Staying home all day with three young kids is a massive no-no for me. I’d much rather take them out even though it’s a mammoth pain in the arse.
Getting 19 month old twins and a three year old ready to go somewhere is basically the longest, most frustrating, shoutiest part of my day and I still can’t believe how bloody LONG it takes.
I am always late. Always. No matter how much time I leave myself to get out, it is never enough. One of them always needs a last minute nappy change and making the three year old sit still long enough to put a pair of shoes for toddlers and coat on takes longer than sorting a Brexit deal.
Then the four journeys to the car – Twin One, Twin Two, the three year old, and then the bags. And don’t even get me started about how the hell I manage to lift/bounce/push/shove/catapult Twin One into the middle car seat. I’m sure that meme about banging your kid’s head on the car door was created with me in mind.
Then doing it all in reverse the other end. I sometimes ask myself why I’m bloody bothering.
And then I remember the alternative – STAYING HOME with three children aged three and under.
This is literally at the very bottom of the list of things I like to do and why my diary is booked full of activities and playdates at least a month in advance. Free days are a rare thing in my house, and woe betide anyone who cancels on me at the last minute.
So I thought I’d put together a little list of fors and againsts staying in versus going out. But as you’ll notice, it might be *slightly skewed.
5 REASONS FOR GOING OUT WITH YOUNG CHILDREN:
1.You get to see friends
Now this for me is paramount to my staying vaguely sane. If I don’t see my mum mates (or anybody of the adult variety to be honest) during a day, it’s not a good day. Okay you don’t get to have much in the way of chat because the kids are interrupting you ALL the time, but now and again, and stretched over about a 30 minute period of stopping and starting, you might actually be able to talk about something other than which dinosaur has teeth the size of bananas (T Rex in case you wondered). It’s also a great way of remembering that you’re not the only mum in the world whose child still can’t put their own shoes on, or is up three times a night soothing babies. Plus the kids get to hang out, so they’ll be well-rounded sociable individuals. Ahem.
2. It tires them out
Considering the main aim of parenting is to get your children to sleep all night (that’s right, isn’t it?!), the more physical activity you can get them to do during the day the better. Extra points for fresh air too. This could be in the form of a bike ‘ride’ where they set off energetically racing their mates on their kids bikes for all of about 20 minutes, then whinge that they can’t even walk resulting in me balancing the sodding bike on the top of the double buggy, and bribing the three year old all the way back to the cafe. Because there is ALWAYS a cafe as you’ll read below. Or if, heaven forbid it’s raining, send them clambering over as much tricky stuff as you can at a soft play centre, whilst trying to contain the twins in the ‘baby’ area – obviously of which they are having none of. Hideous as soft play places are, they are STILL better than staying home.
3.You can keep it varied
Once you leave the safety of your own home, the world is your oyster, right? Well maybe not if you have three children so young and dependent, but there’s definitely more to do than when staying home, surely. Take them to a baby group (if you can manage all three on your own, if not send for reinforcements like I do – hello Mum!), what about a swimming lesson (again tricky alone with all three mind), someone else’s house so the three year olds can fight over toys, or somewhere as simple as the park. Granted this option is only ever chosen when I have back up to ensure no child of mine is lost, abducted, injured or stuck irretrievably at the top of a climbing frame. But for me the favoured choice of outing every time is a local National Trust garden. Lots of space for the three year old to burn off energy, and a safe place to release the other two from their buggy prison for a wander. In different directions obviously. And National Trust do THE BEST cheese scones.
4. They *may sleep on the way home
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not ALL about the naps, but if any (all) of my children want to fall asleep on the way home from a morning out, this is fine by me. Especially as I’ve totally nailed transferring them from the car to cot/bed with them still asleep. It is not unusual to see me driving the very long way home to help speed up this process. You can’t do that if you’re staying home all day, can you?! Plus, it’s VERY cute when they hold hands.
5. Coffee and cake
Okay, so I could eat cake at home but that would feel indulgent so I don’t. Although I think nothing of hiding behind the cupboard door to scoff a biscuit. But when you’re out and about it’s totally fine. My usual decision-making process for what to do is based around whether there is a hot latte at the end of it. And what goes well with a hot latte? Cake of course. Or those aforementioned National Trust cheese scones. I pack up the kids’ lunches (I hate the job but I’m too tight to buy them food out every single day), and feed them in the cafe. That’s cheeky enough of me, so it would be downright rude not to buy something to accompany the coffee. And because the babies are contained in high chairs, and the three year old is well-trained enough to sit still whilst eating (usually), I actually get to drink it when it’s at least luke warm, sometimes even hot!
5 REASONS NEVER TO STAY HOME ALL DAY WITH CHILDREN
1. No adult conversation
If you have more than one child and opt for staying home, you’re basically outnumbered at all times. This might also be the case even if you meet up with friends, but at least there is an adult to talk to then. Staying home means no adult conversation, nobody to whinge to when your preschooler is a bit of a knob, and nobody to laugh (cry) with when you hear “Mummmeeeee” for the 3,497th time in two hours. If you can cope with this for more than one day at a time, you are a better mum than I am, and I need to know what magic stuff you’re putting in your morning coffee.
2. You have to entertain them
Sounds stupid as this is obviously your job, and you’re clearly entertaining them when you’re out and about, but at home this feels like a bit of a task. I’m not talking about the odd half an hour here and there where they flit between playing with the Paw Patroller/Dinosaur Transformer/sticker book. In my house all three boys like to wander around seemingly aimlessly carrying toys between the kitchen, play room, lounge and stairs – not actually playing with any of them but just leaving them everywhere as trip hazards. So I need a plan to engage them. Something for them to focus on. Such as a lovely craft activity, a spot of potato printing perhaps, or even a bit of baking. Obviously I’m talking about for the three year old. The twins are still happy wandering aimlessly. But If you know me at all, you’ll know these are NOT my thing. At all. When I do it, I hate it. The most creative I can be is getting the kinetic sand or play doh out. And believe me, that’s a push. Although I do like reading to children. Taking them out is SO much easier than staying home.
3. The house looks like the aftermath of a burglary
If you like a tidy house and choose to stay home, you’re just asking for trouble. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of those clean and tidy freaks, FAR from it. But the mess two 19 month olds and a three year old can make in just one single hour is TOTALLY INSANE. By the end of a day staying home, and however many times I pick things up, my house looks like it’s been ransacked by a group of visually impaired burglars.
4. Activities last 10 minutes – if I’m lucky
Stay at home ‘activities’ are definitely the most frustrating part of not going out. Even with my limited offering of books, play doh, cutting and sticking, reading, and colouring, nothing lasts long. I’d say 10 minutes max. Sometimes it takes longer to get it all out and clear it away than it does to play with it. Apart from Duplo. Duplo and Lego is King in our house. The three year old absolutely loves both and can easily spend an hour or so sitting at the table building random “vehicles”. And just recently the twins have discovered Duplo – albeit they get frustrated pretty bloody quickly when it doesn’t do what they want. Otherwise they like to ransack the cupboards.
5. Cold coffee and no cake
In comparison to my cafe-stops whilst we’re out and about, there is no such luxury at home. I’m lucky if I get round to making myself a cup of coffee, let alone remembering to drink it. Even when I make it in a travel mug (among top 5 must haves for any parent IMO), by the time I’ve kept it out of reach of the babies whilst I’m on the floor being climbed over by Twin One at the same time as trying to do a floor puzzle faster than the speed of light before Twin Two rips it apart, the coffee somehow gets forgotten and goes cold. At least when you go out you can take a travel mug in the car with you. I’m ashamed I’m at the point where this is considered a treat…
So there you have it. Staying home is definitely not the new going out for me. What about you? Do you like to stay at home and get the crafts out or would you rather they run wild outside and burn off their energy?
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If you thought this blogpost wasn’t half bad, why don’t you hang around and have a read of some more. If you’re anything like me, you might appreciate this one on why it’s okay to not love every minute of parenting or what about the ‘almost love/hate’ relationship of a toddler and twins.
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I couldn’t agree more. I much more stressed if I stay home all day too. Although I do love creative activities like play dough (for some unknown reason) but not all day.
I’ve got a limit when it comes to play doh. Mainly because I’m not creative in the slightest!
Loved this post! It made me chuckle a few times. Very relatable.
Thanks Iesha 🙂
You haven’t seen my house when I’m rushing around to go out. Looks like a burglar has been whether I stay in or out hahaha
That just made me laugh out loud!
I always preferred to go out and make mess somewhere else!
Exactly! I always clean up food off the floor in cafes but I’m not exactly down on my hands and knees getting every last crumb like I am at home!
As mine are now 8 and 6 it is getting slightly easier to stay at home now, I mean we can make it to 9.30am until I scream ‘Right!! That’s it!! We’re going out!!!’ 😂
They can do their own thing a bit now but as my youngest is autistic he doesn’t do his own thing for long unless it’s his favourite film or iPad. Xx
Ha ha, that made me laugh! I’m hoping it gets better. Mind you at least if you go out your house doesn’t look like it’s been burgled when you get home!
I totally agree on all of these points! We stayed in last weekend and it was sooooo tough. My boys were bored and restless.
I hate it!
Much easier to wear them out going somewhere!
This is a brilliant post! And so true. Getting out can be such a pain in the arse, but it’s definitely worth it! And I love that pic of the twins holding hands xxx
Jennie from GinGinandRoo #ItsOK
It’s cute isn’t it? It is a pain but after a day at home I start to panic about the prospect of another day staying in!
Absolutely! Fortunately we live a beautiful part of the country so there is a variety of things to do.
I always envisage a ‘duvet day’ happening where we all snuggle up and watch films eating popcorn but by 9.30 am when my boys are wrestling each other and throwing things, I scream RIGHT THAT”S IT!! WE’RE GOING OUT!!!….Everytime…
I always fancy that too! But it’s always Saltram instead 🙂
Staying in when they are small is the worst, when they got the chicken pox that was my idea of hell! Now that they are a bit older it’s not quite as bad but they do still moan quite a lot. #itsok
Nice to hear it gets a bit better! And I agree about chicken pox. My eldest got it when the twins were 6 weeks and passed it onto one of them! Good job that’s all a sleep deprived blur now 🙂
I totally get your reasoning, but I have to admit I hate going out with all three kids unless Pete is around, mainly because I feel like I spend my whole time herding cats, anxious that one will run off or get abducted, or two of them will run off IN DIFFERENT DIRECTIONS and I’ll have to work out which one to save in a Sophie’s Choice style mindf*ck. Then again I am pretty neurotic. And I’m a lazy cow, so, you know… probs best I pick my battles :O) xxx #ItsOK
Yeah but you’re way worse off than I am – two of mine are still in a buggy for at least half of the time. And shall be until they are 14 years old…
I concur! When my lot were younger I took them out as often as I could for precisely the reasons you mention. I still take them out together, but these days they get to walk to the car, bang their own heads and still sleep lol. What a lovely post…… #ItsOK
Thanks! That made me laugh – I was only thinking yesterday how I can’t wait until they can all walk to and get in the car themselves!
I salute you!!
I think after all is said and done, the effort it worth the sanity!
It’s the fighting and mess that makes me go out!
OMG, cannot get over the twins holding hands pic… THE CUTEST EVER!!!
Totes get you on the being out bit – kids are entertained and (hopefully) exhausted, adult conversation and opportunity for cake and scones. The pros defeat the cons. Hats off to you for doing it with three, though!
It’s all about the cheese scones 🙂
i used to try and take my kids out whenever I could, even if it was just a trip with the 5 of them to the dentist. however it is important to also have some down time for them just to chill out at home with their toys and there’s nothing wrong with the odd afternoon in front of the TV #itsok
The eldest gets plenty of TV time when the babies nap!
I think the biggest mistake I made when my girls were younger was staying in far too much. Especially with my first daughter. There were days when I barely left the house and it did my head no good at all. I’ve learned though and made sure to get out a lot more with baby number 2! It’s all about doing whatever you have to do to keep your head sane isn’t it? And I’m all for the getting outside to run around part. I recently bought my two ducklings a little bottle of bubbles each and they will stay outside for at least an hour each day (providing it’s not bucketing down) and blow bubbles. Best money ever spent! #itsok
That’s a great idea! I’m going to try that one.
Wow, you are one very brave, very strong, momma! I can’t even imagine! And yes, getting out is the goal for a happier ever after kind of day. Loved your line about Brexit! 🙂 #itOkay xoxo
Totally agree with you – especially as we live in a flat & I always worry about the noise we make! #itsok