By Jen Mearns
Some people plan their families meticulously, each child at least two-four years apart in age. Some people, like yours truly, have three boys in three years and can’t remember what life was like B.C. Before Children. Now, I’m not saying that life with multiple kids, spaced evenly apart is a breeze. Oh, no. I could never be that naïve. I am saying, however, that life with multiple kids at and below preschool age is a special kind of chaos that cannot fully be described.
Fear not! I’ve developed a list of parenting hacks for living your life with loads of littles. These tricks will make everyday life with littles… um, a little easier!
Admittedly, I don’t do this often anymore, at least not since baby Jack broke 25 pounds. My husband does, however, and it helps with the 6 p.m. “witching hour” where the big boys are fighting and everybody is hungry and the baby is screaming. He hauls Jack up into the Ergo where Jack feels like he’s in the middle of things and commences making dinner or cleaning the kitchen. Jack is happy. Dad is happy. The big boys still fight, but they no longer fit in the Ergo.
Before you wonder who this magical unicorn of a husband is that baby-wears and makes dinner, we have an arrangement for three nights a week where I get to work out during dinner time and he deals with the boys. I digress.
Click HERE to see another TMoM blog on the topic of baby wearing.
Always Park Your People-Hauler Near the Shopping Cart Corral
When you have multiple kids who might make a break for it and run across the parking lot only to be smashed by a car, parking by the shopping cart corral makes it easy to pop the kids in or around the cart and safely cross the lot into the store. Plus, bonus: you’re helping the store employees by returning one of their carts! Until you head back out with your groceries and return said cart to the corral.
I started this once I had my second kid. Teddy was just barely walking when Oliver was born so I couldn’t expect him to hold my hand and make it across the parking lot. I wore Oliver in the Ergo (see above point) and popped Teddy into the cart. Viola! Shopping made marginally less difficult.
Avoid Stores That Do Not Have Shopping Carts
If at all possible, do not take multiple small children to stores that do not have shopping carts. You’ll be wearing the baby or, God forbid, carrying the baby with your actual arms with toddlers running amok. You’ll be sweaty and angry and yell a lot. It won’t be your best you.
If you have to do this, check out the below point:
Hunt Down a Two Person Stroller
I got a three-person stroller where the biggest kid sits or stands on the back and man is that thing huge! Make your oldest child use the legs God gave them and invest in a two-person stroller for the smaller ones. The three-person one is definitely usable, but enormous! And expensive. The two-person one is more budget friendly and if you want to save even more money—because let’s face it, you have so many people to feed now—check out the buy/sell groups on Facebook. There are always strollers and baby items being sold over there.
These are a few tips and tricks I’ve learned over the past four years with littles. Jack is one, Ollie is three, Teddy is four, and I’ve aged at least ten years since that August night in 2014 when my first was born! Hopefully, some of these tricks will be helpful for you if you find yourself in the situation of having loads of littles!