Being a first-time mom, I was going through many, many changes in my life. One of them was preparing and using a diaper bag. This bag was a baby shower gift from one of my husband’s coworker. We were a bit surprised that she had given me such a practical gift. She was the type of person who believed in crystals and lighting candles to change the aura of a room. We thought she would have given our baby a reading of his past life!
This diaper bag was fairly large. It was equipped with four pouches in the front for bottles, a changing pad, and a plastic bag for “messy stuff". (If I didn't know what this particular bag was for, it was marked clearly with these exact words.) The color of the bag was navy blue with white dots. The straps could be adjusted to be a backpack or to be slung over one's shoulder.
I knew this present was an essential one. After my son was born, I began to realize that the contents of the bag were bordering on life-saving. With each outing, I kept adding to the stock pile. Eventually, it was always stocked with:
- · 12 diapers, though our outings never lasted more than three hours, one can never be too careful
- · a change of baby clothes
- · container of baby wipes
- · wet cloth in a plastic container – – according to my mother-in-law, I would probably run out of baby wipes at the most inopportune time
- · receiving blanket
- · bottles, extra plastic nipples and formula – – I used to scoop out the powdered formula for the exact amount for each bottle. However, I found this to be very tedious and started take the whole can
- · baby rattle and baby toy – – according to my husband, our son would only be fascinated for so long with only his hands and feet!
One of our outings was to the pediatrician’s office for my son's first check up. I was a bit anxious and nervous about this appointment. The only thing I had confidence in was this well packed diaper bag.
After signing in, I sat with my son in my arms and surveyed the waiting room. It was brightly lit, which started to bother my eyes. Before, bright lights were no big deal. However, I was now adjusting to less hours of sleep. I began to wonder if the nurses were playing cruel jokes on us sleep deprived parents by putting in the brightest florescent lights imaginable.
Through my tired eyes, I noticed the room was filled with other parents . They all wore the same overwhelmed look I was frequently sporting. Also, they had a staggering amount of baby paraphernalia: strollers, baby carriers and the ever present diaper bag.
These bags were different colors and shapes. However, they all looked like they were packed to maximum capacity, the zippers and claps were barely closing.
I happened to cast my glance to one mother taking things out of her diaper bag. I was making mental notes of the items: storybook, change of clothes for mommy, baby and diaper rash lotion, and first aid kits.
Oh no! I lamented to myself. I don’t have any of these items in my bag! What if my son has a diaper rash, chapped skin, and a cut all at once? All that excitement would surely make him spit up all over me! Then I would be sitting in this doctor's office stinking and unable to soothe my baby with a story! What a terrible mother I am!!
My panicked scenario was interrupted by a woman who walked into the waiting room. She had her baby cradled in a baby carrying wrap. She did not have the worn-out expression as the rest of us had. Her baby carrying wrap match her outfit, for goodness sakes! What surprised me the most was she did not have a diaper bag. Rather, she carried in her hand one diaper. One diaper!
I just stared at her in amazement. I began to wonder: did she know some special mathematical equation that calculated the exact time her baby would need changing? As the rest of us in the waiting room were preparing for disasters, she was confident that her baby only needed a diaper. Maybe she holds the secret that all of us new parents need to know!
Then it occurred to me – – all parents are different. My comfort level (mental, not physical by any means!) was to carry a well equipped diaper bag. This woman didn’t feel the need to do that, and that’s her choice. I decided then and there not to be so critical of myself and stop comparing myself to others. She doesn't have a great secret – – she's probably winging it like the rest of us new parents!
Just then, I heard my son's name being called by the nurse. I held him with one arm and slung the massive diaper bag onto the other shoulder. Oh well--one advantage to carrying this heavy bag is I’ll constantly get exercise and weight training!