Spend less time stressing and more time playing!
With warm weather setting in and a house full of people who are desperate for a change of scenery, I am ready for some adventures. And while they may not be as exciting as they were in pre-pandemic times, I've learned that there is so much beauty in simple and spontaneous fun.
But with three kids, "get up and go" is more like "get up and only find one shoe and 'where are the keys' and 'no the dog cannot come' and 'I asked if you had to go to the bathroom three times!"
In short, it's chaotic.
Well, this season I am making a change. I am taking a little more time to get organized ahead of time so that it's easier and less stressful to go on adventures—and that was going to require a few purchases. So, as I do whenever I have a problem that needs solving, I asked the editors at Motherly for their advice.
Here's our favorite gear for helping you to get out the door and off to your adventures quickly.
Without fail, someone in my family is always missing a shoe (and yes, often it's me). I have found that having a designated spot to coral can therefore be a game-changer. #TeamMotherly loves this rack from Get Open Spaces. With three tiers, it's large enough to hold shoes for the whole family while still being sleek enough to fit the decor of any room.
For more by-the-door storage, we love Whitmor's Clip & Cube Storage system. It's modular, meaning that you can transform it to fit into your space and make it work for your needs (and its simple design will fit in with any aesthetic). It's perfect for shoes, toys, snacks and a general catch-all for all-the-things (#momlife).
Strollers are great—but sometimes (actually a lot of times) wagons just get the job done better. Whether toting one children or several, wagons offer a flexible easy to transport kids and all that stuff (they work great for pool or beach trips, I've found). Wonderfold is a fan favorite, and for good reason (I tested it and it totally lives up to the hype). As the name implies, it folds easily. It has a front zipper door for easy access and storage, a canopy to keep sun or rain off little heads, tons of storage, washable fabric and so much more. Keep your wagon stocked with the gear you need, and you'll be ready to fly out the door when adventure calls.
The Veer Tote fits everything; think Mary Poppins bag but a lot more rugged. It is ergonomically designed to make carrying more comfortable, and get this: It can be hosed down to clean, making sandy beach trips, messy picnics and "how did we get so muddy?" adventures no sweat. Pro-tip: Keep your tote packed with the essentials so you're ready to go at a moment's notice: sunscreen, extra clothes, water bottles and wipes.
Here are the 2 swimsuit lessons I have learned as a mom: 1. The easier to put on and take off, the better (especially when they are wet and have to pee… trust me). 2. Long-sleeved swimwear is seriously underrated. With those lessons in mind, I am now obsessed with this swimsuit from Tea. The zipper is genius and makes throwing it on and taking it off a breeze. And it's long-sleeved and made of UPF 40+ material (which meets the Skin Cancer Foundation's criteria). Built-in sun protection means less time spent applying sunscreen. Last-minute pool adventure? Let's go!
If you're in need of a long sleeve rash guard that you can pair with swim trunks or throw over a bathing suit, Tea's got you covered (literally), too.
They're baaaa-aaaacccckkk. But friends, they are better than ever. For quick trips where you don't need to bring all the things, our fanny pack BFFs from the nineties are the way to go, especially when brands like Kibou have given them a major upgrade. It's super comfortable to wear, waterproof snd made for parents with a detachable changing pad and pacifier hook.
Baby's Brew Portable Bottle Warmer Pro
Planning out your baby's on-the-go eating can feel daunting. If they are bottle-feeding, a portable warmer can really help; when they get hungry, you can prepare their meal right then and there. In addition to being battery-operated, this gem from Baby's Brew doubles as a formula dispenser. And its leak-proof design makes stashing it in your diaper bag a breeze.
Genius hack alert, from Erin Lem, Motherly's VP of Content Strategy + Operations from one of her fave Instagrammers, @busytoddler: "I call our entryway a 'magic carpet, so I always tell my toddler to go to the magic carpet and I'll put his shoes on. He knows to run there (and stay there)." (Totally stealing this one.) If you need a new "magic carpet" to make this hack happen, we love a good washable rug, like the ones from Ruggable! Price listed is for the 2' x 3' size but they have options up to 9' x 12'.
Erin also shared that transitions have been made easier by giving her little the ability to choose one special item to bring with them on their outings. In the toddler world, choices = power, and power = way fewer tantrums. You can create a choice drawer by setting up some plastic drawers near your door. Fill them with objects you are happy to have your child take out and about (read: safe and washable) and then let them grab their favorite on the way out!
It would not be fair to my kids to not admit that many times, I am the one making getting out the door more stressful; and it usually has to do with lost keys. Enter Tile, Bluetooth-enabled devices that you can attach to anything and then ping from your phone to find. And it works in reverse, too—you can press your Tile on your keys to help find your phone. There are several packs and programs to choose from. Price listed if for the "Pro 2-Pack."
No outing is complete without a mask—and it's so much easier when you have a designated spot to keep them (and to put the dirty ones). We love these labeled bins for keeping your masks organized and ready to go when needed.
If your main mode of transportation is a car, you know that getting out the door isn't the end of the journey—you still need to get everyone organized in the car. I've found that having a spot to keep everything corralled in the car makes a big difference. Toys, extra wipes, a first aid kit, an umbrella and whatever else you need for all your adventures stay just where you need them.
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