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What do you carry?

The month of January has been a busy one for us, busier than usual. I’ve come back to full time work after having baby number two, and we still haven’t achieved “steady state” yet. The fun weather didn’t help smooth things much, but it was oddly nice that it coincided with the illnesses.

As I attempt to master the commute with baby, I can’t help but think of all the things that I carry. Not in the exact same sense that Asha wrote about, a while ago, but the things I load into my car each Monday morning. I have 7 or 8 bags that I pack into my car on Monday morning and Thursday afternoon. During the week I try to pare down just to save trips to and from the car, but there are very few dispensables on my list:

  • Diaper bag*
  • Laptop/work bag
  • Breast pump
  • Lunch*
  • Workout clothes
  • Baby’s (cloth) diaper’s*
  • Baby’s bottles*

Starred (*) items are those that have to come and go each day. My husband sort of cracks up when he sees me laden with all the bits as I trundle perilously down our front steps out to the car. I imagine I resemble a pack camel, hauling 6 black bags (and one red plaid one).

I have been playing with using the same baby bottle bag to bring back the day’s expressed milk, or my lunch bag (it’s insulated too). Once a week I may treat myself to a lunch out, but that’s valuable time that could be spent with baby or exercising. The next big trick is to figure out how to take the bus once a week, weather permitting. I can drive a short distance to the bus stop and then load us up (with our 4 bags, and babe on my front) and then baby’s place is about 50 feet from the outer point of the bus ride. I’m thinking I’ll probably have to load up the 4 bags in my hiking pack just to simplify.

Have any of you mastered the art of juggling all of this stuff? Any tips for me to consider during my morning and afternoon commute? See, all I can listen to are the voices in my head because baby doesn’t like NPR :-)


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Oh, God, me too but without the workout clothes (guess we know where the priorities shift to...)

I have to take my breast pump in/out every day to clean bottles & horns; I'm paranoid about leaving it in the car because if it got stolen.....

I end up making two trips to the car; first one without the baby; she's in her carseat in the living room, then I take her out to the car so we can leave.

I can't even imagine taking the bus with that much stuff. High praise to you!

I can still remember the first day without the breast pump...oh happy day! I used the Avent Isis and I kept it at work since I didn't pump at home at all. I brought dish soap to work and washed things there. It definitely worked well for me as I constantly forgot the pump at home and was in agony all day! I also was able to bring a large quantity of diapers and wipes to the day care so I only had to refill about once a month or so, one less bag, and then kept an emergency bag in the car in case we went out after work unexpectedly. I also leave a loaf of bread and peanut butter in the kitchen at work so if I'm in a rush or my hands are too full, I don't have to hold a lunch bag in my mouth just to get to the car! So I guess my philosophy is "less is more" to carry to the car. However, somehow, I still manager to accumulate layers and layers of garbage and other items in my car...where do they come from???

I clean my pump at work, too, Debby, and also try to bring in enough servings' worth of lunch to last a couple of days. I end up w/ a bunch of empty containers on the Friday afternoon homeward bound side, but it's worth it.

I admit to being less than hygenic than might be proper when the weather's cold... I've been known to leave the damn dirty diapers in my trunk for a few hours after I get home. I'll go fetch them before bedtime. Heck, Tidee Didee cleans 'em, not me, so who cares if they're fermenting in my trunk or in my diaper pail? (I use a deodorizer in my car)

And like Susan, when my bambina was still in the carrying kinda car seat, I made two trips. There are times now when I still wish I could do that.

Regarding workout clothes: When I'm on a workout kick (not right now!), I'll bring in several changes' worth on my day back to work, and keep a plastic shopping bag within the bag for the sweaty stuff. Again, perhaps less than hygenic where some are concerned. But I hafta say, my own personal standards have changed considerably since becoming intimately acquainted with spitup, pee, filth, food debris, snot, and everything else my bambina's had to offer in the "not so clean" dept.

Oh my god, this post brings back memories. I had to keep a list on the countertop to remember everything. Given my lack of short term memory in those days, I can't believe I only had one mess up where just as I was parking at daycare I realized that I hadn't put the bottles in the bag. I am so impressed about the working out and bus idea in your plans. It's been 19 months and I am just beginning to consider the possibility of either.

Shetha: I just wanted to give you (and all the mamas who work, nurse, pump, work out, etc. etc.) a virtual pat on the back. You deserve it. We all do!

I know I'm echoing, but I, too, am awed by your ability to haul the mama-gear and be willing to do a weekly bus trip.

you rock, Shetha, I can't imagine doing all that again! my eyes are blurry (with exhaustion) just thinking about it. I can't really suggest anything except "don't exercise so darned much," hehe. I'm amazed, most days I have trouble getting out of my pajamas before noon (I work from home for those that don't know!).

I agree with theboss, though: don't worry too much about the hygiene, if you wear the same workout clothes for two days I promise not to judge you! and if it's possible to find a dark corner to keep a diaper pail at work, or pack a couple of lunches in a row and keep them in a little fridge at work (if you don't have a communal fridge, sharper image makes a great little tiny one you can plug in beneath your desk, it worked for me when i was office-bound). that would make bussing easier. good luck!

I used a small round laundry basket for all the baby gear. And was able to leave it at the babysitters for the week. A few less bags and trips to car. Won't help with bus. I also put just the essential pump stuff in a cloth grocery bag that also held lunch, work papers, etc. The laptop type pump holder just seemed like one more thing to carry. A week's worth of frozen lunches in the work freezer is a trick I still use.

i have a 3 year old so the situation has gotten much better, but i still use the same system so here it is:

buy a container and load in the diapers, wipes, bottles, oversized ziploc bags(will tell you why in a minute) etc for baby and refill them as needed. this will save on the daily haul.
have a cheapy diaper bag or small duffel with baby's change of clothing for the care provider and keep in the car. when the clothing is soiled have the provider put the clothing in the large ziploc for you to take home and clean, then you can put another change of clothing in.
laptop/carry case-you just have to haul it-
gym bag...have multiple sets up work out clothing in there, and at night just bring in your dirty clothing. I usually keep 4 workouts worth in my bag. i am a runner, so if the weather is not bad, i may use the pants or climafit top 2 times. sorry if that is gross-

hopefully this helps. it really does get easier though. good luck!

I so sympathize. My main issue is that I know I'm not supposed to leave one child in the car (in our driveway 10 feet from the house) while I run in to get the other...but on some days I leave too early to have the 3 year old awake enough to walk by herself...today I had the baby in the ergo baby while I got ready for work so I could carry sleeping 3 year old at the same time. The best thing I think is to leave a weeks worth on Monday at daycare/in the fridge for lunch & then just cart home empties/dirties each evening. Maybe your bustrip could be mid-week.:) Also, you can get extra horns for Medelas at the PRovidence Lactation clinic on Burnside (on the other side of the intersection after Wild Oats)--that way you can put off washing pumping pieces.

I take a 4-year old and a 10-month old to and from day care downtown (near my office)twice/week on the bus. My husband solved all my problems (read: complaining) by insiting on one huge canvas shoulder bag and a folding umbrella that fit in it (verses the long handled poker I had been carrying). I leave my pump at work. The multiple bags was doing me in and for some reason being able to shove it all (milk, clothes, hats, snacks, artwork, my wallet, dirty tissues, etc...)in one place has saved the day.

Its been a while since I had to that. Its hard work. I admire that you are able to do that. My husband thought I was nuts when I used my small carry on suit case with wheels on MUNI (used to live in SF area). Then my husband took me to the travel/suit case store and we found they have a huge selection of bags that usually come with a usable size pull out bag. I was able to leave the larger bag with day care provider and take the pull out for myself. Hubby also had me change the laptop bag to a back pack with optional shoulder strap, it was large enough for me to carry laptop, workout clothes, lunch and has side pockets that fit 16oz thermos. He said they have nicer ones now! He said he asked them if they had a swiss army mommy style bag when he was shopping for my bag. lol

I hope that helps!

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