How to Leave the House with Children in Tow :: Keeping It Real


leaving house with kids

Do you ever feel like it takes you forever to leave the house with children? Like, you age a few years trying?

Me too, Girlfriend. Here’s what happened last weekend.

It’s a Saturday morning. We wake to the heavy footsteps of little giants who demand food and attention LIKE NOW. The clock strikes 6:30 a.m. I can’t remember the last time I slept past 6:30. I make breakfast and a large pot of coffee and catch a glimpse of my reflection from the coffee pot. *Shudders* Today is definitely a shower day.

My thoughts of bringing life back into my mane are interrupted by little voices asking to go on a nature walk. “I want to go to Mouse Rock.” (That’s Moss Rock for the rest of us.) “I want to go see the Giant.” (That’s Vulcan for the rest of us.) 

Then I pour a cup of coffee and we discuss. We all agree to take a walk on the Vulcan trail. The clock just now strikes 7:15, and I question everything about how I got here in life. 

“We will leave the house at 8:30,” I say. “That’s over an hour from now. You can play with your toys, but I need you all to pick up toys before we go.”

The countdown to leaving the house is set for one hour and 15 minutes. That’s plenty of time. What a rookie mistake, Lisha.

I toss my first cup of coffee because it had gotten cold. I make a second cup of coffee and sip on it while scrolling through Instagram. Siri must have heard my thoughts about washing my hair because the influencers are out in full force with enticing stories about hair products that are “life changing.” Of course, I swipe up on a few. A foot down the rabbit hole of hair products later, my thoughts are again interrupted by my daughter. She wants to change out of her Elsa nightgown into yet another Elsa nightgown. 

I proceed to have a rational conversation with a two year old. 

“Grey, you are not wearing this dress again. Look, here is a food stain. It’s dirty.” 

        “But it’s my favorite!”

“I know, but Mommy has to wash it before you can wear it again.”

        “But I love it!”

I bribe her into letting me wash it by giving her a snack . . . ten minutes after breakfast.

“Might as well do a load of laundry,” I think to myself. I gather up the dirty clothes on the floor from all four of my children’s rooms (husband included) and start a load of wash. Next, I make the beds and pick up the books off the floor. Then, I let my daughter have a fashion show of four outfit options before she settles on one.

The countdown to leaving is now at 30 minutes.

I get dressed, put my shameful mane under a hat, and ask the boys to get dressed. My daughter comes to me with another Elsa dress. Where do these dresses keep coming from? Why do I keep buying them? She, of course, no longer likes the outfit she has on, so through tears and promises of candy, I get her into outfit number three of the day.

“Mommy, I have poo poo.”


Diaper change. Switch over laundry.

Get shoes on three pairs of feet.

The countdown is now at ten minutes.

I pack a diaper and snack bag, fill up water bottles, and step on a piece of play food. In fact, toys are everywhere. Now I stand at a crossroad: do I stick by my “pick up your toys” rule, or do I sacrifice my principles? I decide to enforce the rules and know immediately that it was a bad choice. The kids “pick up” the toys by throwing them haphazardly into random places. Do they not understand I have a system to toy organization? The bottom bin is for cars and trucks, and the middle bin is for dinosaurs. Don’t they know dinosaurs and cars can’t live in the same bin? Just look at Jurassic Park

Of course, I end up cleaning up their “cleaned up” toys. Does anyone else do this? During that time, all three children have managed to take off their shoes. I live a moment of déjà vu and put six shoes back on. I make the boys go potty and wash their hands while I load bikes in the car. It is already hot and sunny, so I have to get hats and sunscreen on the kids. Coming back inside to do just that, I find that Grey’s shoes are off . . . again. For the love, why do kids keep taking off their shoes?? 

Shoes on. Again.

Sunscreen on. Hats on. Bags in car. Kids outside.

I sneak a peek at the clock–it is 8:45. That’s not possible. Where has the time gone? What have I been doing with my life?

My husband decides to make a cup of coffee to go. I contemplate something stronger. 

I go back outside to strap the kids in their seats and find that my daughter’s shoes are off. Again. I make a mental note to add duct tape to my Amazon shopping cart.

I get her shoes on. Get all kids into their car seats. Load up the dog and turn on the car. It is now 9:00 a.m. Whew. I feel like I have already run a marathon. It took us two hours to get out of the house, but look at us! We are out. We made it. 

Half way to our destination, however, I get a feeling like I left something behind or forgot to turn off something. 

“Did you grab the dog leash?” I ask my husband.

He looks at me and makes a u-turn. 

Back to square one.