“Ugh, what IS in this thing, Junko?” exclaimed my friend Betsy as she attempted to pick up my diaper bag, suspecting that I hid a bowling ball in there. A seasoned mom of teenagers by then, she was trying to be helpful as we walked around a desert park in Palm Springs while our husbands golfed together. Obviously, Betsy had long ago lost the muscles we moms build up on our arms and shoulders as we carry a baby on one hip and a toddler on the other while slinging a diaper bag the size of New York. Josh was almost a 9-month old by then.
When David and I walked out of the hospital with our first born, I had a cute little diaper bag that was the size of a fashionable tote. In it, I had neatly organized the following:
- About half a dozen newborn-size diapers
- A travel-size package of baby wipes
- Two tiny onesies
- A mini-bottle and a package of formula, just in case I’m not around to nurse
- An extra pair of socks
- A cute bib, just for looks
- A burp cloth
I also always carried around a bottle of water because nursing got me so thirsty, and there was still plenty of space in that baby tote to throw in the water bottle along with my car keys.
Fast-forward almost nine months to that fateful day in Palm Springs with Betsy. Baby Joshua had grown and had gained some healthy weight, but not nearly in the same proportion as the size and weight of my diaper bag, now as big as an 18-wheeler. Here’s what you would have found inside it:
- A full package of medium size diapers
- Another package of large size diapers, in case he suddenly grows
- My own set of disposable changing pads
- A full box of baby wipes, enough to last a month in case there is a nuclear fallout
- Three full outfits to change into, in case there is a diaper explosion
- Three pairs of socks plus a pair of Nikes just in case he decides to start walking because, my intuition told me, he would be an early walker. Ha!
- Five bibs, because he was a big drooler
- Two tubes of Desitin
- Nail file and tools to make the permanently embedded Desitin look like French Nails
- Three burp cloths because he regurgitated so much
- Two changes of clothes for me, in case he missed the burp cloths
- A baggie full of Cheerios
- A pound more of stale Cheerios, loose and rolling around the bottom of the bag
- Three jars of baby food — a starch, a veggie, and a fruit
- Two baby spoons
- Some plastic toys on a plastic key chain
- Teething toys to chew on
- A flip chart of the alphabet
- A laminated place mat with a map of the world on one side and the periodic table on the other
- A travel size Good Night Moon board book
- A tube of SPF50 sunblock
- Hand sanitizer
- Two bottles of water, because I was still nursing
Whew! Did I forget anything?
Betsy’s little comment was both embarrassing and eye-opening for this mom who was still trying to be a perfectionist about covering all the bases. I really let this diaper bag thing get out of control, didn’t I? “Just in case” seemed to be my motto at that time. Did I dare to let go of the notion that I had to cover all possible eventualities? A little bit. Another moment to make me a little less Tiger, a little more Panda.
I bet you’re either…
A) laughing at how ridiculous my diaper bag had grown because your bag is or was small, neat, and tidy, or
B) thinking to yourself, “Wow, my bag’s even worse than hers!”
So, which diaper bag camp do you belong to?