You don't always have to run out the clock
Things I've learned from daily life and mom friends and non-mom friends lately that have made my life easier.
1. Do one big outing/activity a day.
2. Plan on being somewhere for 1 hour, 1.5 tops. Push it further than that and you're asking for a public tantrum and a failed venture.
3. A bad plan is better than no plan. (Don't always agree with this, but sometimes it's helpful.)
4. Drink a full glass of wine before dinner company arrives (applies to lunch if the company includes your in-laws).
5. Leave yourself lots of extra time to get places so you don't show up sweating and irritable and frantically rummaging through your bag to make sure you didn't lose your cell phone.
6. Don't bring your kids to the houses of people who don't have kids. (I still violate this one constantly, but at least my expectations have changed: I know I won't eat when others are eating or be able to participate in most conversations.)
7. Turn off phone ringers during nap time and bedtime.
8. Sometimes there's nothing you can do about screaming and crying in public (your kids, not you). Relax and let people think what they will about how cold and indifferent a parent you are.
9. On a busy night go to the nearby grocery store even if there's bad produce and nothing organic. (Sometimes, when I'm wondering about whether or not to make the trip to Whole Foods, which is only about ten minutes away but because of crowds and lines will add at least 1/2 hour to the chore, I tell myself -- you always idealize living in a small town with one mom and pop grocery store. So go to the mom and pop grocery store right here.)
10. You tell me...