Over a week ago, I was making a quick trip the the grocery store to pick up a few things.  We were going to a friend's home and I was bringing apple pie, so I had to get the granny smith apples, the pie crust (so much easier than making it yourself, and it always tastes like the perfect crust), caramels, etc. On this particular trip to the store, I had my one-year-old with me. 

Well, by the time I got done, I realized that there was a whole blog to be written about shopping with a baby!  I guess we could cover more than one subtopic on this topic, but I was in particularly interested in how a mother goes about doing this safely and with ease. 

When I first became a mother, I quickly discovered the mindset of looking for parking spots that are right next to (or extremely) near a carriage stall (buggy stall, cart stall...there are so many different names!). I don't care if I'm near the market door or not; but I do care how close the carriages are located. When I had an infant still being lugged around in his infant carrier seat, it was not only important for me to find the carriage stall, but also to make sure there was still at least one carriage in the one I picked to park near. Why all this? Well, as soon as I was out of the car lugging that heavy, clumsy seat, I needed a place to put it down! In the carriage it would go, and the rest of the time at the store was handled with much more ease.  Not only that, but when I returned to the car with the baby, the carrier, and all the groceries, I was able to load them right into the car and put the carriage in it's place without leaving my baby alone (this is why I prefer to park right next to the stall). Along with this, I believe that you always, always, always want to keep your keys on you at all times so that you don't lock the baby in the car! Know where your keys are at all times!  I can't say that enough.

Now with a one-year-old, I still find it important to park nearby a carriage stall for things to run smoothly when I'm done shopping, but it's not necessary to grab a carriage until I get inside. He rides well in my arms until then. But inside is a whole new set of rules. On that pie-making day, for example, I grabbed a carriage to put him in when I noticed that it had gum on it, so I picked another one only to find that the safety straps were broken! At last, I picked out a third and it was fine! After strapping him safely in, I cleaned the handles.  Thankfully, these days grocery stores often supply you with disinfectant wipes, which I find useful for the handle and the bar he tends to hold onto in front of him. (This is even more important because not-too-long-ago, he tended to try to suck on it --- YUCK! Best if you can avoid your baby doing that. You don't know what germs are out there, even with the wipe!)

There is one last observation I have made as a mom in the grocery store, and that is: those safety straps are not fool proof! Of course, it's first important that the straps are right under the baby's armpits and tight enough to keep him secure, but not pinching. (Baby has gotta breathe too!  Be careful!).  But even then, never trust the straps to watch the baby! My little guy is always surprising me with the new things he tries to do to wiggle around, try to stand up, etc. And the scary thing is that it can happen so fast and unexpectedly, especially when focusing on picking out groceries, loading the belt at the check-out, paying for the groceries --- we as moms really have to stay near the baby and not forget to continually pay attention to his safety. As I said, babies are fast and full of surprises! 

So, that all came out of my adventures to the grocery store. I hope it was helpful to you --- or at least made you chuckle because it's so familiar!

How does a mom get in a little reading time?  How does a mom get time for a hobby?  Or just to sit in quiet and enjoy some coffee?  Well, the answer to that is different for each individual.  Only you know the rhythm of the household activities in your home, whereas my household may operate on a different schedule than yours.  None-the-less, it is important to have some time to do what you like to do and take it easy if you can. It doesn't mean to dislike that the children interrupt you when you are trying to do something in the morning, or to grumble that you have to make dinner already when it seems the day flew by in the evening, but it means that you find a bit of quiet somewhere in the day or night to rejuvenate, so that when the busyness hits, you are ready for the challenge!

So, on thinking on this topic, I can say that I personally am having a nice morning, being up before the crack of dawn. I was woken by my son in the wee hours, so I got him back to sleep.  Afterwords, I decided that I was fairly awake and would enjoy some time to myself. Just last evening, I really wanted to cut squares for a quilt I am making, and I only did that a little while but found myself having to take care of dishes and other things, keeping me from this relaxing hobby. I went to bed wishing I could have done more, but too tired to continue. So, this morning, I have enjoyed coffee, emailing, facebook, reading, blogging (right now), and --- cutting squares for the quilt!  I'm not necessarily recommending that other moms follow suit in exchanging sleep for time-to-yourself, but for me, that's a welcome thing from time to time.  As I said before, only you know what works for you.

Some may find that setting a hour a day aside for quiet for all the children and mom, to be a beneficial habit. This would be the time that each child has to take the hour to nap or play quietly on their beds looking at books or playing with a doll, etc. Preferably this is the baby's nap time as well.  This way, mom can look forward to that one-hour afternoon break each day. Also, if you find that facebook is taking up all your quiet time-to-yourself time, you may like to completely not look at it at all some days and decide to do something entirely different in it's place. You will be amazed the difference that can make in your life!

Also important for mom and dad (and the whole family ultimately) are dates with each other! Husbands and wives need to have one on one time together. See if you can arrange to have a trusted family member or friend keep the children for an hour or more, so that you and your hubby can take a walk or go out-to-eat. You need that time together.  (And if you are a single mom, you also need a break from time to time to take a walk or go out-to-eat with friends, etc.). But please don't just leave the kids with anyone! Know their babysitters! If you are wondering how your family can afford a babysitter, it may be good to exchange babysitting with a friend, so that your friend can also have some free time!

Well, it's time for me to get back to the quilt...maybe I'll show it to you on my blog someday!  :)