You need to leave the house for whatever reason and you are in a rush but your kids are throwing a tantrum and your heart is beating at 100 mph. You are ready to give up, scream or cry. You think to yourself, “is the outing worth all of this chaos?”
As a new mommy, the first outing is the hardest, we have to get the child ready, prepare the baby’s bag, get dressed and make sure you haven’t forgotten anything. The more kids you have the more challenging it becomes. Before having kids, all we had to worry was ourselves, there wasn’t any diaper bag to be packed nor was there any necessities to carry snacks around. Obviously going from one step to 3 or more steps before leaving the house can be chaotic at first. I will share with you some tips I’ve learned along the way that I think will help with this problem.
I learned this first tip in college living with a Belorussian roommate but I didn’t practice it until becoming a mom.
- Limit the amount of clothe you have in your closet. I got rid of a lot a clothe and stopped buying excessively, like I used to prior to being a mother. This Belorussian roommate had literally 7 outfits. She would wake up 20 min before having to leave the house and get dressed really fast and off she went. Don’t be fooled, she always looked great because she had a couple of good pieces that she would wear continuously.
- De clutter the closet and your house. I try to go to one room at a time and find things that are not useful anymore and I either throw it away or donate it to a family member. Not having a tone of miscellaneous items around will help you concentrate during the times you are in a rush to leave the house.
- Get storage items, boxes, drawers to throw crap inside. All of us have these random items that don’t make sense but we feel like one day we might need it so we like to keep them around. The best thing is to have a drawer or any storage that we can throw these items in. This helps with quick cleaning and decluttering the mind.
- I am not one of those women that prepare things overnight but one thing that helped me getting out of the house quickly, is having my bag with the essentials at all times. This includes, diapers, wipes, water and quick snack where I can grab and insert into my bag.
- I think this tip is the most important one. Help your child become independent and take responsibility for herself. I was lucky because my first child really wanted to do pretty much everything by herself. I just had to teach her how to do it right, sometimes she didn’t even let me help her which would take a very long time to get ready but it’s now paying off. At 4 years old, she can pick all her items from her closet and get dressed all by herself. My second child was not ready to be independent as early as my first but that’s ok. As she is watching her big sister dress herself, she is eager to try out herself too.
- Having a uniform. What I mean about this is, sorting out your clothe by what event you have for the day. For example, I have clothe that I wear only for errand purposes, casual sporting clothe if I am going to a sporting club or playground, dark clothe when I think I might get a little dirty mostly shopping in souqs, cotton/linen for really hot days and the most important clothe that I have when I will go out alone without the kids or frequenting a nice place.
- Having pieces in your closet that are seasonal friendly or that fit you. When summer comes there is no need to have your winter clothe occupying space in the closet and vise versa. Also having items that fit, whether it is too small or too big, either donate or storage it outside of your closet.
- I also stopped buying a lot of kids clothe. I just buy the most essential and sort them out by outings as well. If I am going to perform an errand than mostly likely they will be wearing shorts and a t-shirt and so forth.
- This next tip is something I just recently adapted into my routine which is wearing the same outfit more than one day and especially when it comes to kids clothing. I used to see a little stain in my daughter’s clothe and I would throw in the laundry. I seemed to have endless amount of laundry that entailed mostly children’s clothe. Now if I see one stain I make my daughters wear it again the next day.
- Lastly, invest in few but very good quality items. I don’t shop as much as I used to but when I need something, I will invest in good quality items. I also try to compare prizes for certain things that I need to buy, instead of purchasing at the first store. This implies for the items that I use in the daily basis such as my bag and shoes. For my kid’s shoes I try to buy a very good quality so that it can be passed around for the next child. I also buy items that can go with many things such as simple sneaker that can be dressed up or down. I usually buy one pair or sneakers and than one sandal for summer and one pair of warm shoes for winter.
These are just some tips that have worked for me but the most essential thing is to create a routine and have the children get involved. It doesn’t have to be the 10 tips I wrote above. Having things that you do every day to help you get out of the house as stress free as possible, will soon become second nature to you. I am sure we all experienced having the kids running behind us like little ducklings when we are trying to leave the house which can be a little irritable. If you include your child in the process it will make things easier for example, telling your child to turn off the tv, getting the water from the fridge and so forth.
Let me know what are some tips that helped you get out of the house as quickly and stress free as possible.
After 5 years, I finally went back to my home country but I had 3 little obstacles. First, I was traveling from Egypt with my two toddlers alone 2) while breastfeeding and 3) being 4 months pregnant. My husband’s family upon hearing the news that I was traveling, exclaimed;
“Zey, y3ni.” How, (y3ni) stressing on the impossibility of this action.
My family upon my arrival stated;
“Nao sei como fizeste essa viagem. I don’t know how you did this trip.
Basically, I left Cairo in the dawn hours and had a 13 hour layover in Morocco and finally from Casablanca to Cape Verde. I have to say a lot of preparation and research was involved before the trip.
In this post I will list some tips I’ve learned through my journey of traveling alone with toddlers.
- Travel light! I actually traveled lighter than ever in my life but I still feel like I could have traveled even lighter which leads me to the second point.
- If you are traveling to your home country than bring almost nothing or just the essentials for one week. Believe me your family will shower you with gifts, especially for your kids and you will be doing a tones of shopping.
- Prepare a variety of nutritious food for the trip. Skip the chips and candy because your kids will be exposed to extra germs and will be dehydrated which brings their immune system down. Making sure that they have a good variety of nutritious snacks will ensure that they will not get sick during the trip.
- Be extra prepared! Bring extra clothe in your carry-on, diapers, plastic bags (in case of any potty accidents) and wipes.
- Prepare your kids excitement before the trip. My youngest couldn’t understand it but I still communicated about the adventure we were about to embark on. I pointed to the sky every time I saw a plane and told them we were going to be on that too.
- Surprise the kids with the knew toys on the plane. The plane we were on did not have individual screens so having knew toys defiantly kept them excited for a while.
- Stickers and playdo work like magic, believe me! They could play with the stickers and playdo for hours.
- Bring a toy that they love. Knowing that they have something with them that they love, ensures security during a very unfamiliar environment.
- Be patient! This is not the time to be a strict parent, like me. You have to allow your child to do things that you would often not allow back home.
- Show excitement through your body language. I had to always be cheerful and playful throughout the trip so they knew that we were on a fun adventure.
I hope these tips will serve you well, whether you are traveling with your kids alone or not. Traveling alone with kids is totally possible and not that hard but takes a lot of patients and resistance. Rest assure that when you arrive to your destination it will all be worth it.
One of my biggest struggles living in Cairo was the lack of playgrounds, especially free and public ones. Back in Boston, I could go on random walks and always find new playgrounds and it was an effortless, inexpensive thing to do with your kids. Here in Egypt on the other hand is completely different, you can’t go on random walks easily not to mention finding free access to safe playgrounds for your children to play in. I was getting very frustration that my kids could hardly enjoy the outdoors in a safe place. So, I googled and searched everywhere in the internet for easy, inexpensive places that I could take my kids to on a weekly basis. There are 5 places that I would say, I enjoy visiting the most and my kids are beyond happy.
- First place, is the closest to Maadi and it is called Maadi Island, in Corniche which overlooks the Nile. There are many things to do for both adults with children or without. There are upscale restaurants and cafes. There’s also a gran space of greenery where you kid can run wild as well as playgrounds.
2. Al Azhar Botanic Garden is my favorite place to visit with children or without. Azhar garden has the most amazing panorama view of OId Cairo. It’s a perfect place to escape from the chaotic concrete metropolitan city and enjoy the scenery encompass with water fountains and vast greenery. It has upscale restaurants, wedding venues as well as street vendors selling affordable sandwiches and ice cream or you can plan a perfect picnic outing. There is a huge playground area build on sand which is totally safe for children of all ages. Azhar Garden is a Gem in Cairo!
3. If you need to take your children outside of home but the weather is too cold or not so great than Maadi City Centre a.k.a Carrefour in Zahraa Al Maddi is a perfect place to visit. It’s kind of killing two birds with one stone because you can make your grocery shopping at Carrefour and have your children play at the Magic Planet.
4. All children love to see animal so off course the Zoo would be the next option on the list. The Zoo is located in Giza not too far from Al Maadi and it’s pretty inexpensive. It’s not the best kept zoo in the world but you have a wide range of exotic animals and a nice space of greenery. It is also a nice place to have a picnic after an exhausting day of walking around the zoo.
5. The Orman Park right across the Giza Zoo is an old Botanic Garden that cost 1 Egyptian pound for the entrance (consider this free). This park is not as well kept as Al Azhar Graden, however, it is a perfect place to escape the city and enjoy nature for a very low prize. There is not much you can do besides having your children run around the park. There is also a playground inside the park which you have to pay a separate entrance to but I would not recommend any parents to let their children play inside it ( I REPEAT DO NOT LET YOUR CHILDREN IN). The playground is totally unsafe and design to have accidents. Other than that it is a nice place to visit with children. Not to mention every spring they run a Plant Festivel, where plant business owners get to showcase their many plants. During this time, the park is filled with people and gorgeous plants.
Disclaimer none of these pictures are mine, I took them from google image.All pictures taken in this blog are mine unless I stated not.