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Mission: Accomplished - Dining out with Baby

Mission: Accomplished - Dining out with Baby

It’s OK.

You CAN do this.

All it takes is some light reconnaissance, a little mission planning, and some tactical gear. Follow these steps and you, too, can enjoy a dinner out with your baby.

Step 1: Get in the Zone

No professional enters a mission like this without mentally prepping. You’ve got to bring your A-game, so get ready. Think about what could go wrong (that doesn’t mean it will), and be ready for it. Tantrum? Diaper blow out? Have a plan. Get psyched.

Step 2: Plot Your Course

The key to a successful mission is choosing the right location. Choose a restaurant where you can walk around with your baby if he or she gets cranky, or to prevent the fussies by walking around while you’re waiting for your food. No time for reconnaissance? Call ahead. No high chairs or boosters? Scout another venue.

Step 3: Nail the Timing

Don’t go when your baby is hungry or tired. Don’t go when your baby is hungry or tired. Don’t go when your baby is hungry or tired. ‘Nuff said.

Step 4: The Art of Distraction

Be sure to load your bag with the right tactical gear. Put a few new or “restaurant only” toys in your bag to help keep your baby entertained. Don’t blow all your ammo at once, though. Bring out one toy at a time, and only when you need them. THAT’S the key to success, my friends.

Step 5: Clear the Field

Once you’re seated, take a moment to move anything that could harm your baby - or that your baby could harm - out of arm’s reach. Silverware, salt and pepper shakers, glassware, etc. If you think it could be trouble, move it.

Step 6: Roll with It

No matter how well you prepare, what’s going to happen will happen. Just be prepared, relax, and enjoy your family time together. If it all goes sideways and you have to abort the mission, that’s OK, too. Every parent has been there. Eventually, it will all work out.

Grow a healthy family by shopping at your local farmer’s market

Grow a healthy family by shopping at your local farmer’s market

Raising kids is like raising crops. Feed ‘em right, make sure they get plenty of fresh air, clean water and sunshine, and before you know it you’ll have a healthy, fully grown crop - er, kid - on your hands.

Well, OK. It’s a little more complicated than that. But you get the idea. 

All the more reason to get up with the rooster’s crow and take the kiddos to your local farmer’s market. Not only will you be able to pick up some super healthy foods to feed your crops - kids, sorry - you’ll be able to feed your little ones’ minds and souls, too.

Be honest. Do you have fun at the grocery store? (Full disclosure: if you said yes, we don’t believe you.) But the farmer’s market - now that’s a completely different experience. Most vendors at the market appreciate all the shoppers, especially the littlest ones. You’ll enjoy making your selections, and preparing them when you get home. It’s grocery shopping paradise. Or as close as you can get, anyway.

You can also seed those little brains with knowledge while you’re shopping at the farmer’s market. After all, there’s so much to see and do. For the very small, the sights and sounds are engaging. (Of course, if those sounds get to be too much, just slip on your baby’s HUSH hat.) For children who are older, they can begin to learn about colors and shapes, weights and measures, pricing and so much more while you shop. It’s enough to make getting up at the crack of dawn on a Saturday worth it. (Who are we kidding. You have a baby. You were already going to be up, anyway.)

If you want to feed your family the freshest local foods but you don’t have your own row to hoe (Or, maybe you just don’t want to. You do you. It’s cool.), load up the family and visit the local farmer’s market. The whole crop - shoot, family - will benefit.

The Parent Trap

The Parent Trap

Anyone who tells you they love every single minute of being a parent isn’t telling you the truth.

Projectile vomit? Massive diarrhea diaper leaks? Bleeding nipples? Public tantrums?

Come on.

It is 100 percent possible and reasonable to love your kids completely, and yet NOT love being a parent 100 percent of the time. Parenting is a 24-hour a day job that, frankly, sometimes sucks. And you feel stuck. I mean, you can’t even get away when you sleep when your child is young. The kid needs to eat every few hours, after all.

The thing is, we aren’t supposed to talk about it. We’re supposed to act like it’s all sunshine, rainbows, unicorns and kittens. With glitter.

Ugh.

You do love your kids. More than anything. And while this stage is hard - it doesn’t last forever. (I know, blah, blah, blah. That’s the last thing you want to hear while you’re living it. But hold on.) There are some things you can do to help find joy in your life and in your kids, and break free of the parent trap.

Take a break

It’s important. You’re still the same woman you were before you became a mom. Those interests you had, those hobbies you enjoyed - they didn’t vanish into thin air. Build time to nurture things you love and enjoy into your life. Leave your baby with someone you trust, and spend a few hours caring for yourself. No mommy-guilt allowed!

Cut yourself some slack

Sometimes, we feel trapped because we’re putting too much pressure on ourselves to be the “perfect mom.” (Perfect according to whom, anyway?) Don’t. Buy. Into. It. Is your baby healthy, well-fed and clean? Then you’re doing just fine.

Friends

Feeling trapped because you’re home alone all day with the baby? That’s not unusual, or surprising. It’s time to get out with the baby. Hit up your local library, church or community center and begin connecting with area mom groups. (Trust us, they’re out there.) You’ll find tons of friendly people with children the same age as yours, and have the chance to participate in fun activities with your child. What could go wrong? (Exploding diapers excluded, of course.)