When you have miniature humans living in your home, you better hope you served as a Girl Scout. One of the first things they teach you, is to always be prepared.
Once my firstborn got a little older, I got sloppy; and I am not referring to my looks – that was a mess the minute I brought that beautiful babe into this world. I got overly confident in my mommy ninja abilities, and started venturing out on errands without my Mary Poppins bag of tricks. Most days, this never hindered my mommy swag, but every once in a blue moon, it resulted in me buying a toy we didn’t need, a leaking diaper, or a full-blown toddler tantrum.
Now that our second son is here, there is no room for error. Every minute counts; especially when I am long overdue on making a grocery store run.
To make sure you are able to pull off a flawless errand, one must be as rehearsed as your fellow doomsday prepper. Never fear my friends, I’ve listed out what you need to know in order to survive your dreadful shopping trip, all while juggling that tiny human army you so willingly created.
1. Always carry a change of underwear.
You never know when your squishy bundle of joy is going to let one rip and create a blowout only imagined in horror films. A change of clothes; just leave some in the car. Better yet, always carry a backup of all things. If your child is a fan of the paci, better pack two – just in case one of those silencers happens to get lost under the backseat or dropped in some sort of questionable substance.
2. Better pack a snack(s).
It is absolutely inevitable that my precious toddler will start shouting, “EAT! EAT! EAT!” five minutes in to our adventure; and he doesn’t just want one snack, he wants many snacks. Puree, check. Granola bar, you got it. Then there is that one snack, the one you keep on you when you are feeling really desperate – our go to is usually Annie’s Chocolate Bunny Grahams. Except, my son calls them “nunnies” (which is incredibly adorable and results in him getting whatever he wants).
3. Make sure your car has a full tank of gas.
Seriously. That one extra stop is detrimental to your success. Especially if you have a young infant. If you are anything like me, you fed the tiniest child beast right before you walked out the door, so you know your time is limited before duty calls again.
4. Check your backseat.
Your time is precious, so don’t make a rookie mistake, like rolling out of your driveway without checking the backseat. Now that I have two kids, the Baby Bjorn is always in the car, ready to go. You can also find a shopping cart seat cover, a blanket, toys, and remnants of a snack or two (desperate times, desperate measures).
5. Limber up.
Before you step foot into your beloved Target, you have got to get some stretches in. Sure, you might start your shopping endeavor on a jolly note, but you never know when your toddler is going to flip a switch and lose his cool when you tell him to get the all-purpose cleaner out of his mouth. This will require you to quicken your pace; and this is not the time to pull a hammy.
6. Double-knot your shoes.
Refer to rule number 5. Ain’t nobody got time to stop and tie a shoe.
7. Know the land.
When you are venturing out with your young children, do not go to a store you’ve never been to before. Do that with all of your extra spare time. Now is the time to know what you’re working with. Diapers, aisle 7. Lunch meat, aisle 11. Wine, aisle 9.
8. Beware of bathrooms.
Have you ever tried to take a shopping cart into a public bathroom? You can’t. How about taking a toddler and an infant into the stall with you? I don’t recommend it. I had to once – I suggest you avoid this at all costs, because that’s when you are your most vulnerable. My toddler touched EVERYTHING and my three month old hung from his baby carrier that was strapped to my chest, as I used every ounce of mommy muscle I could muster to squat. Save yourself the trouble and just go before you leave the house.
9. Prepare an emergency kit.
I have a little pouch that stays in my diaper bag at all times. This washable life saver is filled with goodies. Fruit snacks, extra paci, diaper rash cream, wet ones, chapstick, kleenex, miniature bottle of booze (just kidding). You name, it’s probably in there. I can grab this precious treasure at a moments notice and use it like the mommy flotation device it is.
10. Don’t be a hero.
Don’t risk your sanity just to maintain your “mommy image”. I get it, I’m a chewy mom (that’s what I like to call someone who isn’t 100% crunchy – trust me, you won’t find a cloth diaper in this house). I don’t want to load my child up on processed sugar, but if a piece of chocolate is going to get me out of that store without my son screaming like a howler monkey, then he’s getting it. Don’t let your ideal parenting method get in the way of pulling off the perfect checkout.
11. When in doubt, always know your way out.
Should all of the above fail, you must be mentally prepared to abandon your proverbial ship at any moment. That means knowing where your closest exit is; which goes right along with knowing the land. You not only need to know where the closest exit it, but also the fastest route to it. You should also wear a baseball hat, just in case you have to lower your head in shame, as you drag your toddler behind you, carrying not only your diaper bag, but also your newborn.
If you can do all of the above, you should be able to rock your babypocalypse like the mommy warrior you are. From one mother to another, God speed.