Out and About with the Kids…. Things I Don’t Do

While this week I have been sharing my tips on how I get out to run errands with my six children along and my game plan when taking my family out on fun trips to the zoo and to museums….  it is only fair for me to explain the other side to this story….  and that is that there are many places where I DON’T take my kids…. either I go alone, or I just don’t go at all.

Here’s a partial list:

Clothes and Shoes shopping (for both me and for them)

I know that there will come a day when my children will want to go shopping with me to pick out their own clothes….  and it will probably be someplace that right now I never go to….  namely- “the mall” (which is funny considering that I spent the first eight years of my career working for a department store!).  But until that day arrives- I mainly shop for clothing for myself and for my kids online.  I try to limit my clothes shopping to when there are really great sales at my favorite retailers….  and one of the best things about online shopping is that you have a better chance of finding the size you are looking for…. my three boys all wear “slim” sizes in jeans- and a GAP store might just have one or two of each size.  I wait until jeans are on sale, and then I buy 5 pairs in the size I need.  Since I nearly always find a code for free shipping for any online purchase, it doesn’t cost me any more than if I ventured out to the store….  and my kids can try the clothes on in the privacy of their own home.  If I find that I need to return something- I will often take it back to a “bricks and mortar” store, to save on the return shipping costs….  but I am doing this alone, when the kids are in school.

I can’t remember the last time I took the kids to a store to buy shoes……  which many people find surprising.  But as long as you have a handy-dandy shoe sizer (available from One Step Ahead) you can measure your kids’ feet on your own and order their shoes online too.  I’ve already shared with you my favorite online shoe site (www.6pm.com)…  but I am also a big fan of their regular-priced shoe site www.zappos.com.  Zappos offers free shipping on sales as well as returns, and they have a great selection along many different price points.

Going to the Gym (that is, if I belonged to a gym)

I know alot of people take their kids with them when they go to the gym and work out, and the kids can hang out with a sitter while Mom or Dad use the equipment or take a class.  But with 6 kids, the babysitting fee would be crazy…..  and I can’t imagine asking the kids to do this on a regular basis is something that they would all be enthused about.  So I am set up to exercise at home….  where I can keep an eye on my crew and they can be entertained in their own home.

Big Venues- such as Concerts, Major League Baseball Games

The idea of trying to keep my kids together in the middle of huge crowds entering and exiting a large stadium, well it makes me break out into a sweat just thinking about it.  And beyond that…  I plan to send these kids to college someday- so concert and baseball tickets are just not in the family budget!

Running Errands and Going to the Grocery Store

Even though I outlined my tips for taking the family along on these outings, my first choice to go to stores alone.  I usually shop with a detailed list and a big pile of coupons, and it is much simpler and faster to manage all of that when I am alone!

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  1. says

    I’m the same way except I don’t online shop regularly. I just make sure my husband and I go as a team or one of us does it without the kids. I usually do not want to handle a 4 and 2 yr old in the shoe store along with a 10 yr old when we all have 3 kids to shop for. We’ve done it but it’s so much simpler when done in other ways.

    • says

      Going out as a team or even leaving the kids home with your husband so that you can venture out and do the shopping on your own are all great options! For me, it is also a matter of maximizing my time… and I feel that I can often get better details by sitting at my computer and shopping the web than I can by heading out to the mall or into town. The downside is that I am not doing enough to help local businesses when I shop online by price.

  2. says

    I do all my grocery shopping online. I place my grocery order and then can just drive over to pick them up, with the kids all strapped in their seats and we never have to go in. Or my husband can pick them up on his way home– I get all the brands I want and shopped the sales. 🙂
    I love the idea of doing their shoe shopping online. I never would have thought of ordering a shoe sizer! Great tip!
    For their clothes, we are having a harder and harder time going clothes shopping together. For large trips, I always go by myself. I do like to pop into our favorite stores to check out their clearance section, but I only ever end up buying one or two items. (The other day I picked up four things at Gymboree for under $15 including tax!) And my clothing shopping is always done without the kids as well. It takes too long to find the item and then to try it on… and then waiting in line to buy it… not fun and I only have three kids.
    I always like to “scout” a place before I commit to a trip there, especially with all our kids. I like to know where to park, where the bathrooms are, if my stroller will fit in the bathrooms. I like to know my food options (good to know if I can buy affordable, healthy food options), but it is most important that I can get to my vehicle easily and quickly if everything goes south. I also like to go places with a family friendly environment, which usually means going out at the right times. This goes for parks, shopping malls, restaurants, kids’ play places… It is amazing just how much changes when you are going out with young children!
    Kimber recently posted..We can work it out

    • says

      It does get easier Kimber I promise you! But I still do most of my clothes shopping online! I took shop the clearance… and buy for my kids when things are on sale…. but by subscribing to emails from my favorite retailers, I always know when items have reached their rock-bottom prices!

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