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17 Products That Make Moms’ Lives Easier. For Real.

Every once in a while, I fantasize about inventions that would make my life easier. You know, like Whine Out: Spritz it on your whining child and she instantly shuts up. Or Invisi Block: An invisible shield you can activate for your bedroom doorway that keeps your child from wandering in there in the middle of the night. Or, like they had on the Jetsons, a shower/drying combo with a conveyor belt that whooshes kids through.

I’m not sure any of these things will ever happen, but happily there’s a whole lot of incredible stuff out there that seriously makes mom’s lives easier. Few women know this better than Marcy McKenna, an inventor, entrepreneur, designer and mom of three.

Based in Newport Beach, California, she was the first winning inventor on TLC’s Homemade Millionare show for her Style & Go Hair Care Valet, a wall-mounted cabinet for electric hair appliances that’s basically like your own personal styling station. Especially brilliant: You can turn everything on and off with the switch of a button, and there’s a compartment to keep cords under control. It’s slated to debut on HSN July 25.

After meeting McKenna at an event, I was dying to hear about her go-to products, the ones that have made life better for her as a mom. These are her top faves.

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  • The Doorganizer 1 of 17
    The Doorganizer
    "This is so simple, but an absolute must-have," says McKenna. "It saves me serious time when I'm running out the door, which is almost always! It hangs on the door to our garage, and has a spot for car keys, sunglasses and iPhone. I also put anything and everything in it that needs to be taken out, like the mail. Thankfully, the days of racing around the house trying to find everything are gone forever. Love the red, because I can't miss it in my dash to the car!"

    You can get it here.

    Photo credit: The Container Store
  • Mr. Clean Magic Eraser 2 of 17
    Mr. Clean Magic Eraser
    "Obsessed! I go through these like crazy," says McKenna. "They almost instantly erase fingerprints and grime on walls, doors, cabinets and light-switch plates. You know, so company will think your house is always that clean. I just tried The Magic Eraser Kitchen Scrubber, and it works wonders on dishes with baked-on food. Thanks, Mr. Clean!"

    You can get it here.

    Photo credit: Drugstore.com
  • Orbit Labels 3 of 17
    Orbit Labels
    Perfect for labeling cups, bottles, sippy cups, snack containers, toiletry items, your kids if you're Michelle Duggar, whatever. "They're great for preschool, day care, camp, parties or organizing stuff at home, and they're dishwasher and microwave safe," say McKenna. "My kids love that they have their ‘own' things."

    You can get 'em here.

    Photo credit: InchBug
  • Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs 4 of 17
    Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs
    Got the lasting gift of varicose veins from childbirth? Here's salvation: spray-on coverage that instantly gives legs a tanned, flawless look. "It's water-resistant and won't rub off on your sheets," says McKenna. "I even use it when I go to the beach so I arrive pre-tanned, and it doesn't come off until I shower. Be warned, it's addictive! Once you try it, you can't imagine not wearing it."

    You can get it here.

    Photo credit: Sears.com
  • The Green Garmento 5 of 17
    The Green Garmento
    #Ecofail: An estimated 300 million pounds of dry-cleaning bags clog up our landfills and waterways every year. Enter The Green Garmento. "It's one of my favorite inventions," says McKenna. "It starts off as a hamper for our family dry cleaning, then becomes a duffle bag of sorts to transport the clothes to the cleaner, and then it turns into a hanging garment bag for bringing clothes home from cleaners. I don't have to spend time removing each individual bag and I'm helping the environment in the process. There's even a built-in pocket for wire hangers, so you can bring them back for recycling. The only one who loves this product more than me is my dry cleaner!"

    You can get it here.

    Photo credit: The Green Garmento
  • Shemergency Kit 6 of 17
    Shemergency Kit
    "I keep one in my car, one at work, and a bunch in my closet to give as gifts," says McKenna. The kit packs 24 compact solutions for practically any mishap a mom can face; there's clear nail polish, bandages, a mending kit, earring backs, breath freshener. Alas, it does not contain a solution to stop kiddie meltdowns.

    You can get it here.

    Photo credit: Ms. & Mrs.
  • iPhone Reminders App 7 of 17
    iPhone Reminders App
    "This is my right hand in my quest to keep my sanity as a mom," says McKenna. "Some days I can't even remember why I walked into a room, much less when to pick up my kids from soccer. Whenever a to-do pops into my head, I immediately enter it into the app so I can forget about it until it sends me a reminder to make sure I get it done! And did I mention my new BFF, Siri?"

    You can get it with the iPhone 4S, free.
  • The Corkcicle 8 of 17
    The Corkcicle
    A gift from the wine gods! This gizmo is filled with a thermal gel. Store it in the freezer and once you open your wine, pop it in the bottle to keep it chilled for an hour—no ice bucket necessary. After, just rinse and save for your next bottle o' vino. "It's a definite staple at my neighborhood park," says McKenna, "and also perfect for tailgating, the beach or—shhh!—the soccer field. God knows we moms deserve a nice cold glass of wine every now and then!"

    You can get it here.

    Photo credit: Corkcicle
  • Milk Proof 9 of 17
    Milk Proof
    "I'll tell you what to expect when you're expecting...leaky boobs!" says McKenna. "These disposable nipple covers with a leak-proof center are a maternity must-have." Saves your clothes, spares you mortification moments and lets you focus on other important matters. Such as, ewwww, why's the poop that color?

    You can get it here.

    Photo credit: Miss Oops
  • ZipIt Bedding 10 of 17
    ZipIt Bedding
    Bedding that all but makes itself? Definitely invented by a mom! "If your child can zip a zipper, he can make his bed," says McKenna. "It's also great that the bedding stays intact while kids sleep—no more covers kicked off in the middle of the night." Available in navy and pink. "My kids are obsessed with the zippered side pockets for storing their tech gadgets, book lights and who knows what else," she adds. "I love telling them to go zip their beds before school."

    You can get it here.

    Photo credit: ZipIt
  • Tide Pods 11 of 17
    Tide Pods
    Nobody ever said laundry was fun, but these make the job a little less painful. "Because there's no need to measure, pour or clean up spills, you can start teaching your kids to do laundry sooner than you thought," says McKenna. "My five-year-old loves them; she's all but taken control of the washer. Genius!"

    You can get 'em here.

    Photo credit: Target
  • Second Wind Battery Recharger 12 of 17
    Second Wind Battery Recharger
    "Like many families, we go through batteries like crazy in our house," says McKenna. "Instead of buying new ones, we pop them into this charger—it works with regular AA or AAA alkaline batteries—and within 90 minutes they're ready to go. It's saved us so much money and aggravation! Love that it's eco-friendly too. If we all used something like this, the number of batteries deposited in landfills would decrease dramatically."

    You can get it here.

    Photo credit: Second Wind Charger
  • Madame Paulette Professional Stain Removal Kit 13 of 17
    Madame Paulette Professional Stain Removal Kit
    "If it's good enough for Oprah and Martha, it's good enough for me!" says McKenna. These stain-removing towelettes, developed by New York's fanciest couture cleaners, remove even the hardest stains. "It's like having a portable dry cleaner!" she says. The three formulas fix earth-based stains (like fruit juice); protein-based ones (like sweat); and oil-based ones (like salad dressing). Each packet has a wipe with the specific formula, a cloth to place beneath the stained fabric to absorb moisture, and a rinsing cloth. They're safe on silk and other fine fabrics. Says McKenna, "I can't tell you how many ketchup and chocolate stains I've gotten out with these puppies!"

    You can get it here.

    Photo credit: Madame Paulette
  • BlowPro Faux Dry 14 of 17
    BlowPro Faux Dry
    Oily roots are an instant Bad Hair Day—but moms don't always have time for a daily shampoo. (Sad how showering becomes a luxury, isn't it?) No worries, you can fake it. "This dry powder is my best kept secret—just a couple of quick poofs at my roots and oil literally vanishes," says McKenna. "Then there's the added bonus of the instant lift and volume. This product buys me at least one extra day before I have to shampoo!"

    You can get it here.

    Photo credit: BlowNY
  • SmartShopper Grocery List Organizer 15 of 17
    SmartShopper Grocery List Organizer
    "Until my iPhone 4S has a built-in printer, I'm sticking with this!" says McKenna. "It sits on our kitchen counter and lets our whole family add to the weekly grocery list. Even my youngest uses it — just press 'record,' say the name of the item and the built-in voice recognition software takes care of the rest. There are 2500 items programmed in, but you can add your own too. When I leave for the store, I hit "print" and my grocery list is ready to go — even categorized by department! This saves me so much time at the store. Granted, you may need to edit your lists. My little ones are known to sneak in things like M&M's."

    You can get it here.

    Photo credit: Amazon.com
  • Sol-U-Mel 16 of 17
    Sol-U-Mel
    "This stuff gets out anything — Sharpie marks, nail polish, crayon, pet stains, gum—and it won't harm the surface beneath," says McKenna. "Okay it smells a little strange, but it's all natural, safe to use around young kids and it cleans insanely well. Just mix a few capfuls with water in a spray bottle and you're good to go. I just used it to get nail polish off my bathroom marble floor (and grout!) and yet it's gentle enough to get tar off my five-year-old's feet. Can't imagine our household without this!"

    You can get it here.

    Photo credit: Maleleuca
  • Spanx, Spanx And More Spanx 17 of 17
    Spanx, Spanx And More Spanx
    "We all have our favorite Spanx product but I have to say, it's hard to beat The Hide & Sleek Adjustable Strap Cami," says McKenna. "Let's face it, after giving birth our tummies just aren't as taut and our breasts just aren't as...hmmm...lifted. This camisole lifts and tucks me in all the right places, and is completely seamless so I can wear it with even my silkiest tops. I call it my instant confidence boost!"

    You can get it here.

    Photo credit: Spanx

Photo credit: The Container Store

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More to read from 1000 Perplexing Things About Parenthood:

• 20 Not-Obvious Photos Every Parent Should Take
• 9 Genius Ways To Help Kids Learn To Read (And Love It)
• The Weird Stuff We Love About Our Kids

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