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Next to exhaustion, keeping your own clothing clean can be one of the greatest challenges of parenting a young child. Sticky hands, noses and mouths are a constant and can have you changing clothes several times a day and/or noticing stains when its too late. Good news: there are strategies to keep clean around your toddler that dont involve putting either of you in a bubble. Scroll through for my tried-and-true techniques
Baby Clean Up Tips 2 of 10
1: Wear a housecoat and like it
Theyre not just for the wives on Mad Men or your grandma. Housecoats, or a cooking apron with sleeves, will protect your clothing and allow you to start your day without tell-tale my child is teething drool splatters on you. Plus, there are some pretty cool, vintage-style ones on sites like Etsy so you can feel less like a woman of a certain age.
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2: Consider the bib as necessary as underwear
If you have a meeting with someone later in the day, keep a soft terry cloth bib on your toddler or baby until you are out the door. Having an instant clean up tool on your child allows you to wipe sticky hands and faces before they are wiped on you (and you wont have to scramble to find the perfect replacement outfit).
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3: Wear PJs as long as possible
If youre a work-out-of-the-home mom, keep your pajamas on for as long as possible. Dress for work after breakfast has been made, consumed and cleaned up. You wont cry about a small person wiping their nose on your flannel pajama pants like you would if it were a pair of dry-clean only wool dress slacks.
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4: Have a wet rag ready
The house painters secret to keeping a job site clean is to carry around a wet rag for quick removal of paint drips. Moms, this will work for you as well. If youre feeding baby, make sure to keep a wet cloth on hand to quickly undo yogurt, smashed pea and other food splatters. A light swipe with a damp rag and your blouse will air dry before you leave the house.
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5: Serve low slime meals
For days when youre short on clean-up time (or patience) serve non-messy foods like a sandwich instead of oatmeal or toast instead of cereal. And skip the spaghetti when youre wearing light colors lest you end up looking like a Jackson Pollock experiment.
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6: Wear patterned and textured tops
A bright white t-shirt is the perfect canvas for butternut squash puree. Another sneaky mom trick is to tailor your wardrobe to fabrics the have a bit of texture or pattern because they hide small stains. You cant always clean up the mess, but you can camouflage it!
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7: Make hand-washing fun
Teach your little one the importance of washing our hands, and make it more fun by using tactics like singing as you scrub. This will help them get into the habit after meal time or art time or mud-pie time you get the idea. Its never too early to introduce hand washing (especially since their hands are always ending up in their mouths!).
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8: Don't sweat small splatters
This advice is good, but as you probably know by now accidents do and will happen, especially with little ones. Sure, a bowl of cereal dumped on you calls for a wardrobe change. But when youre in a rush, dont worry about the small stains that are invisible from a few feet away. Most people are too focused on their own appearance to notice a small smudge on your skirt.
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