We became a licensed foster home when our oldest daughter was nine months old. As a mainly baby and toddler home, we’ve always had multiple little ones, and life can feel quite chaotic. In 2018, we had five children, four of whom were under 4. It was winter, and we ended up spending most of our days at home, as I felt incapable of executing the logistics of packing up and leaving with all the kids in tow. The children were reunited with their parents after six weeks, but their time with us taught me the importance of getting organized in order to have more freedom.
This January, we received a call for our son’s brother: an almost-four-month-old baby boy. I had given birth just four weeks earlier, and our oldest was two and a half, now giving us four children under the age of 3! But because we felt committed to keeping siblings together and giving our boys someone in their family with a shared story, we said yes, and immediately my brain kicked into overdrive: I wanted to be prepared this time around.
I pulled out all my diaper bags and purchased a couple more. I had a babies-only bag, a toddlers-only bag, a bag for all four kiddos. Additionally, each child had their own individual bag, in case one of us would be leaving the house with just one child. I then sat down to make lists for each bag, meticulously including enough diapers, wipes, spare outfits, a book and toy for the toddlers, teething toys for the babies, and of course, a granola bar and Chapstick for me. I printed the lists, laminated and hole punched them, and attached each one to the corresponding bag.
This has been an absolute game changer in our family over the last 10 months. The bags are always packed and ready to go. Each evening, whatever bag was used during the day stays in the kitchen until it has been restocked (the lists make it possible for me to delegate this job!). If I have an appointment with one child, but am dropping two off somewhere else, I don’t have to do the mental gymnastics of what needs to go where, but rather simply grab the appropriate bags. While this season has been crazy and hectic, and we often feel like we’re drowning, we have experienced more freedom leaving the house and arriving places on time because I’m not running through mental lists every morning!
I’d love to hear from you! How do you make it out the door on time with kids in tow?