I get asked fairly often how I achieve a work life balance. Working from home is definitely a little bit tricky when you have a busy toddler around and there are definitely a few things that help, but the most important thing for me is to get out of the house. This probably sounds a bit counterintuitive, but hear me out…
Being home all the time can be really draining and leave me feeling totally unproductive. So the best thing to do is to head out on a little mini adventure outing with Fern to get refocused. Not only does this leave me feeling more refreshed and ready to churn out quality work when I return home, but it also makes me focus in on Fern and having quality time with her. In addition, a change of scenery is always a great way to distract a wiggly, little toddler.
I know that sometimes it can seem like more work than it’s worth to take your toddler out somewhere…anywhere really since the laundry list of to-dos in preparation are a mile long. You have to get ready, get your child ready, thwart any toddler tantrum style meltdowns that should happen along the way, pack extra clothes/diapers/snacks/etc. But, once you get in a groove of getting out and about you’ll love it.
Something I do that really helps is to keep a bag packed with essentials for outings, so I have one less thing on my to-do list. Here’s what’s in my toddler outing essentials bag:
>>> DIAPERS + WIPES
Unless your toddler is already potty trained, in which case I am totally jealous that you don’t need to pack diapers. But either way bring wipes! Even if you don’t have to deal with diaper changes, toddlers are always touching gross things…especially when you’re super far away from a sink and soap. They also love handing you gross things when you least expect it. Toddlers are tricky like that, so just bring wipes.
>>> GRAB-AND-GO SNACKS
Second only to diapers in importance is snacks. If you don’t have snacks you’re pretty much screwed, so stock up! Del Monte sent us these Fruit Burst Squeezers and they have been Fern’s snack of choice lately. I love them because they’re otally convenient for taking on-the-go, have more fruit servings than most other squeeze pouches out there (1½ servings V.S. ¾–1 serving) and I love that they mix in veggies too – most other squeeze snacks stick to just fruit. They also have no artificial flavors or high fructose corn syrup, which her little body does not need. Fern’s favorite variety is the “Fruit & Veggie Peach Mango” one, which makes me happy, because this girl is a total vegetable hater usually so I’m all for any way I can sneak them in. These are also great for me to steal when I’m out and need a snack – my favorite is the “Fruit & Veggie Blueberry” pouch, because I am also a bit of a veggie hater. Like mother like daughter I suppose!
>>> EXTRA CLOTHES
Choose super simple items that you can just keep as your back-up outing outfit. Mine includes a pair of black leggings and a simple grey t-shirt (usually – leggings were in the wash when I took these photos), because they will match anything so if Fern only gets her shirt or just her pants dirty, I can throw on the grey tee or the black leggings and it’ll match whatever she’s already wearing. Also shoes. Don’t forget an extra pair of shoes. I’ve learned this the hard way.
Always sunscreen. I’m totally a sunscreen Nazi in my old age and it drives my husband crazy.
>>> A SWIMSUIT + SWIM DIAPER
You have no idea how many times we’ve headed out for a quick trip to the park or a stop at a friend’s house only to be met with some form of water play or another and had no preparation. If you ever met Fern you would know that this kid loves water like it’s her job, so there’s no way of dragging her away from water play. Because of this I always keep a swimsuit and swim diaper in my bag…just in case.
>>> WATER IN A SPILL-PROOF CONTAINER
Good hydration is always important, but seriously…make sure your water vessel is truly spill proof. I’ve had way too many experiences with soaking wet purse contents and
>>> A FEW TOYS FOR GOOD MEASURE
If our adventuring ends up taking us to a childless friend’s house or to a coffee shop bringing along toys is totally invaluable. I stick to a few truly entertaining options that she loves rather than packing my bag with a ton of stuff. Quality, not quantity my friends.
Do you have a grab-and-go bag for heading out the door with your little one? What’s in your bag?