Getting out the door

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!


11 thoughts on “Getting out the door

  1. After having some feeding issues with one of my children we are a “no snack” family. What this means is my kids eat 4 meals per day one of which is called “snack” but really as a family we eat at about 8am, noon, 4pm and 7pm. If we will be out at noon or 4 we plan a stop for a sit down lunch or snack (ice cream anyone?). This means there is no need to carry snacks EVER. As a mother of four, this has been insanely freeing!

    1. That is very “Bringing Up Bebe” of you 🙂

      Maybe we will try this template! (Though maybe 7, 11-12, 3-3, and 6?! We skew earlier . . .)

      1. @SHU It was recommended by the dietician we were working with many years ago. Why eat meals of scary green stuff if the goldfish crackers are plentiful. It didn’t fix the problem, but it helped and it made me so much less scared to be out without food. Obviously we make exceptions in the right setting, but it feels a lot better to buy a $5 box of M&Ms at the Nutcracker (this MAY have happened Saturday, but intermission was at “Snack” time) when I know this isn’t how they are eating all the time. Plus it eliminates all the asking! No one asks for food outside of mealtime. It has been about 6-7 years at this point and they don’t remember anything else. This is how our family does it.

    2. Gillian, absolutely the same on “no snacks on the road.” Mom and Dad not carry food for people.

      We will make sure you’re fed at meal times and have fantastic restaurant options while out. At home you can grab what you want, if you make it and clean it up. Dinner is around d 7:30 or 8:00, so that after school snack will be hearty. But otherwise, kid, you’re gonna suck it up. It’s been like this since the kids were toddlers, when I became sick of being a walking snack cart. It is SO FREEING!

  2. I loathe snacks. When my kids were little we did not snack. We ate meals only. Then the kids started preschool and they had two snacks a day…then they started big school where they have dedicated time for snacking. Ugh. I just find snacks time-consuming (snacks can take almost as long/create as much mess as a real meal) and hard to make healthy (they’ll eat veggies alongside a sandwich at lunch, but don’t really want raw broccoli alone as a snack). Plus, I find my kids eat the meals on offer SO much better if they’re actually hungry and not filled up with snacks.

    I feel like most people don’t share my hatred of snacks. Snacks are everywhere. Most of my kids friends go home to ENORMOUS snacks (mostly because they’re full from morning snacks, so they didn’t eat their lunch and are hungry for another “snack” but which ends up feeling like a full meal). Unfortunately, this means when kids visit they’re always hungry and I cave and do provide snacks (but almost never as much as their friends want!).

    When we’re home alone on the weekends we avoid all snacking, but it is my nemesis the rest of the time!

    1. I couldn’t agree more. We don’t snack in my family either. My 10 year old eats breakfast at 7.30, lunch at 1 and dinner at 6 and rarely eats in between. His school has morning snack time so I usually send him with a satsuma and little else. It always amazes me what children are being fed at the school gate at the end of the day, usually by parents who complain that their children are picky eaters. On the rare occasion that my son says he is hungry, I usually reply with joy, “amazing, your body’s hormones are working just perfectly then and reminding you that it’s nearly time to eat”. I’m not quite sure why we got so scared of being hungry.

      1. I am also on board with no snacks! My daughter does have snacks at daycare but luckily doesn’t expect them on the weekends (although I guess we do have one small snack after naptime, but she doesn’t usually eat much). I don’t usually bring food out and about with us and she doesn’t expect it.

    2. Aren’t snacks after soccer games the worst? No, they don’t need sugar water and granola bars. Just go home and have lunch.

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