Giving a shout out to all the spontaneous Moms. And the Moms who love to plan. And all of us on a quest to be a fun Mom no matter our wiring.
Do you know which one you are?
Spontaneous Moms will slam on the brakes, pull over for a county carnival much to the delight of their squealing children. They may or may not have enough cash on hand for cotton candy or rides.
Planners will have placed this carnival on the calendar three weeks early and arrive with exact change, sunscreen and a camera.
Spontaneous Moms will pull up to a movie theatre as her kids cheer wildly. She may pay too much since her coupons are at home, but it will be a buttery celebration.
Planners will have chosen the movies in advance, clipped the coupons and arrive with wet wipes packed for buttery fingers.
Is there a way to merge the strengths of both styles? I think so. The answer is this. Plan to be spontaneous.
Take the strength of your spontaneity and sprinkle in some preplanning to be ready for any adventures that beckons you. Or take the strength of your organization and nudge yourself to be more spontaneous.
This will make your quest to be a fun mom, well…more fun.
How do I know? Because my blood type is Spontaneous and my husband bleeds Planner. Which is a beautiful thing when we play to each other’s strengths. And we hardly ever drive each other crazy (ahem).
Let’s make this super practical. Keep these items in your vehicle so that you will be prepared for any spontaneous adventure you might spot in your travels.
Be a Fun Mom By Keeping These Items in Your Vehicle
My friend Naiomi inspired this idea. She was at the IKEA children’s area, about to receive her hour of kid-free shopping. As she handed over her children to the worker, a nearby Mom looked panicked.
This Mom made one fatal error – she forgot socks. No socks, no service.
But faster than you can say superhero, Naiomi pulled out an extra pair of socks for this stressed out stranger. Little Bear got to go to the playplace with covered feet, and the Mama Bear was able to shop in peace.
From that day forward, I always keep an extra pair of socks in my van to be the fun Mom for my kids, and a hero to others.
Nothing can kill a fun mom moment faster than running out of basic supplies like diapers.
Wondering how many diapers to pack? Choose a reasonable amount for the day, and then double it. Then tuck one extra diaper in the glove box for the extra, EXTRA emergency.
I have been caught out and about a few times in a bad situation. Picture a poop explosion (well, maybe don’t) and an unprepared Mama.
My friend’s husband had this same thing happen when he was out grocery shopping with their six kids. Did he panic? Not a chance. He rigged up a delightful outfit out of a plastic bag. (don’t try this at home – these were desperate times and a pro-star parent).
Something about having a fourth baby made me less prepared than you may expect. Having a break before giving birth to our caboose gave me time to forget how to carry a well-stocked diaper bag. So on this day, when my son power-peed through his last pair of dry pants…I had to think quickly. I resorted to a winter jacket, using the arms as leg holes:
suncreen and hats
Keep suncreen in the vehicle next to the sunhats. No little piggies will be sunburned on our watch. See that glorious park on the newly discovered road? You are ready to explore since you have prepacked important sun supplies.
After one of our MOPS gatherings, we were all feeling spontaneous and drove to a nearby park. One awesome Mom of twin toddlers had not read this article yet, but did that stop her? No way. She whipped out spare leggings from her diaper bag and rigged up fabulous sunhats by knotting the legs.
Improv at its finest.
bathing suits and towels
Is that splashpad calling your name? Did you run into a friend at the store who insisted you come this very minute to her pool?
Then this tip is for you.
We keep one extra swimsuit for each of us in the van. We rolled up a few towels to be ready for last-minute aquatics. This also works well when your kids spill something and you have a spare ‘outfit’ on hand. Unless it’s January. Then it’s super awkward to dress them in your backup tropical gear.
a few toys
Last summer I took our youngest to the beach at dusk – spontaneously. He wanted to build a sandcastle and was able to scrounge up supplies left behind from children earlier in the day. He looks pretty happy, right? Not at all deprived by my lack of preparation.
Who would have left a perfectly good shovel just because the handle broke off?
I’m all about improvising, but there are also a few things that are great to keep in the van, especially for older kids.
- a frisbee
- baseball glove and ball
- soccer ball
- a laptop and powersource (not really – my teens are ‘helping’ me brainstorm ideas)
Every planner knows that we have a narrow margin of comfort with our body temperatures. And spontaneous Moms know a shivery child can end a family adventure right when the fun is beginning.
Don’t be caught without a supply of jackets or sweatshirts for everyone.
Hope this inspires all spontaneous Moms that a little preplanning can go a long way. And prepared Moms that a bit of spontaneity can spice up your life (and shock your children). All helping us shine in our quest to be a fun Mom.
Have you ever proudly pulled a random item out of your vehicle to save the day? Do tell in the comments below…