Because this was my “birthday weekend” I planned in several festive activities. A few of these — going to see the holiday trains at the Brandywine Conservancy & Museum of Art, and ice skating at the Blue Cross River Rink — involved getting all or most of the kids in the car.
Getting out the door with crowds of people — and occasionally a dog — is just a pain. Is everyone wearing shoes and a coat? Do we have masks if we’ll need them? Do we have a packed diaper bag or at least a diaper and wipes in my purse? Even for shorter trips, everything goes smoother if we have water and snacks. Five kids require a lot of snacks, and then there is never universal happiness with the snacks I have packed. Outings in the Covid era have the additional complication of timed reservations. In general I am not opposed — it forces pre-commitment which, given the pain required to get out the door, is probably a good thing — but it does nudge up the time pressure.
There are, of course, ways to make the process slightly easier. I have taken to simply keeping a packed snack bag in the pantry and occasionally throwing other stuff in it. If you are hungry enough you will take what is on offer. I usually just have a diaper and wipes in my purse (unless I don’t…which was fun for a very messy diaper at Longwood Gardens last weekend!). Shoes and coats are required to be in the mudroom so at least theoretically time won’t be wasted hunting for them.
But there is no way to make the process seamless. Getting out the door is a pain, but if I refused to accept that pain we’d never go anywhere. Which would itself be painful over time. So the reality is that every family trip is going to start with some aggravation, and it will probably start at least a few minutes later than planned. Oh well.
In any case, I enjoyed ice skating and seeing the holiday trains. So at least there’s that!