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Old 03-01-2013, 11:45 AM   #1
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Do you simplify your schedule and errands when you have more kids?

As DD flies through her second year of life I'm finding it more and more challenging to get out and get errands done. Several months ago she would just have nonstop fits if we did more than one stop at a time... so I go out of my way to never run more than one stop at a time unless it's a big one or one where we will be there for a while.

I know it might just be a phase, but with baby #2 on the way it seems like it's just going to get more and more complicated to grab milk on the way home or pick up the seed/pellets for our birds. I find myself buying more things online just so I can avoid the quick trips - like running in to the sporting goods shop to fill up a co2 tank. These little errands need to get done but it just stresses me out.

I've thought about joining a CSA this year. That would mean a weekly pick up of produce once a week in a 2 hour window about 10-15 minutes away. Did I mention it's already hard to get places on time with just 1 kiddo? I think the stress of that drive is what's keeping me from signing up for the CSA. We have a really open schedule already with no time commitments although I've felt tempted to sign up for classes and activities for DD.

So... I guess my rambling question is - how to manage time with more kids. Should I keep things simple and flexible? How do you handle those quick errands if you have 2 little ones in tow? There was a time I could run in to the post office in 1 minute flat to mail a package with the automatic machine. Those days are long gone!
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Old 03-01-2013, 11:56 AM   #2
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Re: Do you simplify your schedule and errands when you have more kids?

Are you married? If so, what is your spouse's schedule like?

We have two kids (2.5 years and 7 months) and I try to avoid errands whenever possible. It really is a hassle. I don't mind shopping with them occasionally, but if I can go without them (or only take one of them) then I do.

DH and I do most of our shopping/errands on the weekends or in the evenings. I'm lucky because he works 4 10s, so he has Fridays off. If we run errands, we usually just have one of us go while the other stays home with the kids, or we all go together (so we can break things up a bit, and we can each be with one child).

Would that work for you guys? It does busy up our evenings and weekends a bit more, and I guess I could be viewed as a "slacker" of a SAHM since DH usually does the grocery shopping after work or whatever. But it works for us. And I really enjoy walking around Target at 8pm by myself, and DH doesn't mind because he can play his video games while I'm gone.

Do you mail a lot of packages? If so, perhaps it would make more sense for you to buy a postage scale and order your mailing materials, and then arrange for packages to be picked up?

If the only thing you had to do each week by yourself was the CSA pick-up, perhaps it wouldn't feel as stressful?

Babywearing helps a lot, too.
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Old 03-01-2013, 01:08 PM   #3
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Re: Do you simplify your schedule and errands when you have more kids?

I don't like to make more than 2 stops if I run errands with the kids (I have a 4 yr old, a 2yr old, and a newborn). It's too much of a hassle buckling/unbuckling carseats, making sure we're all holding hands in parking lots, etc. I try to save the errands that are just popping in and out of the car for when I can do them by myself or when we can all go so that one of us can sit in the car with the kids. I can't tell you how many times I've wished supermarkets had drive thrus when all I needed was a gallon of milk.
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Old 03-01-2013, 01:18 PM   #4
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Re: Do you simplify your schedule and errands when you have more kids?

When my kids were all very small, since I lived in a big city I tried to do one-stop shopping at SuperTarget and Super Walmart as much as possible. My kids were actually really good but as PP said 3 carseats/buckles are a PITA with multiple stops. So if doing a CSA, ordering online, shopping at Costco, etc works for you I say go for it. The other issue is more kids in the cart, less room for groceries. So as soon as they were 2.5 or 3, they didn't ride in the cart any more and learned to walk WITH me. I can't tell you how many kids like 5YO or more, stuck in a cart, would see my kids walking behind me like little ducks turn to their mom and BEG to be let out.

Now my kids are older, but I still mostly choose to shop by myself when they are in school, or take the whole family and let DH wander with them in the store by themselves. It's easier for me to compare sales, see if the size of the package changed, figure out if the bulk item is cheaper than the smaller one, etc if they are not around. But I am not opposed to going with my youngest (4YO), I let him hold the list and he keeps me on task.

I do think no matter your kiddo/shopping circumstances it makes sense to streamline errands as much as you can. It just gives you more time for other things.
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Old 03-01-2013, 01:25 PM   #5
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Re: Do you simplify your schedule and errands when you have more kids?

I have also streamlined my schedule regarding kid activities. I sign them up primarily for afterschool stuff, not things like team activities with multiple practices and ever-changing game times. Luckily we have that available, and even in sports like basketball, pom/cheer, etc where they just play and you pick them up an hour after school was dismissed. They each have one weekly afterschool thing and one MDO-type weekly event they all go to together, and the oldest is in scouts. I know when they hit middle school and high school, depending on their interests it will not always be this easy to manage their activities. But I think limiting it to one or two, and encouraging the ones that don't require multiple trips a week, can make it much easier.
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Old 03-01-2013, 01:41 PM   #6
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Re: Do you simplify your schedule and errands when you have more kids?

yes, yes, yes, our errand schedule changed dramatically with the addition of the 3rd....

I/We go to the grocery store once a week. Then usually one weekend a month we go to Target/Costco or anywhere else. I also signed up for Amazon prime and have a Target debit card for free shipping.

It's a lot of work to get everyone to the store, so we started treating errands more like a special occassion.

I keep running lists for the stores we need to hit. More or less, I manage the house, so when things start to run low, I add them to a list. There has to be at least 4 items on a list to make a trip worth it (but more preferably, 8-10 items). We run out of things sometimes. Usually non-essentials. Like we're out of bandaids and furnace filters right now, but those things can wait till the lists get longer.

We never go anywhere on weeknights. Usually only weekends because it keeps the kids from getting out of whack.
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Old 03-01-2013, 02:04 PM   #7
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Re: Do you simplify your schedule and errands when you have more kids?

Quote:
Originally Posted by nicolemariep View Post
I don't like to make more than 2 stops if I run errands with the kids (I have a 4 yr old, a 2yr old, and a newborn). It's too much of a hassle buckling/unbuckling carseats, making sure we're all holding hands in parking lots, etc. I try to save the errands that are just popping in and out of the car for when I can do them by myself or when we can all go so that one of us can sit in the car with the kids. I can't tell you how many times I've wished supermarkets had drive thrus when all I needed was a gallon of milk.
You have no idea how many times Ive been tempted to ask the pharmacy drive thru at Walgreens for milk. I have never caved, but l usually debate it in my head for a good ten minutes before deciding how important it really is to my menu that day. The absolute worst is when my errands are far apart and they fall asleep in between them. I have three carseats to unbuckle/rebuckle as well.

OP... you're right, it only gets harder with more kids, and it may take months or even years, but you'll eventually find your groove. I feel like I am finally {almost} in my groove, but my youngest is turning 3 soon. And there are still times that I go out of my way to a store for a quick errand on my way home, pull into a parking lot, look back at the carseats and think, "F* it, Ill do it later," and turn around and go home.
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Old 03-01-2013, 02:38 PM   #8
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Re: Do you simplify your schedule and errands when you have more kids?

I have a 3 year old, a 22 month old and a 4 month old. We go out one day a week, detailed lists are my saving grace (that and amazon prime). I meal plan and work out my list as I go, plus I always have a running list. Costco, goodwill, target, cub (another grocery store) are what I typically do, I avoid wal-mart at all costs. In costco the big boys sit in the cart and share a lemonade, baby in the ergo, goodwill and target are in and outs baby stays in the car seat and 22 month old is in the ergo.
So far we are in no activities and don't plan to for awhile.
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Old 03-01-2013, 02:51 PM   #9
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Re: Do you simplify your schedule and errands when you have more kids?

Even now that my kids are 4 and 7, I try to do errands when dh is home or when the boys are at school. During the school hols it's unavoidable sometimes that they need to come with me and I will try to make it a maximum of 2 stops if it needs to happen at all. And these are kids who can get in and out of the car by themselves and do their own seatbelts.

Taking them grocery shopping, they BOTH like to sit in the cart (yeah, no room for grocerys then) but that only lasts so long before they would rather walk/play hopscotch on the patterned floor/'suggest' things I might like to buy/niggle each other/accidentally get in people's way. They're not naughty or malicious, but it takes me twice as long because I can't focus on the job at hand and I am constantly watching/correcting/telling them to look out for other people etc.

Buying online can be a lifesaver, going after hours when dh is home, swapping child care with a friend for a couple of hours....these things have all saved me.
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Old 03-01-2013, 02:55 PM   #10
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Honestly I pretty much don't do quick trips with kids in tow. *I* don't even like having to pop in and out of stores by myself so it is just really no fun with all 3.
My kids are 7,4, and 19 months but my 4 yo has some special needs and quite frankly taking him grocery shopping causes me bad anxiety (I know that's terrible). I do grocery shopping late at night after DH and I work out. We put the kids to bed, workout, and then I head to the store.
For small trips I do them in the morning before DH leaves for work, since he doesn't leave really early.
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