I sometimes joke that I am not a stay-at-home-mum, I am a never-at-home-mum. I have always loved getting out and about with my babies. But, it does take some practice and there are three key things that I lean on.
Preparedness, Confidence, Patience.
Getting out with your baby can be stressful and often the tiniest deviation from plans can result in a teary, messy melt-down. And that’s just mum. Whilst you cannot plan for everything (and it’s best just to accept that) there are some things you can do to make life easier for yourself:
- Whenever you arrive home after an outing, ensure the nappy bag is fully stocked. Nappies and wipes are a given, but also check that your baby’s spare clothes are still the right size.
- Set up a change station in your car. If you have a wagon or SUV, you can utilise the boot. Have wipes, nappies, bags, a change of clothes, a bin and blanket ready to go.
- For older babies, make sure that you keep another blanket and bag of toys in the car.
- Make sure you have a water bottle, some snacks and a change of top for yourself stashed away. Somehow we never seem to remember ourselves when we pack up the kids!
- For your first outings, make sure that you are somewhere you feel comfortable. If you are at a shopping centre – do you know where the parents rooms are? If you are at a park – do you know that you can park close enough?
- Meet up with somebody else – two hands are better than one and you won’t go into a complete tail spin when you realise you desperately need to use the loo and there is no way the pram can fit in the only available cubicle (true story).
- Choose your timing wisely. Know when your baby is likely to be in their best mood and plan your outing accordingly.
- Spend a little bit of time on yourself. You are going out into the beautiful wide world. Pop on some lippy. Or at least a large hat and even larger sunglass. It worked for Audrey.
I think this is the main reason we avoid going out with our babies. When we think about packing the car, getting our dear one in and out of the car seat, negotiating the pram, hoping they don’t cry, having to feed in public, it can feel all too much. But, you are a strong and capable woman. You have done much harder things. You gave birth (and I really don’t care how). You are an amazon! You can do this. And it will get easier and easier each time. If and when your second child comes along, you will take your newborn to places you never dreamed possible the first time around.
Everything takes five times longer with a baby. Just make peace with this. When you need to be somewhere by a set time, estimate when you have to leave and then add an extra half hour. Or an extra hour. The baby will need a nappy change the second you put them in the car seat. They just will. The outfit you first chose (for yourself and your little one) will need to be changed. It just happens. It happens to all of us. Be gentle with yourself and your expectations of yourself.
And above all, if it all goes pear-shaped and you just don’t make it out of the door, that’s okay. It’s perfectly, perfectly okay. You tried and tomorrow you will make it out.
When you do not leave the house, it is isolating. It is hard to find that woman you used to be. No matter how hard, or how daunting it might seem, please try to get out with your baby. Your inner minx will thank you for it.
How did you go when you first headed out with your little one?