While I was pregnant with Silas, among the many things I fussed and stressed over was the diaper bag. The diaper bag. I was obsessed with the idea of finding the perfect diaper bag. As someone who has a bit of a bag fetish (ahem), finding the perfect bag was of the utmost importance, as if finding the right bag to handle all of the baby gear would magically mean that I could handle the actual baby.
I was happy with this bag. I crammed it full of cloth diapers and wipes and ointment and toys and Aden & Anais blankets and my Moby wrap, and all the extra gear that I felt stood to protect me and my little bundle against calamity. More stuff = heightened sense of safety. Now, who exactly is the security blanket for?
Fast-forward 6 more months or so, and behold the Holy Grail of mamas-of-toddler bags: the Haiku Hobo 2 bag, bought at Whole Earth with tax refund money. A bag so wonderful and efficient and cute that my equally bag-obsessed friend Kathryn took one look at it when I brought it to the coffeeshop for the first time, and promptly went out and bought herself the very same bag, in a different color, the next day. You can tell I'm now the mama of a walker because I need a cross-body shoulder strap (not shown) to carry the bag while I chase my wobbling toddler. (Silas is fearless and would always run as far away from me as he could get in any public place.) This bag also serves a toddler mama well as it is made entirely of recycled bottles, and is thus wipeable and waterproof, which comes in handy while you make that long and frought search for a spill-proof sippy cup. By now the bag is filled almost entirely with boy stuff. I have my phone, wallet, lip balm in there, and ever hopefully, a small Moleskine, but mostly it holds cars and trucks and eleven different kinds of snacks.
Nearly a year later, circa now. I am six months pregnant with my second child, and the era of diaper bags is staring at me in the face again. It's with a mixture of equal parts dread and excitement that I am considering purchasing another diaper bag, one that will better accommodate the needs of two boys of completely different ages. Though I expect to carry WAY less baby stuff this time around (here's a tip: keep lots of spare clothes and extra dipes and wipes in a plastic bin in your car), still three humans' worth of gear is sure to take up some space. I've got my eye on this one.
But that's a few months away still. For now, I am delighting in carrying the smallest possible bag, with the least amount of stuff I can get away with. I've downsized my Moleskine to a slimmer size, use the smallest wallet I have, and seek out tiny snacks for the bear. I keep 2-3 wipes in a small ziplock bag. I take an outsized amount of pleasure in reducing my necessities to the barest minimum. I still have room for a Hot Wheels car and a tiny book in there. I allow space for my pocket Pema book because having it with me makes me feel safe and sane, and that's worth a lot of purse real estate. Silas usually carries his own water bottle around. I rarely have to change him on most trips out, and for when I do, I keep a changing wallet in the car (again: treat your car as if it were one very big purse.) It's so freeing to need so little.
(What I carry: wallet, Moleskine, Post-Its, Muji pen, The Pocket Pema Chodron, hand sanitizer, tiny tube of hand lotion, caramel Hershey's kisses, gum, tiny Cars book, Hot Wheels car, box of raisins, fruit twists. Not shown: wipes in baggy and, and most important, iPhone 4 in Otterbox case.)
Given this set of data, and my current small choice of purse, you might wonder whether I'm feeling confident as a mother these days. I do. While there are definitely challenges big and small each day, I no longer doubt my ability to handle what's thrown at me (literally and figuratively), nor do I doubt my suitability to the task of being Silas' mother. And it may be blind, reckless optimism, but I'm feeling pretty good about adding another little being to the herd. I feel broken in, as it were, as a mother, and better able to expand and embrace more love and more responsibilities.
I don't know. Ask me again in a few months when I'm lugging around an enormous diaper bag.