A guest post from Kelsey Van Kirk of Simply, Life On Purpose
Something that can feel really intimidating and challenging to do is practice minimalism as a mama with a kid (or four!) in tow.
When it’s our job every day to show up and be responsible for small people who haven’t yet learned how to care for and fend for themselves, it’s easy to go overboard thinking we need to do and have #allthethings in order to keep it together as a mom.
Case in point: the overstuffed diaper bag!
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a poor mom hunched over, lugging a ginormous diaper bag filled to overflowing with who knows what, while carrying a baby carrier and grasping her toddler’s hand as she simply tries to make it into the store for some groceries.
Poor, sweet mama - I just want to run up, take that diaper bag off her shoulder, give her a big ‘ol hug and tell her she doesn’t need to carry all this weight around with her through motherhood!
This overwhelmed, overburdened picture of motherhood has become the commonplace expectation for many women - and ladies, it needs to stop!
We think that, because we are moms, we have to live up to Mary Poppins-level standards by being prepared for everything and ready to handle any possible calamity with a sweet smile and snappy song.
(Random side note: can we all take a deep breath and remember ourselves that Mary Poppins wasn’t even a mom!!)
We’ve grown to believe that being “supermom” is the standard of expectation….and anything less would mean that we are less.
And so, we pack in more and take on more, trying desperately to be more for our kids and our families.
That is, until the weight breaks us and we completely fall apart (which is NOT what abundant motherhood is all about, friend!)
So, back to the point...diaper bags. How does one approach packing a diaper bag with a “less is more” perspective, so you’re prepared with what you’ll need, without being overburdened by anything unnecessary?
I’d say the answer is by following these three guiding principles:
1. Pack only what you’ll need and use
This, in my mind, is kind of what minimalism is all about….tuning in and being mindful to only give space in your life to the things that are necessary, useful and loved.
Take a few moments to mindfully consider what you actually need anytime you go out with baby in tow.
Better yet, maybe think about it like this: if you were stranded somewhere without your diaper bag, what are the things you’d be seriously missing?
Make a quick little list of the staples you want to keep in your diaper bag at all times, that way getting out the door with your kiddo(s) isn’t a bigger ordeal than it has to be.
2. Don’t let fear or worry drive your decision-making
Something I’ve found as a mother myself, and in observing other mamas, is that too often we allow our decision-making in motherhood to be driven by fear and worry.
We want what’s best for our kids (and honestly, for ourselves too) and the idea of being in scary, uncomfortable or inconvenient situations isn’t pleasant.
So, we’ll often go overboard trying to avoid any possible unpleasantness by over preparing and overpacking….you know, just in case.
Friend, let me ask you how many times those “just in case” moments actually happen?
Let me ask you something else: have you proven yourself capable of making it through those “just in case” moments, relatively unscathed?
Here is the truth: you will never be able to predict and foresee the future, so stop trying!
Being mindful and prepared is one of the hallmarks of purposeful motherhood, and I highly recommend it.
Just don’t let fear and worry steal your peace and make you do crazy things….like pack enough stuff in your diaper bag to last you a full 2-week vacation!
3. Learn to let go
We don’t live in a perfect world. Your kids aren’t perfect, you aren’t perfect, and your diaper bag won’t always be 100% perfectly what you need every time.
The sooner you can learn to let go of the things you can’t control, and be okay with showing up and doing your best, and can trust in your ability to do hard things and push through challenges when they arise…..the happier and lighter you’ll feel as you continue to journey through motherhood.
It’s time to dump that back-breaking diaper bag out, and let it all gooooooo!
Diaper Bag Essentials for the Minimalist Mama
Now, since I know that the reason you clicked on this post is because you really just want someone to tell you what to put in your dang diaper bag, I’ve got you covered ;)
Here’s a quick checklist of things I recommend packing to make sure all your bases are covered without being excessive.
Keys, wallet & phone
Small toiletry bag for mom (chapstick, hand sanitizer, female “supplies”)
Diapers & wipes
Outfit for baby in a large ziplock bag (to put soiled clothes in)
Nursing cover (if breastfeeding)
Bottle with water & ziplock with formula (if formula feeding)
Snack for baby (if solid feeding)
Water bottle & snack for mom (snack bars or trail mix are great)
Pacifier (if you use them)
That’s it! Of course every mama, baby and family are different, but this is a good checklist of the basics that will see you through on an everyday basis while running errands and taking care of business with your little ones in tow.
What about you? Are there any diaper bag essentials you love and swear by that didn’t make the list? Share with us in the comments below!
To help you get started on your journey with purposeful simplicity, click here to download my FREE Simplicity Starter Kit, a workbook and resource guide designed to help you simplify your life today so you can experience more peace, purpose and joy every day.
Kelsey Van Kirk is a blessed wife, mama to four beauties, writer, podcaster, and joy-seeker on a mission to help women embrace purposeful simplicity in everyday living. She is the Founder of Simply, Life on Purpose, Co-Host of The Purposeful Home Podcast, and a lover of good books, good wine, and salty sea breeze. You can connect with Kelsey more on Facebook, Instagram or in her online community, The Simply Life on Purpose Sisterhood.