Getting Out of the House with a Toddler in 71 Easy Steps

Have you ever tried getting out of the house with a toddler? It’s like herding a cat. Am I right? Gone are the days of grabbing the diaper bag, scooping up the little one, and walking out the door. These days it’s more like racing the clock to scramble out the door and then struggling to get the toddler in and secured in the car seat. By the time we make it out the door, we have generally shed some tears and broken a sweat.

Sometimes we just need to step back, breathe, and laugh. So here you have it, your daily chuckle…

Getting Out of the House with a Toddler in 71 Easy Steps

  1. Announce that it’s time to leave in 5 minutes in order to give toddler time to process.
  2. Experience resistance and recognize strong-willed child.
  3. Be thankful for strong-willed toddler. {Except for moments like these.}
  4. Announce that it’s time to put on shoes.
  5. Let toddler pick out shoes.
  6. Help toddler put on said shoes.
  7. Pack snacks for the ride.
  8. Don’t forget a drink too.
  9. Recognize toddler no longer wants red shoes, but now wants black shoes.
  10. Find black shoes.
  11. Help toddler put on black shoes.
  12. Try to lure toddler to the car with snacks.
  13. Realize efforts aren’t working.
  14. Offer toddler the option to walk or be carried to the car.
  15. Realize you don’t have blankie/lovey/etc.
  16. Try to locate blankie/lovey/etc.
  17. Panic that blankie/lovey/etc. is currently MIA. Break into cold sweat.
  18. Console crying toddler. Who only wants aforementioned blankie/lovey/etc.
  19. Pick toddler up off the floor.
  20. Announce that it’s time to leave. Again.
  21. Tell toddler to pick ONE stuffed animal for the car.
  22. Watch as toddler fills hands with TEN stuffed animals.
  23. Repeat – ONE stuffed animal.
  24. Witness toddler struggle.
  25. Console crying toddler.
  26. Realize it’s been 30 minutes.
  27. Announce that it’s time to really leave this time.
  28. Recognize that you are already late.
  29. Try to stay calm.
  30. Breathe.
  31. Remind toddler to breathe.
  32. Toddler now wants to bring books to the car.
  33. Toddler picks out 5 books.
  34. Ask toddler to pick 2 to bring.
  35. Notice snacks have already been consumed.
  36. Refill snacks.
  37. Remember your destination is 45 minutes away.
  38. Ask toddler if they need a new pull-up or to use the bathroom.
  39. Remove pull-up/undies.
  40. Chase bare-bottom toddler around the house.
  41. Reprimand dog for trying to lick toddler’s bare bottom.
  42. Put on new pull-up/undies.
  43. Toddler asks for a sip of water.
  44. Provide aforementioned sip of water.
  45. Repack diaper bag.
  46. Recognize black shoes are no longer on feet.
  47. Find shoes and put back on.
  48. Ask toddler is he/she wants to walk or be carried to the car.
  49. Allow toddler to help close and lock the door.
  50. Wait 5 minutes.
  51. Breathe in. Close eyes. Breathe out.  {Is that one step or three steps?}
  52. Carry toddler to the car.
  53. Attempt to put toddler in car seat.
  54. Toddler stiffens body and locks legs.
  55. Bribe toddler with snack.
  56. Realize that toddler is full off of the first set of snacks packed.
  57. Offer toddler peppermint/chapstick/toy to comply.
  58. Let toddler buckle himself/herself in.
  59. Fix initial attempt.
  60. Close the door.
  61. Do a few yoga breaths to regain composure.
  62. Dig for keys.
  63. Find keys.
  64. Start the car.
  65. Text play date moms, “Running late. Rough morning.”
  66. Hear toddler scream for phone to watch Sesame Street.
  67. Put on sunglasses.
  68. Pull out of the drive-way.
  69. Hope for cocktails.
  70. Realize it’s only 9:30am.
  71. Settle for Starbucks.

Simple, right? Between meals with toddlers and taking them places, this parenting gig is easy! What’s the process look like for you?

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Erica is a New England native who moved to Houston with her family in June 2014. She and her wife Christina live in Pearland with their daughter Quinn {Dec 2013}, dog Charley, and two cats Phoebe and Oliver. Erica is an Assistant Professor at the University of Houston where she teaches classes on strategic communication and social media. When Erica isn’t busy teaching, researching, or being a mom, she enjoys getting her yoga on, creating culinary delights, scoring deals shopping online, and exploring Texas with her girls.


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