With four kids on the swim team in different groups at different times, a 35-45 minute commute to the pool, one kid playing baseball, and one kid doing track, April May and June are a little crazy.
And no matter how much I feed the kids before we leave the house, sometimes we are gone for three or four hours, and they inevitably get hungry before we get home.
Plus between different sports and different schedules, we always need to bring quite a bit of other stuff with us.
And I wanted to show you what I did to make the afternoons and nights a little more manageable.
I shared already that we changed our dinner time to about 4 pm every day before we have to leave the house for practice. This has made life much easier and it cuts down on the amount of food I need to pack when we leave the house. (And I have to pack food because stopping to buy even just snacks for between two and five kids every night would cost a fortune).
This time of year in Connecticut the weather is also still unpredictable. Sometimes we need shorts and other times the kids are asking for hats and gloves. Or a kid spills all over his pants or drops her clothes on the locker room floor and they get soaked, and nobody wants to spend forty-five minutes in the car with wet clothes.
But I don’t want to pack all this extra stuff (or ask the kids to do it) every time we have to go somewhere.
So here is what the back of my car looks like:
This setup has enabled me to leave the house every day with minimal preparation and still be prepared wherever we go.
Let me show you some of the key components of my new system (and no judging the cleanliness factor which is about a two out of ten):
Here is what’s in there:
1 — a blanket
The kids love to sit on a blanket at baseball games. This stays rolled up in the car and I only take it out if it gets so dirty that I absolutely have to wash it.
2 — foldable chairs
Bleachers are not comfortable, and I always sit in a chair. There are five of these chairs stacked behind everything there in the picture. The kids also like to sit in them at baseball games, and they sometimes need them for swim meets to sit on deck. So those always stay in the car.
3 — drawing/coloring supplies, cards, books, etc
Those shopping bags contain stuff to keep the kids occupied if they get bored in the car or at the pool or wherever.
4 — 3 drawer tower
THIS THING IS A LIFESAVER AND A GAMECHANGER.
Instead of having bags stacked on top of each other that you have to dig through and rearrange, all you have to do is pull a drawer out, and you have super easy access to everything you need.
The top drawer has hats, gloves, extra clothes, etc.
The middle drawer has snacks — applesauce, peanut butter, cereal, etc.
The bottom drawer has paper cups, napkins, wipes, forks/spoons/knives, extra chargers, etc.
The paper cups come in so handy. They are great for snacks like crackers, chips, pretzels, fruit salad, watermelon, carrots and cereal.
The cooler serves multiple purposes.
Right now there are extra snacks in there. When the “snack drawer” gets low on supplies, I can just restock from the cooler.
When I have cold stuff to put in the cooler, I can easily take what is in there now and put it into a shopping bag. If I want to pack a salad to eat for myself I put it in the cooler. I can put a gallon of milk and the kids can use the paper cups to have a drink or to even eat cereal with milk and a spoon (instead of a bowl). I can put a carton of orange juice in there or larger bottle of Gatorade or whatever needs to be kept cold and if the kids want a drink, they can just pour some into a paper cup.
And since it’s getting warmer and I’m often running around in the afternoons and don’t have time to stop home when I’m going from place to place, if I go grocery shopping, I can throw the stuff that needs to be refrigerated in the cooler so it’s okay until we get home.
Setting my car up this way has made my life about a million times easier; it is saving me time and it is saving me money.
You might want to give it a try if you are a busy sports mom — I bet it will make your life a little easier, too!