How to leave the house with littles

One of my dear readers asked me to write a post on what I typically do to wrangle my three little ones when we are out and about. Your wish is my command!

Without further ado, my tips on leaving the house with multiple beings who have trouble moving under their own steam:

1) Give yourself plenty of time before you leave to get everyone ready, and then expect to still be late. I am fortunate to have VERY patient mommy friends who don’t sweat it when I am late. I had one very lovely mom who waited for me for HOURS and I had my mom helping me that day! I can’t help but notice we never had another play date after that disaster . . . . . Anyway, it takes a lot of time to get littles dressed and fed and pack the diaper bag and load everyone in the car. And then inevitably at least two of them will poop their pants. Begin the process over.

2) You will forget something, so keep the car well stocked with emergency items. I always keep a package of wipes, a change of clothes, trash bags, squeeze fruit, water, and towels in the car. In the summer I keep swim diapers and puddle jumpers, in the winter I keep hats and blankets. I have used all of them several times. For some reason I never forget diapers, but I am always forgetting wipes.

3) Baby wearing and strollers are a necessity! I have panic attacks if my husband takes my strollers out of the back of the car to fit something else in for one trip. I depend on them. I keep one baby stroller in there to snap the baby seat in if it suits my needs to push the baby and walk the toddlers, and I have the double stroller if I decide to buckle in the two toddlers and wear the baby. If I know where we are going will be too far for the toddlers to walk I do the latter. If it is a short walk and I am hoping the baby will nap wherever we are going (like church play group), I do the former.

4) The dreaded grocery store trip. I avoid the grocery store altogether if I can, but if the need arises, certain protocols must be followed. Firstly, it has to be a time when the babes are all well rested and fed. Secondly, I take out the baby first and strap her on in the Ergo. Then, I let the two toddlers out. The older girls know that in parking lots if mommy is trying to help one and the other is already out, SHE MUST KEEP HER HANDS ON OUR CAR. Parking lots freak me out with toddlers. I have drilled into them that a car will hit them and give them big owies and if they are outside the car they either hold my hand or keep their hands on my car. (In other words, they have to stand with both hands on the outside of my car like they are being arrested and frisked.) I then drag them all to the grocery store and look for the carts with two kiddie seats. Costco is great because all of their carts have room for two kids. Whenever the bagger offers to help me take the groceries to my car, I give him/her a resounding YES.

5) If you are unsure about whether you should bring the stroller or not, BRING IT! Always err on the side of caution. Nothing is worse than getting lost in an enormous park in the extreme heat with two tired and hungry toddlers who cannot walk any more and having to lug them around and push the baby until you feel like your arms are going to fall off. Not that I have ever made a silly mistake like that.

6) Always enlist help if you can. It makes all the difference in the world to have another set of hands. And when we are doing a really involved trip, like to the zoo or aquarium, I like to have as many adults (or teenagers) as I have children. Anything where there are a lot of crowds and lines we have needed as many helping hands as we could get!

7) Know your limitations. If the very thought of an activity overwhelms me, I don’t do it. Trust your instincts. No one knows your limitations better than you do. Getting out with the littles is wonderful, but don’t overdo it. If you are not sure of how logistically it is going to work, or your helper backed out on you, or one of your toddlers has been an emotional wreck, just skip it. There is always tomorrow.

Well, I hope this helps. Keep the suggestions on helpful posts coming! I love doing them. Mamas, is there anything I have missed? IMG_2931.PNG

0 thoughts on “How to leave the house with littles

  1. morgan

    Perfect list! Can’t help to wonder how big your car is 😉
    I’ll try to keep it short: if you want to buy a double stroller, make sure it will fit you and ALL your requirements!!!
    – They can be really heavy and you not strong enough to lift it in and out of your car trunk.
    – And they can be really wide and not fit through aisles… A friend of mine had an horrible experience involving two toddlers, a fully packed double stroller and a train with way too narrow train doors.

    After having done the grocery trips with two/three little ones numerous times: they are not as hard as you think. Okay, well, we tend to forget stuff from the list. AND grocery stores in Germany tend to be A LOT smaller than american ones, but on the other hand YOU don’t have to discuss with a 4 year old why you won’t let him buy that nicely-shaped bottle 😀 (And we don’t have those car carts with TWO seats).
    I bribe them with letting decide which fresh fruits to buy or which sort of yoghurt / cheese / bologna and if we should get the tissues in the blue box or the yellow one…. and let them pay (paying with cash is a LOT more common around here!) and sometimes even keep the change. AND often they are allowed to get something for themselves (I have my vetos: no liquor, no cigarettes and MOST CERTAINLY NO CAT FOOD :D). So, all in all, there’s worse. Like that toy store trip we’ll have to make later today. (4 year old is invited at a birthday party and hellbend on getting the gift by himself). Unfortunately, any nice toy store will be a huge detour, so we’ll have to hit toys ‘r us. Never been to an american one, but german toys ‘r us are a NIGHTMARE. Even when you leave the kids at home. ARGH.

    Final word from me:
    Keep confident and keep on trying things out! You won’t know whether it’s bad or great until you tried it!
    I had so many experiences when beforehand I wasn’t sure whether I could manage it or when I just didn’t want to do something because I thought it might be too stressful (like when helping hands cancelled the last minute …) but then turned out to be totally great and / or not as stressful as I thought…

    1. sylcell Post author

      Thanks Morgan! Great tips! I haven’t reached the begging for everything at the grocery store stage yet, but I am bracing myself for it:0

  2. Elise

    Thanks for this post! I feel like a famous person answered my letter! Great tips and tricks. Question: Does your husband like the Ergo? Tried the Katan for my hubby but it was too squishy and hot for him. The Ergo is a big investment (and obviously well loved because I have yet to find one used despite all my hunting).

    1. sylcell Post author

      Yeah, they are SO expensive. I got one as a gift from my mom. I’m on a mommy exchange on Facebook and they do pop up from time to time now that the 360 Ergo has been released. My husband has worn it and he liked it a lot! And this is from a man who swore he would never be the dorky dad wearing a baby! I didn’t like it with the newborn insert but once she could hold her head up we live in it!

    2. morgan

      Is there something like baby-carrying-consultants where you live? I found one nearby the city I live and it was best invested money, because I ended up with the perfect carrier for our needs.
      She brought several different carries we could test together with her and left us our top 3 for a couple of days for further testing.
      In the end we bought one we didn’t even consider prior to our meeting with her…
      We had the Manduca (the most popular here in Germany, even more expensive than your Ergo) in mind, but quickly found out that it was not what we wanted. With both of us wanting to carry the baby, it took a lot of time to adjust every time we switched carrying. And there was one latch to close that I couldn’t reach on my own.
      So we ended up with the cheapest one she brought with her – a Romanian product called marsupi (marsupi.de – search for onlineshop on the page, that one is in english (but the translation is horrible)). With the velcro fasteners it was really easy to strap on, adjust and it fit in almost every bag or backpack. And you can put it in the washer. Perfect for us. And out kids. We carried all three of them and I think my niece / nephew might end up carried in that one as well.

  3. Krissy

    Ahahahahaha!!! I LOVE this! I have 4 kids myself, the youngest is three, and so this is my story, as well. Especially loved the part about the grocery store (oh yes, avoid at all cost!) and the part where hubby will take out the stroller and you’re out and about without it. ACK!!! Love reading your posts.

      1. morgan

        Mine, too… These days I’m very grumpy because he promised his son football (you call it soccer) training and his daughter dancing lessons. Of course it’s on different days and I’m stuck there waiting for it to finish. The football field is in the middle of nowhere and dancing lessons are too short to do anything else in the meantime (and it’s a 30minute car trip away).

        As revenge, I’m going to drag him to every event those groups will have like X-Mas parties and weekend tournaments and… 😉 quoting him every time he tries to protest: “Oh honey, now that they are getting older, these things will just increase…”
        (Unfortunately, I already told him about my plan)

      2. sylcell Post author

        Haha, I love how he is essentially giving YOU more stuff to do with his promises to the children. I have found that is just the way it goes. Oh well. We love them anyway!

      3. morgan

        Yeah I LOVE that guy, but he’s driving me nuts. On a daily basis.
        He tells everyone that he’s got three kids and I’ve got four. And he’s sooo right…