There are things that are mainstays in my diaper bag. Obviously, diapers and wipes are the most important. But there are other things in there too. Things you might not consider essential to your day- to- day travels; but I wouldn't be caught leaving the house without them.
I will try to outline the need for some of my choices, others should be reasonably clear. I think everyone should carry a diaper bag. Everyone. Including non- parents. Well, okay, maybe not non parents.
First, I have three different bags. The small one is for short, less than an hour trips. It's got only a couple diapers, a pack of wipes, a small blanket (in case the baby is cold, or I need to nurse discreetly). That's it. There is room for my wallet and keys to be thrown in.
The midsized one (it's actually quite large) is my everyday roaming about bag. It's got everything I need for the baby, the kid and the pre teen. And then some.
I've got: diapers, wipes, a change of clothes for baby, a clean shirt for myself, toys, soothers, blanket (x2), snack bars, "Baby Gourmet" fruit packs, dry baby cereal portions, a sippy cup, two spoons, a small pack of 'surface wipes' (ie, a ziploc I cram Lysol wipes into- for use when I have to put the baby down someplace she might chew).
Now it gets more 'unusual' (I'm pretty sure it only seems unusual to people who don't have children or "anxiety" issues). I also have: socks- one pair for each of us (I've been in situations- repeatedly- where the kids needed new socks), bandaids, polysporin spray, needle and thread, lighter, large candle, tooth brush and paste, floss, gum, at least ten different colours of crayons, small sticker pads (unused and as yet unseen), "feminine crap", pads of paper, children's books, MY book, orajel, tylenol, cough drops, cough pills (adult and kid), antihistamines, kleenex, rubber gloves, plastic ziploc bag with more plastic bags in it, and last, but not least, $20 in cash and $10 in change. I also try to change up which toys are in the bag from week to week, and I check my 'stock' before I go to bed at night, and add anything specific I might need the next day.
Yes, that really is the list of things I need almost every time I leave the house. Really. Including the socks.
My biggest bag is for over night trips. It includes all of the above, PLUS, two extra changes of clothes for baby (for cool and for hot nights), a nasal aspirator, vicks vapor rub, batteries (camera, kid toys), more foods and books.
Okay, so basically it's a huge survival kit. But, that is what parenting is all about. It's not about having the cutest kids (it is a bit about that), or about what brands your kids wear. It's about survival. Pure and simple survival. Making it from today to tomorrow- with a minimum of crying (my crying- I don't care if kids are crying- it's like choking, if they are making noise, they'll live)
Once you've run into a situation where: your pants rip, your child skins a knee (and won't shut up), you're still ten hours from being done your 'quick visit', one kid is acting like a bored schizophrenic, another starts to gag and cough because of allergies, the baby poops ALL over the place- well, you'd be grateful to have my diaper bag with you. I have it ALL covered.
I also carry a card (I made for myself) which says,
"This Card Entitles the Bearer to: FREAK the F*** Out- OR Bribe Children with McDonalds."
Feel free to make yourself a card like that. It's saved all our asses more than once, reminding me that it's easier to bribe for temporary good behaviour than it is to suck up your pride and apologize to your kids for acting like a head case.