“Why didn’t I think of that?”
Moms are the coolest; what can I say? In addition to loving our children unconditionally with every fiber of our beings, we are constantly anticipating, iterating, and problem-solving. In other words, we think about all the things all the time (seriously, it’s exhausting, but we wouldn’t have it any other way). As such, we are acutely aware of the pain points our families experience. For example, maybe your son’s goalie gloves smell like a dumpster, or your baby sleeps so lightly that she will wake up if you breathe — or think — as you try to leave her room. Little Rubber Bands
Not every quandary requires a new product or invention. Solutions come in many forms, of course. However, there are some really incredible moms out there who have encountered a problem and decided it was up to them to invent the solution, resulting in game-changing and innovative ideas that turned into businesses and, ultimately, into products or services others can benefit from, too.
In this article, you’ll learn about some of these inspiring mompreneurs and the products they developed — and you might just stumble across the solution to your current or next problem.
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If you’ve ever been at a table with a baby or toddler for a meal — at home, in a restaurant, on a plane — you know that the top table game for humans of this demographic is something I’ll call “I Drop It, You Pick It Up, Repeat.” While the game (actually, let’s call it a tournament because there are so many rounds) might be cute for a little while, at some point the picker-upper will tire and be ready to eat their meal while trying to forget the 11 pieces of gum they saw stuck to the bottom of the restaurant table. Army veteran and mom Beth Fynbo witnessed this play out many times and it ultimately lead her to a genius idea that would become the Busy Baby Silicone Placemat.
This placemat attaches to smooth, non-porous surfaces with strong suction cups and is made of 100% food-grade silicone (and is BPA-, BPS-, PVC-, Phthalate-, and lead-free). The mat has four anchor points for tethers that you can attach your kiddos’ favorite toys and accessories to — even sippy cups. No more picking things up off the floor. It comes in a variety of colors and is dishwasher safe.
Helpful Review: “I have zero complaints about the busy baby mat!! It is everything!! The suction is amazing. The tether attachments are strong and hold literally any toy so no more constantly picking up toys thrown off the table and on to the ground. It also has a little bowl thing on the top that’s perfect for propping your phone up (I have an iPhone 12) and turning on whatever movie or show your baby loves. This product is a 12/10!!!”
When your kid joins a competitive sports team for the first time, you will probably have an awakening of sorts: That perfect little baby — the one that’s definitely not a baby anymore — is capable of producing some of the worst gag-inducing odors you’ve ever encountered, and that stench is now trapped in the gear you just spent a fortune on. As a mom with three children in sports, Krista Woods was well aware of this phenomenon and spent years using chemical deodorizers before she decided enough was enough and went in search of a non-toxic, safer way to deal with the odors. Turns out she had to invent a solution herself: Glovestix! Woods went on Shark Tank with her product and scored a deal with two sharks.
Glovestix has Silverseal™ technology to fight odor in gloves, as the name suggests, but is also intended for shoes, cleats, skates, boots, gym bags, and more. You simply slide them into your smelly gear when it’s not being used and the deodorizing bags inside of Glovestix get to work absorbing moisture and odors. They are completely non-toxic and lightly scented with essential oils. The deodorizing bags should be replaced with fresh refills about every 90 days, per Glovestix, for continued effectiveness.
Helpful Review: “My daughter is a soccer goalie. We were buying her gloves every couple months because the smell would be awful. And by awful, I mean something died, came back to life, and died again. Truly the most horrendous smell ever. Keeper gloves can be very expensive. Other than the odor, there was nothing wrong with them so it was hard to keep buying new ones. We tried everything from pouring baking soda right into them, to odor eating powders, deodorant balls, etc, and nothing was working. We saw these on SharkTank and thought, what do we have to lose? These have been a game changer. We bought these along with a new set of gloves and after three weeks of wear, the gloves still smell brand new. A-MA-ZING!! It also helps that they are paracorded together so we aren't losing gloves either. Genius!”
Car seat buckles can be a challenge to release for any number of reasons. It could be a squirming car seat occupant who wants to “GO! POOL! NOW!” but doesn’t understand that he can’t get to the pool until he sits still long enough for you to unbuckle him. Or it’s that you can’t get the right angle to depress the button because you’re forced to contort your body like a human squid across a driver’s side car seat covered in fresh apple pouch stains to get to the kid in the soggy-Goldfish-crumb-peppered center seat — all while trying to keep your clothes clean because you have an important meeting in 17 minutes that you’re definitely going to be late for. For grandmother Barbara Heilman, it was arthritis in her thumbs that made it difficult to unbuckle her grandchildren from their seats — but she didn’t let this stop her. Relying on her professional background as an occupational therapist, Heilman and her daughter Becca Davison founded UnbuckleMe.
UnbuckleMe is a simple tool with a patented lever arm that reduces the amount of force needed to depress car seat buckles by about 50%. It has a soft surface made to give you a good and comfortable grip when using it. It can also work on strollers, high chairs, and other products that have push-button latches. It comes in five different colors.
Helpful Review: “Would buy this 100x over. I have long nails and it was always a struggle getting my son out of his car seat. This thing is so easy to use and, honestly, a game changer. BUY IT!”
The Original Stretchlace Flat Stretch Shoelaces were invented by mom-of-three Jamie Montz, who went on Shark Tank with her invention for elastic stretch shoelaces that can be added to lace-up shoes to create slip-on shoes. They aren’t just for kids either. Anyone who has difficulty tying their shoes or wants to skip that step can benefit from this amazing product. The Original Stretchlace laces are available in flat and round styles; nine different lengths, and 16 colors. The company strongly advises measuring existing laces to ensure the best fit.
Helpful Review: “LOVE THESE LACES!!! My niece is extremely picky about her shoes and, more recently, has decided she can't stand taking the time to tie them. I had heard of this brand before but had never had a chance to try them out. As soon as I heard about my niece's dilemma, I thought I'd give them a shot, and she LOVED them (and she doesn't love anything.) They look and feel just like normal laces but with a firm yet giving stretch, meaning they are not too stretchy to walk in but stretchy enough to transform any shoes into slip on. This was an EXCELLENT purchase!”
Sure, doors are great. But if you’re a parent who has ever tried to leave the room of your sleeping child without waking them after it took 97 minutes, 32 stalling questions, seven books (three of which you were asked to read twice), four “I need to pee”s, three “I’m thirsty”s, and one single tear (yours at approximately minute 62 but, of course, you didn’t let your kid see it), you know that doors aren’t just innocent functional features of our homes. They are threats that must be navigated with extreme caution. A creak? The click of the latch? A door-closing maneuver generating just a few too many decibels, and you could be right back to square one.
Enter Mom-Invented Latchy Catchy. This cloth cushion fits doors of all shapes and sizes and allows you to open and close doors silently! The thick cushion will keep doors shut and it also stops toddlers and pets from getting locked in or out of rooms by keeping the latch from engaging. It comes in a variety of colors to fit your decor. Note: While Latchy Catchy will help to silence latch and knob-related noise, a few little squirts of WD-40 will do wonders for creaking that originates from door hinges.
Helpful Review: “...[I’d] say this was the best 10 bucks ever spent. The door to our 1st son's room (he is 1.5 yrs old), can stick, and the handle is very noisy when turning it. I sometimes can do it pretty quietly, but 80% of the time, it makes a loud click or noise of some sort, even when I am playing mission impossible/James bond. This product has been a lifesaver, it makes it where I don't have to turn the knob to open and close the door and makes getting out very easy without making the boy hear as I leave. [E]asy to install and still keeps the door shut [tight] enough where it won't open on its own. I recommend giving it a try if you have trouble putting your baby to bed because leaving the room makes them wake up and cry.”
How many times did you have to adjust your kids’ goggles this year? I think I did it 783 times, give or take. Ashley Carson was familiar with this universal parental chore as well and eventually got “tired of all the broken straps, pulled hair, and constantly adjusting goggles!” She turned her frustration into a solution: Splash Swim Goggles.
Splash Swim Goggles are made in the USA with a one-of-a-kind fabric strap that doesn’t pull hair or get tangled and is easily adjustable. Designed for ages three and up, the goggles themselves have anti-fog polycarbonate lenses that are shatter- and leak-resistant. There is a wide range of colors to choose from, including Pinks and Purples, Blues and Greens, and Solid Colors.
Helpful Review: “My daughter has long, fine hair and has not worn goggles in a few years. She’s in LOVE with these! They work so well, keep the water out, and never snag her hair! Adjustable too, which will be nice next summer.”
If you’ve ever tried to remove one of those small single-use elastics from your child’s hair (or your own), you know exactly why the Pony Pick is such a brilliant invention. Pony Pick is a pretty pink tool with a safe hidden blade that allows for quick and painless removal of hair elastics without tugging or pulling! I repeat: No tugging. No pulling. It makes so much sense, it’s no wonder Pony Pick was founded by a mom. Bonus: It works with all hair types and is available for purchase with a variety of different hair elastics.
Helpful Review: “My little usually hates when I have to pull out the tiny rubber bands from her hair. But with these, omg, she doesn’t even notice I’m taking her hair out of those pesky rubber bands! I even gave one to my MIL for when she has the kiddos.”
Kelley Higney and her daughter were both mosquito magnets, and she didn’t want to have to use chemicals to treat itchy bites. It was researching itch-relief practices in other countries that ultimately led her down the path that would result in the founding of Bug Bite Thing.
Bug Bite Thing’s design is really quite simple: It uses suction to remove the itch-inducing venom, saliva, and other irritants mosquitoes, bees, wasps, biting flies, no-see-ums, chiggers, sea lice, and more leave behind when they sting or bite. It’s a chemical-free, kid-friendly tool that works best when used as soon as possible after contact with the aforementioned bugs. Not to mention, it has 35,000+ 5-star ratings on Amazon.
Helpful Review: “Works like magic! The sooner you can use it, the better… but use it!! I used it on my kids (7 & 2), and they both said it helped a lot! I eventually got my own mosquito bite… and it burned immediately, so I pulled out the “bug sucker,” as my kids call it, used it; and not only did the burning stop instantly but the bump was almost gone as well. The next day it was completely flat, and there was NO itch at all. On day 2, there was a faint itch in that area… but it maayyy have been dry skin?!?”
Rikki Mor remembers running away from her mom when she tried to brush her hair as a child — and even went so far as to chop off all her hair thinking it wouldn’t have to be brushed if it was short. Grown-up and with three children of her own, all with different hair types, she invented a unique brush called the Knot Genie that children don’t have to run away from.
The Knot Genie has a special mix of bristle lengths that work together to remove tangles — without pain. It can be used on dry or wet hair of all types, and its cloud shape allows it to fit nicely into the palm of your hand. And, of course, it comes in a variety of colors.
Helpful Review: “My 6-year-old hates her hair being brushed out because it gets really tangled. We tried this brush as a recommendation from her hairdresser, and now she will [only] use this brush! It can be a bit hard to hold and does a fairly good job of getting all the tangles out. If it’s really tangled, I will often have to use a ‘normal’ brush to remove them.”
Like so many of us and our MomFriends™, Jane Och and Sharon Prince met through their kids and went on to form a friendship of their own. After their kids grew up and left the house, “they got bored.” If you have ever made or purchased guacamole and eaten any quantity less than 100% of it, you’ll understand the problem that pulled Och and Prince out of their empty nest boredom and became their next big calling: how to stop leftover guac from turning brown. After a lot of hard work and ups and downs, Guac-Lock was born.
Guac-Lock is a storage container for guacamole that presses all the extra air out of itself. Without oxygen to contact the surface of the guacamole, oxidation can’t occur, and that means no browning. Guac-Lock is dishwasher safe and made from odor-proof and BPA-free plastic.
Helpful Review: “Keeps guacamole fresh, and it’s so easy to clean and care for. Liked it so much have bought a few for gifts to my girlfriends. Works just like it says in the description. Great purchase for the money. Now I don’t waste my avocados!!!”
Bumco’s Baby Bum Brush was founded by Kristina Cash following the experience she had caring for her newborn’s GI irritation which left him with painful and acidic stool for 40 days. Forty days! If you’ve ever had a baby with diaper rash and irritation even for a couple of days, you can probably imagine just how often Cash was having to re-apply diaper cream and that a product like this one would have made things easier.
Baby Bum Brush is made from soft BPA-free silicone that allows for a gentle application of diaper cream. The brush is flexible and easy to use — all while keeping your fingers clean. The base of the brush has a suction cup which makes it easy to store upright on any flat surface. It comes in a variety of colors as well as single and multi-packs. Baby Bum Brush has over 14,000 5-star ratings, but what’s even more remarkable is that 92% of all ratings are 5-stars.
Helpful Review: “I absolutely love this thing!!! If you hate getting diaper cream on your fingers, this is for you! I don’t enjoy digging it out from under my fingernails. Is it literally just a spatula? Yes. Do I love it? Yes. I have this one at the changing table and I bought the mini for the diaper bag. Your family will probably roll their eyes at you if you buy this, let them. It is totally worth it to me. The suction is also great. I usually preload the spatula before I even open the diaper and suction it to any surface, and it’s ready to go when I need it.”
How many times do you think you’ve unknowingly swallowed bugs that flew into your canned wine on a hot summer day? Has your kid ever sliced their finger on an open can of seltzer? Tammy Brook is a grandmother from Minnesota who didn’t want either of these things to happen to her young granddaughter, and so was born the idea for the Beverage Barricade. The Beverage Barricade actually solves a lot of problems: First of all, it helps to open cans, which can chip nails, mess up that fresh manicure, and more importantly, be difficult tasks for people with short nails or pain and mobility issues in their hands. It also keeps bugs, dust, and everything else out so you can enjoy your drink without worrying about what might be lurking within it.
Furthermore, they come in a wide range of colors so this product also acts as an identifier for cans. No more “Is this my Diet Coke?” because you know the blue one is yours. And when you find that 97% full Pamplemousse LaCroix with the yellow one on the counter after you had the neighbors over, you’ll know that, once again, Little Hudson opened a can to take exactly one sip before abandoning it to go dump out as many nicely-organized toys as possible.
Helpful Review: “I spend a lot of time outside in the summer, and bugs are unavoidable. This works amazing at keeping bugs out of my can of soda so I don't accidentally suck in a bug that snuck into my can when I wasn't looking. The different colors make it easier for my kids to keep track of which drink belongs to them. They are also very easy to wash and after using them all summer long, none of them have broken, which is impressive with my kids because they find ways to break everything.”
This brand’s story has perhaps the most exquisite and perfect start: One day, mom-of-seven Judy Edwards found herself “too pooped to poop.” Discovering that our bodies are actually designed to poop in a squatting position, Edwards, along with her husband and son, created the first Squatty Potty in their garage in 2010. And the rest is Number 2 history. In fact, it’s backed up by nearly 10,000 5-star ratings on Amazon.
Squatty Potty is easy to use: It goes in front of your toilet, you sit down, put your feet on it, and just like that, you’ll find yourself in a squatting position that properly aligns your colon and makes elimination easier — aka better, faster, more thorough poops. You can easily alternate between a height of 7 and 9” to find the best position for you. (Kids will probably benefit most from the 9” position.) This style is made from 100% natural bamboo.
Helpful (& Hilarious) Review: “What's not to like about this product?! This thing is amazing. First of all, it's easy to put together and very sturdy. Comes in two different heights and easy to switch from one to the other with just a quick rotation. It fits snuggly out of the way when not in use. The best thing about this, though, is that it has absolutely saved my marriage. My husband used to top out at an hour spent on the toilet ‘pooping.’ Apparently, this Squatty Potty is a godsend. It has reduced his pooping time by at least half and now he can spend more time with the family and kids. He keeps talking about the angulation and how he doesn't have to squeeze anymore, and I just take his word for that. Either way, this product does its job and makes life easier for me and my husband. Highly recommended!”
We all know the importance of hand-washing, especially after the last few years. Unfortunately, most sinks aren’t designed for kids, and that can make hand-washing well and thoroughly a real chore. Mom-of-three Susanna Lee first had the idea for what would become the Aqueduck Faucet Extender at Disneyland, where she kept having to lift her kids up at the sink to wash their hands.
The Aqueduck Faucet Extender attaches easily to the end of most standard faucets and re-directs the water to flow closer to the edge of the sink where more children can reach it. Genius! The Aqueduck is small and easy to throw in a bag for when you’re out and about. It’s also dishwasher safe and made from durable BPA-, PVC- and phthalate-free plastic.
Helpful Review: “This product is great! We bought a house where all the faucets are SO close to the back of the sink, which makes it hard for my 2- and 4-year-old to reach the water, and it also makes a huge mess around the sink. Now that we have this product, I have cleaner sinks/counters, and my kids love that they don’t have to stretch to reach the water. So so easy to use we are getting another for the other bathroom!”
Mom-of-two Melanie Hurley wanted to let her young girls paint their nails but was worried about all the chemicals found in standard nail polish — and there weren’t any options out there that satisfied her safety concerns. She decided to take things into her own hands (no pun intended) and eventually started a company called Piggy Paint.
Piggy Paint is a non-toxic, odorless, and water-based nail polish for kids of all ages. It contains no harsh chemicals and is even cruelty-free and vegan. It comes in a wide range of color sets with 3D nail art stickers. No, it doesn’t last as long as traditional nail polish, but that will be worth the safety trade-off for many parents of little nail art fanatics.
Colored Rubber Bands Helpful Review: “I love that I can paint little’s toes knowing the polish is safe from all harsh chemicals and made specifically for her. It’s a water-based paint, so it will start to chip away during bath time. However, I’m ok with that because I don’t have to use harsh chemicals to remove.”