How getting out of the house makes me a better mom
Spoiler Alert: getting out of the house has everything to do with whether our days go well or I'm clamoring at the door when Nick gets home. We all behave better in public. There's really no better way to say it.
My boys and I need to spend time out of our house in public spaces because I need to get out and be out in the world. I hope you're tracking with me. What I really should've titled this is: "I behave better in public so as a result, so do my kids."
Getting out of the house has very little to do with my kids' desires or tendencies and nearly everything to do with the quality of my parenting.
Spending quality time (soooo many books), teaching fundamental lessons (no, a toothbrush is not a brush for your butt), and managing behaviors (feet are not for kicking your brother) of three boys under the age of 2.5 years old is challenging. But I've learned that the biggest challenge is not the referring of toddlers or juggling nap schedules. It's the managing of my own needs while maintaining a calm, patient demeanor.
I can't tell you how many times I've been tempted to respond to curtly to someone's actions because I really had to use the restroom and their behavior was inhibiting me getting to the toilet. It sounds silly, but for me and the boys, getting out of the house tends to solve those triggers of parenting.
So many of the articles or posts I read about self-care and being a more patient parent focus on things you should/can/could do when you're alone and without your children to rejuvenate yourself and recharge. There's good stuff to be said about alone time but self-care can't be stored up just for moments of free time. We still have to take care of ourselves when our kids are around!
The notes below address ideas on how we can address our needs as parents and be intentional with our kids, all the while giving life-long lessons on the reality of life.
Feed Your Personality
I'll say it until I'm blue in the face-- I love being around people. Sometimes I think that's one reason we went from 1-3 kids in a matter of months. I just need people.
But seriously, I reallllly like being out in the world, outside of my house. Being out and about at a restaurant or coffee shop is probably one of my favorite things to do. I just like to be where the people are (...cue the Little Mermaid).
Knowing this about myself has been helpful as I approach the days with my kids at home. I can't just make sure they have the right snacks or stimulating toys. I need to help myself!
Since becoming a mom, I've learned that when I'm my best self, I'm a better mom. It's like putting on your own mask before assisting others. Do what makes you your best self!
There's really nothing like stopping to (literally!) smell the flowers or watch the trash man at your driveway to get you to focus and be in the moment as a parent. Your grandparents or that 70-year-old lady from the grocery store that you see every Wednesday morning will tell you the same thing you know in your heart: "They grow up fast. Take it in!"
Embracing the daily adventures or life-- or ones that you make up-- are great ways to get you and your kids on the same page. Embracing those adventures outside of the walls of your house can be memories for a lifetime.
For working parents, consider that morning commute as your adventure to embrace. No one wants to sit in traffic before a big day at daycare or the office, but it can be easier to digest if you're counting trucks, singing a song, or making farting noises. For parents staying at home, make that grocery trip a chance to scavenger hunt for tuna or take a spontaneous drive to a hike you've been wanting to try.
Approaching your routine with a sense of adventure gives everyone a chance to be more connected.
At the end of the day, we all want to help our kids understand the basic tenants of society so they can be kind, contributing members of this world. Leaving the house and getting those errands done or making it to that traveling exhibit of Monet at the local art museum will benefit your kids in that end-game goal of parenting. Life doesn't take place in a vacuum of perfectly planned activities in your home or a carefully orchestrated week of playdates. And the house needs to be cleaned by someone!
Let your time with your kids be a lesson in balancing spontaneous events and necessary tasks. Invite your kids into your world. What is "your world" now will eventually be their reality.
So...What do you think? Do you have an equivalent to leaving the house? I'd love to hear alllll the wisdom!