Can I brag? Getting out alone with all of them is something I do well, and I'm proud of it.
It does make me feel like Supermom. Sometimes when I need an ego boost, I'll take them all to someplace where I know other moms will be, so I can watch mamas struggling to deal with their one child, and giving me those "how in the heck do you do it?" looks, and it makes me feel like maybe I'm not a total screw-up after all.
I started taking my three out places alone starting pretty early, and I mostly did it because I was struggling with some postpartum depression that was really being aggravated by cabin fever. We'd go to the park, and it would never go well, but I felt better being out of the house. So by the time they were old enough to get around and get in trouble, they were kind of used to the routine. They've kind of grown up with the expectations, I think.
I think it helps if you get out with them often enough that you can start to establish a routine around going out, so they know what to expect. I started by making loading in and out of the car easier, by teaching them to hold onto the wheel well at the back of the car while I was loading each kid in and out. If they let go of the wheel well, I shout in "mock" fear, and carry them back and put their hands there. Now they just do it, and that lets me stop chasing them around in parking lots.
I always take the stroller. That way I have a way to corral them when necessary. I also taught DD1 to hold onto the side of the stroller as we walk, so that she stays close-- I have this fancy red scarf I tie there, and she has to hold that. It comes off, and can be tied to a shopping cart, too. They mostly walk, but the stroller is my fall-back, and nice for holding all the crap that I need for two kids, too.
And I don't hesitate to leave, immediately, if things get out of hand. But I've also learned to tolerate having less control over messes and accidents. That's been hard for me. Yesterday, DS made his way into a knee-deep mud puddle while I was trying to get the stroller into the truck, and he got mud in DD1's car seat, so she flipped out and started yelling, and right at that moment she noticed that DD2 had her doll, so she snatched it away, and so of course DD2 burst into tears, and there's DS with mud up to his ankles. I just turned on the music really loud and drove home while they yelled, and sorted it all out when we got home.
I think I have a fairly high tolerance for protest crying, too, which maybe isn't totally ideal in an AP sense, but it does make getting out easier. I'm pretty used to walking out of places with a crying child on each arm and another trailing behind. We get all strapped in the car, and then we have a nice talk and sort it all out, once everybody's safely in one place. I think I just got used to being a public train wreck, ya know?
|and I came to the realization that it *doesn't* actually get easier, we just get used to how hard it is.
Yeah. Totally. I say all the time about how it's gotten easier, but I think I've just gotten so that "full-scale crisis control" is my normal level of operation. I used to think when I had DD1 that getting out with one baby was really hard. Yeah, right.