Updated: Oct 12, 2018
I remember clear as day the advice I was given from an experienced parent more than nine years ago, but I cannot for the life of me remember who it was. As I watch other parents with younger children struggle to do the things that they used to do before having kids, I have realized time and time again that this was probably the single best piece of parenting advice that I got before having kids myself.
My husband was telling me the other day that a co-worker was planning a trip to Disneyland and they were concerned about going for a full day. He suggested that they start early in the morning to beat the crowds and then sit down at one of the restaurants and rest in the afternoon while the child napped in the stroller. His co-worker was shocked at the suggestion and said that his child would never nap in a stroller.
Believe it or not, my husband and I love to go to Disneyland and we had season passes even before we had kids. So of course, after we had kids we wanted them to experience the magic and we weren't going to stop doing something we love just because we had a kid. We started trips to Disneyland when my first daughter was about a year old. We would just put a muslin blanket over the stroller to block out all of the action and stroll around until she was asleep. We kept the routine as close to the normal nap routine as possible by giving her a sippy cup of milk before her nap. It definitely took a few tries but each trip it got easier and then she was a pro.
Maybe it's not Disneyland, but it's hiking, camping, traveling, going out to dinner, whatever it is you loved to do before you had a baby. Don't stop doing those things. Figure out a way to do it with your kids. Or even better, get grandma to watch them for a night and go out to dinner without them!