What Does Your Diaper Bag Say About You?

I'm pretty much out of the diaper bag phase now but here's a fact: my diaper bags were always packed with everything you could possibly think of needing for any situation. When my first baby was born in 2006, I got one of those fancy diaper bags with the special compartments for everything and with special attachments so that I could hook it right onto my stroller handle, or use it as an over-the-shoulder-bag. In theory, it was right up my alley. But in reality, while I had everything separated (diapers did not mingle with snacks and the extra set of clothes had it's own baggie), all of the stuff got thrown into the middle compartment. At some point I realized it was ridiculous to carry a purse and a diaper bag, so the middle compartment became the home of my keys, wallet and phone too. It basically mirrored the chaos of my own purse, only it contained stuff for my baby. Sure, I had moments of clarity where I would empty everything out, reorganize and start again, only to land in the same place all over again.  I gave away that diaper bag to a friend and tried to come to terms with the fact that I'm a disorganized-organized person. I'm a neat house/messy closets kind of gal. 

My eldest in May, 2007. Wish I had a pic of the diaper bag but at the very least, it held the book, the toys, the lovey, the blanket and some diaper changing stuff. Just in case! 

My eldest in May, 2007. Wish I had a pic of the diaper bag but at the very least, it held the book, the toys, the lovey, the blanket and some diaper changing stuff. Just in case! 

Four years later when my son was born, I got one of those looks-like-a-purse-but-it's-a-diaper-bag thing. Even empty, it was heavier than my son when he was born, and he was an eight pounder! Again I tried to organize the compartments and put bottles here, toys there, diapers here, changing pad there. Again I failed. But at least I had everything I needed *just in case*. And let me tell you, my babysitters LOVED this. If you're prepared like this, you never have to detour from the adventure. My husband disagrees; he says the detour is part of the adventure and always wondered why I needed to have everything on hand just in case? I wondered how, when he had solo outings with the kiddies, he could just leave the house with a diaper and a few wipes? 

We live in New York City. There are snacks and waters and wipes and diapers on every corner. If there's a major poop accident and a change of clothing is desperately needed or something else that I haven't thought of happens and the place on the nearest corner can't help, we can just hop home. 

I've got a third baby now who will be 18 months this weekend. I can't remember when I last used a diaper bag but I can admit this: when we leave the house, I bring everything just in case. But now it's shoved into a canvas bag. Spare pacifiers, extra diapers, wipes, books, toys, extra socks, you name it. And I've always given myself a little pat on the back for it until today. I was stopped in my tracks today after reading this article from Morgan over on It's all about decluttering and getting rid of the crap you don't use (decluttering/purging and I have a love/hate relationship). She quotes Karen Kingston, author of “Clear Your Clutter With Feng Shui”  who wrote:

“Keeping things ‘just in case’ indicates a lack of trust in the future…It is often not your own future you are concerned about providing for. You may also sincerely want to be able to help others. So then you keep absolutely everything ‘just in case’ someone else needs it.”

Morgan writes "you’ve kind of got to get rid of all that crap and trust that you’ll be able to access/aquire the crap you need when you need it." 

Ugh. I.AM.GUILTY! And frankly, the diaper bag is just one teensy example of this larger problem. I have a lack of trust in the future. And that's a bad example to set for my kids.

Must. Change. I want my kids to feel empowered that they can weather any situation, even if they aren't prepared for it. They shouldn't *need* everything packed just in case. So why should I?  

Lots of food for thought here. I'm not even sure if I'm about to dive whole hog into embracing the uncertainties of the future and my ability to deal with them as they crop up or if I'm about to spend more time defensively justifying my own perspective. Stay tuned.