Leaving the house is never as simple as it sounds.
It’s safe to say most people would agree being a new parent is incredibly stressful. As if sacrificing your personal life wasn’t enough, now, if you simply want to leave the house, there’s so much involved that you question if it’s even worth it.
When my son was born, just the idea of leaving the house confronted me with a wave of other thoughts. Leaving meant I’d have to pack a diaper bag, get the formula and bottles ready, get the carseat ready, heat the car if it’s winter, or cool the car if it’s summer. The thought process of what leaving the house entailed made me just want to stay inside or find a babysitter so I could run errands alone.
If the steps required to leave weren’t enough to sit me back down, when I actually would find the strength to go somewhere (let’s say, the mall), I was then met with the second wave of stressful reminders. What about when his diaper is full? Now I have to go to the bathroom, pull out the changing pad, make sure it’s sterilized, lay him on it, make sure he doesn’t touch anything, and put a new diaper on him. Let’s not forget about finding a spot to sit the handful of clothes and other items I plan to purchase. Often times, between wave one and wave two, just the thought of leaving the house and bringing the baby left me feeling like “ugh.” I dreaded it.
There was one thing I discovered, however, that gave me a better reason to push through. The more I get my child out of the house, the better they will know how to act in public. This became especially important once I had a second child.
We went through our bumps in the road, as all parents do. Sometimes he would flip out and start crying. When that happened I knew I had to suck up the embarrassment and I’d tell myself, “You know what? If any of these people watching have kids, they get it.” I decided I would much rather deal with the embarrassment instead of barricading myself in the house. If I stayed in the house to avoid a scene, my child would become even more unruly if they never experienced being out in public.
A lot of the training takes place at home of course, but the practice field is in public. When in public you can see if what you have been teaching at home has truly digested in their minds.
All of the bumps in the road actually paid off. My son who is now four and my daughter who is now two, are a complete joy when we leave the house. They actually act even better when they’re outside of the home than they do when they are inside. I haven’t had any issues with my son or daughter running away from me or kicking and screaming on the floor. When they would try any of that at home I would always check it right then and there. Now when they’re out in public I don’t have to be as concerned because I know they know how to act. The more we left the house, the more familiar they became with being out of the house and they know how to conduct themselves.
Even though sometimes as moms and dads we don’t want to deal with our children embarrassing us in public spaces. We just have to take a step back and say, “You know what? This isn’t about me, it’s about the child.” The child needs the opportunity to learn the difference between what’s acceptable at home and when you leave the house. The more exposure they have to different environments, the better they will act as they grow older. Those are my confessions.