I was talking with my neighbor today. She had her third child a few weeks ago and was brave enough to run errands for the first time this week. It's a bit intimidating to figure out how to do that with a new little life along. Her husband asked her, "Well, how does Christina do it?"
So, here's the lowdown: Mostly, I don't do it. I put off errands as much as possible. I make lists of all the things I have to buy and then wait and wait until I really can't wait anymore to buy those diapers or onions or bananas. Then I just do it.
My other secret? DH does most of the shopping. He LIKES to, and he's pretty good at it, too. His mind is like a steel trap when it comes to prices and good deals. He remembers exactly what he paid for things even years ago. He knows when to buy pineapple because it's the best price it's going to be, and when to stock up on cans of green chiles and when something is not a good price. Me? I see something on sale and think, "Oh, I think we need some of that." But usually I don't know how good of a sale it really is, so I only buy a few items and then let DH stock up when HE goes out shopping.
Yep, I'm spoiled. Did I also mention DH likes to cook? I never cook on weekends; that's his job. However, he hates weeding and yardwork and doesn't mow the lawn. That's my job. In fact, I mowed the lawn up until my 34th week of pregnancy with the twins. That's when my neighbor, a labor & delivery nurse, scolded me so badly I thought I better not let her catch me at it again. I actually enjoy mowing the lawn. I get some quiet time to myself while DH manages the kids. Ah, peace.
But back to logistics. There are certainly times I have to go places and buy things and usually, I'm dragging 4 to 6 kids with me. I also go out quite often to take the kids somewhere fun, and I go to the library once a week for storytime and new books.
When the twins were babies, it was challenging, but doable. I kept a triple stroller in the car and pulled it out for all shopping trips. Pop the carseats and my 2-year-old in, have the 3 and 5-year-old hang onto the sides, and we were off. The basket underneath the triple stroller is nearly inaccessible, so if I had to buy more than a few items, I'd drag a grocery cart behind me or have my 5-year-old push one. When we went to the library (once a week, starting when the twins were 2 weeks old), the 2-year-old walked so I could use the backseat for the basket of books and the front two seats for babies.
Nowadays, I keep a double stroller in the car. The twins long since gave up letting me buckle them into a stroller and hanging out quietly while we searched the store for some random item. But that extra seat still comes in handy for carrying gear or groceries or sometimes one or two of the twins, when they are in the mood.
But even with all my preparations, there is still no such thing as a quick trip, as I was reminded this morning. I had 20 minutes to spare from when I picked up the twins from playgroup and needed to be at the school to pick up my kindergartner. I thought we could make a quick trip to the library, drop off our items and quickly grab a few videos before heading back home. I'm not sure what I was thinking, because between hurrying the twins up, searching for Sarah when she mysteriously disappeared, then dragging Allison away from the library computers three times, choosing a couple of videos, letting the girls get a drink from the drinking fountain, and then checking out with our items, and then convincing Allison & Sarah that they needed to buckle themselves into the van RIGHT NOW, it was anything but quick. I was 10 minutes late picking up Michael, and a bit frazzled.
Here's some other tips for logistics:
*Keep a stroller of appropriate size in the car.
*Keep some snacks handy in the car. Last year, we had to drive our kids twice a day to school, and my 2-year-olds were anything but happy about being in the car for 20 minutes at a time. My desperation attempt to soothe them? Dum-dum suckers. It gave me at least 5 minutes peace while they slowly consumed them. Nowadays, I don't need the dum-dums but I do keep some fruit snacks in the car for the occasional reward/bribe
*Keep some emergency supplies in the car. Sure, a first aid kit is nice and all, but I'm talking about REAL emergencies. A towel can do a lot when you've got a child throwing up all over. I keep plastic bags in the car for similar reasons. And wet wipes. And diapers. I also keep a bin of crayons and some paper, not to use in the car, but for those times when I realize I have to keep three little girls occupied and I haven't got a single thing for them to do, such as those darn PTO meetings. It also came in handy when we were headed to Church in Arizona and all of a sudden I realized I was facing 70 minutes of sacrament meeting without my handy church bag.
*Make a list before you go shopping. If you know what you're buying, you'll save lots of time and money.
*Don't have television. You might be wondering just what television has to do with logistics, but trust me, it saves us a ton of grief. The kids don't watch any commercials, so they don't beg me for useless toys and sugary garbage. I've never had a tantrum thrown on me because of some item the child just had to have. (I've had tantrums thrown for tons of other things, but not that).