1. Always keep a bag in the van (because moms don’t drive cars) with a spare set of clothes for each kid. It doesn’t need to be stylish, a cheap Garanimals t-shirt and shorts will do. *If you have a kid in diapers, keep about five of those in the van also, along with a package of wipes. This is kept separate from a diaper bag.
Trust me, when you take your diaper bag in the house, then leave somewhere on a whim, you will be glad you had those back up diapers. And 5 is a totally reasonable number, because you will forget to refill this stash.
2. Bring a box of crackers. Don’t fuss around with perfectly cut veggies, bags of grapes, and string cheeses that have to stay on ice. It’s one trip, no one is judging you for feeding those kids packaged grains. AND well if they are judging you, offer them some of those crackers… They are probably just hungry. Another thing, don’t beat yourself up about swinging through the drive-thru. It’s okay! Drive-thrus are blessings for busy parents and hungry kids everywhere.
3. Keep a stack of napkins in the glove box at all times. *Refill this stash on the previously mentioned fast food runs.
4. The very best hands on car activity is a notebook and a few colored pens. Skip the crayons, they will melt all over in the hot sun, and snap in the bitter cold. I promise. I say skip the markers also, if your kids are little like some of mine, and into tattooing themselves. Um yeah, it’s embarrassing to put a beautiful little 2 year old curly haired girl in the backseat and pull out a 2 year old curly haired girl who looks like she just came back from a biker/tattoo convention.
5. Lastly do not over pack the car. The next store is most likely just 30-90 minutes away from wherever you are. This is America and as sad as it is to even have this way of thinking, it’s true. You can buy what you NEED on the way, if you have forgotten it. The wide open space in the car is totally not something to take for granted. I get cranky when the car is packed with too much fluff.
Bonus tip: People often forget this one, but if you’re stopping to get gas or to eat, throw away all the garbage in your vehicle. Clean spaces = Happy moms.
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