there are a lot of areas in this whole motherhood thing where i feel like i’m still learning and figuring it out as i go along. sometimes i am totally completely 100% faking it and just crossing my fingers i’m not botching it all up too terribly. but one area where i feel like i’ve got a bit of a grasp on it all is the “getting out and exploring and going and making the most of a day out in new york with my kids.” that was a long sentence. can that area count for anything?
when we first moved back to new york city from DC, i remember it took me a couple of months to get the courage to go on the subway alone with eleanor and samson. let alone head to a different part of the city with the two by myself! it was intimidating. and overwhelming. and i felt like i always needed to be somewhat close to home, incase of an emergency or an accident or what if i ran out of diapers?! but, i eventually learned that all of new york city can feel like home. you can take care of and deal with an accident on the go, and running out of diapers? that’s what the drug store on every other corner is for. ;) i started to learn where the cleanest public bathrooms were located, where the best spots to sit and nurse could be found, where every blessed elevator is hidden in the subways and how to just GO, and explore, and have the best possible time doing so with my kids all the day long.
so now there are days where the littles and i pack up the stroller with a bag of snacks and supplies and while we don’t have any concrete plans exactly, we head out for the day together and don’t arrive home until dinnertime (or sometimes not until bedtime in the summer months!). this is all thanks to having kids who love being out, who have only ever known this urban lifestyle, and who nap really well in the stroller and on the go. this is also thanks to living in a place where there are endless playgrounds and parks to explore. where hopping into a museum or shop to steal a few moments of air conditioning is acceptable, and if you run out of supplies midday, there’s a drug store or corner deli within a block of you. this is all thanks to a city where every day, even in the same neighborhood, it can feel a little bit different, because this city is one of a kind. and just rolling with the punches as we go along, is how we do. :)
one of my most asked questions these days revolves a bit around this and what advice i have for getting the most out of a day in the city together, when it’s just me out numbered by my littles.
i’d love to share the tips and tricks i have found most helpful for myself, below!
1. FIND YOUR PREFERRED WAY OF GETTING AROUND
we’ve used a double stroller in the city for several years now, but have recently started using a more compact stroller with a ride board as eleanor and samson are walking more. sometimes we’ll walk miles and miles in one afternoon, and their legs are still so little, that the double stroller is still pretty handy. when i’m out with just the smaller stroller, i always try to bring some sort of baby carrier with me as well (i store it in the basket under the stroller). this way, if everyone is exhausted at a certain point in the day, i can baby wear conrad while eleanor and samson take turns using the seat and ride board.
2. A BACKPACK FOR A DIAPER BAG IS THE WAY TO GO
i wish i would have figured this one out sooner. i’ve been using a few different light weight backpacks this past year as diaper bags. i think a backpack helps to evenly distribute the weight of what i’m carrying, and my shoulders and body appreciate it more than you know at the end of the day. i also love how it frees up my arms and hands to focus on my three little ones. i can also keep it with me on my back while i’m running around the playground with my kids, so i don’t have to worry about anything important being stolen that’s sitting off the side on a nearby bench with my stroller (because that has unfortunately happened to me before.)
my latest backpack you see in this post i just got from sole society. (it’s actually on sale right for a steal if you’re in the market.) i absolutely love it. (here is one in black and brown i also think is functional and pretty.)
3. PACK LIGHT (AND MY DIAPER BAG ESSENTIALS BELOW)…
you don’t need to take everything with you! right before conrad was born, i was in such a great diaper bag groove. i hardly took anything with me because we were practically out of the diaper stage and eleanor and samson didn’t require as many items while we were out. i have to pack a bit more than i’d like right now since conrad is still so new, but i only bring out what i know i’ll use during my day.
my everyday diaper bag (or backpack!) essentials look something like this photo above. sometimes we add swim stuff for the splash pad and different toys or snacks, but it always looks something like this.
i pack an extra onesie for conrad and i still always carry an extra t-shirt of some sort for samson (he knows how to make a mean mess! another reason why i carry a bleach pen, too. ha!) these teethers have been great toys for conrad. i can strap one onto his stroller buckle which keeps him content and his gums happy as we go along. and i bring some kind of swaddle blanket with us still for naps and cuddling while nursing or what have you. we’re always using it. the only items i really pack for myself these days are my sunglasses, my wallet, my lipstick (i don’t ever leave home without it. ha!), and my iPhone. i’ve been carrying one of the micro mats we designed with let’s playground because it rolls up really small and is the perfect size for a diaper changing mat! these indestructible books are genius (my friend nicole recently introduced them to me) and they are light and small enough to roll up and carry around all day..and i can’t rip them even when i try. conrad loves them! i always pack plenty of diapers and wipes, too. my friend amber recently introduced me to these amazing reusable sip’n soft tops for any baby food pouches and i don’t know how i didn’t know about these with my first two babies! third time is a charm i guess! we also carry plenty of other snacks for the older two like almonds and water in a bottle. stickers are a life saver when the kids are needing something to keep them busy on the subway or in line someplace. and band-aids, hand sanitizer, sunscreen, and my trusty old friend the bleach pen are always in my bag as well. also, not pictured but carry cash! cause some how in this city so much is “cash only” and i’m always the idiot who never carries any. and also not pictured but the portable potette has sort of saved our potty training world this year. (i put it in the carrier under my stroller.)
5. KEEP YOUR SCHEDULE FLEXIBLE, AND ROLL WITH THE PUNCHES
you got this! don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise! and happy adventure-ing with your beautiful little crew.
do you have any other tips for other mama’s (and myself!) on getting the most out of a day out and about? what are your diaper bag essentials?