Here are a few tips I picked up along the way:
- Pack for your trip as much as you can during nap time. Yes, this is precious mom-needs-a-break time, but you will appreciate yourself for the sacrifice made when it’s go-time.
- You don’t have to plan for everything. Once I got to the beach, I realized what a hassle my gigantically oversized beach tote was. Did I really need to pack the heaviest, fullest, pack of diaper wipes possible? Or could I have gotten away with the half-empty pack I left at home? I brought the beach toys, the bubbles (in case the beach toys didn’t thrill), extra sunscreen, snacks for babe, snacks for mom (did I mention I’m 33 weeks pregnant?), mini beach chair for babe, and I’m pretty sure my emergency kit was at the bottom of the mess. Hindsight: I could have brought a shovel, a bucket, zero wipes, a small snack box and called it a day. As long as you’ve got snacks, I think you’re pretty good – regardless of your little ones’ age.
- Baby wearing saves lives. I always keep a carrier in the trunk, just in case. I would not have been able to juggle a beach day solo without it. After we parked at the beach, I strapped that baby carrier above my bulging baby belly, and buckled my daughter in before grabbing the beach umbrella, said gigantic beach tote, and chairs. I’m sure my brute pregnancy strength played in to the graceful execution of that trip, but having both arms free thanks to a baby carrier played into it as well.
- Leave some toys in the car for later. Mojo the monkey lives in the car now. He has been inside the house a few times, but most of his days are spent either suffocating, or freezing, within the confines of our Ford Edge. He has been the savior, though, on many an occasion when baby girl needs a friend’s comforts at the grocery store, or on a longer-than-normal car ride. Everyone needs a little mojo.
Little by little, we parents figure it out! Fifteen minutes late slowly becomes ten, before it becomes five. And really, people ought to be glad we tried to show up at all!