The first time I went anywhere on my own with both of my kids, it took me approximately 12 minutes to make it from the parking lot to the front door of the building.
It’s sad but I’m not even kidding.
Between a toddler who literally never stops running circles around me and a newborn, I had my hands full, it’s true. The sheer logistics of how to get from one place to another without forgetting one of them, chasing the larger one across a busy parking lot, or spilling the contents of a straining diaper bag on the ground were baffling to me.
I wondered often how people did this every day. I was in awe of the moms in the grocery store toting two or, gulp, more children through the aisles calmly and confidently. They were my quiet heroes, giving me something to strive towards, one day, after the shock and alarm had finally worn off from my oldest smacking the newbie across the soft spot with a bottle of Despicable Me gummies.
See, my not so secret secret is that I feel a little ashamed that my kids overwhelm me on our outings out of the house.
They’re actually pretty well behaved for the most part, but still the mere potential they harbor to run rampant and disappear into thin, mischievous air intimidates me immensely.
After all, I like most parents, have invested way too much time in contemplating the ‘what ifs’ of public worst case scenarios.
What if my toddler suddenly develops the ability to run faster than a full grown adult or teleports into the middle of that busy road that’s only 100 feet away? What if the stroller suddenly starts plummeting down that hill that no one knew was there before this moment and I can’t catch it? What if I accidentally lock both kids in the car while I’m playing the whole ‘fox, grain, chicken’ riddle out, working to get each child safely out of the car and situated in just the right pattern so that no one suffers or escapes.
Or what if, God forbid, I mess up. What if I’m out of the house with two and due to confusion or sleep deprivation, I forget I have them both as I get them out of the car. What if I turn around for just a second and when I look back my heart crashes to the ground because one is gone.
Well, we can’t reside in what ifs forever, can we. Nor can we stay home forever (though some days that sounds most appealing), so obviously I’ve chosen to face those fears and get real on most fronts. Still though, I know I overcompensate a lot when it comes to nailing down the ‘two kids out and about’ routine.
I know that I’m a good, attentive mother.
I care about my kids, often to a fault, and I take comfort in planning ahead for safety. I often look ridiculous while doing this.
I also stress out a little too easily at the small stuff – I’m pretty sure my kids were sent to challenge me on that front actually – but in the grand scheme of things I can do this.
I can get from A to B. I can be social. I can go to appointments.
I can be as free as anyone ever is with two tiny mini-mes pursuing them joyfully through every waking moment, and that’s good enough for me.
Now excuse me while I go and tighten the toddler tether round my 2 year old’s wrist until it turns blue…