A few days ago I was busy researching a parenting article for work. On this occasion “researching a parenting article for work” roughly translated as “scrolling aimlessly through Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram hoping that my professional mojo would miraculously reappear while I was making myself feel bad by looking at social media posts by moms who were obviously far better at “mommy-ing” than I am.
On this occasion, this masochistic 'research' actually worked because I happened to see one of those memes that had a list of items such as Netflix, Uggs, Yoga pants, and books, with the question, “If you could only choose two of the things, what would they be?”
This question got to thinking: What do today's moms really feel they need to get through the day? What is the one thing they couldn’t do without?
To answer this, I chose to break away from the norm of creating a poll or a meme and sharing it. Doing that can be fun, but it also tends to limit the answers you get back. People tend to choose something on the list you have created and you miss out on their personal tidbits.
So I reached out to my trusty tribe of moms and asked them if they had a moment if they could let me know what they felt they needed in their day and this is what they told me.
20 Hack At It
High on the list of must-haves was a combination of:
- “Beauty hacks so I have a chance to look like a normal human being and not an extra from The Walking Dead but in under ten mins,”
“Websites that tell me how to get the baby puke smell out of the sofa before my partner's mom comes round and sits there with raised eyebrows because of the stench,”
-“All the quick and easy tips my granny knew but my mom didn’t bother with because she didn’t have kids, and a job and so was never able to pass them on to me.”
Yes, top of the list was definitely quick, easy, effective, and reliable info to help out in all areas of a busy life.
19 Click The Shutter
One item that surprised me and that I would never have thought to include on a list of possibilities was digital photo printing.
Being able to capture multiple images, edit them online and print them at home, or at a local big box store is considered invaluable to many of today's mommas.
It would appear that after the first generation of digital photographers captured thousands of images that were left festering on hard-drives and memory cards, never to see the light of the day, the millennial mom shutterbug recognized the value of printing out and displaying those precious moments.
18 Bean There, Done That
Unsurprisingly, coffee cropped up in multiple comments from, “Oh god, I can’t imagine a day without coffee," all the way to, “I plan my day around my local Starbucks. No kidding. I’ll change appointments and turn up late for meet-ups with friends if I don’t have time to swing by and keep my carry-cup filled.”
One of the exceptions to the coffee-fueled group was my breastfeeding friends, one of whom said, “Yes it is worth giving up my high coffee consumption to breastfeed my child, but from time to time I’d swap my left tit for an extra large French Roast right now.”
17 The Pant
It doesn’t matter if you wear yoga pants, leggings, yoga leggings or any other kind of stretchy, easy wash leg covering if you are a mom, you are likely a fan of these wardrobe staples.
Yoga pants are comfy when you are trapped in a bizarre position on the sofa, unable to move in case you awaken the freshly dozing beast that is your baby.
They do not complain when you comfort eat ALL the ice-cream and test their stretching and containment abilities, nor do they take on strange, disheveled shapes when you put them through the washer for the twenty-fifth time in a week and a half.
16 The Surging Stream
Not only is streaming TV high up on the list of “must-haves” because it allows you to plonk the kids down in front of it for half an hour while you try to get something approaching a healthy dinner prepped, but it is also crucial for moms entertainment.
How else can you watch ten minutes of a show while you’re hiding in the bathroom, another fifteen while you wait for the kids to come out of school and finish up an episode with one eye on the screen while you pretend to be interested in the story your six-year-old is telling you for the seventh time?
15 Google This
What would we do without the ability to call up a search engine and ask, “How do I make flourless cakes?” when you find out three of your kiddos friends are gluten intolerant the day before the birthday party you are hosting?
How would you get through the day if you couldn’t look up the cast of Ozark on IMDB to show that Wyatt is the kid from “I Am Legend” and sit back smugly on the sofa because you finally proved your sister's know-it-all movie buff boyfriend wrong?
Do we even have to mention good old “Dr. Google”?
14 Memes - Of The Parenting Variety
Whether it is 3 a.m. and you are scrolling through your phone with the screen brightness down so low you have to squint to make out the words while your newborn pretends to fall asleep or it’s 10 p.m. and your teenager has just set off seismic sensors across the world with their door slamming prowess and you feel like the worst mom in the world, a meme can make you feel you are not alone.
They are also excellent for passive aggressively trolling said teen by posting memes about teenagers being little turds when you know your teenager has alerts set for your profile.
Or so I’m told.
13 Tablets Keep Me Sane
Not of the medicinal variety, the electronic kind. I know we are all supposed to be careful about the amount of screen time our children have; we have all heard about the studies that show a connection between too much alone time staring at an electronic device and our kids tuning into wide-eyed anime characters who are unable to communicate.
However, as one mom put it: “I can’t imagine how anyone coped before you could get them to sit down and shut-up for just ten minutes and watch an episode of Dora while you briefly rediscovered a life without a child attached to you, asking for something, or telling you a riveting story about a worm they saw in the garden.”
12 Say Tee
“Silly though it might sound,” says Kate, a mom of two from Idaho, “But I love my slogan tee-shirts, and my closet would be almost empty if I had to give them up. I’m not big on speaking up or sharing my emotions, so throwing on a shirt with “Go Away” written across it can be an effective way of getting the space I need.”
Slogan tees are also useful for dealing with your kids because wearing a shirt with “NO” emblazoned across the front is suitable for most Mom moments.
Fortunately, our design and decor choices are no longer limited to the gloss white cribs and big, brash, nursery furniture in pastel blue or pink, from which our parents had to choose.
Nor are our playroom, nursery, or kids bedroom decorating plans dictated by cute, primary-colored characters or themes that are created primarily to reinforce gender stereotypes.
“I love that we have a playroom decorated in soft neutral tones,” mom of one Jen told me “And the fact that it is gender neutral makes it welcoming for any future children and their friends.”
10 Blog It Baby
“It’s like having a funny friend you don’t have to make any effort with,” confided momma P when asked why she would hate to do without mom blogs.
“You find people who think in the same way as you and dip into their blogs when you have the time. There’s family gossip, funny stories about real life momming, hints and tips, ideas about what to make for dinner, and all on my terms.
I don’t have to share my life in response to her sharing, be a shoulder to cry on, or think about what I’m saying in case I upset her. My “Blog Moms” are the friends I always wanted.”
9 Shopping With A Click
Did you know there was once a dark and miserable time, before online shopping, when you had to find the time, while the shops were open, to trail from store to store desperately searching for the one must-have toy on your child's birthday list?
Nobody had a registry or wishlist from which you could easily purchase and have delivered, a gift for any occasion. Worst of all, there was no way of arranging the next day delivery of a gift that manages to be both thoughtful and yet entirely unlikeable to your mother-in-law when she drops into the phone conversation that “Oh, did I accidentally mention it’s my birthday tomorrow?”
They were dark times indeed.
8 Get Smart
If you don't have a smart front door lock or your lights set up for control from your mobile device, you might be wondering what the fuss is about being able to control certain aspects of your home while you are away.
If you do have them, you know the joy of ushing out of the door in the morning, juggling three kids, an irate cat in a carrier and your work clothes over your arm, only to realize when you are on the freeway, that you forgot to lock the door.
Being able to fix this, when you arrive at your destination or pullover, rather than drive back home again, is priceless.
It is also fabulous for watching your teen kids when you are stuck at work, and they bring some friends around without permission. Apparently, it is embarrassing for the lights and stereo to be turned on and off remotely and for your mom to shout “boo” via the speakers when your fam drop by.
7 Selfies With The Little Me’s
The mom and child selfie is an as yet unrecognized indicator that you have moved on in life from being “the person who has never experienced parenthood” to “the one who understands what it is to love a kiddo so fiercely you would give your own life or take the life of someone else, just to protect your child.”
You are no longer satisfied with a lonely, “just you” selfie. You want to have your child in the photo with you because they are a part of you.
6 Your Social Media Tribes
“Sometimes I don’t know what I’d do if I couldn’t go on and vent to my groups,” says Lisa, mom of four, with numbers five and six on the way, “All of the other women in the group are moms with kids at home, a job to manage outside of the home, and they all understand that when I say ‘I want to run away’ that I only mean it in the moment.
Ours is a well-moderated group, and there’s no judgment, no drama, and no bitching. It’s a safe, and secure place to talk.”
Being at home with the children can be isolating, especially if you don’t have friends and family nearby. Facebook groups came up time and time again when moms were telling me about the valuable resources that can help get them through the week.
5 Me And Mini-Me
One item that divided the moms I spoke with was matching or coordinating outfits for moms and their kids. Predominately, although not exclusively, mother and daughter clothing, comments about this trend ranged from the glowingly positive to the, ah -hem, less flattering.
“We have loads of adorable mommy and little girl outfits. They’re not all just tiny replicas of my clothes for my daughter, some of them coordinate. We are always getting compliments,” told me Valerie.
“I hate seeing girls dressed up as tiny mommy dolls. They look like glorified Barbies who can breathe and eat and pee and puke,” countered Nora.
In a similar vein, “real life” Instagram moms were something that some mothers loved and others could happily do without.
“I’m not an idiot,” Carrie said in her response to my questions, “I know that the photos are carefully staged, that there were probably another 30 or 40 images taken before one of them was deemed good enough for Instagram.
I know all about how camera angles are used and how those ‘this is the children and me waking up’ photos are taken in the afternoon because it took all day to get ready, but it’s my little escape. I look at pretty photos of pretty people in pretty homes. As long as it doesn’t have an adverse effect on me, what’s the harm in it?”
3 Pinterest Board Inspiration
Another item that took me entirely by surprise was Pinterest. Not the site itself of course, but how many moms said they would miss their daily fix if it weren’t available to them.
Not only do many moms see it as a handy resource for looking up and bookmarking crafts, decor items, and foodstuffs that look fabulously simple on the screen, but are devilishly difficult in reality, but many use it to crowdsource ideas, and plan life events by creating group boards.
“It was a fun way to share ideas for our wedding,” Amy told me, “My unit is currently stationed overseas, but my family and friends can still swap ideas, make suggestions and comment on what they do or don’t like. Even my kids can pin to the board, so it makes me feel a little closer to everyone.”
2 What’s Up Doc?
When your kids are sick, one of the least enjoyable things in the entire world is being unsure if you should take them to the doctor or not.
This is closely followed in the unpleasant rankings by actually having to bundle up your sick child, get them to the doctor's office, and sit in a waiting room full of sick people.
Online doctors may not be the right choice for every occasion, but these days, when you have quality devices that allow clear communication, if it’s a minor ailment “visiting” the doctor from the comfort of your sofa can be a game changer.
1 Our Kids
I know it’s corny. I know it’s sappy and syrupy, but heck, I have to go there every now and again.
The one thing none of us, as moms, could do without on a day to day basis is our kids.
Admittedly there are times when you are convinced that you are raising the accidentally swapped at birth spawn of Satan, but when it comes down to it, we love them all really, in all of their grumpy, ungrateful, demanding, loud, foul-smelling, bodily fluid drenched horror and glory.
Reference: Facebook sruveys.