The last bag I had was a backpack that I used for seven years straight through my post grad degree and several overseas field trips. I even left it on a train once and it traveled unaccompanied from Waterloo to Kingston upon Thames. But it came back to me, and it was more precious than ever.
Now that I’m a parent, I’ve become gripped by an intense need to search for the right diaper bag. The diaper bag, and what to pack in it, seem to be that part of being a new parent that I still have any control over. Between the 3 a.m. feedings, the mystery rashes, the diaper changes on restaurant floors, and uncertainty over whether the baby is eating enough or pooping enough, everything has become ambiguous. When will he nap, when will he wake up again — it’s been two hours, three, four and a half now — when do I get to nap, shower, or even to pay the bills? All the time management skills, self-discipline, meticulous schedule and control that I mastered in my career went out the window the moment this mass of being exploded out of me.
If I have to go anywhere with this unpredictable ball of butter then the only thing I can do, I must do, is to be prepared for all possibilities. Diapers, five different types of wipes, hand sanitizer sprays, blankets of all shapes, a change of clothing just in case he has a diaper explosion — let’s make that two sets — sunscreen, band-aids, and lots of tissues. I need pockets for each of these, and they need to be accessible, like, you know, zero to sixty in 3 seconds.
Some of this stuff I carry is ridiculous, I know, but at least I haven’t packed a thermometer yet. I draw my line at that. You know, a fever doesn’t just jump up and attach itself to your baby between Target and the gas station. I am also not going to carry around nail clippers. Or scissors. Or special pouches to store the special cases to store the special wipes that already come in a pack.
I just want a bag that helps me stay organized, retain that little sense of control that I so crave. Something with enough space for me to throw in random things as I go about my day. In this mad quest for the right diaper bag, I have lost much precious M-is-sleeping-so-I-should-sleep time. I have read numerous reviews and watched more YouTube videos than I care to admit. I have also bought my fair share of them. Some have been too small, some too bulky, and a couple of others just perplexing. Some have come close to being perfect, but I haven’t found the one yet. And as long as baby M keeps growing and becoming a different person everyday, I’m not sure I ever will.