Baby won’t stop crying unless he’s in a carrier? Toddler caught a cold and super clingy? Even if you’re stuck with a kid on your hip, you can get things done! Keep reading for the ULTIMATE guide to getting more done with a baby on your hip.
When my first son was born, he had really bad colic.
Not only did he insist on being held all.the.time, but he never slept.
That’s actually a lie. He did sleep – but only if I was holding him and moving around. I would rock him for hours and hours hoping that I would at some point be able to put him down to rest for 20 minutes before he was up again. I would strap him in the carrier and walk around the house with him, nursing him to sleep (and then some) and hoping he’s wake up happier.
I used a fitness tracker back then and I remember one of the worst days I logged 35,000 steps. I didn’t leave our small, 600 square foot house at all that day.
When Owen was born, I prayed and prayed that he would be easier because the only thing that sounded worse than a colicky baby was a colicky baby and a 21-month-old who also wants attention.
Thankfully, Owen was a better sleeper, but still loved being held, and without the convenience of having only one kiddo, I now faced different obstacles that required I hold Owen all.the.time.
All of that to say, I am somewhat of an expert on getting stuff done when you have a kid attached to you. Because just because you have a colicky newborn, sick toddler, or clingy preschooler doesn’t mean that the rest of the world stops moving. You still need to eat. You still have errands that need to be taken care of. The house still needs cleaning.
In this post, I’m going to be sharing all of my favorite tips for getting stuff done with a kid on your hip, whether it’s a 3 year old with a boo-boo or a cranky 22-month-old in a carrier. You CAN get things done, it just takes a little more maneuvering to get it done.
The Ultimate Guide to Getting More Done with a Kid on Your Hip
****Before I get too far in this, I feel the need for the pre-requisite disclaimer: Use your judgment. Before doing anything one-handed and/or with a kid on you, make sure both of you are safe. Don’t be stupid and trade safety in favor of getting something extra done. Just don’t. ****
We all need to eat, and being hungry AND stressed is a terrible combination. Here are some great tips for getting food on the table and/or in your belly with a baby on your hip.
Marinate chicken, beef or pork with a little on your hip. Dump your favorite marinade ingredients into a ziptop bag (bonus: less dishes) along with your meat and a simple dinner is ready for the grill or oven. Do the same with veggies for a simple side! Then when the hubs comes home, force him out to man the grill. (most preferably, while you nap.)
There is a reason a crockpot is every mom’s best friend. Even as a stay-at-home mom, I adore my crockpot. Throw in your ingredients and let it go. If you use frozen veggies (or pre-cut fresh!) and a recipe that allows for whole meat, you don’t even need to cut a thing. My favorites include this teriyaki chicken, dumping chicken breasts and BBQ sauce in for easy sandwiches, or making pasta sauce – dump in some (premade, store bought, frozen – whatever) meatballs or sausage and you’re gold.
On the same note, easy sides like microwavable rice, bagged salad, or anything that can be eaten on bread is your best friend.
When Ry was a baby with some pretty serious colic, I became an expert at crafting and eating one-handed foods. The goal is finding foods that not only can you EAT with one hand, but that you can safely prepare with one hand. Here are some of my favorites to get you started.
- Microwave oatmeal or overnight oats.
- Salad kits – cut the top off the bag, dump in all the mix-ins and shake it right in the bag before dumping into a bowl.
- Sandwiches – something so simple is the PERFECT vehicle for sustenance quick and with little effort. Bonus points if you use a pita pocket
- Chips or veggies and dip. Hummus will forever be associated with sick or colicky kids, to me. A bag of baby carrots and a container of hummus is a great meal the munch on one handed.
- Burritos/taquitos. I used to make a bunch at once, freeze them, and microwave or bake them when I needed to eat but had a kid strapped to me. You can easily eat it one-handed!
ON YOUR PHONE
Some complain about phones taking away from time with your kids, but I don’t know how generations before did it. Aside from keeping you in contact and up to date with happenings around the world while stuck in one place, your phone is a super useful, portable tool for getting more done with a kid on your hip.
This depends on the call and the kid, but making some of those calls you’ve been dreading when you’re glued to a kid is great. Been putting off calling the cable company about an overcharge? Call ’em. Need to reschedule an appointment? You’re not doing anything else right now. Honestly, unless your kid is wailing or abnormally chatty, most customer service type calls are okay. Just don’t make any serious business calls, you know?
Paying my bills online was the best thing that ever happened to me. I can be super forgetful and TBH a little lazy with boring tasks like bills so being able to do it quickly (and anti-socially!) online is perfect. Pay that sewer bill, register your car – whatever bill you need to pay online, do it!
This is a pretty obvious one. If you need more brain power or two hands to write your emails, try going through your inbox and unsubscribing from those million and two email lists you never open.
Taking a family trip soon? Need a good restaurant to go to when friends come to visit? Looking for the perfect skin cream? Wondering what on earth microblading your eyebrows means? This is a great time to do some of your ‘non-vital’ online research.
The ultimate balance every stay-at-home mom struggles with is kids and a clean house. Neglecting a house full of kids – baby on your hip or not – is never a good idea, purely because there is a chance you won’t be able to catch up for months. Here are my favorite ways to clean when my kids refuse to be put down.
The Swiffer Wet Jet is my all time favorite thing and I have no qualms about it. Not a single item in my cleaning arsenal has made my life easier than this product. (except, maybe my vacuum below) One hand. One hand is all you need in order to mop your floors. Perfect for when you have a sleeping baby strapped to you. If you’re neurotic about clean floors/feet like I am, you need a Swiffer Wet Jet. I’m serious. (totally not sponsored, I just really, really adore them)
The smartest thing I ever did for my cleaning routine was investing in a quality cordless vacuum that could be used on hardwood and carpeting. I can clean my floors in less than 5 minutes with one hand. It’s amazing. We have a Dyson Animal and I rave about it to anyone who is willing to hear me talk about my vacuum for more than .000255 seconds. Yes, it’s expensive, but YES it is 100% worth the cost.
Simply wiping down the counters and cabinets can really change how I feel about the state of cleanliness in my home. Use a non-toxic cleaner when cleaning with baby in tow and spray the product directly to our rag or paper towel rather than the surface. Or use water! It honestly does a ‘good enough’ job.
Get one of those extendable dusters with a disposable head that traps dust and finally get those corners you always neglect to clean. It’s the perfect time to do it, and since they cling to the ick you don’t have to worry about anything falling on your little’s head.
Got a pile of papers that need sorting? Is your junk drawer starting to look like a junk cabinet? While it’s easy to walk past this stuff when you have both hands/not lugging around a sleeping nugget, when you’re stuck with a kid on your hip, this is the perfect chance to just sort through it, toss out some stuff, and move on. Obviously, don’t clean your closet where you’ll have to take big heavy boxes from high shelves down, but sorting through your clothes isn’t a bad idea.
If you’re anything like me, you have at least one basket of clean laundry at any given time waiting to b folded (and probably more in the dryer, if I’m being honest. Sort and fold your laundry! This is best done when you’re wearing a baby, not necessarily one-handed and physically holding a kid.
One of the first things to fall to the wayside after you have kids is fitness. Who has time with a house to clean, mouths to feed, and little people to keep alive? Here are my favorite ways to sneak in exercise when you have a baby on your hip.
Obviously, the easiest way to get some exercise is my strapping on your kiddo and going for a walk. A quick walk around your neighborhood is a great way for you both to get a little fresh air and a nice way to ease back into exercise.
Not for the weak of leg(?) but if you’re babywearing, squats and lunges are great, east exercise to do. Just remember you’re adding 10-30 pounds to your squat, so it will be harder!
So there is a small step leading from our living room into the kitchen and I used it non.stop. as fitness when Ryan was born. I would just walk up and down that little step while binge-watching Supernatural on Netflix and wearing him for a nap. If you have a step, I would suggest starting with the lowest height first then moving up to more intense levels. Also, start near a wall for balance until you get a handle on it. Again, remember you’ll be adding weight with your kid.
Self-care is a buzz word right now and for good reason: you can’t reasonably take care of others until you take care of YOU. Find time for self-care, even if it means doing so while wearing your baby.
If your little will let you sit (or if you’re wearing your little – HIGHLY recommend if you can get away with it!) coloring is a great way to pass time in a stressfree way when you’re stuck with a sleeping baby on your chest. I have this coloring book and totally love it, but there are tons of resources for free coloring printables. You can even use your kids’ coloring books – who says Paw Patrol is just for kids?
I wouldn’t recommend a ‘real’ book, but an e-reader saved my sanity more than once with both of my boys. Being able to search libraries, flip pages, and read a book without worrying about losing my page was HUGE for me. I prop mine up on something and rock the cranky babe to sleep while reading.
Dancing around to music has always made me feel good. Put on some of your favorite mellow jams – I’m a big DMB fan! – and rock around the house with your little. Maybe they’ll even fall asleep!
THIS is how I survived the first 3 months of a horribly colicky first baby. I would choose a show, pull it up in my laptop and binge watch while rocking him to sleep. Catch up on shows you’ve missed or watch new shows from the beginning. I recommend watching a show that if you miss a few minutes here or there, you won’t totally be lost because kids = interruptions and distractions.
Want to learn a new skill or brush up on an old one? Want to hear a great story without having to read it? PODCASTS. I’ve been listening to podcasts since college and they’re one of my favorite ways to get information. Google any topics + podcast and you’re bound to find a list of podcasts related to it that will keep you entertained for days. This American Life is a wonderful story style podcast and Stuff You Should Know is always full of crazy awesome information on literally anything.
On the same note, audio books are another love of mine. I highly recommend finding a book AND narrator you like (some narrators I just can’t get into – their voice is too distracting for whatever reason.) and binge. My new favorite audiobook spot is Playster, which offers a monthly unlimited plan rather than Audibles ‘one book per month’ plan for the same price. The selection is more limited, but it still has plenty of popular books. Also make sure to check out your public library’s online selection of audiobooks that you can rent.
There you have it – a TON of things you can accomplish even WITH a baby strapped to you. I hope that these tips really give you a better understanding on how to survive those sometimes frustrating and stressful moments.
Let me know what YOU have done with your kid on your hip or what you favorite one handed food is in the comments!
Being a mom is tough - I'm here to help!
Join the Morgan Manages Mommyhood mailing list to get easy, fun kid food your kids will WANT to eat and realistic parenting advice you won't roll your eyes at send right to your inbox!