Ask anybody who knows me, and they'll tell you that my diaper bag was getting out of hand.
It was growing in size, more vast and cumbersome with each passing day. There was no zipper to close because the bag's mammoth mouth was always wide open to receive more. I threw everything into it, from a pile of overdue library books to a full-size blanket, just in case. Without knowing it, I was carrying around three tubes of sunblock, five bibs, four pairs of sneakers, three hats, and two changing pads. Plus all the usual diaper bag contents.
My Petunia Picklebottom Weekender was now a heavy linebacker, her days of feminine cuteness long gone. How come it looked so shapely when I first got it this past Easter? With all the pleats gone and buttons unpopped, now it was an ovular tube, stuffed like a sausage.
I lugged it around and dragged it when necessary. My shoulder developed permanent groove marks. My right hip went out of socket in objection. Finally, like two days ago, I decided to rethink.
I wanted to carry a handbag that screamed, "Diaper bag?! I have no idea what you're talking about!" She would be lightweight and fashionable, appearing completely carefree, blissfully youthful, and fully unaware of the diapered toddler that I tote around on my other arm.
Inside this handbag I should carry just the absolute essentials, I promised. Let's keep up the appearance that the boy on my left hip never pees, poops, pukes, or performs feats that require a large pile of paraphernalia to be perpetually in my possession.
Yet, if such things needn't be within an arm's reach, they certainly shouldn't be more than a short walk away. I can deal with three diapers, but what if I need a fourth? I needed a backup plan.
And thus came to be my next brainchild: The Secret Stash in the Car that Says, "I Told You So." This resourceful and bountiful bag would always stay in the car, and in it would contain important things like a deluxe first aid kit, a warm blanket, a warmer outfit, and lots more diapers and wipes.
But what about those impromptu visits to a restaurant, where we suddenly realize that we're starving and our favorite place just happens to be on the corner? Allow me to introduce to you The Restaurant Bag, a permanent fixture in my back seat, always ready to produce a clean bib, a rubber place mat, two board books with flaps, and several quiet table-top toys, like a magnetic drawing board and a spinning Ferris Wheel. When you're waiting for your food to arrive, these are essential.
And then there's the Mass Basket, a cute little tote filled with religious board books, a Jesus action figure, a wooden cross, Rosary beads, and Cheerios. That little bag is essential for getting us through a nice quiet hour in church.
So there you have it! This mama is now organized, and I love it.
I now carry only 22 essential items in my Handbag, 32 in the Car Stash, 8 items in the Restaurant Bag, and 14 items in the Mass Basket.
All 76 items are now in their proper place! Problem solved.