Any new mom will agree. Becoming a mom gives you an entirely new repertoire of skills that involves a whole lot of multitasking. And if you ever want to get things done again, you better get used to this, and fast!
Doing errands as simple as going to the grocery and going to the bank takes on a whole new meaning, because it will never be as quick or as easy as it was before. It may however, become a whole lot more fun depending on your perspective.
As a mom who worked from home, it was a challenge splitting my time between serious cerebral work and spending time with my kids. I felt like a “fake” work at home mom, mainly because while I didn’t report to the office, I still struggled to find a work-life balance and be present to my kids throughout the day.
A wonderful solution to this was taking my toddlers with me to the bank and the grocery. This allowed for me to check important items off my to-do list, and at the same time spend some quality time with my kiddos–who learned to look forward to our bank trips and grocery days.
Here are a few tips I learned.
1. Make a list. There’s nothing quite like bringing a baby around to distract you from your tasks! I can’t count the number of times I had forgotten one or two things on my to-do list when I brought my babies along with me. Before you leave your home, take a few minutes to write down each of your errands. Arrange them according to urgency and based on your route, so that it will be easy to follow in case your time out gets a little bit crazy.
2. Bring emergency supplies. Never leave home without a complete baby bag, to include all the essentials such as diapers, wipes, a change of clothes, snacks, water, and a toy for a go-to distraction.
3. Talk to your toddler. As you go about your errands, don’t get stuck on your phone! Use the the time to bond with you child, and make it an educational experience. Explain to her what you are doing, introduce her to the guards, tellers, cashiers. Engage her in the experience and before you know it she will be the one helping you to do everything once she is grown.
4. Bring a stroller/wear your baby. While I prefer the latter option to keep your hands free, some babies (and toddlers) are much too heavy to carry around the entire day. The great thing about a stroller is that it can also double as a push cart. I recommend you purchase detachable rings for the bags you may want to hang on it.
5. Make it a game. Not all children are capable of getting excited about going to the bank or errands. To make it fun, why not turn it into a game of “I Spy” or into a treasure hunt. This will keep your toddler entertained and happy…at least for a few hours. And when all else fails, give your toddler snacks!
I learned to love the errands I once dreaded because I knew I could use them as quality time with my babies. So the next time you plan to go out, consider taking your kids with you. You’ll be surprised at the amount you will both learn from each other, and how much your toddler (who adores you!) will appreciate being brought along with you on your trip.