REMEMBER THOSE circus acts where an improbable number of clowns pile out of a small car? I’ve got to believe that those clowns were packed in the car by a mom.
Somehow, up there with giving birth, breast feeding and comforting our young, moms seem to have been chosen by nature to be the packers, the preparers. The ones who say, “Oh, you left your Barbie’s shoe at home? I thought you might need it so here it is.” It’s no wonder that our cave sisters were the gatherers.
We gather, then schlep, it all.
We’ve got snacks, we’ve got drinks, we’ve got pottying supplies. Ever need a crayon? Ask a mom. Same goes for snacks, drinks, tissues, wipes, Chap Stick, sun block, reading material, hair clips, bibs, toys, safety pins, napkins… The list goes on.
With only two arms – and seriously, I’ve said it before but I really think it’s an evolutionary miracle that moms haven’t sprouted a third or fourth arm over the millennia – we somehow manage to tote a surprising number of supplies for all of the possible scenarios that may present themselves at some point.
Sun pays a surprise visit on a trip to ? Not to worry. Mom’s got the sun spray. Forget to wear socks to ? Never fear, mom’s got an extra pair. Spill the ice cream we just bought at Coffee and Cone down the front of your shirt? Let me dig out some wipes, a spare outfit and a bag for the sticky stuff. Hungry? Thirsty? I thought you might be. Here you go.
The stuff fills the diaper bag and leaks into our purse, our car, our pockets. There’s nothing like reaching for your wallet and having to remove a pair of shoes, a doll and a sippy cup first.
Eventually, though, the fun of traveling like a pack mule wears off. And once your kids are somewhat independent, you can start to downsize – if you dare – the bags that have helped compensate for your missing third and fourth arms.
I’m at that point.
I’VE BEEN toting the diaper bag and purse while pushing a stroller and/or carrying one of my babes on my back for the past four years. I like the kids. They’re keepers. And I’ve discovered that wearing a cross-body purse makes it virtually a non-factor. So since that holds the moo-la, the phone and a number of the kid essentials, that’s staying too. But that big bulky diaper bag? Even though I’ve still got one in diapers, I just can’t do it anymore.
I’ve taken to stuffing a diaper or two in a side pocket of my purse along with a travel sized pack of wipes. I’ve got a couple crayons and a small note pad thrown in, and every once in a while, I’ll stuff something inappropriately large on top – like a jacket. And other than a sippy cup stuffed in my back pocket, that will be it. Preparedness be damned. I need my arms and my aching back needs a rest. There are plenty of supplies stashed in the car. I’ll risk it.
Imagine my chagrin Sunday when my daughter skinned her knee while we were shopping at the Seattle Premium Outlet mall. I took her to the bathroom and cleaned her bleeding knee. But the band aids were back in the car. Another mom tried to come to the rescue but her wallet first aid supply was tapped. What had happened to us ultra-prepared gatherers?
Okay, so I accept that I need a mom bag. A simple purse will not do. There is simply too much to carry – even when you’re trying to keep it simple. I’m determined to find a bag that is more purse than luggage. One that I can use no matter whether the kids are with me. Something that looks nice, can be hands-free, is big enough to hold the essentials, but not so big that it drags me down. Something with pockets for drinks.
As it turns out, I don’t think this purse exists. I’ve found similar descriptions online from other frustrated moms. I’ve looked and looked, but so far, no luck. Perhaps I will design one myself.
Until then, I’ll continue to pack my pockets, my purse and whatever bags I need to keep the kids and our family sane, fed, diapered and happy. The rest will get stashed permanently in the car.
If those clowns can do it, then surely I can, too.