Leaving is the hardest part. And I don’t mean in some figurative, emotional, mental way. I mean this literally. Getting out of the house with kids is a serious struggle. It took 2 hours to leave the house today, and by the time we made it to our final park destination I had forgotten my phone, yelled at the kids (errr… more than once) and hit a parked car. Basically I was losing it. After my mini meltdown in the parking lot I put on my big girl pants and tried to enjoy the experience.
This week has been hotter than the sun and humid, so I’ve been taking a hard pass on hiking lately. A splash pad for the kids and the promise of shade seemed like a better option this morning. Abby has been in a tantrum phase lately and Olivia is apparently selectively deaf so leaving was a bit of an ordeal, but eventually we made it.
I was frazzled and spent by the time we pulled into the parking lot, and I promptly hit a parked car. I very calmly parked the car, got out (leaving the kids in and it running), called Jake and lost.my.shit.
Once I collected myself and left my info on their windshield, we headed over to Bicentennial Park and the giant splash pad. This thing is huge and very popular. The kids loved loved loved this. I mean, Abby spent a significant portion of the trip eating snacks but that’s basically her entire life.
Olivia spent the entire time we were there running around with a rotating group of girls she declared her new bffs, and occasionally giving me a heart attack when she was out of sight.
I mean I know I’m overly paranoid about this sometimes, but I like to be able to locate my kids quickly in a public place ya know?
Eventually Abby finished her snacks. Well, ok, I cut her off and there was a moment of toddler rage but whatever. Eventually Abby finished her snacks and enjoyed the water.
When everyone was tired and appropriately cranky we headed out. And I exited the parking lot very carefully. Olivia was so helpful when she reminded me not to hit any more cars. Thanks kid. We actually managed to pull it together enough to enjoy a fine dining meal at Wendy’s with Jake, who is unfortunately working all weekend.
Getting out of the house with kids can sometimes feel like a huge challenge.
I’m exhausted by the time I start the car. I know there are certain things that work better than others, so I need to remind myself to not make it harder than it already is.
Here’s my top takeaways so we don’t become shut-ins:
Pack the night before.
Generally speaking it’s less stressful to round up the water bottles, extra clothes, towels, snacks etc. while the kids are asleep. It cuts down on the amount of time the kids have to get into my makeup and smear it all over their bodies while I’m distracted throwing the stroller into the car. The other option is to just get the kids completely ready, strap them into their car seats, and then pack. They complain but this is really about my sanity not theirs.
Leave first thing in the morning
If we get up, watch a show, play a little, do some laundry and then try to leave it somehow feels so much more stressful to try to get somewhere while balancing lunch, naps, etc. We need to get up and get moving to maximize time when all parties are happy, not tired or hungry, and well caffeinated.
Bring the coffee with you
Don’t leave it at home on the kitchen counter next to your cellphone.
Stick to consequences
I threatened a bunch to not take them due to bad attitudes and not listening, but I didn’t follow through. I should have put my foot down and turned the car around. I struggle with this one. It’s so hard when you are trying to discipline one kid and the other ends up losing out. I feel guilty about taking something away from one of the girls if they weren’t the original offender, but I probably need to be more consistent. They need to fear me! Haha not really. But like. Maybe a little bit.
This is probably my biggest challenge. I am trying to pay more attention to the various moods of the house, and scrap something if it doesn’t align well. Lately Abby has been throwing tantrums and it really delayed us this morning. I need to get better about saying ok, we wasted an hour on this, so maybe lets do something closer to home or shorter or easier once we are able to leave. Ugh. Real talk. I hate to admit, I need to be more honest about my limitations. The past few days I haven’t been feeling my best, and I’ve been more frazzled and irritable as a result. This weekend is a long one with Jake working so much, and I really should have put the brakes on and relaxed at home. We had fun, but I’m not sure it was worth the drama.
At the end of the day I hope they remember how much fun they had, and not the car I hit.