New Year’s Resolutions 2015: A Parent’s Perspective

I know for many parents out there your top priority for the New Year is to maximize as much quality time with your child(ren).  As parents we have an intricate juggling act that consists of work, household chores, parenting, and, when time permits, ME time.  While ME time is the most neglected, parents are always torn about parenting and quality time with their children–no matter how much we give, we never feel like it is enough.  We do what we can and hope it doesn’t set up our kids for a lifetime of adult therapy.

As a stay at home mom, I have to decide whether or not to go to the park or run errands.  There are just some days you aren’t going to leave the house.  And now that I have to corral two, I try not to run errands when the eldest is home so as to maximize my time with him.  I know they say it’s good to take your kid out to the grocery store so they can learn about food, colors, reading, counting, etc.  But when your oldest is in preschool part of the week, you don’t want to spend the time he is with you running errands.  How much fun is that?  Fortunately, living in the Bay Area has given me an opportunity to keep up the juggling act with the help of a few startups and beta services.  Here is a list of apps and services that have made my life a little less stressful so that I can spend time playing.

Instacart

Most major grocery store chains offer delivery, like Safeway.  But often times this takes far in advance planning since most same-day delivery slots are almost always booked–sometimes you realize you need milk now instead of tomorrow between 2pm and 5pm.  Step in Instacart.

Instacart offers grocery delivery in an hour!  That’s right, in an hour for just $5.99 (when your purchase is >$35).  You have a personal shopper out there who goes to popular grocery stores, like Safeway, Whole Foods, and even Costco, to buy the products you need.  You can order using their app (on both iOS and Android) or online using your computer.  You just shop online for what you need, put in your credit card information, and then in an hour your groceries arrive (it usually arrives a lot sooner than what they tell you too).

What’s really great about the service is there’s still humans involved.  What do you mean?  If you ever dealt with Safeway, they will replace any item they don’t have in stock.  Yes, both Safeway and Instacart have a way for the customer to dictate if they want items replaced or not or with what specific item.  But it’s nice getting a phone call from your personal shopper alerting you about an item not in stock and wanting to double check with you if said replacement is sufficient.  It really is like having your own personal shopper.  I personally like that touch.

You are probably thinking, “This sounds great, but you live in San Francisco and it’s probably not in my city.”  Guess wrong!  The service is available in many US cities, including Seattle, Denver, Austin, and DC!!!  Go try it out; your first delivery is free!

Amazon Fresh

Amazon Fresh is another grocery shopping service that offers same-day or next day delivery.  What’s great about the service is that you’re able to buy goods from niche shops, say a butcher in a certain neighborhood instead of going to the grocery store chain and their lesser quality cuts.  So if you are into that kind of grocery shopping, then Amazon Fresh is your thing.  However, the $299/year membership is a bit steep for many.  It’s also not widely available like Instacart is.

Google Shopping Express

IMG_3876.JPGIf there’s one service I probably can’t live without, it’s Google Shopping Express.  They offer you same-day delivery from actual stores (e.g., not grocery stores).  Hello Target!  I mean I do love shopping at Target, but again life gets in the way of going to this destination.  Your loofa just broke?  Google Shopping Express to the rescue.  Not only do they deliver products from Target, you can get toys from Toys R Us or even sporting goods from REI (at least in the Bay Area).  They do some food delivery from grocery stores like Whole Foods, but it’s the non-perishable kind.  It’s also available in a few major cities, like LA and DC.  You can easily go shopping on your computer or their iOS and Android app (which I tend to do in the middle of night, whilst breastfeeding after I’ve browsed Etsy).

Amazon Mom

Amazon Mom is similar to Amazon’s Subscribe & Save service for Prime members.  It’s $99 per year to be an Amazon Mom, although you don’t need to be a mom (I’ve read people make up baby birthdays).  Items you buy often, like diapers and baby food or pasta, are set on a schedule to be delivered every month or every other month.  If you have 5 or more items being delivered that month you save 20% on all the items.  It’s great to not think about these things you buy often.  Amazon will also e-mail you to remind you that you’ll be getting a shipment soon in case you want to make changes to your order (say, ordering the next size up diapers).  If you order from Amazon often, you should totally do Amazon Mom.  Diapers are definitely a lot cheaper through Amazon versus regular priced diapers at Target.

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