Real talk! I’ve been seeing so much content urging moms to take a moment for themselves so they can boss up and get it done. You know what? I don’t have that option. My village works during the day! Sure, I have wonderful people around me and a very supportive husband that can give me a few free hours during a weekday, but that’s not a phone call I would make on a weekly basis. I use those favors wisely!
So, what does the mom with multiple children (say, I don’t know…FIVE!) do when they’ve got to reply to emails, write or ideate? Well, if you’ve done your due diligence with “home training” you can totally go out with multiple children and have a peaceful, joyful, and productive time in public.
My independent three-year old is in training, too!
#1 – Establish a clear response from the child when you give them a directive.
This is so important! So many times I see parents tell their child something and then the parent asks, “Did you hear me?” or “What did I just say?” If you establish a clear response from the child beforehand that communicates what you just said to that child was heard and understood, it will minimize the back and forth that is so frustrating in public.
The clear response from my children is, “Yes, ma’am.”
This is so powerful! If you’re in public and your child decides to act a complete fool, as they love to do…the sound of your clear directive, followed by their clear response stops the chaos immediately. As soon as a child can talk, they can reply with a clear response to your direction.
Take your children out often so they can practice appropriate behavior in public.
#2 – Establish a method for interruptions.
If you are on the phone, talking to an adult or another child, you need to have a way for that child to communicate they would like to speak to you. For me, “excuse me” is disruptive. So we chose this method:
If I’m talking to someone, the child who wants my attention, touches me on the arm.
I then touch the child’s hand and keep my hand on their hand to let them know I acknowledge their presence and will address them as soon as I get a break in the conversation.
When I’m ready to speak to the child (don’t make them wait long), I give them my full attention and address them directly.
This is such a peaceful and impressive little method. It keeps the child calm and you as well and stops the, “MOM, MOM, MOM…” that makes everyone’s eyes roll in the coffee shop.
We’re able to attend ceremonies and long events because of the home training practices in place.
#3 – Teach your children appropriate language.
We’ve got to be clear on the language that is okay for our child to say. If you want her to not say “dang it” and “shoot” when you tell her “no” then you’ve got to model the appropriate responses.
My mother taught me early on, children are novices. They need to be taught everything! We simply can’t leave their behavior to chance. If they are doing something you do not like, guess what? You can reteach them a new way to response to replace the negative behavior pattern.
A child left to himself brings his mother shame
– Proverbs 29:15
For me, if I tell my child “not right now” and they reply with a big sigh, kick their legs in the air, and turn away from me in a huff…we’ve got a problem. That response is not the lovely plant I’m trying to grow and that weed has got to come up!
So, we’ve got to identify the right way to respond, teach that behavior. and reward it when it happens. And then, monitor it closely to make sure the response becomes a habit that sticks at home and in public.
I run errands with the kids all of the time!
#4 – Be realistic!
Tired and hungry children are not cooperative…at all! So do yourself a favor, make sure they are fed, rested, and ready to go before attempting to hangout somewhere.
Was able to do lesson planning while the little ones read at the library.
Practice makes perfect. And with continued tries, you’ll be able to lose the anxiety that you’ve been feeling with having your kids out and about.
Doing a sound check before a performance. The kids were sitting quietly behind me.
I remember when my second eldest had disruptive sensory outbursts every where we went. I learned how to have tough skin and get over embarrassment quickly. I also learned some occupational therapy tricks that made him calmer in the grocery store or while waiting in line at Jamba Juice.
For your sensory seeker or child on the autism spectrum, try these tricks:
Beef jerky. It’s tough and takes your full attention to chew and swallow. It’s a very distracting food to give a child who craves stimulation. Instant attention grabber that will occupy a sensory seeking kid.
Weighted backpack. I would put heavy books in Ethan’s backpack to slow him down. It prevented him from running and that extra “work” it took to carry the books (not too heavy of course) was a source of comfort and reduces the risk of sensory overload. For more information on how to do this properly, check out
this link. 1 lb. ankle weights. I also used ankle weights on Ethan to slow him down. He was a runner, spinner, and crasher. The weights were fun “work” that made him distracted, slower, and stronger. Wrist and ankle weights can help promote muscle strength and stability and increase sensory awareness to the hands or feet!
Visiting a friend who was recuperating, and I brought all five kids with me.
I hope this post was helpful to the mama who is ready to crush their goals with kids in tow.
I was busy planning our extra curricular activities for the year while the kids played nearby.
If you’ve got some productivity tips on how to live seamlessly between motherhood and work, leave them in the comments below. I can’t wait to read your responses!