Let’s face it, getting any children under the age of five out of your house is a huge undertaking.
And the more children you add, the more the situation is compounded. I only have two children under the age of five, but I feel for you mamas who do it with three, four or more children. I can’t even picture it.
Ever since becoming a stay-at-home mom (I recently quit my corporate job back in March), I have found that no matter how much pre-planning you do, you still sometimes rush around, grabbing socks, shoes, snacks and who knows what else.
However, I’ve found that my experience as a working mom where I hustled the kids out every day to daycare, has helped me continue to get the kids out the door every day, even though we don’t necessarily have to be somewhere.
Why? I’ve discovered that toddlers and babies tend to start falling apart around the 9 – 10 AM hour for some reason.
Some probably do earlier, some later… but there’s something about that mid-morning timeframe that just tricks them out. I think it’s the fact that they are running out of energy from breakfast, and lunch is WAY too far away. But I digress.
You guys probably know my love affair with the YMCA (see blog post here), and now that I’m a stay-at-home mom, I take the kids four or five days a week. It’s my sanctuary, my me-time, and even if I dawdle on the treadmill, it’s a chance to breathe for a minute without the kids. AHHHH.
With that, it’s been pretty easy to get the kids ready to get out, go to the YMCA, and then hit the playground, the store, or the library on the way home. Then time for lunch and rest time, and voila, the day is almost done. Or that’s what I tell myself on the days that it works.
The days that it doesn’t work, I’m calling my husband at 4 pm, asking him to COME HOME SOON.
Anyways, I thought I would share my best tips for getting out of the house with toddlers and babies, in case it might help any other mamas out there. I’d love to hear yours too!
5 Tips for Getting Babies & Toddlers Out the Door
1) Put the kids in the car EARLY
This is my biggest and best secret. On the days we NEED to get somewhere on time, I get my kids dressed and then promptly tell them we are about ready to go (even though I still have about 10-15 minutes of stuff to do).
I lock and load them into their car seats, hand them a snack, toy and/or iPad, and call it good. Most times, I’ll turn the car on for good measure so my daughter can watch the DVD player and/or the heat/AC will be on.
The reasoning? Half the time we’re trying to collect last second items (snacks, socks, diapers, etc.) and we just can’t get it done with babies and toddlers underfoot.
My solution? Get them in the car and out of your way, and you can run back in the house quickly to gather up all those last items. Better yet? Hit the bathroom in peace while they are occupied and locked in place.
2) Keep a stash of fresh diapers/underwear and wipes in the car.
Diapers? Always, ALWAYS good to have on hand. Wipes? Even better. Wipes go along way to help getting anything sticky or wet out of the car seat, on the floor, or off your kid’s outfit.
If your kid is recently potty-trained, you can bet that there will be an accident some point in or near the car. Keep an extra pair of underwear on hand just for this occasion.
Want to go one better? Keep a spare outfit in the car along with the diapers and wipes. I have a small bag that I include all these things in, and regularly update it if I’ve used something. This way, I know I’m covered with the basics in case I need to leave in a hurry.
3) Organize the night before.
I’m sure this is one that most moms do, especially working moms. Because we have to, otherwise our mornings would feel like a full blown marathon before you’ve even gotten to work.
And trust me, there are days where I collapsed in my desk chair at 9:15 AM after dropping my kids at daycare, exhausted.
However, in case you don’t, this can go A LONG WAY in mornings going much easier. Getting the kids ready for bed? Go ahead and set out their outfit for the next day.
Making dinner? Set aside a couple of bags of snacks, pouches, or other food items to take in the car with you the next morning.
4) Keep regular items together and the near the door.
I think we all have that “Oh, SHIT” moment where we’re running late and we can’t find that last paper or shoe or set of keys anywhere.
Then I become a cursing machine, running around the house looking for it, and of course my kids can probably hear (Another reason to get them in the car STAT!)
To combat the cursing machine, I keep a bin of my kids’ shoes and socks together by our garage door.
This is actually part of our “mud room” organization system that my husband built when we bought the house. It has been a huge lifesaver for us in terms of keeping daycare book bags, jackets, shoes, socks, papers, and more by the door.
If it’s all together and by the door, the more chance I have of remembering to grab it all and not forgetting any pieces or parts.
5) Make a concerted effort to keep busy mornings relaxed and light-hearted.
I am so GUILTY being that mom who starts to stress out the second that something goes wrong, especially in getting ready to go somewhere when we need to be on time.
I can’t tell you how often I feel like our mornings have started out sour because I got irritated with my husband and the kids over something silly.
My biggest learning was to learn to let it go. We’re not saving lives here (and thanks to all of you who do that for a living!) and it won’t matter if we’re just a little late. Most people totally get the fact that making it out of the house with young kids is a triumph in and of itself.
Take a second on those mornings where you feel your blood pressure rising, and breathe. Is it really that big a deal? Are you making the kids more anxious with your mood? We all know that kids pick up on that kind of thing instantly, and it can make things worse, not better.
Let’s all cut ourselves a little slack, because we kick ass 99% of the time. And we’re damn good at it.
Share your favorite stories or tips for how you get your babies and toddlers out the door!