5 Things Saving My Sanity Right Now

Our Thanksgiving guests come this weekend and then I feel like it’s full-throttle on to the holidays.

Last year, I was exhausted by my pregnancy, both physically and mentally, and I wasn’t at my best.

busy mom lifesavers

busy mom lifesavers

busy mom lifesavers

This year, though, I’m feeling much more on top of my life and I’m feeling less overwhelmed by the holidays and more just full of excitement about this fun time of year and spending it with my little family and extended family.

That doesn’t make it any less busy, though, and I’ve been paying attention to the little things that make my life feel way more manageable.

Here are five that are saving me on a frequent basis right now:

  1. A steam mop and vacuum. My sister, Landen, raved about the one her in-laws own and I had a gift card that had been sitting in my wallet for more than a year, so one afternoon, the girls and I took a quick trip to Bed Bath & Beyond, armed with one of those trusty 20% off coupons, and I bought myself one. The tile floor that covers most of our upstairs has been a problem pretty much since we moved into this house because with a bunch of little barefoot children (and me) running around all the time, it’s just constantly filthy. And I hate to mop. So Bart mopped it every month or so, but it embarrassed both of us that it usually just looked and felt dirty. This has been a LIFESAVER. I love that I don’t have to sweep beforehand since it’s a vacuum too, and my floors have never ever ever been cleaner. They no longer look dirty and, even better, they don’t FEEL dirty when I walk on them, which hasn’t happened in the last two plus years we’ve been in this house. I usually try to use it at least once a week, but it’s easy enough that I sometimes do it twice in a week. I love that I can pull it out to do just a quick steam around the table and in the main kitchen area or I can do a full lap of the kitchen, breakfast nook, out to the back door, through the hallway and into the bathroom. It also did an AMAZING job cleaning my family room carpet which I was pretty sure was permanently stained (I’d tried Windex, Zout and my other standbys and nothing got it out – now it looks almost brand-new after a few passes over it). It’s fairly pricy, but it’s been worth every penny so far. It’s also available from Target and there is another version that is less expensive and has good reviews.
  2. Grocery Pick-Up. In my pretend life, I love to grocery shop because I love looking at all the options, but in real-life, it is really hard for me to get to the grocery store right now with all my small children, so grocery pick-up is SAVING MY LIFE. Kroger stores have it at lots of locations (their system is called ClickList) and Walmart does it at many locations too. Just to be able to drive up, having someone load my groceries, and then drive away makes my life SO much easier.
  3. Moment App. I heard about this on The Alison Show when Eric mentioned how many hours he was saving on a weekly basis, and I downloaded it a few days later. I’ve been using it for about a week (I’m still using the free version, but plan to upgrade this week because I was cleaning out my desk this week and found an iTunes gift card). Basically, it just monitors and reports how much you’re using your phone and it can set times when your phone is off-limits, give you little reminders if you’re using your phone too much or too frequently, and shows you what apps you’re spending most of your time on. My use is pretty high because of my job, but just knowing I’ll be getting a daily report of how many hours I’m on my phone has significantly reduced how much time I spend on it.
  4. Christmas address spreadsheet. We took our family photos a few weeks ago and getting ready to order our Christmas cards, and every year, when I pull up our spreadsheet with all the names and addresses, I think that it was the best couple of hours we’ve ever spent putting that together. We keep ours in Google Drive so whenever we find out about someone moving, we can update it on the go from either of our phones or computers, or if we need to pull up an address, it’s always available. We put it together back in 2009, when we sent out Christmas cards for the first time, and it’s paid us back so much in time saved every year. A quick glance through it and we can see who we need to update, add new friends or family members, and then it’s ready to upload and have the addresses printed right on to our cards (which means when they arrive, it’s just stuff, seal, and stamp. So easy.
  5. Hawaii Five-0. This is totally dumb (as opposed to the great significance of steam mop . . .), but I really like it when Bart and I have a show to watch together that we’re really enjoying. I’m not a big movie watcher since it usually feels like too much of a commitment to watch, but one episode of a show is just about perfect. We’re pretty picky about what shows we watch, but this one has all the key elements for me – really good dynamics between the two main characters, a good mix of overarching plot lines with episodic stories, snappy dialogue, pretty clean (this has very little swearing or sex, but . . . kind of a lot of dead bodies and a surprising amount of heads and hands getting chopped off), and engaging enough that we want to keep watching but not so much so that you stay up too late every night watching more episodes. (Also, Bart got a Chromecast at a Google event four years ago and we finally pulled it out and plugged it in, which means we can now either voice operate our TV through the Google Home or with our phones. And as someone who was constantly perplexed by the three remotes and couldn’t remember what order you had to turn them on in to make everything work, this has made my life MUCH easier).

What’s making your life a little easier right now? I’d love to hear!

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busy mom lifesavers

Photos by Christie Knight Photography

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  • Reply Allison November 14, 2017 at 3:27 am

    Love these ideas.
    My favorites right now are scheduling alone time when my kids are normally awake (asking James to take them every now and then after work)
    Early morning walks w a friend
    Cooking things for dinner that take 5 min or less to prep most nights!
    A few min to regularly read talks on

    Oh I miss you!

    • Reply Janssen Bradshaw November 14, 2017 at 10:54 am

      I am so sad that I can’t be part of those morning walks! Some of my best memories from our years in Texas.

  • Reply Elaine Doolittle November 14, 2017 at 6:22 am

    I just keep all of the addresses in the Contacts on my iMac and phone. You can print up address labels using it too, so I imagine you could mail it in for your card company. The Calendar app is another important one to me so I can keep track of all of my upcoming events and send invitations to others who are involved.

  • Reply Emily J November 14, 2017 at 11:30 am

    Grocery pickup has changed my life! I use Wal-Mart right now, but our HEB is adding it very soon, and I’m so excited! I would add making a batch hard boiled eggs a couple of times a week. They are great as a quick breakfast or snack and also as a protein addition to a school lunch. I’m pregnant with our fourth, so I’m desperate for quick high protein snacks.

  • Reply Diana November 14, 2017 at 1:00 pm

    I have heard about the Moment app often and am (finally) downloading it now! I’m always trying to figure out ways to spend less time on my phone!!
    I still keep a paper address book (which makes addressing cards while watching The Family Stone so much easier) but do keep an Excel of who we send cards to and who sends them to us so I know I’m not missing people. I went through it a couple weeks ago to figure out who has moved (thinking waaaaaay ahead is what saves my sanity…my Christmas cards arrived in the mail today.).

  • Reply Natalie November 14, 2017 at 1:36 pm

    1. Wal-Mart pick up.
    2. A baby that sleeps (mostly) through the night … I teach online from home, so I do what absolutely has to be done during the day, and catch up on lesson plans and paperwork after he goes to bed.
    3. School breaks … my husband and I are both teachers, so we both get Fall Break, Thanksgiving Break, Christmas Break, Spring Break, etc. It’s nice to know that we’ll both be home during those times and can spend that time together! (Saves my sanity on those long days/weeks because I know there’s a break coming!)

  • Reply Jodi Sparks November 14, 2017 at 9:15 pm

    That vacuum sounds amazing. My floor is disgusting and I just give up on trying to mop it because it lasts a day, so I end up just spot cleaning. Also, I definitely need that app.

  • Reply Lucy Clarke November 15, 2017 at 7:14 am

    Excellent post!! I love that these things are saving your life right now, I should probably try a few of those since my time right now is limited and I’m a mom of two! So thank you for sharing that with us, and I think with the spreadsheet is definitely more easy to add things as you go if you’re on the phone and want to modify something!

  • Reply Deidra November 15, 2017 at 11:09 am

    My baby was born the same day as yours and I was thinking this morning how much better this Thanksgiving will be than last. No more rib out every six minutes (not exaggerating much) and I’m a much happier mom when I’m not hurting. Plus my kids just keep getting more and more fun every year.

    I’m also a faithful “Contacts” updater. When people ask for addresses every year I roll my eyes and think, “Get it together!” It makes sending surprises throughout the year possible, too.

    I wish steam mops were good for hardwood. Because I hate mopping, and I hate not mopping. (But generally I hate mopping more…)

  • Reply Christen November 15, 2017 at 3:52 pm

    Would you mind sharing how exactly you set up your addresses in Google Docs? Did you do a spreadsheet with columns? Someone mentioned being able to print labels from it?
    This sounds like something I need to do!

    • Reply Janssen Bradshaw December 12, 2017 at 10:29 pm

      I just use a spreadsheet in Google Drive with columns for Family Name, Address, City, State, Zip Code. Super easy!

  • Reply Kim December 17, 2017 at 3:16 pm

    My SIL gave me 6 months of grocery pick up as a baby gift. I always thought it seemed extravagant before. I’m only 3 weeks in and have already warned my husband I might never go back.

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