Are you feeling too overwhelmed to leave the house?
After a post-pregnancy surgery, I waited for an extra two weeks to be out and active again. I waited the extra weeks because I just felt so overwhelmed with ‘two under 2’ (especially with the eldest being super active). Can anyone else relate?
However, the boys desperately needed to get outside of the house and I was starting to feel like the walls of our two bedroom condo were closing in on us - I needed to breathe! Waiting for my hubby to get home and help us get outside for evening walks and playtime just wasn’t cutting it. We all needed to get outside and we needed to get outside quick! I kept saying to myself “hubby makes it look sooo easy…” often times, before I can blink he’s striding down the 3-flights of stairs with a baby under each arm, the stroller slung over his shoulder, and a cheerful smile on his face. I blink again and both boys are strapped safely in their seats and the stroller folded neatly in the boot of the car. We’re ready to go!
He is Super Dad!!! I found myself talking out loud at times to myself “I can do it, let’s get out of the house NOW!” The sun is shining, my eldest, Jaxon, is bored chasing dust bunnies, I’m dizzy running around after the boys, wiping tears, bums, and brows! We all need the walk and I need to get moving again.
I know that it must sound silly to you, but my biggest obstacle was carrying a baby and a tot down 3 flights of stairs with a diaper bag, and keeping both boys safe by my side. I kept worrying, “what if my Jaxon (the courageous, adventure-seeking toddler) doesn’t listen and runs off!” How fast could I move to ensure I keep him safe? What if the baby has a diaper explosion just as I get into the car, or while in the middle of a walk!?
These thoughts I know we can all relate to in our own ways. But enough was enough! I was consumed with the feeling of being trapped indoors, every day was Groundhog Day - but without Bill Murrey to make me smile. Eventually, I realized there was a simple answer to my dilemma: Find Yourself Outside! I needed to come up with a quick plan. I needed to get out of my head and into the outdoors.
I thought of my main concerns:
Safety, feeling overwhelmed, diaper explosion anxiety, public meltdowns (and that was just me), or even baby and tot being in sync and meltdowns at the same time. Every parents nightmare!
Then I came up with solutions to address each one:
Practice walking with Jaxon 1-2-1. I could get him used to walking up and down the stairs, and get him to respond to the keywords “STOP” or “FREEZE”.
Get organized in advance before the walk time - Get the diaper bag, milk, snacks, phone, jackets, hats, toys, etc. ready to go hours before you need them. Oh, and remember to put your keys with the stuff you are taking. Being locked out of your apartment in Florida during the rainy season with 2 young-un’s is no fun - real talk!
Plan a time for a walk just after a diaper change.
Bring along a new toy that is just for the walks - this greatly helps to deflect those spontaneous, undesirable emotional outbursts.
The next day, the sun was shining, and that was my cue to “just do it”.I got organized after cleaning up the breakfast dishes, while the boys were quietly playing and cooing. Once Jaxon got bored with his activity, and started to shift his attention, I grabbed both boys, all the essentials (especially my keys), and then we were off. I felt the need to time myself on how long it took to get out the house, down the stairs, through the community and onto the walking trail. It was a great mental challenge that also distracted me from any intrusive negative thoughts as I was on my way out of the house. We all made it to the trail, safely… I felt that I had finally achieved Mama Greatness that day, and subsequently commenced a daily competition with myself to beat my last time from the house to the trail.
That was the day I Found Myself Outside!