When I first brought home my second child I had no idea how I was supposed to travel with two babies. I knew other people did it somehow, I had seen it, but how? Remember that I have a very “spirited” little girl who is challenging on outings, so that is where my worry came from. I was concerned for her safety if I had to turn my attention to her brother.
Now, my youngest is almost eighteen months old and things are very different. Like any mother, I meet new challenges everyday, but I don’t feel completely overwhelmed. The key to this is creating a routine for myself. The most challenging place for me is always the grocery store. I like to be able to focus so that I can price check and keep track of my coupons but I also need my full attention on my children.
Before I leave the house I make sure that my list and coupons are in order so I only need to glance at them. Secondly, on the car ride to the store is have a conversation with my oldest about her behavior and how she would prefer to travel through the store. This is a big part of our battle. She likes to pick the cart with the car on the front and then decide once we’re in the store that she wants the kind with the bench, or any number of random choices that the store offers now. She gets to make a choice and then that is what she must stay with.
The next thing I do is make sure that I have the cart cover for my son arranged for easy carrying. I have noticed that the stores with “parent with child” parking tends to be too far from a cart corral for my comfort. I either park right next to the carts (but this doesn’t give me the option for the special carts because they are always at the front of the store) or I make sure that the cart cover is attached to me/my bag so that I have a free hip for the youngest and a free hand for the oldest.
I then make sure my daughter is settled in whatever contraption she has chosen and then I arrange my son with his cart cover .
I carry one of those shopping bag hooks that you see on strollers in the mall in my purse so that it is available whether I am using the stroller or a shopping cart. This way I can hang my bag from the cart handle and have everything within reach without having it drop form my shoulder constantly.
Once I have all of these things in order, we usually have a smooth ride. The occasional outburst is expected, but I can handle it because I know it is probably coming.
I envy the mothers who fly by the seat of their pants and can do whatever, whenever. I want to be the kind of parent who can take anything that comes at them and make the best of it , but I am not made that way. Routine gives me comfort and I find it aids not only me, but my children because they know what to expect as well.
How do you make outings a breeze (or something like that…)?