So you have a new bundle of love, joy and diapers: Congratulations!
Maybe this sweet baby isn’t your first and you also have a toddler or preschooler in the house as well. As the first few weeks pass in haze and you slowly emerge from the newborn fog, you might recognize, with growing trepidation, that taking this baby (along with your other children!) anywhere is going to involve a lot more effort than you originally thought!
Now there are diapers, bottles, nursing covers, pacifiers, pacifier sterilizers, wipes, wet bags, changes of clothes, and a whole variety of other accoutrements to drag along. There might even be siblings who are also in diapers, who require specials snacks and a lovey everywhere they go, and who aren’t so good at staying next to Mommy in parking lots. Sometimes when you get up in the morning, it can seem like just too much effort. You think, “I’ll just stay here at the house in my yoga pants for one more day…”
The problem with this comfy scenario is that it doesn’t serve you, as a mom or as a person. You need to get outside, whether it’s into the fresh air or just to the mall play area. You need to see your friends and meet fellow moms in your same stage of life. While many social interactions can occur online, there is nothing like real-life face-to-face time to encourage you and really get your mind going. You also need your exercise, which can always be best accomplished by leaving your home, stroller and all.
If I could give one piece of advice to new moms, whether a first-time, second-child, or any number of children, it would be: take your baby out as often as you can, as early in their life as you can. The key to learning how to juggle 1 or even 3 children is to start early and practice, practice, practice!
My children are now entering the stage where they are described more as “preschoolers” rather than babies or toddlers. I say this to you now because I’m starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. At 2.5 and almost-4, my kids are excited to jump in the car every day and go on a new adventure. Mother’s Day Out and preschool have been a relatively easy transition (and you can see why there’s no guilt here!) because it was just another outing, sans mommy. At night before bed, they’ve started to ask me where we are going tomorrow and who we will see.
They socialized early because I gave them the opportunity, despite how stressful it was for me at times. I didn’t feel buried under the kids during those difficult infant years largely because I was getting out of the house and feeling like I’d accomplished something nearly every day, even if that was only to go to the park. I even got to talk to other adults regularly, and in real life! Amazing! And again, although it was difficult at the time, I am starting to see the benefits now, and I’m grateful that I made the effort early on.
Have there been times when I forgot something major, had a huge diaper blow-out, a breast milk leak, or forgotten to bring enough formula? Oh, yes.
I specifically remember apologizing over and over to a screaming baby as I sped down Hwy 75 for not bringing enough formula on our outing. I think I actually did that multiple times. And yes, there have been a few times when one of my children was pant-less, wearing only a pull-up or diaper, in a shopping cart in Target because their only pants had been peed on and I neglected to bring extras. But you know what? Those things are normal.
No one is looking over your shoulder and taking off points. All the regret and judgement is in your own head. Give yourself permission to mess up a few times. Push on through. Go out again tomorrow. We have plenty of ideas for places you can go with young children here on Dallas Moms Blog!
Do understand and accept that sometimes you will get judge-y looks. Not everyone realizes that Target is just where children go to scream. But also remember that some people judge and make comments no matter what you are doing and where you are. As moms, we have to learn to get over the judgement of others and do what is best for our own families. It’s a great opportunity for us to build these skills now so that we are able to address more important issues as our children become older. It’s also a great reminder for us to be just as kind to other parents the next time we see them struggling.