Join our community of Solution Seekers!

Moms, What Is the One Thing You Can’t Live Without?

Real Simple readers weigh in on everything from Velcro to vino.

Playing babyMiki Duisterhof

My king-size bed! When everyone fits, everyone sleeps.
Mickie Stier
Columbus, Ohio

I could not live without my camera. Every moment, whether big or small, I have captured on my camera. I love to look back at all the memories we’ve made and think about what a huge blessing and honor it is to be the mom of three boys.
Valerie Davis
Poway, California

Bubble baths. I am a mother of two beautiful children: One is autistic yet full of joy, and the other has a determination and energy that exceed all reasonable understanding. Needless to say, our days can be full of challenges, stress, achievements, emotional turmoil, laughter, and sometimes tears. At the end of the day, a private bubble bath for each of us seems to create a peace that reminds us to live in the moment. Or to just splash our troubles away.
Lori Ashley
Austin, Texas

My mother-in-law. She understands the frustrations that I go through as a military pilot’s wife. She never criticizes me. She just lets out a laugh and says, “I’ve been there, too.” For some reason, those four words do more to heal me than anything else. I married the man of my dreams, but I lucked out and got the mom-in-law of my dreams, too.
Lyda Brown
Ridgeland, Mississippi

The word no. It is the most important tool in the parenting arsenal, and it is woefully underused and underrated. I wouldn’t be a good parent without it.
Leah Wiethe
Cincinnati, Ohio

My timer. When it’s almost time for bed, I set it for five minutes so my daughter knows in advance that she is to complete her reading and downtime within the next five minutes and then it’s snooze time. No surprises, no resistance to sleep.
Kimberly Church
Doctors Inlet, Florida

Books. While I was raising four kids as a single mom, there was never a lot of extra cash for movies or formal outings. We could, however, make regular trips to the library to check out books and read together at night. Even the older kids, who were supposedly too sophisticated to join in, were known to sneak into the room once the story began.
Lois Phillips
Annandale, Virginia

A portable DVD player. Although I am absolutely against parking kids in front of the TV, on long trips in the car there is nothing better for keeping children busy and happy.
Lyne Marie Larocque
Saint-Laurent, Quebec

A face-painting kit. On rainy days, face painting is a great way to inspire pretend play (and cleverly sidestep the kids’ claims that “there’s nothing to do”).
Lauren de Beer
Lexington, Kentucky


Read More About:Inspiration & Motivation

Related Content

Margaret Overton

How I Learned I'm My Real "Other Half"

Shortly before her 50th birthday, the man Margaret Overton loved broke her heart. Here's how she moved on—and went from a so-called cougar to a "mountain lion."

What do you think about this article? Share your own solutions and ideas

View Earlier Comments

Quick Tip

Illustration of suitcases

Packing for a family vacation? Travel versions of favorite games won’t crowd suitcases, and playing them will keep kids from begging to watch TV at night. Get more tips.