Yesterday we talked about our body image, today I am going to attempt to answer some of the questions asked by my readers. As in, how-do-I-physically-get-out-the-door-and-do-stuff-with-a-newborn? Especially if they aren’t my only child?!
Well…you grab one baby up in your arms, one toddler by the hand, and you march out the door.
With purpose and direction and a large dose of stubbornness.
[OK, I couldn’t resist being a smart ass.] But honestly, that is sort of true. You will attempt something if you really want it. You will make it happen if it has to. What else is true? It is just going to be hard at first and you will learn by the mistakes you make. Know that you will have to iron out the wrinkles in your getting-out-the-door canvas over time. And then the stakes will change.
We’ve been there. I’ve forgotten diapers and extra clothes and even ski boots (Full story here). I’ve scrambled around the house, throwing things in bags, getting kids in car seats, only to lose my keys in the process. I’ve been late. I’ve even tossed in the rag a time or two, and just stayed home.
Now for the positive side.
Now for things you can do to make it more manageable [here I go with those dreaded bullet points again]:
- Don’t start with Epic. Make your first trip out be somewhere close and easy. I visited a lot of friends during the first months- cause often they’d have whatever it was I forgot, I could run home, or they were forgiving. Don’t push those “do or die” situations until most the kinks are worked out. Also, epic doesn’t only mean some wild outdoor adventure. It could be a trip down the candy aisle during a time when your 3 year old is having a difficult time keeping their hands off. A simple trip to the wrong store can turn epic when you have a baby in your arms and a full on toddler tantrum in the making. Save those trips for when you have backup.
- Practice traveling without traveling. Make a game of it: “Kids, we are going to pretend we are at the store [or museum or park]. Mom yells, come here!” What do you do?” Each family might have their own variation. As soon as our kids could walk we started by teaching, “touch my leg.” Easy, clear command. And if they obey, they are right by your side. I can tell any of my kids to “touch my leg” [like in those scary parking lots] and they know to do it quickly. This took lots of practice at home. I know a mom who taught her kids to line up behind her and follow when she said, “ducks in a row!” Worked great in the store when they all started to wander. Our most recent one is, “To Me!” I say it and expect the kids to form “ranks” behind me, quickly and cheerfully. Sounds a little like the army? Well, I am not ordering them into ranks all day long. But when your at the birthday party and all the mommies are saying, “kids it is time to go” and the kids 1. aren’t listening and 2. don’t know which mommy is talking to which kids…it is nice to have something distinguishable and simple. “To me!” and they know we are off on some new adventure, and they want to be along for the ride
- Limit making set in concrete plans. What I mean is this: planning a playdate? Give yourself a window of time you can show up in. Plan to meet somewhere easy, like a friends house [or yours] or a nearby park. That way a baby who sleeps in a little late, or nurses a little long, doesn’t turn mom into a stress case to get out the door.
- Pre-packed diaper bags. I keep my bags packed to go all the time, so I can grab them in a hurry. If you know you are headed out the next day, pack the night ahead.
- Get yourself dressed and ‘breakfasted’ early. This seems sort of self explanatory. Except I’ll add this: getting up early for this meant I’d need to go to bed on time. Something we are horrible at. Often a crazy morning started the night before, by me not going to bed.
- Keep on-the-go items permanently in the car. In the newborn stage-while healing from a c-section- this meant a stroller was always in the trunk. For us now? The Beco Butterfly, a Costco size box of granola bars, a gallon jug of water, a box of wipes and 2 diapers (in the side door) are always in the car. Except when I forget to restock… This means I can carry the baby or not, always have snacks, and can change the little one-no matter where we go.
- Get good at “what if-ing”. Ask yourself the “what if?” Am I going to want a stroller? or would a carrier be better? Do we need snacks, or a whole lunch? Packing for a baby is one thing…once you have 2 or 3 kids, things can get plain old complicated. Get good at predicting what they will need. There is no short cut on this: trial and error, baby.
Have tips or thoughts from your own experience? Please share! I’ve preached it before, but I’ll remind you…I definitely don’t have it all figured out.