You know, adjusting to the constant shifts of motherhood: coordination to whip out the “meals on wheels” and nurse impromptu, or balancing the diaper bag and the baby carrier while trying to open car doors or load groceries.”
As a new mom, this quote really resonated with me because that is exactly how I felt!
Going somewhere with a baby on your own can be an overwhelming task some days. Add another child (or more!) into the mix and outings can be downright daunting sometimes.
I can often feel pretty clumsy and awkward as I attempt to balance everything. The how-to’s of running errands with ease is a learning process for every mama, but there are a few things that have aided me in managing better as a mom-on-the-go. I hope they will help you too!
4 Tips for Easy Outings with Kids
Plan to be ready earlier than you plan to leave.
When I am supposed to be somewhere at a certain time, I decide when I need to leave and then plan to be ready 10-15 minutes earlier.
Why? Because everything takes longer when you have kids.
Either you forget to pack something in the diaper bag, or the baby spits up on you right after you get dressed, or the toddler says she needs to go potty just as you are buckling her into the car seat.
If you are “ready to leave” before you actually need to leave, these little hiccups won’t make you late… or at least not very late.
Pack light, but not too light.
I have found juggling a huge diaper bag for short outings and errands to be an inconvenience. Having a large and small bag to switch back and forth between can be very handy.
However, when traveling light, make sure you still have everything you need in case of a diaper or potty training emergency. In the past I failed to do this and had to figure out how to make do until we got home. It would have been much easier if I had packed the bag with a little more care.
Also, I usually store my billfold and other necessities in one of the pockets of the diaper bag or use a crossbody purse so I have less to juggle.
Park next to the shopping cart return corral.
This is especially helpful if you are running errands by yourself. All you have to do is put your kiddos in a cart and wheel them on into the store.
When you are finished shopping, you don’t have to leave the children in the car alone while returning to cart to the corral. I feel much safer and less awkward doing this.
Prepare your children.
When your little ones are old enough to understand, let them know where you are going and what you will be doing.
Upon arriving to your destination, talk about your family’s expectations for behavior in public (i.e. Stay with Mommy) and what the consequences will be if they don’t follow them (i.e. We will leave and you won’t get to check out any library books).
I have found this reminder to be beneficial, not only for my children, but for me as well. Going over expectations just before getting out of the car allows me to discern when they are being disobedience and keeps me accountable in keeping my word by following through with disciplining them if they choose not to follow my instructions.
Following these four ideas will not result in perfect outings. Some days you will forget something, you will still be late sometimes, and your children will act up more times than you can count by the time they are grown.
Remind yourself that “practice makes perfect” in those times of frustration, pray for patience and give yourself (and your kiddos!) some grace.
Remember that, ultimately, getting your “mommy legs” will come from acquiring wisdom from God, the One who created the role of motherhood in the first place. God gave you this mission of motherhood by blessing you with the children you have and He will give you the guidance, strength and tools you need to finish well. Get out of the house in confidence, mama!