Why It’s Important to Keep a Stocked Diaper Bag (and What to Pack)

My mom loves to tell a story about taking me to the mall when I was 6 or 7 months old and how while we were there, I had a major blowout poop. Evidentially, there was poop everywhere. So much poop, that this has been a stand out memory for her for over 30 years. In fact, this is one of the only stories that I’ve ever heard about my infancy.

Well, guess what, guys!!!

MY LEGACY LIVES ON THROUGH MY SON.

While we were out shopping for matching pajamas for the kids to make our holiday cards, Mateo had a poop explosion that I will carry with me forever.

Our mall adventure started off really well! Mateo had fallen asleep in the car on our way there and we were able to successfully get him into his stroller and keep him asleep for a long time – long enough for Nori to go potty, ride the train and for us to find the pajamas that we came for and pay for them.

I couldn’t help but feel deep satisfaction about how successful our trip had been. The mall during holiday season is not for amateurs. I was expecting our outing to be a shit show and it wasn’t! Little did I know that I was about to be confronted with a literal shit show.

As we were heading out of the store, Mateo woke up. He was so happy and smiley! He must have had a good nap. Nori poked her head into his stroller to say “Hi!” and she pulled her head back, revolted.

Mateo smells like poop, Mom!!

Ok. No problem, I thought. I pushed his stroller to the bathroom and Nori and Benny continued shopping around. When we got to the bathroom and I picked Mateo up, his clothing squished against his back. My hands were wet.

NOOOOOOOOOO!

His poop had squirted all the way up to the back of his head and all the way down the back of his legs.

I stripped him naked and threw his onesie in the trash – it was unsalvageable. Frantically, I wiped him down with baby wipes. People were walking past me in the woman’s room, covering their noses and looking at me with pity.

It was a nightmare.

I had been taking so long in the bathroom that Benny sent Nori to go check on me. As soon as I saw her I yelled, GET DAD!!

Benny joined me in the ladies room as we hurried to clean our baby up and get him dressed again and that’s when I realized that I didn’t pack him any extra clothing.

FUUUUUUCK!

Luckily, we had just bought those jammies, so we put him in those – but not before we completely wiped him down with hand sanitizer.

That’s right. I covered my baby with Purell. Judge me.

Mateo didn’t wait til XMAS for his pajamas.

Sometimes, you’ve just gotta do what you’ve gotta do and this brings me to my point:

ALWAYS KEEP A STOCKED DIAPER BAG!

ALWAYS.

I use a simple backpack as my diaper bag and it’s usually well stocked, but every now and then I slip up and forget something – usually when I really need the item that I forgot. So, here is a friendly reminder for myself and some tips for you on what to pack in your diaper bag so that you don’t end up in a shitty situation like me.

DIAPERS // Duh. If your kid wears diapers, bring them. Bring more than you think you’ll need. I usually pack 4-6 depending on how long we will be out.

WIPES // I bring a few different wipes in my bag because I’m a crazy person. I bring regular baby wipes for Mateo, toddler flushable wipes for Nori because the princess will only poop if she knows that she has a wet wipe for her bottom and hand and face wipes for messy faces and hands. Maybe it’s overkill, but I like to have options.

CHANGE OF CLOTHES // Always keep weather appropriate changes of clothes, socks and undies in your bag even if your kid hasn’t had a blow out in months or has been potty trained for years. Accidents happen. Once, when Nori was 2, maybe 2.5, I had to take Nori home from the park with no pants on after her first and only potty accident. She didn’t seem to mind, but I felt awful.  It’s not always the potty accidents that screw you, but spills, mud, etc. can all make a kiddo wet and uncomfortable and nobody wants that.

SNACKS // I don’t know about you, but I get hangry!! Everyone in my family does, so I always try to pack enough snacks for everyone. I usually pack a few apple sauce pouches, baby food pouches and snack bars. If we are having a park day or I know that we will be out for several hours, I’ll pack fresh fruit and veggies and often will make a couple of sandwiches too. Having enough snacks for everyone stops meltdowns before they happen and also help to save money and time because you won’t need to stop and get food while you’re out and about.

TOYS // When kids get bored, all hell breaks loose!! Having a few toys and activities on hand is essential. For the baby, I usually pack a blinky/noisy toy and a teether and for Nori, I bring crayons – I also will give her my phone sometimes to play games – not gonna lie. When I want to keep her off of a device, Water Wow’s are awesome! If you don’t know what they are, they’re coloring pages that come with a special pen that you fill up with water. Nori loves them and never seems to grow tired of coloring the same pictures over and over again.

HAND SANITIZER // Kids are gross. Germs are everywhere. NUFF SAID.

In a perfect world, our diaper bags would always be stocked up and ready for anything, but let’s be real, some days we’re sure to fuck up – enter, the stocked car. I try to always have 2-3 diapers in my glove box and a pack of baby wipes in the trunk. In my center console, I like to keep one or two apple sauces and on good days, I’ll have packed cereal bars too. That is also where I keep an extra hand sanitizer. I keep a few toys in the car all the time, too, because carrying them to and from the house is too much work and in this instance, being lazy is helpful.

Even with knowing what to pack, you’ll probably still forget things sometimes, but, knowing is half the battle! So, stock up that bag! Stock up that car! And let the world know that you’re a bad ass parent who (usually) has their shit together.

Fill your cup: Simple self care for tired moms

Ever since becoming a mother, I’ve heard the phrase, “you can’t pour from an empty cup” more than I ever have in my entire life – In fact, I don’t think I had ever heard it before having kids.

Is this a phrase that is reserved only for parents?

Probably.

Mom life is exhausting.

Look at all this momming I do!

Now, don’t get me wrong – I love being a mama and feel so lucky to be able to stay at home with my children, but damn, some days, it is so hard!

I cook, I clean, I play, I entertain, I problem solve, I taxi drive, I wipe tears, I wipe butts, I pay bills, I schedule appointments, I give baths, I do laundry, I grocery shop.

And that’s just what I can think of of the top of my head.

It never ends! Literally!

When Benny is home, its hard enough, but when he is away for weeks at a time?!

Just thinking about it makes me anxious.

When you’re a stay at home parent, you never leave work.

Feeling run down has become a way of life. Instead of planning to get more rest, I’ve invested in a better concealer.

I drink so much coffee that if the opportunity for a nap comes up, I’m too jacked up to lay down.

I haven’t pooped alone in years!

Sometimes, I just want space! I want a few moments to myself, to hear my own thoughts.

I envy my husband when he travels. I know that he misses us so much, but usually, he gets a hotel room where he gets to shower alone and lay down alone – he doesn’t have any one asking him questions. He gets to look at his phone without feeling guilty.

OH! The bliss.

I can only imagine.

I want to shower alone! I want to lay down and know that I won’t be interrupted for 8 hours! I want for one day, no one to ask me anything.

If only.

When he is home, I struggle to admit to him that I could use a hand – and this is the time where I should be taking all the help I can get! I should be milking it!!

Unfortunately, for me, asking for help is not something that I do well.

A few weeks back, we had several 100 degree days in a row. We have a great house, but no AC. Toward the end of this heatwave, our house was miserable! The house was barely cooling down to 80 at night.

Making the best of being smothered in my hot bed first thing in the morning.

One morning, after a rough, sweaty night with Mateo, I woke up, extra grumpy.

My daughter, like she always does, ran into my bedroom to rush me out of bed. She wanted to assign me a character for whatever make-believe she was already playing.

Pretend play? Already?! I’ll pass.

She wanted pancakes, she wanted another cup of milk, she wanted to go outside.

“MOM!!! Stop calling me, Nori, I’m Princess Blue!!”

OMFG, girl. What else?!

I wanted to hide under a blanket.

I made myself some coffee and set it on the counter.

I thought that getting dressed might help to pull me together, so I grabbed the baby to bring him along with me. I noticed he was wet, so I went to change him and once he was undressed, he peed ALL OVER ME.

Now I was grumpy, sweaty and covered in urine.

I rolled the sleeves of my robe up until the wet parts were hidden inside of the dry and cleaned Mateo up. I washed my hands and dabbed my belly dry with a cloth.

I felt so gross.

The icing on the cake? Now, my coffee was cold!

ARG!

Huffing and puffing, I went to change in my bedroom and remembered that my husband was still asleep, as he worked late the night before.

That asshole!

I went to microwave my coffee and sat down to drink it, still in my pee clothes, so that I wouldn’t disturb sleeping beauty.

An hour or so later, when I heard him waking up, I became overcome with rage!

I stormed over to him and blerted out, “IM GOING TO TAKE A SHOWER, NOW! TAKE THE BABY!!”

He looked at me like, “Okay?”

He didn’t know about the pee, or how little I had slept or about my cold coffee on the counter. He didn’t know that I still needed to change. He didn’t know how much I was struggling that morning.

How could he have?

I handed him Mateo, and went to take a shower. Not some BS, rushed shower like I’d become accustomed to taking, but a nice, long shower.

I let the water pour over me. I lathered, I rinsed. I fucking repeated! I stood there and enjoyed the quiet. When I got out, I put in my contacts, put on some makeup and got fully dressed.

Usually, after a shower, I’d put my robe back on and rush out of there with my hair still in a towel.

Not today!

When I walked out fully dressed, everything was fine. The kids were happy. My husband was happy – he greeted me warmly, with a kiss.

There was absolutely no reason for me not to be meeting my own needs. The household survived while I bathed. I don’t know why I thought that they wouldn’t.

Those 20 minutes alone were fantastic. I should have been doing this all of the time – at least three times a week.

Why wasn’t I just asking for help when I needed it?

It occurred to me that I was the only person in my family who was keeping track of the last time I showered, or how many times I had woken up the night before or microwaved my coffee that morning.

It’s easy to forget about taking care of yourself when everyone else forgets that you need to take care of yourself.

Maybe, it’s not that they were forgetting, but that I’m such a boss ass mama that my family didn’t realize that I was running on empty.

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Don’t mind me! I haven’t slept in 5 months.

This wasn’t a them issue, it was a me issue.

I needed to pencil in time for myself just like I did for my husband and children. I needed to let go of the assumption that because being a mom was “my job” that I wasn’t allowed to or deserve to take breaks.

Self care, y’all!

Self care doesn’t need to be a spa day. It doesn’t need to be luxurious. Self care is whatever you need to do to care your yourself – even if it’s just advocating for your needs!

No one should ever breakdown crying over a shower.

I’ve put more focus onto my own well being and have become a better mother, a better wife and a happier me. I’ve done this by:

1. Speaking up. Instead of feeling resentment toward my family for things that I feel overwhelmed by, I began to tell my husband and daughter what I needed from them and I found that both of them were more than happy to go along with my requests. If I feel backed up on housework, I’ve learned that I can just tell my husband and more often than not, he will fold our laundry or pick up around the house. If I feel overwhelmed by my daughter wanting to play the moment we wake up, I just tell her that I’m not quite ready to make believe yet and she will give me space until I have woken up more. No one is a mind reader – more often than not, my family didn’t know that I was feeling overwhelmed.

2. Making time for friends. It isn’t always possible for me to get a sitter and hang out with my friends without Nori and Mateo. Luckily for me, a lot of my friends have children or don’t mind when I have mine with me. I try to see my friends at least 2 times a week and call and text my friends regularly. Feeling connected to other adults helps motherhood and family life feel less isolating. I am so grateful for the solid group of friends in my life!

3.Doing something extra. One thing that I always do for myself that makes me happy is have manicured nails. I go every three weeks to have my shellac changed and it is an act of self love that I refuse to sacrifice. Whenever I look at my hands and their pretty polish, I feel happy! Sometimes the kids stay with my husband, sometimes with my mom and sometimes with a sitter – no matter what I need to do to make it happen, I do it. Lately I have been bringing Nori along with me and I love that something that I do for me has become a bonding experience for us. Nourishing my relationship with her by including her in an activity that I love brings me happiness!

4. Indulging. When I am feeling down or worn out, taking myself out for a treat always helps. Okay, so, maybe I am a comfort eater, but whatever! We all have our vices. It could be worse!! My favorite treats are donuts and fro yo. This act of self care is a double whammy, because I can use getting treats as a bargaining chip for good behavior from Nori. Win/win, amirite?!

5. Taking breaks from social media. Nothing like a perfect instagram family to make you feel like shit on a rough day. Sometimes, disconnecting and taking time to be fully present in your own life is all you need to snap out of a funk. The world won’t end if you don’t share every activity you do to your story – I promise!

6. Buying something new. Something as simple as buying yourself a new teeshirt can make a huge difference. I try to make a point to only get myself something when I do this – all too often I’ll buy myself something on clearance and get the kids a whole new wardrobe – that doesn’t feel as good as shopping just for you.

I know it’s easier said than done, but as a stay home mom, you’re the families glue! You’re the most important! You need to take care of yourself just as well as you do your family.

Fill that cup, mama!