What almost ruined our day (and how we salvaged it)
Getting out and about with a baby remains a struggle for us a year later. Joel has been on holidays this past week, so we crammed each day with a few unrealistic expectations. Or at least expectations that are difficult to manage without some forethought and planning.
What almost ruined our day
On one particular day this week, we planned to peruse the farmer’s market and lunch on freshly made tacos after Joel spends time fishing on the lake and before we make our way to Bobcaygen to visit friends. Pre-baby, we could have managed a schedule like this one in stride. However, doing so on the fly without much forethought proved disastrous for us.
Up later the night before, Finn and I slept in while Joel got out onto the lake to fish away the early morning. Joel spent an extra hour than planned on the lake, but I managed to sneak in a shower before he got back. So where we lost time, we still seemed to be on track.
By the time we were heading to the farmer’s market, which is about a half an hour away, it was later in the day and we worried about not being able to get to our friend’s cottage on time. This put us in a conundrum because we needed the lunch and fresh produce from the market for our week ahead, but couldn’t afford the extra time to make the trip. Not to mention the snacks we were supposed to bring to the cottage, which we hadn’t had the forethought to buy and prepare in advance.
Here we were, driving around indecisively and reactively, wasting time and bickering instead of enjoying the fun things we had planned for that day. Just then, Finn began to signal that he was hungry, and these days he craves more than just the easy breastmilk of his earlier life. Except that we hadn’t prepared anything for him to eat.
Reflecting on this, I’m a little embarrassed at how selfishly we pursued joy and how little we thought it all through. But, this was a lesson to us and a reminder that as parents, we have to plan ahead and how a little preparation goes a long way toward a smooth day away from home.
Suggestions for getting out with a baby this summer
Plan realistically. Just because you can cram it into your day, doesn’t mean you should. Having a full day means you get to experience many things that bring joy, but overbooking your day can cause anxious feelings to overshadow any of the fun you might otherwise have had.
Bring food. Bring snacks to feed everyone for the trip, and budget time in your day to allow for meal stops. I know I’m not the only breastfeeding mother at risk of some “hangry” moments, and with a baby who can’t eat just anything, you have to plan ahead to have food available.
Pack extras. Bring the sunscreen, bug spray, extra set of clothing (or two), towels, bathing suits, stroller, carriers, water bottle, and ALL THE THINGS. When in doubt, bring it!
Be flexible. Joel loves to fish, so he took extra time. We prioritized our visit with friends and had to cut the market visit, which we can do any other week. Being able to roll with the changes in the day as they happened left room in our day for more fun.
Communicate. Turning our day around and practicing all of the above was made possible by effective communication. Knowing what the other person was looking forward to most or needed for each part of our day allowed us to work as a team to make it happen all while juggling life with a very busy baby.
How we salvaged the day
In the end we forwent the trip to the market and dropped into a local grocery store to buy snacks for our visit and food for Finn. We headed straight for Bobcaygen in the Kawartha Lakes region and spent the afternoon among friends, playing in the water and getting out on the boat. After saying our goodbyes, we stopped for dinner at a local restaurant across from the Bobcaygen locks on the Trent-Severn Waterway. Here are a few photos from our salvaged day.