When it comes to kids, I’ve learned pretty quickly that being prepared makes everything easier. When a tiny human is depending on you, you learn to try your best to remember all their necessities. Of course, #mombrain is certainly one of our biggest enemies when it comes to getting ready to go anywhere! So prepping and planning can be your best friend!
On my very first day of college, I was putting my oldest son into his carseat. He was about 7 months old at the time – it was going to be his first day at daycare. I was a complete emotional wreck that morning, unable to accept the big day ahead of both of us. I was so caught up in getting my school supplies ready and packing all of his daycare necessities, that I completely forgot to grab ANY of my things before locking the door behind me wth Max on my hip. I opened the car door, and went to put him into his carseat when I realized he had a VERY messy….mess….coming right out of his diaper. It ran out of his diaper, down his leg, and onto my clothes (which were scrubs). When I locked the door earlier, I happened to lock my car keys in the house.
So there I was, with my little one’s dirty diaper leaking all over me and him, my supplies for both of us sitting on the other side of the locked door, locked out of the house, with nothing in my car to save us. And no way back inside. My mother had to drive back to the house that day to help me get inside, clean up, and on our way. We were incredibly lucky to have her save the day!
That morning, there was a lot more than #mombrain to blame, but that experience taught me the very important lesson of preparation. In the event that the inevitable #mombrain moment happens to you, here is my list of Mom Car Must Haves that’ll save your time, sanity, and clothes! If you are a mom already, I’m sure you are aware of Murphy’s Law of Parenting…you know, anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.
Here are my Mom Car Must Haves:
Paper towels, napkins, baby wipes. Kids are messy. I always have an extra pack of baby wipes in my car, and a few fast food paper napkins in my center console. My husband doesn’t. He gets grease, dirt, and God knows what else all over his seats. He isn’t happy about it, but refuses to keep any napkins or wipes in his truck. Don’t be my husband. Save your sanity, and your clothes/seats/carseats.
Unless your little one is potty trained, of course. This one is pretty obvious, but to a new mom, it might slip your mind. You might think that because you packed your diaper bag, you’re good, right? Right. As long as you don’t lock yourself out of the house where your diaper stash and bag are, like I did! You can probably get by with just a few, just in case.
Stainless Steel Canteen
Plastic water bottles are pretty hazardous if left in the heat (you aren’t doing yourself any favors by leaving that plastic in the car, even when you park in the shade!). When I think of plastic water bottles, two ‘B’ words come to mind: ‘BPA’, and ‘backwash’.
Stainless steel canteens not only help the environment, they also do not contain BPA or other harmful chemicals that can be leached into the water once exposed to heat.
Reusable plastic bottle manufacturers claim their containers haven’t contained BPA since 2010, but stainless steel has no need for any type of lining that could potentially leach harmful toxins. – TheClassPass.org
Better safe than sorry when it comes to your kiddos, I say!
I forget snacks all the time! Ugh. It’s terrible. I love to bring granola (or Nutri-grain) bars with me in my diaper bag, but they always get squished. Some examples of snacks we keep in the car (and remember to change out if opened) are beef jerky, crackers,granola bars, and trail mix. I will only bring things like string cheese and carrots in the car if I know they will be eaten immediately.
We are totally in love with the Stinky Face series of books – have you read the yet? They are so adorable, and imaginative, and each one if about $5.00. Jaxson begs me to read them! And by beg, I mean he slams one into my nose lovingly and giggles. Then he sits in my lap while I’m checking my nose for a bleed (how does my nose not BLEED after that, good Lord…) and opens the pages, still giggling to himself. These books are so fitting, because I call him My Little Stinker. Stinker…stinky face? Close enough.
Just one board book will do! Especially if you have the next item on my list…
Yes, I know. This one can be touchy with some moms wanting to limit screen time and all. I try to bring this along and let my 7 year old use it for longer car trips. It really saves our sanity! HERE is the one we have.
Change Of Clothes (x2)
Need I explain this one?
Babies/Toddlers/Human Beings + (time > 5 seconds) = mess. There’s my formula for messes made (simplified).
Hope you like math. I don’t. 🙂
Even with all these extras, there will be messes. Throw up in the car seat, explosive diapers, you name it. You’re going to want a few of these in your car (better go with gallon size!) to hang on to a mess until you can dispose of or clean it!
First Aid Kit
Most cars come with these, but Amazon has a couple that are reasonably priced. I feel like this is just a given, especially if you frequent playground or children’s sporting games.
If you are feeling brave, you could always slap some band-aids in your center console and call it a day! Because band-aids have super powers.
I’ll level with you. We live in Michigan. Pretty close to Canada. I moved here from North Carolina (I know, we are nuts, right?), and the very first winter I experienced was actually named the Polar Vortex of 2014. I’m pretty sure a coworker friend of mine asked me to sew on a Girl Scouts patch for her daughter’s vest that said “I survived the Polar Vortex – 2014”. Not kidding. It was brutal, and not my kind of Welcoming committee.
Needless to say, even if you live in the South and the car heater does just fine for you, your little one may be more susceptible to colder temperatures. So whether it’s the cold weather or a carseat comfort for nap time, be sure to store a clean blanket in your car!
With all this extra stuff in the car, it sure is nice to be able to put it somewhere. We have a really great backseat organizer in our car that holds a great deal of things (everything on this list, besides the first aid kit) and keeps the car floor clean. Check out my review of my favorite Backseat Organizer for the car!
What are some of your ‘Mom Car Must-Haves’? Tell me in the comments below!