When Ricky was a baby, I wrote this post about all of the essentials that kept my life easier as a first time mom. While many are still applicable, it’s funny how there are so many MORE tricks I know this time around with my two guys. And how much MORE I need to implement them to make our life work. Yet how much LESS I carry in my diaper bag. Ironic, no?
Actually, there’s not a whole lot that I regularly keep in my diaper bag besides a couple of small toys to occupy the toddler, a couple of diapers and small pack of wipes for both boys and my wallet. Heck, most days I don’t even bring more than my wallet out on an excursion to the grocery store!
Packing the necessities on a case-by-case basis has become my friend. And also ensured that my bag doesn’t weigh 25 pounds every time I walk out the door.
The little things, guys.
So, if it’s not the stuff that we bring in the diaper bag that constitutes major essentials with two under three, then what is it?
I always bring a water bottle for Ricky (one of the kid ones with the straw) that he can reach in his own cup holder. This ensures that he doesn’t battle me for my coffee, water, or whatever other drink happens to be in my cup holder.
We always have music going. He likes to sing along to country songs, and is less likely to whine when he’s distracted (or yell, “let me BE, mama!”).
I bought one of those car seat mirrors for Christopher that hook onto the headrest of the seat. He already seems to like checking out that cute little baby in the mirror, and my newborn mama neurosis are temporarily put on hold when I can see what my baby is doing with a glance in the rearview mirror.
Ever tried to walk into Target while wrangling a toddler who likes to run (and doesn’t like to hold hands) and carrying a newborn in a car seat? It.just.doesn’t.work. Instead, I always park near a cart corral so that I can grab a cart to keep my children contained within before we even get in the doors.
I also park away from other cars, so that I have room to unload my kids and the groceries at the end of our shopping trip.
With a newborn, I never leave the house without a pacifier. I actually keep it next to Christopher in the car seat so that it’s readily accessible when he inevitable starts hating the car seat when we’re halfway through a store. Amazing!
When we’re out and about, I most definitely use the bright shiny object trick to keep Ricky entertained. From singing our ABCs to keeping dum dums in my purse to bribing him with a new toy car if he’ll just hang out for a while in the cart while I get what we need, I’ve done it. Some parents might not agree with using a little sugar or a toy in instances like these, but you know what? You gotta do what you gotta do. No judgement from me, friends.
I hate to say it, but getting out of the house takes a little planning. With Ricky, I know that it’s going to be easiest to go somewhere right away in the morning, or right after nap time. But now that we also have Christopher, I have to plan those outings around when he’s going to eat.
Today, I know that a trip to Target is going to be a necessity. I’m planning to feed Christopher at 2, and for Ricky to be up by 2:30. And that leaves me about a one hour window, by the time Ricky actually wakes up and gets moving, for us to get out the door, to Target and home again before Christopher needs to eat again.
Everyone needs a fresh diaper before we put our shoes on – because there’s nothing worse than getting halfway to to store, only to realize there is a certain stench coming from somewhere in the backseat.
If I know that Rick’s going to be work from home, I’ll also plan around his schedule, because then my wild two year old can stay home – and that can make a shopping trip go infinitely easier! Plus, he’s a happy camper anytime he gets to “help” daddy in the afternoon.
Rainy Day Essentials
To be a work at home mom when you have not one, but two kids and their sleep schedules to contend with, you have to have a variety of fun rainy day activities to do – even when it’s sunny out. Since I’m feeding Christopher every two hours, my work time is limited and needs to be strategic. Which means Pinterest has given me a lot of really fabulous ideas for keeping Ricky occupied when I need an extra hour of work in the afternoon.
Often this involves play-doh, dumping all of my baking utinsils in a pot of soapy water or pulling out every truck in the house, along with creative things for them to haul (puzzle pieces, magnets, rocks…anything I can get my hands on…) for Ricky to play with.
If you’re a WAHM, I highly recommend setting up a small sandbox on your deck for warmer days, too. When we can be outside, it’s the only thing that Ricky really wants to do. So if I can get him out there while I work off of my laptop at the patio table, we have an hour or two of total entertainment/work time. And that’s a mommy win, for sure!
So, friends. Tell me in the comments: what are YOUR mommy essentials?