I’m a mom of two teenagers. There are some very hard things about being a mom of older kids (trust me!), but the upside is that I’ve experienced a ton of “Mom moments” and learned a lot of Mom-life hacks. One of the big things I’ve learned is how to always be low-key prepared for living our best life, no matter what comes up. During the summer, it seems like those moments come up more frequently because of the laid back, fun-filled vibe that having no school brings. Case in point: I’m writing this blog from the shade while we are at an impromptu pool party.
The easiest way to be ready for anything is to outfit your car like a mobile fun unit. Here’s my list of things that are always in my car during the summer:
1. Swim bag. I always have our suits, towels and sunscreen. This stuff is just stored in the car during the summer so that no matter where we go, water play (splash pad, pool, lake, rain) is always a possibility.
2. Bottled water and snacks. Usually, I have something small like pretzels available, and we always carry fresh stainless steel insulated bottles of ice water with us. No hangry kids in our car. Lifesaving! (The water is also SO needed after we hit the ice cream stand.)
3. “Overnight” bag. I have a small bag of really basic clothes (usually just an athletic t-shirt, shorts and one long sleeve shirt), cheap flip flops, socks, a travel toothbrush and ponytail holders. If we run into friends, grandparents, etc., then we swap kids and go. The socks also come in handy for bowling on a whim.
4. Basic first aid kit. Band aids, disposable ice packs, and some baby wipes. I swear every time we take a hike or play in the park, this bag gets used. If you have toddlers, you know sometimes a band aid over a bruise keeps a meltdown at bay too!
5. Cash. A few dollars and a roll of quarters. These have come in handy so many times that I just make it a habit to stash in the car. (My purse money disappears.) We’ve run into food trucks, arcades, etc. and this money was so great to have.
6. Blanket, a couple of “bag” chairs and bug spray. Again, we have found so many uses for these items!
7. Frisbee, a Nerf football, and a good squirt gun or two. These are small and don’t take up much space, but have been pulled out at family-friendly breweries and in between ball games to entertain kids (and husbands) of all ages. The squirt guns also double as feet cleaners after mud or sand days.