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How I Run Errands With My Kids Gracefully: Paired Outings

One of my own major struggles as a mother is errands! Ack! Do you remember the days you used to go grocery shopping with ease? Do you remember dropping off your library books and dry cleaning at your leisure, instead of needing to literally schedule it based on nap and snack and the tender balance of mood?

Yeah, me neither.

And it sometimes feels like your children are out to sabotage your errands from the start. For you, it’s necessary life function. For them, it’s an adventure, the goody store full of colorful boxes and food samples and DONUTS (oh, and the occasional enormous $40 stuffed bear, whyyyyy?).

I realized their sense of adventure during errands was not a character flaw. They’re supposed to be curious and bold! But in the grocery store? It’s misplaced and inconvenient, at the very least.

So, I decided to start giving them their adventures first and embracing paired errands.

When we go out, we do two things: one fun thing for them and one needed thing for me. Their fun thing is meant to get their wiggles out, their energy (somewhat) depleted, and their bladders empty (there’s always a potty break at the tail end). If there’s an adventure before what I need to get done, we can usually do our work with more grace.

Here are some examples of my paired outings:


  • Library with kids play area + grocery shopping
  • Story time + target
  • McDonald’s PlayPlace + post office (bonus: I get coffee!)
  • Mall park + Michael’s or other specialty store

In the summer only:

  • Playground or park + grocery shopping
  • Beach + library run
  • OR a long walk to your errands, if possible. Fresh air does a lot in and off itself!

It helps if your two locations are close to each other. My library and grocery store are right across the highway from each other. This grocery store also has a playground across the road that’s easily walkable in the summer months (I’m just waiting for that snow to melt!).

I’m cautious about doing this with big indoor play parks, however. At these places, my kids usually want to play for at least two hours (and because of the fee, I’m usually a fan of maximizing their play time). At that point (and depending on the ages of your kids), the outing is too long and everyone is tired. Your grocery run won’t be enjoyable anyway! I keep play parks for fun days and use more simply adventures for days we need to run errands.

Onward, mamas!

How does Marabou support women?

Moms who used to “lie-in” for forty days now have to pick themselves up within a week to get back to work. Grandmas, sisters and best friends who otherwise would have been there to help a woman transition into motherhood now live too far away and often can’t take time away from their full time job. Household chores and caring for older children fall on the woman who just delivered a new life and whose body needs rest. But we live in a sprawled world and helping hands are plentiful but often too far to be of benefit. 

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. How can you give you daughter living in Japan married to a Navy sailor a helping hand? How can you lend a hand to your best friend who moved to California? How do you ask for help when none of your family lives near you anymore?

Start a Marabou Gift Registry!

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More and more moms find they have to figure out postpartum alone. Women don't have the same support like they used to. Is it any wonder why PMDs are on the rise? Women are embittered by the journey through motherhood simply because no one was there to lend a hand.

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