I am not sure about you, but I am a teensy bit excited to be out of the diaper bag stage. While all three of my children are now potty trained (can I get an amen?!) I still carry around an extra outfit and underwear for each of them in the minivan. But, gone are the days of a bulky, fluffy bag full of bibs, pacis, wipes, thirty-five diapers, tons of extra onesies, and your sanity on a changing pad.
I try to keep a cooler in the van as well with waters and snacks (how many times have you had a drink spill inside your bag? SO MANY.) which keeps my “mom bag” full of the absolute essentials. Most days, I do not even carry THIS much. But, let’s break it down, shall we?
1.) Canvas tote. I have had a slight obsession lately with canvas totes, mostly because they are simple, inexpensive, easy to clean, and can double as a grocery bag at Aldi or a library book bag. I used to use a larger purse as a diaper bag, until one time a waiter at a restaurant asked me why I brought my overnight bag in. Canvas totes rock. That restaurant did NOT, by the way.
2.) A good read. Chances are, if you are out of the diaper bag stage, you are in the on the go stage, where you have lots of small children involved in varying activities. The perfect storm for me happens when my seven year old daughter goes into dance class, BOTH boys fall asleep in the van via transit, which leaves me with a hardback book and a coffee and my uninterrupted thoughts. I mean, that happens once every three months, but WHEN IT DOES I am prepared. I also like to tote my Bible or a ring of index cards with scripture on them.
3.) Tissues, baby wipes, and hand sanitizer. I remember growing up, my mother making the comment that she would be “carrying baby wipes the rest of her life” and I find that to be totally true. After her kids were grown, she became a grandmother, and they are great for both wiping dirty faces and getting stains out of clothing too. And Kleenex is a must for fall allergies. Bless you. And I have small stashes of hand sanitizer everywhere–in my van, in my bag, in my daughter’s purse. Do what ya gotta do.
4.) Sunglasses and sunscreen. Now that your kiddos are all mobile, you will probably be spending many days at the park or soccer practice. I usually carry a small stick sunscreen for a quick application in the summer as well as many, many pairs of sunglasses. Thank you, Target dollar aisle.
5.) Nail kit and lip care. This may seem over the top, but I have been in so many situations where we needed a small pair of scissors or a nail would be half-torn while playing. I always keep a nail kit on hand, and some sort of lip gloss or chapstick. Gotta keep those lips soft from kissing all of those cheekable kiddos of yours.
6.) Wallet and a small treat. Typically I toss some lollipops or a pack of gum in the mix, just as a sweet treat for good behavior in the store (or mints for the mama with constant coffee breath). I realize the wallet seems painfully obvious, but after LEAVING MINE AT HOME FOR FOUR DAYS at a blog conference (and subsequently my husband had to wire me some cash) just make sure your wallet is in there. Please. For me?
7.) Phone and charger. My phone is not pictured (I took the picture WITH the phone) but I always keep it in my bag and a charger in the dash of my van. If I plan to switch vehicles and hop in with a friend, I make sure to grab that charger. Cell phone batteries are so unpredictable that you never know when you could need it.
8.) Notepad, pen, and Sharpie. Got to have a place to scribble last minute grocery items, or a place to keep your child entertained for a moment. I ALWAYS carry a Sharpie for labeling purposes. There may be 10 drinks that are identical in the Chick-fil-A play area, but my children’s cups have their initials on top.
All of my “extras” and “emergency items” are stored neatly in the trunk. What about you? What are some of your go-tos when on the go?