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This post was in partnership with Brainiac Foods, but all of the opinions within are those of The Everymom editorial board. We only recommend products we genuinely love.

10 Mom Must-Haves for Long and Exhausting Days


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mom must-haves"
mom must-haves
Source: @creatingsteph
Source: @creatingsteph

Since becoming a mother, I’ve learned there are seasons to parenthood. Blissful seasons filled with newborn snuggles, stressful ones brought by teething or introducing solids, frustrating seasons thanks to epic toddler meltdowns—the list goes on. Some of these seasons blend together, and even when certain ones are easier to tackle than others, the weight of exhaustion is usually a constant presence through it all. And now that we are on our second little one, the long days have felt even longer. When the sun is up, our busy 2-year-old needs all my attention. And once the sun goes down, a clingy 6-month-old wakes me up countless times. Talk about a 24/7 job.

So, if you’ve been struggling under the weight of it all, I’m right there with you, mama. I’m currently in the midst of one of my toughest seasons. With my partner juggling a full-time school schedule and job, I’ve had to carry the majority of the parental duties these past couple of months. But if this season has taught me anything, it’s how to survive the onslaught of parenting while running on fumes. And I’m not here to gatekeep. Here are my 10 must-haves for long and exhausting days.


1. Less screaming, more snacking

Oh, the joys of a hangry toddler. Somehow, these kids can go from adorable tiny humans to bloodthirsty velociraptors in a hot second. It’s a talent, truly. The best way to combat this quick personality shift is by keeping snacks on hand. This is when Brainiac Foods saves the day. All of their snacks are packed with delicious flavor and necessary brain fuel. It’s the perfect snack for picky toddlers who want something yummy and parents who want to offer food with nutritional value.

Brainiac Foods
Brain Bars

A whole grain snack bar that's easy to pack up on the go and generally mess free. With 150mg of Omega 3 and 55mg of Choline, this one's a no-brainer.

Available in Chocolate Chip, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip, and Apple Cinnamon.

Use code 20EVERYMOM to get 20% off your purchase on Amazon and the Brainiac Foods site!

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Brainiac Foods
Applesauce Brain Squeezers

Applesauce with a twist. Including 120mg of Choline and 25mg of Vitamin C in a fun squeezable pouch. This one is also great for our 6-month-old who just started solids.

Available in Apple, Strawberry Apple, and Cinnamon Apple.

Use code 20EVERYMOM to get 20% off your purchase on Amazon and the Brainiac Foods site!

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Brainiac Foods
Brain Butter

I'm not going to lie. I may use the Almond Honey flavor on my own sandwiches from time to time. (Shh, don't tell my son.) These delicious nut butters are packed with 155mg of Omega-3s and 4 to 7g of Protein.

Available in Almond Chocolate, Almond Honey, and Chocolate Peanut.

Use code 20EVERYMOM to get 20% off your purchase on Amazon and the Brainiac Foods site!

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2. A caffeination destination

This one’s a given. If I didn’t have coffee, I simply wouldn’t exist. Although I firmly believe all moms have a god-given right to treat themselves, buying a $7 iced coffee (thanks, inflation) every single day just isn’t in the budget. So, shortly after my son was born, I invested in a super simple and convenient espresso machine that could keep up with my blooming caffeine addiction.

I also may have hyper-fixated on all things coffee at the time and created an extensive coffee station in our kitchen with dozens of syrups and sauces, but that’s neither here nor there. My point is, being able to make myself delicious lattes at the press of a button is a must, with two kids zapping my energy every chance they get.

Target | Breville
Nespresso Vertuo Coffee and Espresso Machine

My all-time fave coffee machine. Perfect for busy moms that don't have the time to mess with coffee beans or filters.

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Target | Threshold
Stonewear Mug

The cutest mug for those moments you need words of encouragement. Cause you are doing great, mama.

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3. Toys that promote independent play

My son loves to mimic what his parents do, so naturally, his favorite toys end up being play versions of household items. Open-ended toys are great for encouraging solo play time and giving moms a much-needed break.

Target | Melissa & Doug
Dust, Sweep & Mop Play Set

Anytime I clean up, my son grabs one of his toddler-sized cleaning tools to join me. And often, he'll just start sweeping on his own. I'm hoping this lasts until his teenage years.

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Target | Melissa & Doug
Take-Along Tool Kit Play Set

Great for around the house or on the go, this will keep your little one busy with its various tools and pieces. It's also great for improving motor skills.

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4. Channel your inner kangaroo with babywearing

The transition from one to two can be brutal, but babywearing has become my saving grace when I’m alone with multiple kids. It’s much easier to chase after your oldest when your youngest is happily strapped on and along for the ride. And when the day just seems to drag on despite your best efforts to fill it with activities, it’s a wonder to be able to soothe your baby without involving your arms—especially as they get chunkier.

Solly Baby
Babywearing Wrap

Yes, I know, wrap carriers look very intimidating with their origami-like tying methods. But I promise, after a few tries, it becomes total muscle memory! I can tie our Solly wrap in less than two minutes now. And its buttery soft fabric is perfect for newborns all the way to 25lbs. Plus, these wraps are just plain gorgeous.

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Target | Ergobaby
Newborn Carrier

A simpler baby carrier that fits infants from seven-25lbs. We have this one as well, and my partner has used it frequently with both kids.

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5. When in doubt, walk it out

Since I work from home and we have in-house childcare, the three of us tend to get a little stir-crazy. Being stuck inside your home all day can quickly make you and your little ones restless, so there’s truly nothing better than fresh air. And even if you haven’t been home all day but find yourself burnt out once you are, going on a quick walk with the kids can be an easy way to distract them while you regain your bearings.

Target | Radio Flyer
Steer and Stroll Trike

This toddler bike is a fun way to go on walks around the block without needing your stroller. Your little one feels like they're steering and, therefore, an active participant during your walk.

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6. Look good, feel good

It may sound counterintuitive to put on makeup or wear a cute outfit when you’re already riding the brink of exhaustion. However, I’ve found that putting even the slightest amount of effort into my appearance can completely alter my mood. The hack is to use makeup products that take you less than five minutes to apply and to have a selection of lounge clothes that you also wouldn’t mind going out in public wearing. Self-care shouldn’t be a revolutionary concept when it comes to motherhood. It should be the standard. And if putting on tinted sunscreen and mascara makes you feel ready to tackle your day, then do that!

Sephora | bareMinerals
Complexion Rescue Tinted Moisturizer

The trick to quick makeup application is to use products that can be applied with your hands. This tinted sunscreen provides great coverage while also being sheer enough to eliminate the need for a brush or beauty sponge.

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Sephora | Milk Makeup
Lip + Cheek Cream Blush Stick

Cream blush looks better when applied with your fingers, in my opinion. It melts into the skin seamlessly while giving you an effortless glow.

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7. Outsource your activities

Scenario: It’s 10 a.m., and your kid has already proclaimed the infamous words, “I’m bored!” But you are promptly out of entertainment ideas. Enter: the pre-made activity box. They’re a lifesaver, a game changer, and a tired mom’s best friend.

kiwico alphabet activity set
Alphabet Banner & Letter Activity Set

There's nothing sweeter than opening a fully stocked activity kit ready for tiny hands to dig into, especially when you don't have to lift a finger to set up any of it.

Use code TEMKIWI for $10 off a KiwiCo Store purchase of $50+! Be sure to order by EOD on 10/17 for delivery by Halloween.

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8. Wanted: a killer playlist

Music is a great way to distract your kid when you’re in desperate need of a break. Curate a playlist with all of their favorite songs that you can easily play throughout the house. You’ll start a mini dance party before you know it and hopefully earn yourself a few minutes to sit and watch while they sing their heart out. Who knows, if you add some old Disney movie classics, you could end up belting out “Hakuna Matata” right there with them.


right way to do screen time

Source: Alaina Kaz


9. Remember: Screen time is not the villain

As parents, screen time can come attached with buckets of guilt and a general sense of failure. But if you’ve been having a bad day, week, month, or year (cue the Friends theme song), screen time can be just the ally you need. There are positive ways to include screen time in your daily routine, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with doing so.


10. Do little things for yourself

When it comes to motherhood, the airlines have a point. You can’t put on someone else’s oxygen mask before your own. Taking care of yourself is vital when you’re in charge of the lives of multiple tiny humans. So carving out time to unwind and fill my own cup is probably my #1 must-have for battling parental exhaustion. For me, that looks like escaping into a good book via my Kindle or Audible. But this can look different for everyone depending on what is most important to you. Mothers are plagued with guilt anytime we do something for ourselves, but the truth is, we deserve it. We deserve to unpack the burdens we carry for at least an hour or so. And our kids deserve happy, well-rested mothers who can continuously show up for them day after day.

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This post was in partnership with Brainiac Foods, but all of the opinions within are those of The Everymom editorial board. We only recommend products we genuinely love