I Refuse to Venture Out with Both My Kids Alone

Image via Rachel Engel

Play dates at other peoples' houses? No thanks. Taking them to the park alone? Big fat NO. A stroll around the mall? Why would I do that to myself?

I don't leave the house alone with both kids. Ever.

I grocery shop alone after my husband comes home from work (or, if he's had a rough day, we split them up, and I bring the toddler). I make doctor appointments only for times when he can sneak home and watch them.

Either he or I will take the older one to the park in the evening while the other person stays with the baby. If there are errands to run, they are reserved for the weekend.

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Why the freaky division of labor, you ask? Because it is just too much all by myself.

Why would I put myself through getting myself dressed, fighting the toddler to get dressed, dressing the baby, packing the diaper bag with diapers, wipes, snacks and drinks, entertainment toys, meltdown toys, extra changes of clothes (for all three of us), not to mention my son's feeding tube pump, and all of the accessories that go with it, plus bottles and formula to mix his food?

By the time all of that is organized, the toddler needs another diaper change (believe me, we are enthusiastically working on potty training), the baby spit up and needs an outfit change, and I'm running around, sweating to death, trying to get everything ready to go on an outing that will probably last five minutes because of a tantrum, a diaper blow-out, or cries of “Bites? Food? Hungry, mommy!”

No. No, thank you.

If you were wondering, I was a homebody in my past life (pre-kids), and becoming a mother has only made me cling to that lifestyle even more so. The work, the stress, and the effort that go into taking the kids out by myself are just not worth it, nor is the time it takes.

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Going out with my husband and the kids on the weekends? No problem! A shopping trip with both kids and my mom? Piece of cake? But Rachel outnumbered by two kids under three?

So not happening.

As they grow, the list of things that need to accompany us will shorten, and it will gradually get easier and more enjoyable (and necessary) to take them out alone. But right now, it's just scary and hard, and I would much prefer to sit on the floor in my living room, with Toy Story on in the background, and play horses with my daughter while the baby watches in amazement. Or let the little one run free in the backyard on her slide and in her playhouse while the babe and I soak up some sun.

Much, much better.


What do you think?

I Refuse to Venture Out with Both My Kids Alone

Rachel is a stay-at-home-mom to her 4-year-old daughter, Sydney, and her 18-month-old son, Jackson. Her writing can be found all over the web, mostly detailing her own parenting struggles and triumphs, as well as her life as the military spouse of an active-duty airman. She also writes about her life as as a special needs parent on her blog, Tales From the Plastic Crib, and spends an unnecessary amount of time on Twitter. ... More

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  1. Danielle says:

    I just wanted to comment because the negative remarks seem to outweigh the positive at this moment. What people here fail to realize, our choose to ignore as it seems, is that everyone has different situations and circumstances in their life. No 2 peoples or families situations are the same. It seems as though people are ignorantly perceiving that if your kids were hungry you would just let them starve because you didn’t want to venture out with both of them. Come on people! You know very well that that is not even close to what she is trying to say and your just using this post as a way of bragging about your “super mom” status. Everyone is also choosing to reapeatably ignore the fact that she has a special needs child with a compromised immune system who should avoid as much outside gems as possible while in this stage of his life. If you missed that part she has only mentioned it 32747582 different times. I have a 6 week old and if im able to run out without her I do it. There is no one that can say that your errands are easier now with however many kids you have then they were before having kids. My SO also works 12 hour days and is tied and exhausted when he gets home but because of him being gone all day he wants to spend as much time as possible with her as he can when he is at home. Someone mentioned how it is not “fair” to leave your kid with your husband and run out after he had just worked all day. Really? What the hell did you just do all day then? Being a SAHM is just as much of a job as anything else. You just took care of x number of kids all day. And if you told me that you didn’t need a beak away from your kids every once in a while I would tell you that you are lying. I would also tell you that I am truly sorry that your husband isn’t as enthusiastic about spending time with his children when he gets home from working all day as ours are. If I asked him to watch her while I ran some errands he wouldn’t even hesitate to do it no matter if he worked all day or not. You can teach your kids manners or how to behave in public all you want but even the best of kids can have an off day and have a total meltdown in the middle of the store. My 6 week old is a great baby and after the car ride to the store she is normally knocked out for the whole trip but the other day she decided she just wasn’t having it and started screaming in the middle of Target. She is 6 weeks old, I haven’t write gotten around to teaching her how to behave in public yet. Grief, a terrible situation for any parent! Kids are so unpredictable. Anything could happen. The system they have worked out is the absolute best system they could come up with FOR THEIR FAMILY. Everyone else here has a system that they feel is best for their family. Who are any of you to judge what someone else does? Unless her kids are in some kind of danger or being abused then no one has the right to shame our be little another mother for what they do with their kids. I personally don’t agree with a lot of mom’s a lot of times so I do what I think is the best for my child and guess what? She is alive and thriving. You guys have no idea what her day to day challenges are. Even if you have a special needs child of your own. Each kid requires different things and have their own unique set of circumstances. None of you can have any idea what it is like to be in her shoes unless you have walked in them. So shame on those of you who compare your situation with hers. Whether you think you have it easier or harder than her the fact is that you have it differently than her. She never once said that this is how it is and well remain this way for the rest of our lives. She in fact said the opposite. She is just posting on what her life is like right now on this moment with her set of current circumstances. No one likes going out and having to deal with a toddler meltdown. You would be crazy if you said that you wouldn’t try to avoid that at all costs. Personally I like taking my daughter out sometimes. I get her dressed up and looking cute and we head out to do whatever we have to do but a lot of times if I can turn a normally hour trip with child into a 30 minute trip without child I do it! I, nor does she, dunno her kids off on someone else just to get away from them. My SO or mom watches her, both of which are foaming at the mouth to spend time with her. If I don’t have either one of them then she goes with me. Geesh. Well OP in glad you wrote this and im sorry for all of the naysayer perfect “super mom’s” out there who must exert their superness on you by bashing your honesty. There is not a single parent out there who hasn’t thought how much easier and quicker a trip would be without kids. You just had the balls to say it! Good for you!

  2. Brittany says:

    So far I only have a rather heavy 15 month old boy (27 pounds, and 2’8″!) He’s a big boy and get really heavy really quick. I occasionally take him out with the 2 dogs to the dog park or take him to the park on our own. But my kid is a dream compared to some. Every kid is different! Plus its just me and him most times so its not a big deal. My husband is on call with his job and is gone a lot. My son is perfectly content no matter what I want to do. Sure he has his fussy moments. but what kid doesn’t?! Just because I make it look easy to take my son out and about doesn’t mean it is! I’m worried about having another kid because my first one has been so good to me. I’m certain karma is going to bite me in the arse and the next one will be an absolute terror. If thats the case, I will love the little monster all the same, but will probably employ the above tactics of waiting until dad comes home if possible to help before we go out and about. Extra hands are always welcome even with only one kid. Keep doing what your doing, if it aint broke dont fix it!

  3. Austin says:

    I just wanted to say I’m sorry for all the rude comments below. Sweet Jesus! It’s not like you said you took one to the store and leave the other home alone to fend for herself. I have one who behaves like a dream in public but I’m a homebody too who just likes to be at home. It takes so much to get everything I need plus I hate dealing with buckling and unbuckling him in and out of the car seat when I have to run errands with lots of stops. Makes me exhausted just thinking about it. I’d rather stay at home and make sure his nap schedule doesn’t get screwed up.

  4. Lyndsay says:

    And i meant to say “publicly mom shame another mom” I was a bit on a rant and didn’t care about spell check.

  5. Lyndsay says:

    Okay, first off, extreme Kudos to you for writing what about and how 90% of mothers feel. I am a full time work if mother of 1 almost 2 year old and I will do everything possible to not have to venture out into the public with him alone (grocery shopping or any kind of shopping mostly) he is too distracted by everything around him and its just too hard. Adding two to that mix, no thank you!! Any other mother out there that enjoys doing it, or thinks.its easy.. GOOD FOR YOU! But to publicly m she another woman for expressing how she feels in HER role as a mother.. SHAME ON YOU. You are not better than her, and she is certainly not a bad mother. Raising children is so tough, why would you make it tougher for the women who actually give a damn by putting them down when they vent about frustrations they deal with as mother. I guess I don’t understand. If you dont agree, I feel you should keep your mouth shut and get off the internet and take you 5 kids to the amusement park.. alone.

  6. The says:

    She’s not a mom because she doesn’t take her kids out ?? (Which is not even true, but since people seem to keep ignoring the fact that they DO go out, just not both together with just the mom as the adult, we’ll phrase it that way).
    It could be argued that she does a lot more mothering than those who find constant distractions and entertainment outside for the kids so they don’t have to deal with them at home. Just saying. (I don’t believe it, just offering an alternate, albeit equally stupid, point of view).

    The baby didn’t go to the museum at 5 months old, he is so deprived!! He missed out on picking up bananas and milk! How will he ever become a capable adult!? Give me a break!

  7. The says:

    I wanted to make sure and leave you a reply because I am so pissed off at everybody’s response to your post. Let me tell you this, I also have 2 kids, my oldest is about to turn 4, the youngest 2 1/2, and guess what, to this day, I have not taken both of them out by myself, ever. (Well ok, other than to school, but that is just dropping them off and picking them up). You are not alone and I get every single word you wrote. I laughed so hard thinking, finally someone gets me! This is so me! I shared with my sister who also thought this was hilarious (because she probably thought I was the only one). No one knows about this other than my immediate family, I just never think to share, and now I see it’s probably been wise.

    Honestly, it seems most of these moms who keep lashing out at you are a) jealous of our extremely helpful, extremely involved and present husbands; b) under the stupid impression that babies and toddlers need complicated and full social lives. Somehow the more activities your kid has, they think the better a parent you are. It continues all throughout their lives, it just changes from playdates and mommy and me classes to piano, language, soccer and what not classes.

    Why put yourself, willingly, on a stressful situation, when it can be avoided? I totally get it. Groceries can be bought after my husband is home and the kids are in bed. Park and meals out can be done as a family. Movies are awesome with aunts and older cousins who are extra hands. I play with them when we are at home. They have a backyard with a swing set, so they can stretch their legs and run around. They go to school three days a week for 3 hours so they learn social interaction.

    What annoys me the most is that I look at those moms who seem able to handle it all, 3, 4 kids out and about and I admire them. I wish I had it in me. I know myself, I know my capabilities and I don’t put myself in situations I know I will regret. Never would I have thought that they’d come back and mock me and call me horrible things because I don’t do what they do. I get that not all people are homebodies and so they just can’t handle being home for long periods of time. I was the kid who dreaded sleepovers. Home is where I want to be 90% off the time anyway. But they need to recognize that it is THEIR needs (feeling cooped up) and not their kids’ that is pushing them to tote them along everywhere. That it is their particular situation that has forced them to deal with bringing the kids everywhere (husband can’t help as much). And that doesn’t make them better mothers than us. You just have to play the cards you’re dealt and adapt. Our husbands have more flexible jobs than theirs. They probably have healthier children than yours, or they are healthier themselves than me. I don’t hate them for it.

  8. Alexandra says:

    By the way I read this right before getting my 5 year old and 5 month old ready to go grocery shopping. I’d rather go and get what we need then make them wait till their father comes home from work because I just don’t feel like going through the trouble. The more I think about your selfishness the more it upsets me.

    • Rachel Engel says:

      I wanted to say thank you for replying with such harsh words to a total stranger, a fellow mother. I couldn’t reply right way because my 5-month-old’s physical therapist had just arrived, and I don’t have time to go into the back story behind mine and my husband’s decision to keep the baby at home as much as possible (short story: full term baby, permanent feeding tube, heart surgery at 3-months old, kidney disease, and breathing problems). Is it overwhelming for me to take the baby and toddler out at the same time with all of my son’s medical supplies, and the worry over his immune system? Yes. Would I do it if I had to? Of course. But, my husband loves his kids, he enjoys seeing them when he comes home, and is more than happy to watch the baby while I go to the store and take the toddler with me.

      My husband is just as shocked as I am at these comments, and saddened that so many people took the time to judge me and tell me what a horrible person I am based on the 465 words I wrote. If you feel so inclined, the link to my blog which chronicles the most horrible time in our lives, the three months that my son was struggling to breathe and survive in the NICU, can be found on my profile. I’d ask that you take a look, learn a little bit more about my life and my family before you demean me any more.

  9. Jessica says:

    Honestly, […] I don’t generally respond to varying parenting styles negatively, but this is just ridiculous and more than a little shameful. I don’t want to take them to the park because it’s too much effort. I don’t want to take them out and get necessities for the family because it’s just too much work. Either you forgot to mention you are mentally and/or physically handicapped or you probably would be better off working outside the home doing work you can handle…you know beyond babysitting…what a 13 year old can do with as much efficiency as you. I sday this as someone on my fourth child. Knowing my MIL who had 7. I currently and she previously, ran businesses, stayed with the children 90-95% of the time, do a good chunk of the shopping, run errands, take children to the doctor as needed, take them to school, to the park, to playdates, to sports, to the playground, to the beach, etc…You are not a special snowflake where life should center around you. Everyone should flock and lose time in their day to help you take care of your family and your life. You’re a mother now. […]

    • Rachel has already spoken for herself, but I’m going to step in and speak for our community. While everyone is entitled to their own opinion, all members here must abide by our community rules (http://www.everydayfamily.com/community-rules/) the first of which is to be respectful. As such, your comment has been edited to remove name-calling and other behavior that violates this rule.
      I welcome you to read some more of what Rachel has shared – both in her comments here and in other posts on the site – and consider that just because someone doesn’t parent the way you expect doesn’t mean that they aren’t a capable, loving, and responsible parent.

    • Jessica says:

      Everyone should *NOT HAVE TO* flock to you and lose time in their day to help you take care of your family and your life.

      • Rachel Engel says:

        Nobody, positively nobody, flocks to me and loses time in their day. My husband (the father of our children) comes home from work, and then he stays with our 5-month-old, who has a feeding tube, had open heart surgery in July, has kidney disease and breathing problems, while I take the toddler to the grocery store. I also took our oldest to the movies last weekend, and she went to the park last night. Why is having my husband involved with the kids such a terrible thing? Do I avoid having to take them both out at all costs? Yes. We honestly don’t have that many places to go, and my husband likes getting out as a family on the weekends. We also agreed, together, that the baby should be out and exposed as little as possible while his immune system heals, and to make it easier because he requires so many supplies to leave the house.

        It’s okay. In no way do I think I am a special snowflake. My kids are just fine; they like spending time at home, and in our backyard. Well, the oldest does, the baby has no idea where he is, but as long as one of his parents is smiling in his face while he works on tummy time, he’s a happy boy.

  10. Ashley says:

    I mean, I understand from this that you weren’t prepared for how difficult two children are. But do you realize what you’re saying here? You deny your children social interaction and outside time because being a parent is hard? Of course it’s hard, that’s pretty much a given! Yeah, you have to do everything for your children and pack a lot of things. Big deal! You should have figured that out with the first baby! Children NEED us, they can’t do things on their own. You’re just going to shut them in because you’re afraid they might throw a fit? So teach them how to behave in public. Sheesh!

    • Rachel Engel says:

      No, actually, that’s not what I’m saying. I’m saying I try not to have to take them to do things together, at the same time, alone. My oldest has plenty social interaction and outside time; I took her to the movies on Saturday, and to the grocery store yesterday.

      And, I did figure that out with my first baby; she went everywhere with me, and went everywhere with me while I was pregnant. And, then, I had my second baby, whose long medical history terrifies me. I am still learning to deal with all of his medical issues, and the thought of taking him out in public with my daughter scares me and overwhelms me. As he gets older, it will all become easier, but right now, this is better for us as a family.

  11. SammyJo says:

    I have a Two and Four year old now and am due in March. I cant immagine not taking them with me. I’ve always had them with me they learn how to behave when we are out. My youngest is Autistic would i leave him home because it’s easier. No. We’ve been through the Preme baby and all the problems that went allong with it. and even then when something had to be done . I did it. My husband works 12+ hours a day and when he gets home me taking off to go shopping or anything else is not only irritating to him but unfair. When the new baby comes i’ll have three boys under 5. Homeschooling and everything else I’ve always got them with me. Unless i’ve got a drs appointment then i have a sitter, because i dont like taking them to a dr’s office if they are’nt sick already.

    • Rachel Engel says:

      I try not to take them out TOGETHER, because a 3-year-old, plus a 5-month-old, a diaper bag, and all of my son’s medical supplies for his feeding tube don’t make a very good combination. My husband is more than happy to play with the baby while I run to the grocery store. He hasn’t seen him all day, and he enjoys coming home to him. He sometimes tells me just to leave my daughter, too, so they can hang out. He’s not irritated in the least.

      If something HAS to be done, I’ll do it. I’m not demanding random people come to my beck and call because I can’t do things alone, I’m working together with the father of my children to create a comfortable living environment that works for all of us.

  12. stephanie says:

    I have 4 though the one who just turned 13 doesn’t real count all things considered there was a time when I had a 5 yo, 2 .5 yo and 1 yo all at the same time and as a stay at home mom I took them everywhere with them alone. Very rarely do I ever get to go grocery shopping with out taking at least 2 with me and most of the time it is 3. My husband doesn’t have a job where he can sneak home and yet my kids still have to eat and go to the doctor.

    • Rachel Engel says:

      We are very fortunate my husband has so much flexibility at this point in our lives. Being military, in a moment’s notice, we could be at a different base that is more demanding of his time, or he could be deployed, and then, obviously, I would have to take them both with me. Right now, though, with a 5-month-old who is still working on head control thanks to a long hospital stay and heart surgery, along with all of his feeding tube supplies, plus a very spirited and stubborn 3-year-old, well… I’m enjoying the luxury that is being able to divvy the kids up. Will it be feasible our entire lives? Of course not. It’s not 100% completely feasible now, because sometimes there are days when I DO have to take them both out. But, on the whole, we divide and conquer. And it works for us! You just have to do what works for you, as does everyone.


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