The biggest piece of advice I can give to new and expectant mothers when it comes to quick excursions with your child is to stay positive,but to prepare for the worst. I’ve had many trials and tribulations while taking my children out, but I’ve learned from them and offer this simple advice:
Travel light — keep extras in the car
When I’m going out with my three children, I pack a light diaper bag:
- 6 diaper
- Travel-size wipes
- 1 change of clothing per child
- 1 ready-made bottle
- Enough formula for 2 extra bottles
- A bottle of water to make emergency bottles
You don’t want your diaper bag to feel like an anvil when you’re carrying it around and if it’s too bulky, believe you me, no matter how you push, shove & kick, it will not fit in the storage basket underneath your stroller. I always keep extra diaper, sunscreen and clothing in my vehicle, as well as two water bottles in case I’m out longer than expected and need to make an emergency bottle.
Keep a few toys in the car
If you have a few small toys you’ve designated as “car toys” your children won’t grow bored of them as quickly and you’ll always have them around for entertainment if you find yourself stuck in traffic.
Mood music is key
There are a few must-have CDs that are in my car for the kids:
- The Laurie Berkner Band’s Victor Vito
- Disney’s Greatest Volume 2
- Baby Einstein’s Baby Santa (for the holidays, of course)
I cannot stress enough the number of times these three CDs have saved my sanity when I’ve had an overtired, screaming child (or two—maybe three) in the back seat and I have no way to stop.
- Don’t overdo it – I know you want to get eighty-five errands done all at once, but trust me when I say it: If you stay out with your child too long and ignore their cues of “Mom, it’s time to go home NOW” they will have a nuclear meltdown, and I swear it, three-fourths of the world’s population know-it-alls will be standing there to stare, mutter under their breaths and wag their fingers at you.
- Keep extra change in your vehicle – I keep this change in the middle console in case I hit a toll I wasn’t expecting. I learned this the hard way after I once was forced to count pennies while driving to pay a toll I wasn’t aware was coming until a mile beforehand. It’s a nightmare. And no, you’re really not supposed to pay tolls with pennies.
- Remember to have fun and enjoy – Children grow so fast and if you don’t enjoy the simple things like grocery shopping and dropping bills off at the post office while you’ve got your child with you, you’ll look back and miss it when they’re teenagers and make you drop them off three blocks away from school, their friend’s house, and well…just about everywhere else.