Let’s get real: it’s hard to go anywhere with kids. I’d love to be that hip mom who is consistently able to get all the kids ready and headed out for coffee or dinner or the park or story time or anywhere past the front door. That one photo on Instagram of me and my baby at Trade & Lore? Yeah. That was only that one time. And my two bigger ones were with my mom.

It is really just hard to get everyone ready to go anywhere. They’ve got to be dressed, reasonably fed, well-rested, bowels emptied — do I need to keep going? And I gotta admit, all of these variables far too often dissuade me from leaving the house.

While back in the day I may have thrown on some clothes and gone to grab dinner or coffee spur of the moment, I now find myself getting dressed enough only to go downstairs and sit on the couch.

For this very reason, although I’ve been following #instabeerupCLT on Instagram for a few years now, I have yet to actually show up to one of these events. It just seems so overwhelming to try to get kids there all while hoping to interact with some adults. And then even if I were to show up, I’d be the weirdo who brought all the kids. That’s only cute for so long.

But to get real again, this can be pretty isolating. What can be more overwhelming than trying to get everyone ready and stay in a good mood is not trying. I know I’m not alone in this. Lots of times, we parents (and even non-parents) find ourselves interacting digitally, hoping that those dopamine shots received when our social media notifications go off are enough to count towards true, present interaction.

I’m finding that it’s not. I need more. That’s why, by some crazy miracle, you’ll actually find me, my baby, and my partner at #instabeerupCLT this month at Salud Cerveceria. My big kids will be with their dad or you’d find me bringing them, too.

Moms, dads, guardians, grandparents, aunts, uncles: it’s time to get out! Get dressed, get ready, show up. I’m ready (for a little while, at least) to shelve my introversion and make actual eye contact with actual people in an actual setting.

If you’re really trying to get out of the house more, make it a goal to do at least one thing out of your comfort zone this week. If you’re looking for ideas, here are 5 events to get the social ball rolling.

#instabeerupCLT

This month’s #instabeerupCLT will have a handful of QCP parents and writers ready and willing to chat your ear off about all things. We’ll probably all only be there about an hour or so — kids have their limits, y’all — so come early! Don’t drink beer? There will be wine and plenty of other non-alcoholic options.

Thursday, July 27, 6 p.m., Salud Beer Shop, 3306 N. Davidson St.

Westside Listening Project

Keep your kids and family involved and growing in the community by hearing what home means to the ever-changing West End.

Wednesday, July 26, 5:30 p.m., Seversville Neighborhood Park

Mint Museum

What’s better than a museum? A free museum. The Mint has lots of family-friendly options and it’s made even more friendly when you don’t have to pay for it. Oh, and there will be wine (this is not free. You can’t have everything.)

Wednesday, July 26, 5:00-9:00 p.m., Uptown and Randolph Locations

Music Box Lunch/ Lunchtime Music

I know it’s hot, y’all. Put on your coolest summer attire and check out lunchtime music at First Ward Park, Romare Bearden Park, or both. Listen a bit to one and walk the 18 minutes to the other.

Tuesday, July 25, noon-1:30 p. m., First Ward Park/Romare Bearden Park

Real to Reel Kids Fest!

Take the half hour drive or so down to Kings Mountain and you’ll find a renovated theater hosting a film festival, where all the films are made by kids, for kids. Budding film-makers will love this event, sponsored by KidSenses Children’s Interactive Museum and the Cleveland County Arts Council.

Saturday, July 29, 10 a.m.-noon, 202 S. Railroad Ave., Kings Mountain

Photo Credit: Randy Rivera

This story was written for CharlotteFive’s latest channel for parents in the QC, called QC Playground. Sign up for the weekly QC Playground newsletter here.

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