Before having children I always loved the weekends where I could sleep late, go out for brunch and spend the day leisurely shopping and completing errands. But now, three kids later, my weekends are very different. There is definitely no sleeping in, since I’m almost always woken up before the sun comes up. Breakfast is eaten very early and half of it ends up on my kitchen floor. Most weekends are packed full of play dates, birthday parties, etc. mixed in with household chores and the need to complete at least 2 out of the 50 plus things on my to-do list.
I now manage to schedule most of my shopping online, at night, or when I can get someone to come and watch my kids. But sometimes there are not enough hours in the day and a shopping trip with the kiddos cannot be avoided.
There is so much thought and planning that needs to go into leaving the house with three young children (especially a 3 year old and 11 month old twins). When is the best time to go? Will we be back in time for the next meal? Should I bring bottles and snacks? When can I fit in their naps? Who will have a tantrum today? And, how many people will look at me and state, “Wow, you have your hands full!”
Being a mother of multiples, I have learned that multitasking always helps get things done faster – not always better. I’ve found a few great shopping locations in Fairfield County where mommy can shop and get a few things checked off that to-do list, and the kiddos can play and have some fun.
Stew Leonard’s is known as “the world’s largest dairy store,” but in my house it’s known as “the place with the cows and ice cream.” With two locations in FC it’s a great place to take the kids and get a lot accomplished. Not only can you get your grocery shopping done, you can find great gift baskets and floral arrangements. The kids love it since there is so much to look at, and they always look forward to the free samples to gobble up as we make our way around the store. It’s also great that I can bribe them with ice cream and farm animals. And since I live a good distance away, the Hoedown is a great place to quickly grab lunch prior to shopping.
Barnes and Noble in Westport is my go-to place to meet some of my mom friends when I really need to get out of the house. There is a train table with several “Thomas trains,” for the little ones to play with, as well as a new Lego table, and Starbucks coffee and treats for mommy. It is a perfect place to not only find a great book to read, but grab great gifts, cards, and wrapping paper. They have a large selection of educational toys and games for kids, in addition to stationary, bags and totes, desk accessories, etc. It’s even better to go during one of their story times!
Giant Steps toy store in Fairfield is a hidden gem. It’s my go-to place for all those kiddie birthday parties we need to attend. I know it sounds crazy to bring children to a toy store, but this is no regular place. Fun interactive toys are placed around the store so kids can play while you shop. The store is set up so your children can explore, preform, pretend, build and imagine. They also offer FREE weekly classes like, music, story time, and baby sign language.
When I need to go to multiple stores I usually prefer shopping in many of our towns’ centers, however on a recent rainy day I ventured to the Danbury Fair Mall. I was super impressed with how family-friendly it was (they even had 3 private rooms just for nursing)! What should have taken about an hour or two, ended up being an all-day affair, but I was able to bribe them with a stop at the food court and play area. There was even time for a carousel ride! Trumbull and Stamford also have great malls.
An added bonus of these locations is that you are most likely to meet another busy mommy in the same situation as you.
Where do you like to go shopping with the kids?