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The Worst Things to Leave at Home If You're a Mom

Photograph by Twenty20

When my first was a baby, it was over 20 years ago and if my car broke down I had to hope there was a pay phone within walking distance. Times have certainly changed and smartphones are everywhere (although I did see a working pay phone at a gas station not too long ago—and yes, it was shocking.) And who amongst us doesn't panic when we realize we've left our phones at home? But the funny thing is, as a mom, it's probably not even the most important tool in your bag.

What is, though? What else drives terror into the hearts of moms? Leaving behind these particular items may be the worst mistake you've ever made.


Diapers are pretty much a given. Your baby needs them and not packing any would be pretty dumb. Except I've totally done it. I've gone out and grabbed my diaper bag or purse and assumed there were diapers in it, and when my child pooped, I sadly found nothing more than an empty space where the diapers should be. Worst. Moment. Ever.

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Second to diapers are wipes. Yes, you can use toilet paper in an emergency, but everyone knows that TP doesn't really get rid of all the poop. You just smear it around, which can be tragic for baby bottoms. And wipes are used for a million other things, like wiping your baby's hands after she grabs Grandma's dog's butt and washing down the table when you go out to eat.

Barf rag

I used receiving blankets like crazy, and one of their most common use was as a barf rag (probably more civilized people call them "burp rags," but since they catch barf, that's what I always called them.) Perfect for burping my babies, wiping up drool or really dealing with anything gross that came out of his or her mouth. And honestly, the only thing worse than forgetting one completely is finding one in the bag that should have been laundered a few days ago.

God forbid you leave behind your baby's lovey, his ratty stuffed dog or that weird toy she won't sleep without clutching.

That damn pacifier

You know the one. The one, the only one that your child will even begin to entertain. If it was left at home? You're out of luck. You'll be nursing that kid to within an inch of her life or doing a ton of back patting and pacing, instead of chilling out in the grocery store or your in-laws' house with a content kid.

A change of clothes

Chances are, your child is going to have a poop-explosion, a leaky diaper, a leaky mouth (see above), or you're going to accidentally spill part of your frappucino on her clothes, and if you don't have an extra outfit on hand, then what do you do? Once, my second baby expelled gross stuff from his mouth and we had to run into the dollar store for a pair of ill-fitting sweatpants and he looked like a flub for the rest of the day. Don't be like me. Pack extra clothes—and make sure they actually fit.

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That special something

If you bring it along every time, you'll never miss it, but God forbid you leave behind your baby's lovey, his ratty stuffed dog or that weird toy she won't sleep without clutching. Then you will be regretting basically everything, including the fact that you chose to leave the house today or even get out of bed at all. You might find an adequate replacement, but chances are, you're just screwed.

What have you left behind that made your outing one of abject misery?

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