There comes a point in your parenting journey when you can look at your spouse, give a high-5 and shout, “Woo-hoo!! We can go out with the kids WITHOUT packing a stroller!!!!” And then it hits you. Your next thought is suddenly, “What do we do with the stuff that the stroller hauls around for us!?!?!?!” Because although you may no longer need a full diaper bag with diapers, wipes, bottles, changes of clothes, etc., chances are you still need some basic supplies and possibly lunch. And hauling those extras around in your purse are not fun.
What do you do when you no longer have a stroller to haul all of your stuff?
You make sure you have a really nice gender-neutral backpack. Gender-neutral is very important for those of us with husbands. Make sure your hubby is willing to put it on HIS back when he happens to be on an outing with you. We love our daypack we purchased years ago at REI before we even had kids. It has definitely been worth every penny we paid for it. It is super comfortable and holds plenty of stuff without feeling super huge.
How do you pack lunch in a backpack without crumbling it into pieces?
I have found that larger Ziploc containers will fit very nicely into my backpack and will not be uncomfortable. I purchased a couple of smaller ice packs that fit right inside as well. You can see a small blue one peeking out from underneath the sandwich in the photo below. I load the container with items that would easily get smashed…sandwiches, chips, softer granola bars, fruit, etc. I still freeze yogurt tubes and cheese sticks for lunches.
What else goes in the backpack?
Just the usual mom stuff – a few wipes for messes, band-aids, chapstick, tissues, hand sanitizer, gum, etc. Items I normally have in my purse but transfer to the backpack for the day. (I keep that type of stuff stocked in a cute zipper pouch and just transfer it to where I need it.) And the pockets on the sides of our backpack are large enough for two water bottles on each side.
It definitely makes getting out and about with the kids, but WITHOUT the stroller, easy once again. Yes, it’s a little added weight on the back. However, it beats a super heavy purse or bag straining one shoulder.