To All the Parents Failing at Packing Their Diaper Bags: I Salute You

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September is an important month for families across America. Why? Well, because September tends to be the month that more babies are born than any other month of the year! (And yes, if you count backwards, 9 months does just happen to correspond with all those extra days off during the holidays…)

Regardless of the reason for the boom of births in September, one thing is for certain: there will be plenty of new moms and dads who will be learning the ropes about parenting, frantically Googling if that color baby poop is normal at 2 AM, and either severely under-packing or overpacking the diaper bag on their first outing with their little one.

Don’t believe me? Allow me to tell you a little story to illustrate. Not too long ago, I had recently given birth to our third child, my first son, and after weeks of holing up at home, I finally felt brave enough to venture out into the real world. We decided on a simple Sunday outing to church and breakfast, despite me being terrified to present our family of 5, which at the time, felt like a real-life circus show, to the public.

I convinced myself it would be OK, made it through church, and just as we settled into the booth at the restaurant, where I was looking forward to my favorite spinach-and-feta cheese omelet, it happened —the biggest diaper blow-out ever known to mankind. My son had pooped through his entire outfit and it was practically exploding out of his ear. I quickly hurried out to the car, keeping calm, and rifled through our diaper bag to change his clothes.

Can you, dear reader, guess what I had forgotten to pack that day?

Yup, you guessed it: I had forgotten to pack both wipes and a change of clothes for my baby. It was at this point that I realized that I was in a bit of a pickle, because we had one parent trapped in a booth with two other hungry kids in the restaurant and one parent trapped in the car with a poop-covered naked baby. What on earth would we do?

Lo and behold, a miracle soon presented itself. My husband, in the restaurant just happened to run into his cousin and her family, who were enjoying a lovely, non-poopy breakfast, who kindly offered to watch our toddler and preschooler while he ran to the local store to quickly purchase some baby wipes and a new outfit for my son. A quick 10 minutes later and my son was happily cleaned up, changed into an adorable new outfit that to this day, I still look at and remember that time I sat with him naked in the parking lot, and I was back in the booth sipping coffee and laughing at the lessons that the experience had taught me:

That it really does take a village and that if nothing else, never, ever forget to pack the baby wipes. And if I packed my diaper bag that day with WaterWipes, the world’s purest baby wipes made with just a drop of fruit extract, I may have even managed to eat my omelet that day instead of missing the majority of breakfast. But hey, you live and you learn, right?

And in the end, despite my clear failing as a third-time mom who definitely should have known that you never forget the baby wipes and you always pack a spare outfit, I like to think back on that time as a time I did great as a parent, because you know what? I faced my fears of getting out in the world as a family of five and even when everything went wrong, I learned that I could still laugh and that help would always be available when I needed it the most. And there’s really nothing more important to learn as a parent, no matter how many babies you have.

Do you have a story that can top my poop explosion? Spill it! Share your story with the hashtag #youredoinggreattoday and encourage other parents that we’re all in this together and we really are doing great. Oh, and maybe remind them to always keep more baby wipes than you think you need on hand. Just a suggestion.

Chaunie is a labor and delivery nurse turned writer and a young mom of four. She loves books, coffee, and cleaning up after her kids. Gotcha -- just making sure you’re reading this whole carefully-crafted bio. Find her at chauniebrusie.com.

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