Boy how everything changed when I became a mom. Not only was I now lugging kids everywhere, but I was lugging all of my children’s essentials with me as well. A trip to the park became more like a vacation to the park with everything I had to pack. But eventually I figured out that there are mom bag essentials that I could carry, and the rest I could do without.
What is a Mom Bag Anyway?
When you first come home with your bundle of joy, most of your time is spent at home. Then you eventually graduate to leaving the house with the baby and carry a diaper bag.
But at some point, your baby will not need all of the same items anymore because they are growing up. And at the same time, this means that mom gets to trade up for a smaller, more fashion friendly handbag! YAY!
You finally get to pare your mom bag down to less items!
This new mom purse is your new life line when you are out with your kids.
When you are at the park… your mom bag is packed full of mom bag must-haves to keep yourself and your kids in a happy place.
When you go to dinner and the kids are with you, your mom bag essentials are within easy reach hanging from the back of your chair.
When you are running errands, you know you can avoid meltdowns and tears because you came prepared with the essential things you always keep in your purse!
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How do I choose a purse as a mom?
Once you have outgrown your diaper bag and don’t have to lug 3 tons of baby stuff around anymore, it is time to downsize to a bag that suits your “mom on-the-go” lifestyle.
Any bag that is large enough to fit both your own essentials and your child’s essentials is a winner.
I have several purses, but the one I use most often and make sure it is always stockpiled with supplies is my mom bag.
And there are some pretty serious requirements I have for choosing my mom bag.
First, the bag needs to be large enough to tote all of my stuff.
I love the way a nice clutch or cute little black purse looks, but since I am no longer a teenager with my first purse, I had to take into account the actual function of the bag on top of the way it looks.
I also like to be “hands free” when I am out with my kids if possible, so if I can find a large tote with a cross body options, that is the best! (though they do not make many of them anymore. I used to have one from “Thirty One” but they don’t make them anymore.)
My second requirement is that there are definitely some pockets on the inside and possibly even some on the outside.
I don’t like a ton of pockets, because many times I cannot remember where I put things. Or… stuff falls into a pocket and I don’t know where it went.
But two or three pockets is good.
And third it has to be big enough to be organized.
That way I can actually find things and my mom bag is not just a giant clutter trap.
So it needs to be able to fit some separate small bags which I will talk about in a minute.
I love yellow purses!
How do you remember to pack and what to pack?
I am forgetful, so I had to figure this out the hard way. When I was out with my kids and I didn’t have the ‘ESSENTIALS’ my life would stink for the next hour or two with my kids.
Crying kids, kids throwing fits, this is so not what you want. So here is how you remember to put everything in a handbag before you have to actually leave the house.
And trust me, you want to do this so you don’t forget.
1// Do it every Sunday
This is a good option if you are normally home on Sundays and have the time to get ready for the week. You already know you are going to be running errands, going to the park, doing play dates…so pack what you need before the week even starts.
2// Pack the things to have in your purse the night before
This is a good option if you can get those kids in bed and still have 5 or 10 minutes before your head hits the pillow and you are out for the count.
Grab my mom bag essentials checklist so you can mark things off as you pack.
3// Pack essentials to have in your purse in the morning
Maybe you are a morning person (I am most definitely not, I like the first two options). But if you are constantly up before your kids, then get prepared for the day by looking at the checklist at things to always have in your purse, and pack them up!
An organized and awesome mom bag is going to be a lifesaver for you!
And one of my very best tips that has saved me loads of time…Well, you’re going to have to read on, but I will give you a hint, it is my “mom pro tip” listed under number 9!
How Do You Organize Your Mom Bag?
When it is finally time to graduate to that mom bag that is a little more fashionable and a little smaller than your diaper bag, the last thing you want to do is load it up and then not be able to find anything.
Most mom bags are going to function a little differently than a diaper bag for a few reasons. They are not as big, they do not have separate compartments, and they do not have as many pockets.
But if you organized your mom bag essentials correctly, you are going to be able to access everything exactly the same as when you used a diaper bag.
Just like a diaper bag, you want to be able to find things quickly and easily.
The best way to organize the inside of a mom bag is with separate pouches.
If your purse doesn’t come equipped with them, my favorite way to do this is to use makeup pouches!
These pouches are great because they come in all different colors and that is how you are going to stay organized.
The benefits of using pouches are they are small and give you the opportunity to categorize the things in your purse. That way you can get to the items you need faster. –And Yes! It’s all about faster!
For example, use a green make-up pouch for small kid snacks like Goldfish Crackers and protein bars. A red pouch for your mom emergency kit items.
And a cute pouch that you adore for your own mom essentials!
The color coding will allow you to associate certain items with certain pouches so you can grab what you need quickly!
What Every Mom Should Have In Her Purse: The Mom Bag Essentials
What A Mom Should Pack For A Toddler:
1. Extra Clothing
Clothes for your kids is kind of obvious since you know there may be an accident at any time.
But a shirt for yourself? This may seem like overkill, but when you are out with your kids and know you won’t be home for a while, it is always a good idea to grab an extra shirt to stick in the bottom of your bag.
I am speaking from the experience of being spilled on, puked on and…well…pretty much everythinged on! It is never fun to ride home with puke down your shirt, so at least keep a shirt in your car!
PRO MOM TIP: Store your child’s clean clothes in a gallon sized plastic ziplock. That way when there is an “accident” of any kind, the soiled clothing can go in the ziplock and not get the inside of your awesome mom bag all gross!
2. Diapers or underwear
If your child is not fully potty trained, this is an obvious must.
After spending the week cooped up inside with the kids you want to make sure you get the max amount of time while you are out! In other words, you don’t want to have to go home from a playdate just because your 2-year-old had a poo poo accident.
Stick a new pair of underwear in your Ziploc and stay at that playdate as long as you can! You need time with other adults as much as your kids need time with other kids!
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3. Baby Wipes or Wet Wipes
Wet wipes are versatile at any age. I still keep a pack in my car even though my kids are older. They are great for any sticky messes they get into.
PRO MOM TIP: Stick a few wipes into a plastic food storage bag so you don’t have the entire pack with you.
4. Antibacterial wipes
Germs are everywhere, and I hate when my kids get sick. Kids are a lot of work, but sick kids are the ultimate amount of work! So whenever we would leave the park, leave Target, or go to sit down at a restaurant to eat, I would have my kids wipe their hands with antibacterial wipes. There is nothing worse than a sick child.
That way when you hand them their snack in the car they are not putting loads of germs in their mouths!
PRO MOM TIP: The antibacterial wipes are better than liquid hand sanitizer for little ones. Because you don’t want them to put the liquid hand sanitizer in their mouths.
5. Snacks and Drinks
My son has a serious problem with low blood sugar.
Things have gotten better because he can now tell me when he is hungry, but when he was little, I just had to always make sure I had snacks so there were no temper tantrums!
Snacks are also good when mom gets low blood sugar. A hungry mom can be an angry mom!
These strawberry bars were always my kid’s favorites!
6. Sippy Cups
These water bottles are my favorite because they do not leak at all! And even better, the straw is attached to the cup so you will never lose it after washing it!
PRO MOM TIP: Instead of carrying around 2 or 3 full water bottles, carry the empty bottle and then fill them up at the drinking fountain or a restaurant when your child needs them.
7. Bandages and on the go disinfectant spray
A small emergency kit in your mom bag is a total must-have whatever age your kids are. When they are little you know that a Bandage on any booboo does wonders.
And if it is a messy scrape from playground equipment, you will probably want to disinfect it. Did you know you could carry your disinfecting spray right on your keychain?
If you want to try to put together your own purse emergency kit, here is the list of what you need:
- Bandages – regular and waterproof, large and small
- Disinfectant spray
- Small pair of scissors
- Cotton Swabs
- Safety Pins
- Small bottle of saline
8. Activity book and crayons
Even if you forget everything else, you need to have some kind of activity for your child to do.
I cannot tell you how many times I have been able to avoid complete meltdowns just buy giving my kids a snack and something to do.
These are so easy to come by. Grab that pack of crayons at the next restaurant you go to that has kiddy menus and slip them into your purse (the restaurant just throws them away). Then, stick a small notepad in your purse.
On the very first page of the notepad, make a list of all the quick games and songs that would keep your kid’s attention.
Your kids can use the notebook for coloring or playing tic-tac-toe. And you can use it for the little list you made! Two birds, one stone!
My son has asthma whenever he gets his spring allergies, so one thing always had packed in my ‘medications pouch’ was his inhaler.
But this pouch also houses some quick remedies like tums, pepto bismol chewables, allergy medicine, and a few extras of my own medications in case I forget to take them in the morning.
10. Mom Essentials
And as usual, mom is last! But the things that mom needs are just as essential, if not more so than the kid’s items! So make sure you put them in your own pouch so you can find your own things really easily!
Wallet – Make sure you have plenty of coins for gum ball machines and such!
Keys – check out my tip below so you can always find your keys!
Phone – Use this instead of pen and paper to make lists and take notes of things you need to do.
Lip balm or gloss – Always!
Gum – Or mints, whichever you prefer!
Dental Floss – Just in case!
Small compact mirror
Swiss arm knife
Tampons – Yeah, you know why!
Tissue travel pack – The kids will always need their noses wiped, that is just part of mom-hood!
Caffeinated water flavoring – Flavored caffeine in your water? Yes please! Especially if it gets you through that next hour with the kids!
***BEST PRO MOM TIP*** I learned a great trick for my keys…since I lost them all the time! I added a hook to my keychain and now I just hook my keys on the outside of my purse so I can find them easily. No more digging through pockets or trying to find them at the bottom of my purse. This trick saves me TONS of time!
Bag Essentials for Still Older Kids
Eventually, our kids get old enough that they don’t need us to carry anything for them! I know, it is sad but true. 🙁
Once that happens, bags that contain everything they need are still essential. They just become their own bags to carry.
Older kids who are into recreational activities such as dance, gymnastics, band, and sports will need to keep their own bags packed and ready to go either by the door or in a designated spot in their rooms.
Their bags should contain their shoes, uniform, water bottle and anything else they need so they can just grab it and go!
I hope you all got some good ideas about what to pack in those awesome new mom bags! And if you don’t have a mom bag yet and are ready to graduate to one, check out some of these great options from Macy’s:
I know you can get organized and have more time to spend with your family! ‘Till my next post, Stay Home, Stay Happy!
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As a stay at home mom myself, I have found ways to keep myself sane while loving what I do …be with my kids! For this reason, I decided to become a professional organizer to help moms like you run their homes more efficiently. Join me to learn ways to declutter, get organized, and manage your home better as a mom. Things I love…feeling motivated, Harry Potter, and digging deeper into my life and my family’s life in order to make it better.