Itís the last frontier, kind of. Venturing out with young children has long been thought of as sacrificial parenticide. Whether you have one child or multiple, sooner or later itís something that every parent must face. However, with a little foresight and luck, the process can go a little smoother.
Image by Maggie Joy
You wouldnít send an unarmed man into war, so donít dive into the parenting trenches without being a little forearmed.
No matter how ready we think we are to face a public outing with our children, the truth is we just arenít. There will always be something to throw a spanner in the works. I donít want to come across as the mummy pooper, but in this game, you canít just throw everything into the ring and hope for the best.
While you may be prepared for sick ups and poopy nappies, donít forget to add extra in case your little one ups the ante with projectile vomits- yes Mummy that means you need a spare top too, and diaper explosions that put an erupting volcano to shame.
Add in spare bottle teats because a piece of silicone is like tissue paper to a teething babyís mouth, extra nappy rash cream because that first tub you had put in the nappy bag will have been the one your toddler wiped across the spare bedroom carpet that you will discover when you get home, extra wipes because hello baby/toddler, and extra formula because no parent can ever get all of the formula out of the container chambers without spilling it across the floor.
Have distractions ready at hand
I know, I know, the parenting police will be out in full force on this one, but if that electronic tablet buys you five minutes peace while youíre waiting for their meal to arrive then so be it.
If youíre really dead set against the electronics keep a packet of pencils and a note pad in your bag and your little one can unleash their artistic talents. FYI if this is your preferred option, Iíd suggest using a place mat under the pad. Speaking from experience my little Picasso wasnít fussed whether his talents stayed on the paper or the surrounding table, however the wait staff will always prefer the paper.
Image by Maggie Joy
Do your research
Despite most places advertising themselves as child friendly, a quick head poke through the door will tell you otherwise. Thanks to the internet and a public who is keen to have their say, most places will have reviews attached to their websites or Facebook pages.
Always make sure you double check any place youíre not familiar with. That pub may promote themselves as child friendly, but Friday through to Sunday is happy hour all weekend with under dressed bar maids. And that open space that looks enticing may actually have a page full of reviews from parents who have repeatedly urged the council to clean up the area.
Similarly. if youíre looking for somewhere reliable that will meet yours and your familyís needs, word of mouth is a great way to get an honest and usually accurate idea of just what you are heading into.
Gauge your childís reaction before you even leave the house and adjust your plans accordingly. It isnít always ideal to put off plans or outings, but sometimes it is just needed.
Thatís not to say that as a parent you pander to every little whim your child has and if they just plain donít want to go you give in. There is a fine line between a child simply wanting to have the final say and push a few buttons, and a child that is simply not going to cope with facing the world on that day. There is no better judge to what is going on with your child than you, the parent, and if you know pushing ahead with the dayís plans is only going to end with tantrums and broken hearts (yours and your childís) then perhaps a rethink is on the cards.
Should all else fail Mummies, there is always tomorrow.