Tales from the Diaper Bag

Ooooohhhhh. . . a big purse!

After the disaster at the Big Box Store, I decided that I needed to take the whole baby prep thing down a notch. Or two or three notches. I needed to ease into motherhood prep. How do to do this? Well, I channeled my inner Oprah and decided to follow my passion. . . in this case, for purses. . .ok, for a diaper bag, which I’ve decided is one big purse.

Man, I love me some purses. I have dozens of them that suit every occassion. They fill all my closet space (and some of my husband’s).  I. LOVE. THEM. Once I was pregnant it didn’t take long for me to zero in on diaper bags as the one baby item that I could be trusted to purchase without endless research.  Ok, so diaper bags are a little bigger than purses. . and there’s slightly more need for a washable material (adieu-Coach leather), but in all other respects, I decided that the rules of buying a good purse ought to apply to buying a good diaper bag.

So, without further ado, my guidelines for buying a purse diaper bag (disclaimer: these rules have not been tested by use with a child of my own yet. So they could be bogus. Just sayin’).

1)  Will it hold all my junk?  I pack my purse so full of stuff, I look like a crazy homeless person living out of a bag. I pack a wallet, keys, make-up, day planner, food (that’s right. Like a crazy homeless lady), etc. So really, I only needed to look for a bag a wee bit bigger than the purses I buy to have something that would hold all the baby accessories needed by a rugrat on the go.

2) Is it cute?  Frankly, I wanted to put this criteria first, but that felt kind of shallow and I’m trying to improve myself before I have a kid. Regardless, if it isn’t cute, I say you shouldn’t buy it.  Also–and this is only my humble opinion–kiddy-cutesy does not equal a cute diaper bag. I’m pretty puzzled when I see mothers with diaper bags that are covered in teddy bears or rainbows. I get it. You have a small child. But my kid isn’t lugging that monster-size bag around on its shoulder, so I figure, ‘Why surrender my personal sense of style for my infant?’ 

3) Can I carry the bag comfortably for a length of time?  When it comes to purses, this rule KILLS me because there are so many cute bags (particularly tote purses) that I would love to own, but would hate to carry for more than 5 minutes.  For diaper bags, I think this rule is even more key because a fully-loaded diaper bag is super heavy and no one wants to suffer nerve-damage in their shoulder because they’re carrying a bum bag. All diaper bags should have a broad strap and I personally favor a messenger bag style (less likely to slip off the shoulder), although I know from cruising the catalogues that many people like backpack diaper bags as well.

4) Will it last the test of time?  Quality is costly in the short-term, but if I have to replace a trashed bag after only a few months I’m going to end up shelling out extra cash anyway, plus I’ll be really annoyed that I had to go through all the bother of packing up the bambino, strapping him/her into a carseat and stroller just so I could stand in line at a store to buy something that I shouldn’t need to replace yet.  Even if I’ll make this trip without the babe in tow, I have to put a dollar value on my free time. I don’t want to spend it replacing crappy goods.

As a post-script: I bought a diaper bag a couple of days ago (from a small, locally-owned baby store and not the box store where I almost hypervenilated.) Yeah, I know, I know. . I’ll probably get baby bags as gifts and once the kid arrives I may realize that all my so-called diaper bag knowledge is garbage.

All that said, buying the bag made me feel like I was well on my way to be a momma and THAT is priceless.


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