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!