In case you haven’t already met, let me introduce my good friend Lolli at Better In Bulk. Did I mention that she has 5 kids like me?:
About 9 years ago, when my brother was 21 and my first son (my 3rd child) had recently been born, my brother came for a 10-day visit. He was single and naive (and I say that in the nicest way possible) and he was eager to spend some time with his nieces and nephew and tour the DC area.
As a brand new mother of 3, I was naive enough to think that touring DC with a preschooler, a toddler, and a newborn would be a cinch with my brother along.
Each day, we packed up the car. Strollers, baby carrier, diaper bag, changes of clothes, bottles, blankets, coats, umbrellas, bagged lunches and snacks. Am I forgetting anything?
Each day, we’d spend an hour getting the kids ready and the car packed, then another hour driving to downtown DC and finding a parking space. By the time we got to our destination for the day, we were already pooped, and all the kids wanted to do was eat.
We had a great time that week, but after a few days of our intense role as tourists, we were ready for a day close to home. We planned a picnic at a local park.
We spent well over an hour getting the kids ready, the lunches made, and the car packed. On the way to the park, we discussed the sad fact that no matter how far we were traveling or how complicated the outing, we still had to bring along the same amount of baby and kid gear. We arrived at the park exhausted. Again.
On the way home from the park, my brother said something in all seriousness and complete innocence that I have never forgotten.
“Before I came for this visit, I was thinking about settling down, getting married, and starting a family soon. But after spending a week with you guys, I’ve changed my mind. I think I’m going to wait for a while.”
Nine years later, my brother is now happily married with a son of his own. He is handling parenthood like a star and is now a great tour guide, too. He took a turn showing me around Las Vegas while I was visiting there in October. This time I was the one traveling without kids (and can I tell you–it felt wonderful!).
I recently wrote a post about tips for taking long car trips with kids. Trips with kids are fun but tiring. What are some of your secrets for taking day trips with children? How do you make it an enjoyable experience instead of an exhausting one?
As a side note, I have since had two more kids to add on to the 3 that I had in 2001, and I happily leave the kids home as often as possible with my teenaged daughter (the one in the maroon coat) so that I can get around town with a little (ok a lot) more ease. Now that 4 of my 5 kids are in school, I spend most of my free time blogging at Better in Bulk.
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