One of the superpowers I’ve developed as one of many ‘mums of dragons’ is the ability to take life’s warped sense of humour on the chin. Sure there are mornings when I’m screaming blue murder before the school run (how many times can you ask someone to put on a pair of shoes?). But most days, I try to meet this crazy #MumLife with a grin and a ‘kids will be kids’ attitude.
As a city mama, I made up my mind early on that I wasn’t going to let motherhood hold me back. Living in London offers a wealth of excitement and experiences, and my desire to (re)discover the Capital with my kids is the main inspiration for this blog.
However, sometimes just thinking about a family outing — on top of juggling work/childcare, school run, chores, groceries, meal prep, play dates, after school clubs, homework and bedtime — well, it’s enough to give you indigestion. So it’s important to note that we spend a lot of our time just kicking back in our pyjamas too!
When Rennie asked me about my tips for an ‘on the go’ lifestyle, I thought this would be helpful for any mama. After all, mums are always on the go! However, I especially wanted to share what I’ve learned while herding my two babes about town. If you’d like to enjoy more day trips with your family, without losing what’s left of your Mummy Brain, here are some top tips:
7 Tips for Mums on the Go
1. Plan like a Boss
Start the night before to map out how you’d like your day to look. Check the weather forecast: do you need sunnies, wellies or both? If they’re old enough, get the kids involved in selecting outfits and packing their own backpacks. This adds to the fun of a day trip and helps lighten your load too.
2. Travel Light
Mums are typically over-prepared but often you can leave at least two thirds of that stuff at home. Make sure you have the basics such as correct footwear, spare clothes, cover-up etc. Keep useful bits in a ziploc bag (e.g. hand sanitiser, lip salve, plasters) that you can transfer easily. Typically the boys carry at least one non-electronic game (dice, pack of cards), snacks, and a soft foam ball (always have a ball for footie nuts).
3. Snack Attack
Keeping your little ones well fed and watered is crucial for a happy day out. Ezra is the king of ‘hangry’ (inherited from his Papa) so I make sure he gets his snack before the Hulk breaks loose. Eating out adds up, so pack items that double up as lunch if necessary e.g. crackers with nut butter or dips, flat breads to wrap up sandwich meat, veg or cheese. Don’t forget fruit and perhaps a sweet treat or two — I find a well-timed lolly can stave off hunger pangs and fidgeting at key moments!
4. Get Appy
So many apps, so little time. But if you’re moving around the Big Smoke there are two apps I swear by: London Bus Checker gives you live bus times and routes, so you can avoid long waits at the shelter. City Mapper covers every mode of transport – bus, tube, train, taxi, cycling, even jetpack – and has literally changed my life as a London mum.
5. Manage your Expectations
You have visions of your picture perfect family, soaking up high culture while you capture it all via Instagram. The reality is that there will be tantrums, arguments, queues, possible toilet or other accidents… but that’s ok. Nobody’s life is as tidy as a social media flat lay and this goes especially for parents of young kids. Learn to embrace the mayhem and enjoy the ride, even the bumpy bits.
6. Go Beyond Your Comfort Zone
I’m always surprised by mums who don’t get on the tube until their kids were out of pushchairs, or who stick to local parks and playgroups aka the baby-go-round. It’s great to support local, but London is a huge place. Why not make like a tourist and visit somewhere new in a different zone? Once you’ve ventured south of the river (wink), there’s no stopping you!
7. Keep a Record
So you’ve survived a family day trip and you’ve got the headache, bruises/bite marks to prove it. You might not be in the mood to whip out that Gratitude Journal and start counting your lucky stars. But do remember at some point to make a record of what you’ve experienced. Whether that’s a blog, social media shares, personal diary, photos (print the keepers), you’ll love looking back on these moments one day. Maybe when your mini ones are grown and carting their own babes about town.
In collaboration with Rennie, all thoughts and opinions are my own