If you ever have children, (and I pray you do, because oh my, what a blessing they are) I'm certain that at some point you'll wonder if you will ever get out and about with them--especially if you have multiple children. Well, I can tell you, that as scared as you may be, you will get out and it will be just fine! I'm not promising you that everyone will be all smiles and perfectly mannered, or that your stroller will fold up perfectly and fit perfectly in your car, or that you won't forget your wallet in your car after you have already filled your grocery cart with food surrounding your littles, or that you won't have to leave a store because of bad attitudes, or that you won't continue on your trek through the store with bad attitudes ensuing, or that you won't have diaper explosions, etc. BUT, I am here to give you hope that before you take that trip with your newest little, when you are worried about how everything works when you venture out of the house, it can be done! Hooray!
#1 way to ensure a successful first outing = Call in the Reinforcements
I remember my first outing with baby Luke. I took him to Babies R Us--a huge accomplishment! I was terrified! So, what did I do? I called a friend. I had my friend, Jennifer, meet me with her newest little one (her second) in the parking lot. I had no idea how to use my stroller, and my friend was there to help!
(can't find a digital copy of the stroller/parking lot pic, but you can bet I took one--it's in Luke's first year scrapbook! Here's one of the little friends a month later!)
#2 way to ensure a successful outing = Pack prepared
Your newest one is likely to be asleep or perhaps the easiest one with you. OR, perhaps your newest one is the fussiest and most unpredictable. Trust me on this, if you have a stocked diaper bag or purse, you can make it through most scenarios! It seemed when I ventured out with all in tow, no matter what stage, 1 + a new baby, or 2 + a new baby and even 3+ a new baby, I tried to leave the house prepared. Always bring snacks for the bigger littles! This was tougher for me to learn (because I was so rigid in the beginning=no one should eat unless it was a meal time, only healthy snacks, etc.). However, it's amazing how a little baggy of pretzels or pack of peanut butter and crackers can save the day. You never know when you will have a car problem, or that line in the store took forever, or you run into a friend, who convinces you to stop at the park for "just a bit" (which never ends up being "just a bit" if you are like me) or you just can't make it from carpool line to home in enough time (4 minutes) because someone is going to DIE if they don't eat NOW (my current situation--ask me which one of your husbands this was one day! Oh, who am I kidding? I'll forget before you are a reality---it is Chuckles! Whichever of you marry him, make sure to keep him well-fed)!
#3 way to ensure a successful outing = don't panic if it's not a successful outing
You can call for reinforcements and plan away, but honestly, sometimes it's not a guarantee for perfection. At that point, pray for wisdom and patience and do your best not to melt! Then, once you get home, you can consider it a successful outing--if everyone made it home alive! :)
And what inspired this letter to you? Well, I just managed to take all 4 of my children to the zoo for the first time! We've been to church, the grocery, Target, friends, etc., but this was a feat! New-ish stroller and all by myself (adult-wise) we threw caution to lunch and naptime, flew by the seat of our pants and had an AWESOME time!
I stopped a random stranger to document our fun! Baby Way's first trip to the zoo as well! Love the zoo SO much, but I love my boys even more! And, (future) daughters in law, I'm praying for you already!