Sometimes that's what it feels like when I start to load up the car for a full day out. It reminds me of the teachers loading coolers, bags, and boxes full of stuff onto the buses for field trips. So today we are going to the water park. If you ever frequent water parks, pools, beaches, or parks (especially with sand) the $4 pop up hampers with handles from Walmart are AWESOME. The pricier ones are tall, I prefer the short wide ones (like the tall but on their side so it has a large opening). They fit towels/coverups for 8. Another one fits diapers, wipes, water slings, clothes, sunscreen, life jackets, etc. Walmart now has collapsible cloth baskets available. These fit food, water bottles, etc. I am not a huge fan of Walmart, but when you live a bit more rurally and they are the only general merchandise store for 30 mins, you learn to find what you need there.
I am thankful we own an older Maclaran Volo stroller because the entire seat is a waterproof, breathable mesh. If you toss in a nice water sling and there are your extra hands. We are going on a Sunday so hubby can come, that is my extra set of eyes. Now to get 6 overexcited kids actually into the bus. Though I know getting them onto the bus to go is in no way measurable to the work of getting them on the bus to come home. They'll be wet, hungry, tired.
I frequently get asked how I can afford 6 kids. It isn't things like this that cost that much. Health insurance premiums, YMCA membership (where the water parks is), museum and zoo memberships, etc are all the same price regardless of if you have 2 or 6 kids. It's those "conveniences" that add up. I want to get them into the "bus" from the waterpark. I'm hot and tired, they're hot and tired. There's a McDs a mile up the road. Who wants McFlurries? McFlurries times 2 kids (ok, and 2 parents) in a snack size comes to $7.24, the same McFlurries times Super Sized (ok our family isn't really super sized) is $14.41, twice as much. If you go to the water park every week it can add up.
We don't go to the water park every week but we seem to have something like that happen every week. Take yesterday, for instance, if you have to leave the house at 8:30 am to swim lessons you have to be up by at LEAST 8 am to get everyone dressed and towels. If you have a La Leche League meeting afterwards that happens to be on the same road you really don't want to drive the 20+ minutes home. Then you need to bring clothes so add a hurried 5 minutes (because I'd rather hurry than get up another 10 minutes earlier) to that 8 am wake up call. If you have a sick fish that requires medicine from the pet shop, also on the same road, again you don't want to drive home. By the time you're done with all that is it worth the, now 30 minute, drive home if you have to be back in just over an hour for art class? You knew all this last night. You had every intention of packing a lunch. The baby woke up once so you couldn't finish the dishes, the baby woke up again so you couldn't finish the laundry, after the 3rd time you not only forgot all about the lunch but you didn't even get to brush your teething before falling asleep. That means you could, if your Supermom, get up earlier and pack it in the morning. Unfortunately I got demoted to "good mom" by most standards (though I think I'm in danger of another demotion), by a tweens standard I got demoted all the way to "mean mommy". Since, not feeding the children would, not only result in low blood sugar meltdowns, but be a bigger demotion than feeding them junk, you are at the drive thru. A drive thru for lunch is a lot pricier than just McFlurries.
The same thing applies to the checkout line at the grocery store. Though, seriously, who takes 6 kids to the grocery store? Probably the same crazy lady who takes 6 kids to Target school shopping. It was a tough decision. I could squeeze it into the weekend since hubby would be home. However, since we have a car wash, birthday party and splash party this weekend I thought it would be nice to get it over with. The kids are very excited about the "field trip", which is what we have decided to make the Target trip. 4 kids with lists in hand, 1 carrier to contain the baby, and 1 toddler who is usually OK if she has a pacified backup. Discussion is made of walking to Petsmart when we are done. There is also a request of World Market if we behave, for good measure mommy tosses in "and help everyone else behave". It sounds like such a fun day. 3 fights over yo yos, 2 lost lists, 1 screaming baby and lots of annoyed fellow shoppers (and $200 in supplies) later we decide to skip, wait, I decide to skip the other stores in favor of Walmart for all the supplies Target inevitably was out of.
That's not to say every field trip goes like that. The water park was a blast, especially ending with a nice McFlurry bribe for a peaceful hour drive home. Usually a car wash fundraiser would be lots of fun too and wear the kids out. Unfortunately, tomorrow is calling for thunderstorms.