why does this make my life easier? Two words: less laundry! But I also use it to my advantage sometimes. On mornings we have to get up earlier than usual and we also have to leave the house, I’ll have the kids put on suitable clothes to wear out the next morning! Then they can roll out of bed, eat some breakfast and hop in the car. No more nagging to hurry up and get dressed! Revolutionary!

 

7. Invest in Capsule Wardrobes

Speaking of clothes, this fall I decided I wanted our entire family to not only have capsule wardrobes but to have coordinating capsule wardrobes. I chose a tight color palette and only bought things that fit that palette. It was life changing!

Our colors for fall and winter were gray, black, burgundy, blush, olive and navy. I tried to make sure things could be mixed and matched. The girls had dresses and shirts to match each pair of leggings. (I shopped mainly at Old Navy for me, Kohls for the girls and Target for my son. Hubby had enough clothes, many of which were in our chosen colors.)

This helped when laundry wasn’t caught up because there were multiple options to wear with each item. It also made me feel really, really together when we ALL coordinated with each other without even trying! Coordinating as a family just makes my heart extra happy!

Going along with this, we also keep our shoe choices super limited. Most of us have 2 or 3 pair that can go with multiple outfits. With 5 people in our family, that’s still a lot of shoes but it’s a whole lot less  than it could be!

 

But wait! 

I know I said 7 but I want to share one more thing that’s been helpful but it  just be the most “together” suggestion so it’s a bonus tip, when you’re ready!

Ignore all of the super creative, super artsy, over the top beautiful journals on Pinterest. Instead, grab you a notebook and make it yours. This is your book to write EVERYTHING in! And I mean, everything! Calendar, grocery list, reading list, budget, next week’s to do list. Every.thing!

You don’t have to focus on it being pretty, though I have found that I enjoy practicing lettering and making the pages pretty. Instead focus on the fact that every single thing you write down will go in this book.

Why is this helpful? Have you ever jotted down sometime important only to misplace it? Yep, me too. Not anymore! Now everything is in a single, albeit, messy notebook. Also I figure if I die, hubby will have half a clue of what’s going on with our finances! Ha!

Your Turn! 

Tell me what things you have done to simplify life and help you feel more together? I can’t wait to learn some new tricks!