I am a mother of twin two year olds boys and a nearly one year old daughter. Getting out of the house for us is quite the task and can be pretty daunting. It is hard managing three young children who want to explore and feel independent. The “I can do it” stage has already started and with multiple children, they hardly ever want to go in the same direction or do the same things.
Most days when we are out in public I feel like we are a walking circus. Someone always figures out a way to break loose and I am always stretching and extending myself to keep everyone in order. Much like Elastigirl – the mom from The Incredibles. I don’t remember a day that I have gone out with all three children without a comment from a stranger that begins with, “that’s quite the load you have there” or “are all those kids yours?!” Yes, it is quite the load I have and yes, they are all mine. A typical day out will have me sweating and feeling like I had a 2 hour workout with a drill sergeant of a physical trainer. But being homebound is not an option for my family and sometimes, I can’t always find a helper when we go out. My kids easily get stir crazy and need to run out their energy. I needed to find ways that will allow me to go out with my children while ensuring their safety and my sanity.
The following are my top 5 tools that I use when getting out with my little entourage.
1. Double Stroller
Every mom needs something they can quickly strap their child in and get out of dodge quickly when a tantrum occurs. This is my tool. When you have one child, it is easy to pick them up and go but when there are multiple children who seemingly have the strength of Hercules when a meltdown occurs, you need a stroller to strap them in and go. It is nearly impossible to wrangle two squirmy two year olds in your arms and make it to the car with everyone in one piece – even when you are wearing another child.
2. The Third Seat Attachment
If you in the same boat as I, and have a third child but don’t want to buy a triple stroller – the third seat attachment option is perfect. I bought the Englacha 2-In-1 Junior X Rider. This seat attaches easily to the back of your stroller. It is a quick on and off attachment and can turn into just a board to where your child can stand on while you push the stroller. This item has been a life saver for me. With three under three, wrestling two toddlers while wearing a baby is impossible. This seat gives me the freedom to get outside and go for a walk without having to worry about chasing a toddler while having a baby strapped to me.
I use to laugh at the parents who had their children on these type of kid leashes and say that I would never do that to my child. But here I am with two kids in those same restrains I made fun of. They are so helpful, especially when I have as many children as I do. They help me ensure that everyone is safe and I am not darting out, loosing my mind, trying to chase three kids. They keep everyone secure and I don’t have to worry about them running in separate directions. My children are just now learning how to stick close to mommy when we are out in public and this tool is very helpful in getting them to learn this concept.
4. Buggy Bench
I’m not sure why it seems like most grocery stores are under the impression that most families have only one child. I know that having three under three is not typical but I certainly did not break the mold. Finding a shopping cart that has a two bench-seater is always pretty difficult and I don’t like to leave my children in the car while I search the parking lot or even the inside of the store to find one. That is why I have the Buggy Bench. A Buggy Bench is a portable fabric seat that you can hook into any shopping cart. This is a great tool that I can keep in my car and easily set up in a regular cart. I usually grab the closest cart, put a child in the front seat, then one in the buggy seat and usually wear my other child. This helps to get everyone into the store where hopefully a two seater bench cart seat will be waiting for me and I can transfer them into that while my daughter can then use the buggy bench in the cart so I don’t have to wear her.
5. A Smart Phone Or Tablet
I hate to say it but I bribe my kids with these electronic devices. It is my last resort but I am so thankful that I have it. I don’t know what it is about electronic devices but even at an early age, they were obsessed at trying to find my phone to play with it. Now, there are so many educational games that I can download for them to play, that I don’t feel nearly as guilty when I hand it over to them. I do have fears that they will become one of those video game junkies that hardly go outside to play but I have to remind myself that it is okay in moderation. I don’t let them have it all the time, but for those excursions that I know they will get bored easily (example – waiting in the doctor’s office), it is nice to have this entertaining tool. They can watch their Disney shows, and play with the Thomas and train apps. It will keep them busy for hours on end. It makes me wonder what parents did before these amazing devices?!