Ladies with backpacks jammed full of God knows what trying to wrangle and carry a few kids, I see you. My back hurts just looking at you. It’s time for an intervention.
First, you only get one back, and I am guessing that you don’t get much time to hit the spa for a massage, or go to the chiropractor (although you should!) Second, what are you carrying? Do you really need two full changes of clothes, fifty diapers, and snacks to feed an entire baseball team? I know you don’t want to get into a pickle and be (gasp!) unprepared. But its time to take off your backpack that is carrying more than a 1L’s entire year’s worth of books and audit your diaper bag. It’s time to unpack.
(1) Clean It Out
Once you have that monstrosity off your back, let’s look inside. Make two piles, everything you used during your last three outings with kids and everything that you haven’t touched. Is that sunscreen expired? Time to purge. Just throw away those diaper paste samples that you’ve been hoarding. Crushed snacks? Buh-bye. Empty that sucker out, give it a good shake over the trash can to make sure the crumbs are gone and let’s start over.
(2) Commit to Carrying Less
Humble Brag – I have trained myself to go anywhere for a few hours with nothing more than a travel pouch of wipes, one diaper and maybe a snack. Dinner out? I bring my cell phone and keys and nothing for the kid and I haven’t since he was 10 months (he is two and a half now). I can absolutely fit everything into our Skip Hop stroller caddy (which is the best stroller caddy in the world) if we go somewhere where he either cannot walk the entire time or we don’t want to carry him (like the mall). Even when we do a full-day out and about, I can fit everything I need (including my stuff) into the teeny tiny Skip Hop Zoo Bag that my son loves. AND I make him carry it… because the backpack has a harness and a leash and he loves to be a dog. He’s a weird kid but we love him.
I trained myself and committed to carrying a little as possible. Sure – we have had a situation here and there where we did not immediately have a diaper and wipes right when my kid pooped, but guess what? We were close enough to our house or car to handle the situation. Everyone survived. I am not an expert in parenting, but I have learned how to preserve my health and well-bring in a way that my child appreciates and understands. Example: “Mommy doesn’t have a diaper, but we have one in the car. Let’s go get it.” And if you don’t think carrying around a HUGE diaper bag or backpack is affecting your health and/or quality of life, put that sucker on, and go look in the mirror.
By carrying less, I can do more, I have more energy, and my son has has learned to get along without having all of his needs immediately met because I am literally carrying his life on my back.
Once you commit – start repacking.
(3) The Basics
Diapering, Feeding and Medications (if needed). Right? I know you constantly discuss your child’s bodily functions. You know when that kid is going to eat, and how long after they will pee or poop. You are fully capable of timing your trips and determining how many diapers you need. And you know if the kid isn’t pooping anytime soon, you can totally get by with just a diaper or change of clothes.
Fun fact: you can fit an iPhone, a diaper (or two), wipes and a applesauce pouch into a Tory Burch bag wallet. Going for a longer time? A little tote should do the trick. Going for a few hours? The Skip Hop Zoo Bag can fit more than you think, or keep your hands free with a half-full Freshly Picked backpack.
(4) The Extras
Toys? Change of Clothes? Other?
(Please excuse me if you live in a city and use public transportation. Unfortunately, this advice doesn’t apply to you, hopefully you will be able to carry a few less things.)
For the rest of you, leave the extras in the car. I keep a basket in my car. It doesn’t take up much room in the trunk. I used to keep a shack bag in there. In the summers I would keep a swim bag in my car. Now I keep the extras, like a ball, a few toys, extra diapers jammies and a change of clothes for my son. It still doesn’t take up too much room, and I am never very far from the car. Plus, I am willing to walk back to the car rather than carry stuff I don’t need.
As far as the toys go – I make my child take his “stuff” with him and I encourage him to “only bring one thing.” He carries it. He is responsible for it if it goes lost. We openly discuss being organized and putting toy away so they don’t get lost. He gets it and he even at two can hold onto a toy for as long as we are out and about and not misplace it. I even tell him “mommy cannot hold that because she doesn’t have anywhere to put it.” He leaves it in the car. Your child can do that too.
I completely understand the desire to be prepared. However, you cannot carry an entire aisle of Target on your back and be your best mom self. It’s too much. You deserve better. I want all moms to enjoy this precious time with their kids. Literally take a weight off and live a fuller life. You can do it!
Mrs. Make It Rainka
P.S. What are you carrying? How small can you go? Share in the comments!
Disclaimer: This post has affiliate links and I may be compensated if you make any purchases after clicking the links.