Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Tuesday Tip: Getting out of the house in 30 minutes or less

Whenever I’m out and about with our brood, people can’t help but ask “how do you do it?!” While I often interpret the question as one that relates to our daily struggles and working mom juggles, I realized once again this weekend that sometimes what people really mean is “how do you ever even get out of your house with all those kids?!” The answer, of course, is that it's not easy but since I'm not a sit at home type of a gal, I've developed a routine that more often than not gets us out of the house in 30 minutes or less. Here's my little cheat sheet...
  1. Keep the diaper bag stocked.  As my kids have gotten older, the stock has changed.  Baby formula and extra bottles have been replaced by crayons and coloring books. Diaperes and wipes remain a constant, as do sippy cups, water bottles, a ziploc bag of snacks and depending on the season, sunblock and/or hats. I do my best to restock the bag when we return home and I keep it by the front door so we're always ready to roll.
  2. Keep extra essentials in the car -- this way if your diaper bag gets depleted, you won't be caught empty-handed.  A few supplies always on-hand in our "Swagger Wagon" include wipes, Purell, sunblock, paper towels, tissues and snacks that stand the test of time and extreme temperatures... not that I've sampled them myself but the kids never seem to complain when I uncover a hidden bag of Goldfish or a surprise cereal bar.  Plastic baggies are also good to have handy... as a recent weekend roadtrip reminded me, they are perfect for containing the after effects of any accidents that may occur en route!
  3.  Go to the bathroom before you leave the house! The natural extension of this time-proven rule of the road is to change your little one's diaper (or in my case, diapers!) just before departure.  As you likely know, as soon as you do, they will fill it up with the nastiest of poops, causing you to rinse and repeat but still, better to get it out of the way before you're underway! This is one that your mother always told you and once again, she was right!
  4. Have a plan.  My husband thinks I'm crazy but while we're having breakfast on Sunday morning, I'm already thinking of where we're going after church and what we need to bring.  If we're headed to the pool, I'm creating a mental checklist that includes towels, swimmies and juice boxes.  If it's out to lunch, I'm checking that bag by the door for extra crayons and tossing in a few Legos to keep the little ones occupied.  The point is, if you start to think about where you're headed with plenty of time to spare, once it's time to actually get going, you'll be halfway out the door while your husband is asking if he needs to bring his swimsuit.   To which you can happily reply, "Got it, hon!  Get in the car, we're ready to roll!" 
  5. Avoid laces at all costs.  With five kids to hustle out of the house, I've learned the hard way that shoelaces are not my friend.  In the summer months, Crocs and flip flops reign supreme while in the winter months it' all about velcro on the sneakers and slip-ons in the way of cozy boots and Merrells.  Am I bummed out that my first grader still can't tie his shoes?  Sure I am.  But, can I swiftly and adeptly get my clan in the car in thirty minutes or less?  You betcha!
Have some tips of your own?  Let me know!  In the meantime, hope these hints help you get your tykes out the door and on your way, with plenty of time to enjoy the day!

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