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So This Is What Makes My Bag So Heavy

Photograph by Getty Images

Admit it. Your bag weighs more than 17 pounds. Probably more.

Ever ask a child-free friend to hold your bag for a moment and her entire body lurches forward? Ever put your bag in the passenger seat next to you in the car the dashboard signals the seat belt alert thinking that another human being has sat down next to you?

We're moms. Our bags are ridiculously heavy. Where did it all go so wrong?

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It all began with the diaper bag. You just couldn't leave the house without bottles, diapers, wipes, diaper cream, nursing cover, hand sanitizer, poopy diaper bags, burp cloths, muslin blankets, a few bibs, a changing pad and change of clothes. Just to be sure, you also needed to have on hand: bandaids, bacitracin, a change of clothes for yourself, sunblock, empty ziplock bags, tissues, extra toys, extra snacks, extra pacifiers and a teething ring.

I would keep lists handy, since it seemed like every day I was adding something else that I didn't have but needed. The bag just kept getting heavier. And so did my kid.

Bye-bye diapers and emergency change of clothing! See ya, wipes and hand sanitizer.

Then, I had another kid, and the bag got even heavier. I had two in diapers, and suddenly I needed doubles of everything. Double the diapers, double the food, double the back pain.

Once they reached the toddler stage, I ditched the diaper bag and got a tote bag with an open top. I condensed the "essentials" into just a few things, all kept in their own Ziplock: diapers, wipes, snacks and first aid. I started leaving the changes of clothing in the car—the sunscreen, too. When I'd see my mommy friends, I'd sneak a peek into their bags and try to figure out what else I could ditch. How I could lighten my load.

Now that my kids are 4 and 6 years old, my bag is getting lighter. Bye-bye diapers and emergency change of clothing! See ya, wipes and hand sanitizer. So long, bandaids and bacitracin. Your work here is done.

Of course, the teething rings have been replaced by iPads, the change of clothes have been replaced with emergency sweatshirts, and I still carry wipes with me everywhere I go (they have a bevy of good uses, it turns out), but we're making progress.

So, ladies, if your bag weighs more than your youngest child, know that there's light at the end of the tunnel. Soon you'll be able to carry less. Anything you think you might need in case of emergency? You can just keep that stuff in a tote bag and leave it in your car trunk.

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But don't forget to pack a bag with soccer balls, shin guards and kleets. And a separate one for the baseballs, helmets and bats. I almost forgot that one. And, oh yes, you'll also need yet another with the karate gloves and belts.

Oh wait, did I speak too soon?

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