In what can only be interpreted as a clear indication that I have way too much free time on my hands and/or that some of my cerebral matter is not being adequately utilized, I recently found myself contemplating which items I would pack for myself in a diaper bag were I to tote one around with the religious fervor I reserve for my little ones’ bag. Consider it the mommy riff on the trusty “if you were stuck on a desert island, what one item would you bring” question that women’s magazine reporters so delight in asking. The sad truth is that I would choose death by the sun’s scorching rays over being forced to narrow my “essentials” list down to one item, so what follows is a line-up of products that I truly, madly, deeply believe I would not be able to survive without.
As I made my list, I found it interesting to note that there are undeniable parallels between that which I would pack in my bag of tricks and that which is fairly standard issue in a child’s diaper bag. Coincidence or just a function of basic human needs? You be the judge.
Diaper bag essential: Wipes
Mommy’s bag of tricks equivalent: Olay Regenerist Cleansing Cloths
Some mornings – and some evenings for that matter – are more brutal than others. When I am running late in the morning (perhaps more accurately stated as “since I am always running late in the morning”) or when I am particularly tired at night and just cannot bear to donate my precious time and energy to the tedious act of lathering my face with soap and water in my standard two minute Clarisonic ritual, I simply reach for my shiny white package of premoistened facial wipes. A few quick flicks of my wrist, and voila – my face is squeaky clean with minimal effort expended. In case you are weird like me and feel guilty about not actually washing your face the old fashioned way, the consolation prize is that you actually get to see the dirt and grime that these lovely white towelettes remove from your face…an instant gratification thrill normally reserved for the likes of vacumming with a clear cannister vaccuum or removing wax with an ear candle. And since we’re among friends here, I will also confess that in moments of duress, I have used these little cloths to perform what my mom delicately refers to as “a birdbath.” Hey – you gotta do what you gotta do.
Diaper bag essential: Barrier Cream
Mommy’s bag of tricks equivalent: Aquaphor
Aquaphor is the duct tape of beauty products. You can use it on your baby to prevent and heal diaper rash. You can use it on your skin to treat severe dryness such as the fetching red scaly variety I’ve been subjected to lately as a result of this ridiculously cold weather we’ve been forced to endure. (I mean – do we live in Texas and is it March or what?) You can even use Aquaphor in a pinch to tame the flyaways that are threatening to distract from the sleek perfection of your low-lying ponytail. But my favorite use for Aquaphor is as a lip balm. Aquaphor is conveniently sold in a variety of sizes including a travel size perfect for your purse and a rather sizeable tub perfect for everywhere else, so there’s no excuse not to have some handy at any given moment.
Diaper bag essential: Baby Powder
Mommy’s bag of tricks equivalent: Oscar Blandi dry shampoo
Confession: I don’t wash my hair every day. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Confession amplified: I don’t even usually wash my hair every other day. Perhaps it’s because my hair is thick and unruly or because I have a freakishly large head, but whatever the case, it takes me a very, very long time to wash and style my hair. When I was pregnant, the very act of showering coupled with a hair wash and blow dry was enough to knock me out for a solid two hour nap. Since I am still – in my mid-30s, mind you – cursed with oily hair, I was forced to venture out in search of a solution that would prevent me from appearing as though the remnants of the Exxon Valdez oil spill somehow managed to migrate atop my head. Enter Oscar Blandi dry shampoo and victoriously cue the SuperMan theme song. Don’t let the name fool you, there is no water or sudsing involved, so this is not a shampoo by classic definition…it’s just powder with a fancy name. To use, you simply sprinkle the lemony scented powder to the oily or lifeless areas of your hair, brush to blend it in, and voila: instant freshness. I’ve experimented with a few brands of dry shampoo in my day, and Oscar Blandi is by far my favorite. Insider tip: be sure to check the crevices of your ears for wayward powder, the telltale sign of a dry shampoo addict such as myself, before walking out the door.
Diaper bag essential: Cheerios
Mommy’s bag of tricks equivalent: Nature Valley Crunchy Oats ‘n Honey granola bar
I don’t know about y’all, but sometimes I forget to eat. There are days when I look up, realize it’s 2:00, and can’t remember the last thing I put in my mouth besides a fistful of puffs as I was packing my daughter’s lunch. Somedays that’s ok, and my body is forgiving. Other days it’s not and all of a sudden out of nowhere my body sends a very clear message that it’s not going to move one more muscle until I give it the nutrients it so richy deserves. Like now. Breath mints aren’t going to cut it under these circumstances ladies, so I always carry Nature Valley granola bars with me. Well, truth to be told, I probably always carry about 12 with me as I am constantly dropping one in my bag as I rush out the door “just in case” because really, who can see what’s actually buried in the black abyss of my bag underneath the mountain of HEB receipts permanently archived in there.
Diaper bag essential: Bottle or sippy cup
Mommy’s bag of tricks equivalent: Tervis Tumbler
Betcha thought I was going to say wine in a box! No, although I’m sure there are days when wine in a box might be the more logical plug-in here, my go-to beverage carrier of choice is usually a Tervis tumbler, and I carry it with me everywhere I go. What I love about the Tervis tumbler is how cold it keeps my drinks in the heat of a Texas summer (or spring or fall or winter). There is nothing better than returning to your car, as parched as the sahara desert after an absolutely grueling afternoon of shopping, only to find that the ice water you left behind two hours ago is still reasonably cold instead of boiling hot as it would be in a cup of inferior standards. As a bonus, its cup within a cup design ensures you can leave it on any surface (yes, even your antique dining room table) without having to worry about placing a coaster underneath it. My Tervis tumbler is like my AmEx – I never leave home without it!
Diaper bag essential: Diapers
Mommy’s bag of tricks equivalent: Always Radiant liners
You didn’t think I was gonna go here, but I so am. Becoming a mom forces you to face some truths about yourself and your body- truths that you never in a million years dreamed that you would be confronting. Some are beautiful and some are, well, kinda ugly. Remember that Whoopi Goldberg “spritz” commercial? Yeah, me too, and I’m still traumatized by it to this day. Well, guess what? After popping out two babies, I’m here to tell you that I’m no longer a stranger to the spritz. Something strikes me as ridiculously hilarious? A sneeze comes on a little too strong? I foolishly wait to use the restroom until I have to try to run for relief with my legs locked together like some sort of knock-kneed flamingo? Accidents happen. And when they do, I’m always happy to be armed with unobtrusive but effective protection!
So there you have it. You probably now know a little more about me than you ever cared to learn, but if I have saved even one mommy a little time or stress in her otherwise chaotic and relentless day, none of my confessions were in vain. And since we’re practically BFFs now, do you have any tips you’d care to share with me?