Can you smell Purim? It's just around the corner - the holiday of high husbands and sugar-high kids and messes of food platters, cellophane and mishloach manos wraps.
Ahhh... makes me feel giddy just thinking about it.
Did I just say giddy? Sorry - meant overwhelmed.
It's a day without schedule, have to run out for the women's megillah reading, a nighttime seudah and two daytime seudahs AND delivering Shalach Manos... and when's everyone napping???
And then, of course, is the dancing at shul at night...
On Purim, striking the balance between schedule and simcha can feel super clunky - if not near impossible. But don't worry - it's totally doable! Here are some of my top tips:
I know; I know it's hard, especially when you have bigger little kids who are expecting to go to megillah leining at night. But your baby doesn't need to be there, and your clueless toddler doesn't need to be there either.
Going out and taking the two of them with you is likely to result in a kvetchy, overtired little one, which'll mean you'll miss part of the leining anyway.
I've found it's best to simply skip round one, put the little ones to bed, and go by myself to the women's reading when everything is calmer at home.
Purim day is a lot trickier than the night before - you still have to get out for megillah, and you're also going to have to be available for myriad other tasks.
The number one most important thing is to be sure that your baby does not stay awake past his awake time limit. It's something that can be hard - especially when your little one is in the newborn stage and is still only going about 45 minutes to an hour between sleeps - but I assure you - it'll make your day move so much smoother AND will ensure that she's not too overtired to sleep well on the second night and Shushan Purim.
First nap of the day is the most important, so if you know you're going to be on the go in the afternoon with deliveries, get that first nap of the day in the crib in before things get hectic.
If someone has to be home anyway to make the seudah or receive mishloach manos, let the baby stay home too. Remember - a littler kid is too clueless to realize they're missing out!
I guess these are building in difficulty - because I think this one is the most difficult. Most years, most people's seudos end long after bedtime would have to happen - and with multiple families getting together, that means you may not be in your own house, and you may have older children there who don't want to miss out on the fun (but you can't leave them with your husband!)
The best way to deal with this is weigh your pros and cons and do some brainstorming BEFORE Purim starts, so you have all your ducks in a row once you get there.
Here are some ideas:
If you only have littler "clueless" kids (ie under 3 - or maybe even over three!) maybe it's worthwhile for you to leave the seduah early and put them to bed.
If you can find a babysitter (you may need to look outside the frum community for that), put your kids to bed, and then leave to participate with the rest of your family.
If you live in an apartment building or multi-family house, maybe you can swap off with a neighbor - you'll both put your kids to bed, then you run out while she listens in on your kids and checks on them at set intervals, and then you swap. (If you feel comfortable with that - tends to be a more "Israeli" outlook.)
If you have an older cousin/daughter/neice perhaps she can watch the older kids while you dash home with the younger ones
If your kiddos transfer well maybe you can put them to bed where you're having your seudah, and when you're ready to come home, you can transfer them to their own cribs.
What Purim solutions have worked for your family?