A “mama and me day” is not a new idea. It has been around for as long as I can remember. Parenting articles are quick to tell us about the one-on-one time our children crave. To be honest, I didn’t think too much about that one-on-one time until a few months after our second child was born.
This was before COVID-19 and the stay-at-home order. I was exhausted and feeling defeated after a tough day of navigating a newborn and a toddler. After telling my husband that I wanted to run some errands the next day totally by myself, I backtracked. “Actually… I’m going to bring Ava with me when I run errands. I think she could use the one-on-one time.”
I had been thinking about her recent behavior. Reflecting on how much our family dynamic had changed with our newest addition, it all made sense. She was craving attention. Trying to make sense of becoming a big sister was tough work for a two-year-old. She needed some time with her mama, and only her mama. Thus, I decided we’d have a “mama and me day.”
Right now, many errands are not able to be run as they used to be. So, I understand that taking your kid on an errand run is not ideal. However, you can still have just as great of a “mama and me day,” even if things aren’t they way they used to be. You just need to get a little creative!
First step to your “mama and me day”: pick an errand. Our errands used to include running into Kroger and Home Depot. Now, we use grocery pickup, and if I absolutely need to run into Home Depot, I’ll leave the kids home with my husband. However, we do still go to the doctor together for well child visits. So, the opportunity for an errand is there, though it may not be what you immediately think of!
In the midst of a pandemic, your errands may look like:
- curbside pickup at the grocery store
- curbside or call-ahead pickup from a local restaurant
- making a stop at the ATM to grab cash
- your child’s appointment at the doctor or dentist
2. Decide on a special stopover.
Second step to your “mama and me day”: pick a detour. Is there something your child loves? For whatever reason (or a specific reason—I also am obsessed), my daughter really loves donuts. So when we had our “mama and me day,” we made a stopover at Dunkin Donuts.
You can still find places for a social-distanced stopover before running your errand. Some fun places to go could include:
- Fun places to see animals/local nature center—obviously weather dependent since you’ll most likely be outdoors, but you could set a timer for a certain amount of time to play/explore.
- Local bakery (Cupcake Station, Donut Bar, Detroit Cookie Company)—some places have pickup/carryout options available. You don’t have to physically go inside and sit in order to enjoy your treat! Order it ahead of time and enjoy it from the comfort of your car.
- Child’s choice within reason—not so much of a “say yes to anything,” but you know your child best. If there’s something fun they like to do, try to incorporate it!
3. Surprise those back at home.
Third step to your “mama and me day”: pick a treat from your special stopover. Before leaving your detour spot, choose something for the family still at home. It helps to reinforce that, though this is “mama and me” time, we don’t want to forget about the family who stayed behind! For our “mama and me day,” Ava picked a donut for my husband and loved being responsible for making that choice.
Some other treats could include:
- leaves/twigs from your nature walk
- a sweet treat—donut, muffin, etc.
- pictures you two took together, to help show the rest of the family all the fun you had
4. Think like a child.
Fourth step to your “mama and me day”: pick some joy during your errand. You’re at the place you needed to go to, and it might be kind of boring. How can you make it fun for your tag-along kiddo? We grocery shopped, so I opted to use the race car shopping cart, per my daughter’s request. I usually only use it if I have both kids with me, so it was a big deal for her to use it on her own.
Some other ways to pick some joy could include:
- let your child choose the music on the car radio while waiting for your grocery pick-up/carry-out meal/etc.
- allow your child to be the holder of the receipt/change
- have your child do the talking when you call the store to let them know you are parked and ready
- ask your child if they want to march/hop/skip into the doctor’s office or dentist building
- if you are inside a building waiting, play i-spy!
5. Keep the memory alive!
The final step to your “mama and me day”: bask in the goodness that is your child’s sheer joy! Our daughter often talks about her “mama and me day” and how sometimes she has a “daddy and me day,” too. We refer back to if often, reflecting on the fun aspects. It’s also fun to dream up plans for our next “mama and me day.”
Other ways to keep the magic alive could include:
- presenting your special treat to those at home
- drawing a picture about your fun day
- talking about the day to those at home
- listing fun places to go before future errands
- referencing your fun day later in the week, month, etc.
Mamas, I know you’re busy. You feel like you are being pulled in countless directions while balancing countless spinning plates. Social media may make you feel like you don’t quite compare to the mom down the street. This pandemic has caused a lot of us to feel like we are the only ones struggling with our kids right now.
I’m here to remind you that you rock! While the big moments are fun for our kids, they’ll also remember the small moments you spent together. Something as simple as grocery pick-up can be just the one-on-one time you and your child needed that day. Don’t forget the magic of the simple moments.