I remember the days when everywhere that I went, I toted the diaper bag around with me. It was big and bulky and full of stuff, but it came everywhere. I made do better than some, as I nursed both of my children and didn’t need to carry bottles and formula along with me. But breastfed babies seem to have more excessive and frequent poop blow outs than formula fed babies, so multiple extra outfits were always necessary. And diapers. Lots of diapers. And wipes. And creams. And toys. And burp cloths. During certain stretches I even carried an extra shirt and nursing bra for myself. Oh wait, I had my wallet, keys, and phone in there, too.
Of course, when Little Man came in to the picture, I was carrying a diaper bag full of all of the necessary baby stuff, plus back-up outfits for Ladybug, as she was potty training. Well, she had been potty trained until her brother came along, but then we had to start all over again. Nevertheless, I spent years carrying all sorts of extra crap around, waiting for the day when I could finally stop being the family pack mule.
Ladybug is eight now and Little Man is five. I still find myself playing the role of pack mule. Oh, Big Man helps out with the pack mule stuff on the weekend, but there are five other days in the week. Recently, I was sitting on the pool deck with Little Man while Ladybug had swim practice and I thought to myself, “oh $hit, I’m still carrying a huge a$$ bag around.” I looked down at the bag by my feet and couldn’t get over the amount of crap I was toting around. My wallet, my phone, the iPad so I could read (except Little Man had taken control of it to play games), the old iPhone so Little Man could play games (except he wasn’t), some grading to keep myself busy (since I knew Little Man would take my iPad), a water bottle for myself, a water bottle and a snack for Little Man, and a towel, flip flops, and pjs for Little Man (because if Ladybug gets to shower and go home in her pjs, then so does he). Ugh! I’m still carrying around a flippin’ “diaper bag” except there are no diapers in it. And the Wednesday night Mama bag is just for two. Ladybug has her own swim bag which she may or may not be “too tired” to carry to the car after practice. She sure as hell can’t carry it from the pool to the family locker room because that would involve unwrapping one arm from her towel and exposing some of herself to the cold. So not only am I still toting a huge Mama bag, but now I’m carrying another bag as well. And that’s just Wednesday nights!
Once I got home I couldn’t help but take inventory. Besides carrying a huge Mama bag around, there are bags lined up all over my house. In the dining room there are backpacks lined up along the floor. Ok, they aren’t mine, but somehow I wind up toting a backpack up the hill from the bus at the end of the day when everyone is exhausted. In the laundry room there are four swim bags lined up along the wall. Yes, one is mine, but the other three are not. Usually Ladybug can handle hers, except for the few minutes just out of the pool. Little Man is physically capable of carrying his, and yet, somehow I usually wind up toting it back and forth.
I’ve noticed that I don’t own any small purses anymore. If I can’t fit supplies for a small army in my purse, it’s of no use to me. You never know when you’ll need extra tissues. I can’t seem to travel far without an extra water bottle or two. Have I mentioned that Little Man is a boy? Those boy people seem to be in constant need of sustenance. It’s always a good idea to have a travel snack on hand. Again, there’s all the stuff that’s supposed to be in a purse, too. I’m surprised that my right shoulder isn’t visibly larger than my left, from all the extra work it has been doing.
I thought about using my Christmas money from parents on a fabulous blue Kate Spade number. It was beautiful. Better yet, it was on sale. I drooled over it for two days, before thinking better of it. It wouldn’t be for me. It would be for pack muling everyone else’s crap around. Heck, I was drawn to it because of its size. It would have fit so much stuff in it. And that was the problem. I would have stuffed it full and it would have gotten ruined by goldfish and gummies. Even Betty agreed. I could get it and just use it for nights out, but then it would never see the light of day.
I guess I’ll be the family pack mule for a while longer. But at least it gives me a little control over how much stuff gets left behind in the car. If I left the kids completely in charge of all of their stuff mom’s taxi would never be clean!