Just when I take a second to bask in the peacefulness of my two children cooperatively playing at the park on a gorgeous fall day, somebody is bound to get wet or bloody or end up with a splinter. In those moments, I usually have to ask another parent if I may “borrow” an item they would definitely not want back after I’ve used it on my soiled child. I brought things with me, of course, but never all the right things. As a result, I have some questions for the mom who always packs everything, and who's always kind enough to be willing to let moms like me use some of it.
I have always tried to anticipate my children’s needs when we’re out and about, and I must admit I have a tendency to overpack for vacations; a tendency that usually spills over and into my "mom life." Still, I'd say I take more of a “kitchen sink” approach. If you were to dig through my diaper bag, you would find all sorts of useless bits: broken toys, used tissues, pen caps (no pens) and gift cards with probably fifty-eight cents still on them. I would have the obvious essentials, like diapers and a changing pad and wipes, but it never seemed to be enough. Invariably, I would forget some key item that would leave me turning to the always-prepared mom to sheepishly request borrowing from her. It’s embarrassing to admit I don’t always keep an extra snack cup lid in my bag when my child stuffs hers through the sewer grates.
However, I want to be better. I want to learn the logic that the mom who always packs everything has clearly mastered and uses on a frequent basis. Is that mom among you, readers? Well, if so, have some questions:
I mean, why else would you need to bring extra socks to a birthday party? Oh, because my kid completely misfires into the toilet and soaks his feet, too. I didn’t see that coming, but you did. You’re my hero.
Safety pins? Knuckle Band-aids? A dual-pronged phone battery? How could you possibly predict a simple park play date would require all of those things, especially for children not even related to you? Are you psychic? If so, we should definitely talk about a very lucrative investment opportunity.
For both the baby and you? Do you know origami? Please teach me.
I didn’t carry one of these around, but hats off to the moms who committed to potty training by bringing the potty everywhere they went. I could never figure out how to work the ones that collapse, so kudos to you.
I don’t know how you do it, to be honest. I mean, every time you unsheathe the bars from their wrapper, after extracting them from your diaper bag, they are perfectly intact. Mine, on the other hand, are reduced to a pile of dust I will be picking out of damn near everything for the next month.
With my second baby, I received a ridiculously intricate diaper bag with a bajillion pockets of various sizes. As someone with a Type A personality, I was in heaven. There was a spot for me to put everything. The only problem, however, that once I put everything in their tiny pockets, I couldn’t remember where any of it was.
I knew I had hand gel, somewhere. Tissues? Check. Just, um, give me a minute (read: hour) to find them. New diaper for my now naked baby? Yes, totally, just gotta dig around for a second...
We’re kindred spirits, you and me. We like to have our stuff, and by "our stuff" I mean all of our stuff.
OK, sure, my stuff may not be as hyper-organized as your stuff, but we’re not so different, you and me. Tiny tubes of diaper cream spark joy for us. Only, you can find yours in your bag, and I can’t.
Of course you do. It’s probably a homemade mixture you whipped up and transferred into travel-sized spray bottles. It might be one of many concoctions you keep handy to treat stains and other unfortunate mishaps related to our children’s immature bodily functions. For that, I am eternally grateful.
Let me thank you with these cheese cracker crumbs, which are the only sustenance I can find in my diaper bag, besides this chewed pretzel rod my kid just handed back to me.
You could start a pretty lucrative business advising other moms. I once paid a professional organizer for a consultation and it was truly some of the best money I ever spent. You don’t think you actually need someone showing you a better place to keep all the pens that are almost dried (hint: not in a desk drawer), but people like me, who have a hard time saying “goodbye” to things, really benefit from that and might be willing to overpay you for it.
It's not that far-fetched, because you're clearly a magician. You make amazing things appear from the creases of your fleece hoodie that lazy moms like me never thought we’d even need, like double-sided tape and the other kind (the better kind) of veggie poofs. Your diaper bag is The Giving Tree, providing for the rest of us subpar parents who thought they really had it together when they threw a few loose napkins in the stroller just in case. Where did you come from, and how long will it take until I can become just like you?