I had a glorious first diaper bag. It was navy blue with a mini print of white polka dots designed, presumably, to keep you from ever getting your diaper bag confused with something cute and adorable, like your child. But, if you set aside this slight blunder, the thing was the cadillac of bags. It had pockets for its pockets! Included with the bag were removable pads, pouches for wet or soiled clothes, leashes, lassos, and lanyards for attaching your keys - individually. It weighed 10 pounds, empty, and could easily double as luggage in case you needed to fly to China.
I remember spending time researching the options for diaper bags, and taking no small pains in picking out the perfect specimen that would house all my baby's most precious ointments, "just in case" items, clothing, toys, spare room, and of course, diapers. I distinctly recall making the rather bold decision that I wasn't going to get something that looked, "babyish." After all, it isn't the baby that carries the thing everywhere. 10 years, 7 children, 14 car seats, 6 strollers, 3 infant swings, 5 high chairs, 4 bouncy seats, innumerable pacifies, 3 cribs, and 9 diaper bags later I think I have finally figured out something:
You don't cease to be a woman when you become a mother.
I was recently experiencing the now-familiar quandary of which diaper bag to chose when this great truth hurdled its way into my mind. Suddenly, amid the now cute patterns and fashion-rich hues of the diaper bag aisle at Babies R Us, I thought, "I don't need, nor do I want something that can fit a small arsenal of baby accoutrements. I mean seriously, how often am I caught unexpectedly on a deserted island requiring the: 3 layers of extra clothing (I had years when the kids outgrew those extra outfits before they ever got worn); 1 bottle each of Tylenol, Simethicone, Children's Motrin, and Benedryl; teething tablets and colic tablets; 2 thermometers for anal and auxiliary readings; containers and jars of diaper rash ointment, Neosporan, lotion, sunscreen, baby powder, and baby oil; at least 5 diapers and a container of wipes. And to top it off," I thought, "I am tired of looking like a bag lady - even a smartly outfitted bag lady."
Some new possibilities began to percolate in my head, but I couldn't trust my own sleep-deprived brain to make right on what I thought possible. I called in for reinforcements.
It took my girlfriend and me roughly 2 days, with a combined total of 6 hours, and 5 stores before the vision was realized. But I am proud to say that I do not own another diaper bag! No, indeed I even went smaller on a new mini-purse. I chose to put the necessities of my life into a darling periwinkle and brown leather, zippered purse not much bigger than a clutch but with a short arm-strap. And for the diapers required by my 2 children still wearing them I purchased a new Vera Bradley in a splashing bold print of vivid blues and soft browns. It is even smaller than my old Vera Bradley bag I had been using for a purse! It holds a couple diapers of each size, one extra sleeper for Phoebe, small bottle of lotion, travel wipes container, and my little plastic pouch of necessary sundries. That's it.
Together, the two pair beautifully. I am maintaining my womanhood with a purse that shouts, "I carry lipstick only!" And my diaper bag is darling in a sophisticated kind of way, with the added bonus that it simply won't fit the kitchen sink.
As a post-script to this lesson, I do still have my lovely diaper bag backpack which can easily hold a genuine store of baby items for those times when we really might be stranded on that desert island. After all, I am not just a woman, I am also a mom.