Mom Hacks for Big Families of Littles


Coming from a family of eight siblings, writing that our family of four young boys is “big” seems laughable. However, as soon as that fourth ball of constant energy and no-sleep required infant hit our family, we felt big. Preparing to go somewhere takes strategic planning; our grocery bill seems longer due to the amount of ice cream I need to make it through bedtimes; the washing machine seems to run constantly; and I have given up cleaning up pee in the bathroom unless company is coming over.

Not only are we a “big family” in today’s world, we are a “big family of littles,” with my oldest just turning six after #4 was born. Along with a few rude comments on the affordability of our prodigy, I often get the “how do you manage?” questions from others who, I think, genuinely want to know how a family of four young kids stays half-way sane.

Besides a couple of pints of Ben and Jerry’s a week (kidding, kidding…we are in Mayfield country), here are some of my favorite “Mom Hacks:”

1. Wipes Everywhere

In the car, at the kitchen table, bathroom, bedrooms…a package everywhere! What can a wipe NOT do? Snotty noses, Cheeto fingers, spilled milk, dead bug picker uppers, dog-poo-on-the-shoe-cleaner, dust off my dirty dashboard, wash my face in the morning…and the best part is Costco sells these babies by the thousands!

2. At Home Haircuts

I know I am going to lose a few of you on this, but I have to fund my extreme ice cream eating needs somehow! On average, a little boy’s haircut runs from $12-18 and my kids need theirs done more than four times a year. That’s between $192-288 a year for my clan, just to keep those locks trimmed! Thankfully, none of them care about their haircuts, so I get to play around with Pinterest ideas. I have done some pretty bad looking haircuts, but I like to think I am starting to figure it out. All we have invested in our home hair care service are a hair trimmer, hair scissors, a stool set outside and a trash bag with a hole cut out of the bottom for the salon bib.

3. Fridge Door Water Dispenser

…coupled with a bowl of small plastic and stainless steel cups in the bottom of a cabinet. Normal adults may not understand why this is a game changer, but when you are the only one able to reach the faucet and start handing out hundreds of refills a day, your mind starts flaking off bits at a time. Actually, I love it the most at bedtime because I know if someone asked me for a cup of water after I finally sat down, it’s possible there could be a small eruption.

4. Nuggets in the Freezer at ALL Times

I don’t think I have ever eaten a frozen chicken nugget, but I finally realized last year that it was much cheaper and easier to have these on hand than to head out to a drive-thru when dinner time crept up too fast and I had nothing for my people to eat. I actually love to meal plan, cook and eat leftovers, but there always ends up being one night a week when my husband’s gone to the fire station and I can’t bring myself to cook a full meal and haggle with the minions over how many bites they have to eat over the course of two hours. And Costco sells them, so really, how bad can they be?

5. Family Activities are Entertainment

There are so many places in Chattanooga that my children love: Creative Discovery Museum, Tennessee Aquarium, Chattanooga Zoo, all the fantastic parks, Superfly, Highpoint Climbing Gym, CFC Games, biking at the Riverpark…and while I am not against entertaining my kids, the time, effort and money these places take from our lives can add up substantially. I have learned that I (usually I’m heading out to these places one versus four) can’t handle them more than once or twice a month. Instead, we try to make entertainment out of everyday activities like watching the older boys play soccer, going to Home Depot with dad, our AWANA club nights at church or a grocery trip ending with a snack at the food court. Maybe we seem pretty boring, but our kids are still young enough to get excited about those things, so I’ll take it as long as I can.

6. Invest in a Shop Vac

Trust me. You don’t want to attempt cleaning under your kids’ car seats in public and your poor indoor vacuum may never recover from the bullet-like stale Cheerios and half eaten, indiscernible pieces of meat that have decomposed onto your floor boards.

As our family grows out of the Baby stage and into the Big Kid years, I’m sure these “hacks” will grow obsolete and useless, but for now I am relying on them to get through the days. Let me know if you have any tips on doing life with lots of littles!


  1. DIY can save a lot of money, no doubt. We do the DIY, hubby does home repairs, upgrades, cooks, paints, hardwood floors, electric and plumbing. He says good tools are not a luxury, they are a necsessity and they save money. He sarpens the lawn mower blade with an angle grinder and the kitchen knives, drill bits, chisels, craft and hair shears on his flat hone. That is a very handy tool indeed. And being you do haircuts at home as hubby does, keeping the tools sharp is a must. Hubby is a tool guy, after my boys got three wonky haircuts in a row at the barbershop, he suggested I learn to do them. He had been trimming my locks since we first started dating (scary I know, i told him I needed a haircut, he offered to cut my hair, I accepted, he does great work) i researched online, read reviews and found strong reviews to buy an upgraded clipper set. Cheapies heat up, are noisy, don’t give an even cut and burn out as they have low quality bearings. So I bought a better set at Sally’s as well as a children’s cape and neck strips. Weather was warm, I reviewed youtube videos and after school let out, it was haircut time. I tried, hubby coached me, but I got flustered and asked him to finish. Haircuts by Mr Perfectionist came out great. My mom fawned over the handsome boys and told my guy he was their barber. Next time I told the boys I was giving them haircuts…they said no! My now hubby was doing them, I was fired! He took it in stride and said ok, he will do them. So I was off the hook, it became his job. Boys are happy, no bad wonky haircuts and I have a couple friends that adked if he could show them how to do their children’s haircuts. He is good about it, he showed a couple friends who said thank you… then could you cut mine? He said sure and does my mom’s, best friend’s and another friend from school as well as fixing some salon haircuts when he can. One friend had her bangs hacked off way too short. He said comb them back, to the side, wear a headband, he can’t make them grow, only time can. Bangs are high maintenance, they need to be kept trimmed every two weeks he told her or they are too short or in your eyes. So she is growing hers out.
    We are exbanding our garden to an acre, keeping chickens and bees… and I am going to learn how to drive his tractor this spring. I am ok with the forward and reverse, but the rear PTO tools and the front loader thing scares me. I want to be a tool lady who can just do things and say ok, I need to get this tool, do this and this, or I need this part, and I can get it working. That is being independent 😊.

Comments are closed.