I see the glares. People staring as I walk with three little girls by my side. I hear the comments “oh wow” or “you have your hands full” as I talk with my four year old, grab the hand of my two year old, and hold tightly to the one year old on my hip.
They see me, at an antique flea market, with my girls. Wondering if I am crazy for venturing the long walks and Florida heat. It’s not just the flea market, it’s the grocery store and the mall. It’s out to dinner, at the movies and doctors appointments.
I feel the judgement but the thing is, those people have it all wrong. My girls are not a burden. I don’t have them with me out of obligation, I have them with me by choice. They are my everything and I love having my girls with me everywhere I go. I know what these well-meaning people are thinking, I should just stay home or go to the park or do “kid friendly” things. I do all that, but I also want to do something every so often for myself and I want my girls to grow up knowing it isn’t always about them. I take them with me not only because I want to but I also think its good for them. Don’t get me wrong it can be very hard. Toddlers can be jerks sometimes. There will be tantrums and sibling arguments and full-blown meltdowns but overall they do great. If I prepare myself with the right tools and more importantly the right expectations (of them and of myself) our outings run smoothly.
Listen, mom life is hard, and it comes with a lot of sacrifices, but I am a firm believer that I can still enjoy the things I used to. I don’t have to deprive myself of everything I love just because I have three kids. Yes there are some limitations but for the most part I try to make it work.
I’ve put together this list because I wanted to share some things with you that I do to make my outings with my girls run a whole lot smoother with hopes that you will venture outside your comfort zone to do something that makes you really happy.
- Be prepared – I can’t stress this enough. It is so important that you are aware of what time you will be gone and what your child’s needs are during that time. Do they need to nap? Bring their pacifier or a portable sound machine, or maybe they sleep best in a baby carrier. Is it during a normal lunch/snack time? Pack a lunch box with them and they will be excited to eat it on the go. Is it not necessarily a kid friendly place (like a doctor’s office or the mechanic)? Keep a little stash of what they love at the moment in your diaper bag. I usually have anything from coloring books to play doh since my girls love crafts. I also keep little books, tiny princess dolls and some baby items too. I am in love with my Lily Jade diaper bag. I love all the compartments so I can have everything I need organized and ready. There is so much space in the bag plus the outside pockets make it easy to store items you need to grab quickly (like a pacifier). Be prepared, you will thank yourself later.
- Engage – Your kids aren’t just there for the ride, they are part of the adventure. The more you engage with them the more likely they will be to behave. When we were at the flea market I gave my two big girls $3, they loved knowing that they could buy anything they wanted (well almost anything) and the freedom and responsibility kept them engaged and listening when I asked them to stay close by or not touch the displays. Make sure to minimize your distractions, keep your hands free with a diaper bag backpack (I love this Lily Jade bag because the cross body strap converts to a backpack) and your phone away so you can really be there for them. Its amazing what these little ones are capable of if you give them a chance.
- Have your ammo – For the most part my girls behave but like any toddler sometimes no matter how you prepare their emotions can still get the best of them. I try to stay in tune with my kids triggers and avoid these meltdowns at all costs. I don’t want it to get to point of no return. Sometimes that means one of them wants to be held or sometimes they just want to be heard. Regardless I try to validate their feelings and that usually helps divert a majority of the “problems”. Now, there are those times that they aren’t hungry or tired or needing of my attention and I seem to be running out of ammo quickly. It’s times like this that I keep a little pocket in my bag with “emergency treats”. Sometimes a lollipop, sometimes a little piece of chocolate or a bag of pirates booty (my kids love that stuff). Just a little something to appease them so I can get myself back to the car tantrum free and I can figure out where the problem really is.
- Be realistic with your expectations – Here is the thing. I can not expect my kids to sit quietly for an hour and a half during dinner or entertain themselves as I sit in the dentists waiting room or walk a flea market in 90 degree heat for three hours. It’s just not going to happen and if I push them they will act out and the only person to blame is myself. All children are different so I really try to be realistic with my expectations of each of them. If we are at dinner we try to sit outside so they can have a little room to get up from their seat. If the waiting is longer than expected at the dentist I make sure to pack a few different activities and maybe one they haven’t seen before, or even play with them (my girls are really into “two truths and a lie” which can be played anywhere). When we are at the flea market I engage and get them involved and give them something to look forward to when it’s all done (like the yummiest strawberry shake). Kids will be kids and if we try to make even the most daunting task fun everyone will be a whole lot happier.
I want my days filled with giggles and although I do need my own time to clear my head and recharge I love having my girls with me. I think its important for me to have them close and its important for them to really learn to adapt and the life skills from everyday situations.
Practice makes perfect. With each outing you will learn what works and what doesn’t. Just because it didn’t work one time doesn’t mean it won’t the next, don’t get discouraged, just adapt and try again.
I hope these tips can help you on your next adventure. Being prepared is so important and this beautiful and versatile Lily Jade bag makes life so much easier. I love that I can convert it to a back pack, the endless amount of pockets for storage and the removable insert for diaper changes on the go. I even take the insert out and use it to carry my computer for business meetings or pack it as a travel bag for a weekend getaway. So much space! If you are looking for a diaper bag I own the Madeline Brandy & Jade and I am so happy with it but I also love the Rosie Grey & Jade and the Elizabeth Brandy & Jade bag.
Lily Jade is currently having a huge Mothers Day sale. All of their bags are on sale but you only have until May 7th at midnight to grab one at this great price. Don’t leave your gift to chance this Mothers Day and go ahead and spoil yourself. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.
Do you have any practices that work for your kids when you are on the go? If so I would love to hear them. Leave me a comment below!
The Gray Ruby Diaries occasionally receives free products and payment to feature items on this site. I take a lot of pride in endorsing products I love (and this gives me a means to do so) and I hope you trust that I would never let that get in the way of sharing my personal opinions with you. Thank you so much for reading and I hope by sharing my experiences you can take away little pieces to make your life easier and happier!