I went out of town this week for our real first trip away from home without my toddler. We were sooo thankful for my sister-in-law to come and watch her for us, for a much needed Babymoon. While we were getting our child's things together for her, it made us realize just how much a toddler needs every day and how hard it is to plan on caring for a toddler, even away from home. And she reminded us how hard it is to plan and take a toddler out to just run 1 errand, and when baby #2 comes, it's going to be even tougher!
I always see the moms at the grocery store with 2 kids in the cart and a third strapped to their Baby Bjorn carrier and wonder how the heck they do it? Now that we are expecting again, it is really making me evaluate how to plan for this- 2 kids, both in diapers and two years old and younger. Yikes!
Moms are supposed to have it all together right? Please, if you see one that looks like she does, believe me, she does not. And I am here to tell ya, even though I am a child counselor, most of the time I do NOT have it together. So if you see me in public and I have a toddler clinging to me, barely hanging on and a newborn strapped into a baby carrier crying, and I have what appears to be pajamas still on at 3pm, you can have a good laugh :)
So what can we do to make our lives easier???
Good strollers and efficient diaper bags is my answer (and a good easy in and out car, but that's not much of a quick buy).
What strollers are quick and easy for more than one kid?
I have been researching several double strollers now because my current strollers I wish I could just take a bat and beat them up and then toss them- yes, that is how much they frustrate me. Too heavy, bulky, hard to fold, and cheap parts that break.
So, my 2 favorites that I have researched and found good results from testing out in the stores (and stopping some moms at the mall to ask their opinions) are the Citys by Baby Jogger, the City Mini and City Select:
1) City Mini Double (399$) and the City Mini Double GT (599$). Both are side by sides, and come with infant attachments if needed for a car seat. The main 2 differences between them are that the GT has more padding in the seats, and a better shaped basket underneath so you can reach in and out fast. I like these models as they have room for kids to grow compared to the tandem ones. It also is great as it folds super easy with one hand and does not weigh too much. Also, it is as wide as a wheelchair, so it can fit in a standard doorway.
Baby Jogger 2011 City Mini Double Stroller,
2) Baby Jogger City Select Stroller with 2nd Seat(659$) You can purchase this stroller for 499$ as a single and then add the second seat later (159$). The greatest thing about this one is that you don't feel like you are pushing a limousine down the street. It's short and you can push it very easily at the mall and not feel like you are running people over.
Also, check out the 16 different positions in the picture below! Lots of combinations to choose from, and you can add a 'step/stand' for your child so when they want to ride on the back and not in the seat, they can jump right on.
The only drawback to this one is that it seems a little cramped for older kids over 3, so if you have a tall child, they may not fit in the back seat. But I love how well this one is made and I know I won't be tossing it into the trash anytime soon!
And diaper bags....
As a purse fanatic, it was hard for me to find one for my first, as I used to constantly update my purse a few times a year, and loved changing my look with the season. With a diaper bag, you don't really get that luxury, but believe me, I tried to find the easiest and most stylish one for us moms.
What makes it an easy diaper bag? For me it's 2 things, ease of reaching in and out of the bag quickly and how you carry it- backpack is a must!
When you reach in and out of your bag (which you do constantly), it helps to not have to constantly be zipping and unzipping the bag. When you need that baby wipe because your child just put her hands in her food and decided to shampoo her hair with it at a restaurant, believe me, you will need it fast! So a wide open bag is a must for me.
Another thing I realized helped me the most is a bag that has a backpack option. When you are grocery shopping, you need both hands free, and not on your shoulder either. There's not much room in a grocery cart if you want to put it in there too. Especially if you are wearing your baby, you will definitely need free hands and nothing on your shoulder to weigh you down.
My favorites I've found so far are Timi and Leslie brands and Petunia Pickle Bottom, because they are wide, have backpack options, as well as their stylish fabric options so you don't feel like you are carrying a typical black backpack.
1) Timi and Leslie makes canvas water resistant bags (80$) that have either a messenger strap or a backpack option, and a flap so you can keep it open if you want easy access.
2) Petunia Pickle Bottom has 2 different bags I am a fan of.
The first is the Abundance Boxy Backpack that was made for multiples, but I like it for its largeness even if you only have 1 child. The regular Boxy is not wide enough for me to stuff things into, since it has a zipper that makes the mouth of the bag small. The Abundance is much wider and you don't have to keep it zipped because it also has a flap and the backpack option. Here is the Petunia Pickle Bottom Women's Abundance Boxy Backpack (200$).
The second one they make that I love and love how stylish and retro it is, the their Cake line of bags. The only one that comes with a backpack attachment is the Society Satchel (325$). I currently own a green one and LOVE it! (I got mine on eBay new with tags for half price). I just wish it was a little bit bigger. Look at how cute they are:
So there you have it, two musts for moms whether you have one, two, three or more kids. I know there are a few more must have big items out there for us busy moms, like sippy cups that don't leak, so if you have any good suggestions, send them our way!