There are so many things that I took for granted before I had my twins, the most important thing was the ability to run errands alone. As I sit here and type this I remember how I would have a list made of where I need to go, what I need to do, and completing my list was all depending on the current traffic. I would take my time, stop and grab a lunch with a friend on their lunch break, or get a coffee and enjoy it- hot. Once you become a parent, a lot of what you do changes, but one thing doesn’t change, you will forever need to run errands. I am a stay at home mom, so a lot of little errands have fallen into my lap for me to do. After I became a mother of twins I learned that things were never going to be the same. Here are a few tips on running errands with twins at different ages and how to survive.
Congratulations, you have newborn multiples!! However, you are out of diapers, stamps, food, and need to pick up dry cleaning, and you are on your own today. Before I scare you away, it will be okay. My first excursion with my twins we had a laundry list of things to do. All I could do was just do them one at a time. Before you get ready leave the house, make sure your diaper bag is ready to go, I always had 6-10 diapers, wipes, formula, bottled water, bottles, burp cloths, and a change of clothes for each of my girls. (or have things you need for breastfeeding in your bag too).
Once that is ready, do a round of feeding and diaper changes before you get everyone into their car seats. If babies are fed and have new diapers, chances are pretty high that as soon as they get in the car they will fall asleep. I know some babies hate car seats and car rides but my girls always fell asleep. I LOVED my infant car seats, snapped them into the base in my car and once we go to where we were going, I popped the seat onto our stroller and off we went. I always went to the furthest place first and worked our way home. If your babies need to be fed or changed, do it how you do it at home. I always took my time, found family bathrooms at stores, and fed them in the car (sitting between them both in the backseat). I always made sure they got what they needed as if we were home. If I was late for an appointment people were very understanding when they saw two newborns and the cute squishy faces normally got me out of feeling guilty.
It is hard to find a routine when running errands with newborns but the key is to do your best. If I had a family member or friend who I knew was free, I always asked them to tag along. The extra two hands really helped on long days. If you don’t get everything done- there is always tomorrow.
Once the twins started walking life got way more interesting!! I am a creature of habit and once I saw all my Target stores had the double carts, my love for Target was reconfirmed. Double carts were my life line!!! If a store didn’t have double carts, an argument between my girls always started and sometimes you just want to get your errands done quickly. This stage and more into toddlerhood (1-3 years old) I had to manage life a different way. My biggest secret as a mom is bribery. I told my girls if we could get through the store without a meltdown, they could get a snack at the end of our trip, or watch an episode of Mickey Mouse, or stop by the park. We had minor incidents but reminding them over and over about their surprise normally kept them behaved for toddlers.
Sometimes you can lose track of time and be super close to meal or snack time. Desperate times call for desperate measures. As someone who worked retail and at a grocery store I am telling you to buy your snacks/food/drinks/bribes before you go around the store! It might take a little longer for you to get stuff done, but grabbing something, paying for it, and letting the littles eat/play while you’re shopping is the best. I won’t judge you if you give your kids your phone and you let them play or stream a show- sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures and my husband and I both have been there!!
I still took my time in this phase because my girls are normally angels in public, they have saved tantrums for home (just so mommy and daddy are the only people who get to enjoy those). If your twins have a tantrum, you have two options finish: do what you’re doing or stop. If you can try to defuse the twinnadoes, there is no stopping it and it’s not imperative you finish your errands, go home and recoup.
Next is the age of reason and this is my current stage with my twins. As we are loading up into the car and buckling car seats up, I tell my twins where we are going and what we are doing. If I give them a list of what we have to do, chances are they cooperate. They will remember and tell me where we have to go next as if they are telling me what we have to do.
I let my girls help me all the time when we are out. If we are at the grocery store and we need veggies, they will pick them out, count them as we put them in the bag and even list off what we need to pick out. If we are making a post office run, I let my twins hold the envelopes. It makes it fun for them when they get to interact with the adults at the store. If we go up to a counter and order something, I will let my girls order for themselves. I see adults smile at how behaved (again only in public) my children are, I see them smile seeing how independent they are. This is my favorite stage.
Being a parent of multiples and needing to go do things is scary at first but once you get a routine (as all my mom of twins friends have confirmed to me) it gets easier. You learn what works for you and your multiples and then running errands becomes second nature again. Each phase of childhood changes the struggles you may have but being a parent is trial and error. What are some tips that you have found to work when you run errands with your multiples?
Robyn Gogue is currently a stay at home mom to her 5 year old fraternal twin daughters, Kayden and Kaylee, and wife to her husband, Roy. She is currently pursuing her career in the medical field. Follow Robyn on Facebook here. For articles by Robyn on Twiniversity, click here.