Before I had kids, I heard moms talk about how difficult it was to get out of the house with little ones. I thought they must be crazy. I had worked as a nanny and managed to get everyone out the door on time. I guess I was over-confident, because once I had the kids of my own (and the accompanying sleep deprivation), I heard myself saying over and over "it's easier to just stay home."
In my three years of mothering, I've learned that there are some places that are more mom-friendly than others. And if I get up the guts to leave my house with my little people in tow, you can bet you'll find me at one of those places.
What makes up a mom-friendly space? It really doesn't have to be much. A free sample from the bakery at Target goes a long way in keeping the peace while shopping. A place to change a diaper saves everyone from a potentially terrible experience. A chair to sit in while nursing a baby, if (like me) you aren't always talented enough to nurse a child in a baby carrier. Since I've been nursing for over three years now, that one is especially important.
My kids love adventures, and I love seeing the world through their eyes. But Lincoln is a very spirited child, which translates into a lot of time spent chasing after him in stores and parking lots and parks. He's learning that he has to stay with me, but it's a slow process for sure. So for now, we're sticking to locations that I know well.
One of the best spots we've recently found is the Mom Room at the Kansas City Zoo (in the new Penguin Plaza building). It features a little cushioned bench, toys secured to the walls, board books, plush toys, and a lock on the door. Places like this are ideal for an adventuring mom and family. Being able to change diapers without worrying that someone will run away is awesome.
I have no issue nursing in public anymore - I don't even carry a cover with me, because I know Addie won't tolerate being closed in to nurse. That doesn't mean, however, that I'm not still a very modest person. I don't appreciate nursing sessions when she is distracted - which is most of the time - because she doesn't mind if passersby get an eyeful. A little private space like this one (or the one we found in Branson) is perfect - whether for nursing or bottle-feeding moms, or to soothe a cranky child to sleep, or just take a break from an overwhelming adventure.
I am so appreciative of the businesses that specifically think of moms when planning their shop or attraction designs. Happy moms equal happy kids, and that leads to a higher rate of happy adventurers in everyday life!
What's your favorite "mom-friendly" place to visit?