Curt here. I’m the guest blogger who gets to talk about DAD LIFE. Dads get to have all the fun with their kids, and this is just one of those examples.
I have uncovered the simplest form of pleasing my wife, my children and myself for approximately two hours on a regularly occurring basis: taking the bus.
In most cities, there is a bus route within walking distance of your house. It doesn’t matter which line it is or where it goes. It doesn’t matter if it’s a commuter bus (meaning you can’t take it back home) or if the buses stop running after a certain hour. Any bus that you can walk to is good enough.
Here’s how you do a bus adventure:
Step 1: Go to the bus stop
Step 2: Take it somewhere
Step 3: Get picked up by mom later
No need to plan. Kids will love the bus more than the destination. Everything in life is exciting and new for young children. If you never forget that, then it’s easy to come up with simple destinations for your kids. Plus, they start to see the world differently. My kids knew the bus numbers that ran by our house, so they would see those buses on the road and get excited about seeing THEIR bus.
No need to explain to your wife where you’re going to go. She has two hours of uninterrupted time to herself to accomplish anything she wants. She doesn’t care where you go. She now has two hands to get one big project or many small projects done. Or maybe a couple of episodes of Grey’s Anatomy which I refuse to watch with her.
But you might be thinking how you might enjoy a bus ride. I’m going to tell you, I have the most fun of everyone. I get to go have adventures. Any adventure I choose. For the entire fall, we picked blackberries on long walks through a local walking trail. In the winter we’d go to different places like the mall park, Barnes and Noble, the library and maybe the occasional ice cream or donut shop. Spring and summer were the best because we could go anywhere: parks, trails, micro-breweries. Sometimes, we just took the bus to the end of the line just to see what was there. We got overconfident and took a transfer a couple of times and got really far from home. Most nights we had a blast. It was addicting. I was taking all three kids (ages 4, 2 and infant) out 2-3 times per week for nearly a year, and it never got boring.
Our normal routine:
Early dinner at 5:00pm (I got home from work around 4:30p,)
After dinner, mom tanks up our infant on the mama juice (in other words, she breastfeeds) and I strap baby in our Beco Gemini (see here) and walk all three kids to the bus stop!
Pick up the next bus that comes along. It’s best if we knew the schedule so we weren’t waiting thirty minutes. Then go to a destination we’ve been to before or try a new stop.
Two to three hours in, the kids and I usually lose our minds and I call my wife for a pickup. We dress them in their PJs and drive home (during which they usually fall asleep).
That was probably the most well-balanced years of our family life. Mom got enough time to recoup her mind, I got to enjoy the kids and they me. Plus, I frequented the micro-breweries a lot more this way. Very enjoyable year for me.
Common Destinations Included:
- Playgrounds or parks
- Walking trails
- Mall parks/Barnes & Noble
- Taking a bus to the end of its line
If you like this idea, don’t go into it without preparation. When I started, I had three kids under four and there were plenty of things I learned I should always bring with me. Because we did this so regularly, I would pre-pack a backpack and just leave it in the closet. That’s way easier than trying to throw things together last minute. See my post on my Daddy go-bag here.
Pre-packed Backpack Items
- Snacky foods like trail mix, granola bars or an apple (to curb those hangry moods)
- Water (always, even when it’s cold. Also effective at combating angry moods)
- Book or newspaper for you (I don’t recommend smart devices, because they absorb too much of your attention, but bring something. The ultimate adventure is when the kids get to run free in a park, and it’s best you have something you can do)
- Cash and change (for the bus, they rarely give back change)
- Diapers and Wipes (for all sizes your kids need)
- Extra clothes (for those inevitable messes)
- Trash bag and gloves (in case you do some nature diving, see here)
How does Marabou support women?
We live in culture where “bouncing back” is more valued than proper rest. As admirable as it may be for a sports star to get back on the field, the same rules don’t apply to postpartum recovery. The traditional resting period has been stolen from women through pressure to get back to their job or simply through lack of presence.
Grandmas, sisters and best friends who otherwise would have been there to help a woman transition into motherhood often live too far away to be of any help. Household chores and caring for older children inevitably fall on the mom. But she just delivered a new life! She needs rest.
Marabou Services is a unique gift registry which provides services instead of stuff. Most mom’s get too many onesies, too many baby blankets and not enough helping hands. Break out of a destructive cultural norm and start a Marabou registry today.
With a Marabou registry you can sing up for any service which will benefit you or someone you know during the postpartum recovery period.
Postpartum doulas for a first time mom
House cleanings for moms of multiples
Childcare for moms with older children!
Once your registry is created, add it to any other registry or post it to your Facebook and ask friends and family contribute to your postpartum service, rather than buying you more stuff.