diaper bag

I have a confession to make. When I was pregnant with Some Boy I'd see frazzled, stressed-out, stuff-falling-all-over-the-place moms in the grocery store and it would fill me with absolute dread over the idea of becoming a parent. I'm not saying that we're totally organized here. I'm pretty sure I see Some Boy eating out of the dog bowl with a spoon right now (what the heck?) and the other day, he walked around with his shoes on backwards for no less than three hours before I finally noticed.

What's inside my diaper bag?

However, I am neurotic about certain things. It's essential for me to have my stuff organized on-the-go. I have some “personal space issues,” and falling apart in public areas just isn't something I can handle. Here's how I keep it all together.

The 2 Red Hens Coop Carry-All Bag

diaper bags demystified

I have the most AMAZING diaper bag from 2 Red Hens. It's called the Coop Carry-All Bag, and that's precisely what it does. It carries all. The company was started by Lori Holliday, a mom from Arizona who grew up as one of 14 (!!!) children. This woman knows her stuff, and every product she makes reflects her personal experience and first-hand knowledge of hectic parent lifestyles. The former engineer now sells her designs in stores such as Nordstrom, Bloomingdales and Fred Segal.

It's obvious why fashionable moms love her. Every detail is carefully thought out. Above, you can see a small internal pocket where I stash “mommy snacks” and binkies. Next are the essential outside pockets for easy access to keys, pens, cell phones, membership cards – whatever I need quickly at-hand. Inside, the bag comes with a wet bag (perfect for stashing cloth diapers that we use at home and often end up needing to store when we're out-and-about) as well as a plethora of pockets in perfect sizes for everything from diapers to sunscreen, bottles and snacks.

2 Red Hens Snack Bags

reusable snack bags

Speaking of snacks, 2 Red Hens makes these awesome reusable snack bags that zip all the way closed for secure snack storage and all the way open for easy cleaning. They have been so useful in minimizing our environmental impact, since I don't have to tear through a zillion disposable baggies anymore. Plus, Some Boy loves having his own special snack pouches. He'll eat just about anything I put in there.

The Toy Nanny by 2 Red Hens

2 Red Hens Toy Nanny

Last but not least, one of the most important items in my mom organization arsenal is the Toy Nanny. You can see I don't leave any room in the diaper bag for toys, because I don't think it's essential to have plastic doodads everywhere we go.

Baby learning to crawl

What is essential, however, is for the kids to have a safe, soft space to play while they're exploring the world. Sidekick is learning to crawl, and it's been such a lifesaver to have this handy, portable mat to lay down when we're at the park or visiting friends. It also has pockets to stash extra things we may need during extended excursions. I use it to tote items to keep the kids engaged and entertained when I know we'll be waiting around somewhere for a long time. Truth be told, it's even been handy at home. Kraken sheds like crazy on our living room rug, so I can put this down and easily wipe off the smooth backside when Sidekick's done, avoiding the need to constantly wash crawl blankets or worry about my baby looking like a Wookiee when I pick him up off the floor.

toy bag

Those cords on the side pull up into loops to form a convenient handle for using the Toy Nanny as a bag. We take a lot of mini-vacations, and this thing has been indispensable for our little field trips and our bigger adventures.

on-the-go toddler clothes

I even used it for all of the boys' clothes on our last mini-vacation. Totally not what it was intended for, but a stroke of genius struck me when I was packing and it made our trip go SO smoothly.