When I had my first, I was over-prepared for every situation. I am not exaggerating when I say that our first trip up north included packing my jeep to the ceiling with every little baby thing that her heart might desire. Was I really SO nervous that I wouldn’t hear her crying in a LOG CABIN that I had to pack her video monitor? Was a 4 week old baby going to miss her bouncy seat so much that she couldn’t be without it for 48 hours? Would her grandparents be able to hold her without a boppy? Those are chances that I was not willing to take. My diaper bag was jam-packed. It had the obvious necessities like enough diapers to last a week, wipes, butt cream, pacifiers, etc. But it also contained a first aid kit, manicure kit, toys, snacks (in color-coordinated containers), burp rags, bibs, sunscreen, tylenol, gripe water, bug spray, stickers, a mini etch-a-sketch, and an assortment of other things I couldn’t imagine living without. It was always packed and ready to go, and it matched my stroller, purse, and sometimes even the baby. I had the mom thing down.
When Matthew came along, I lightened the load a little, mostly because my diaper bag evolved into a toddler backpack that Ryann liked to carry. It had just a few diapers and wipes, a change of clothes for the baby, a few snacks maybe, and whatever random junk she wanted to shove in there to entertain herself or her brother with. On more than one occasion I opened the bag to find that there were no actual baby items inside, not including the things that were important to my then 2 year-old (who probably could pack a better diaper bag than me today at age 6). Eventually the backpack became her backpack and I started carrying baby supplies in my purse, or purse supplies in my diaper bag, depending on how you look at it. My years of motherhood had made me wiser. I found that the secret to parenting success was often the ability to produce a sucker when the kids were losing their patience.
Now Zane is lucky if I ever even have a bag with stuff for him when we are out and about. When he was a newborn, I would try to remember to shove a diaper and a burp rag in my back pocket as we headed out the door. Now, he’s 2. When I realize that we will be gone for long and I don’t have a diaper bag with me, I have been known to ask him to “please not poop” while we are gone. I have a sad little diaper that probably hasn’t fit him in 6 months shoved underneath my driver seat for “an emergency.” I have wiped his nose on a receipt from my purse. I have bitten off his nails in a pinch. If he is desperate for a snack I reach into the depths of my purse with hopes of encountering at least a dusty mint or pacifier to appease him. I haven’t given up on parenting or being prepared, or even my pride (though it may not appear so). I just have learned that there are more important things to worry about. I have found that you can find snacks and diapers almost anywhere, most times a kiss works better than a band-aid, and that last-minute outings with the kids are fun whether we have our bag there or not. And if push comes to shove, I can usually throw myself on the mercy of a new mom. Chances are she will have what I need in her diaper bag.