I used to have a social life. Maybe you still do. If so, I’m jealous. I used to play Bunco once a month with friends. I used to have weekly lunches with the girls. I used to go out for coffee with my besties. I used to hang out with friends and their hubbies at the officers club on base. I used to actually date my husband.
Now I live vicariously through my twelve year old. It’s a shame that her social life is so much more active than mine. She plays basketball for her middle school so right now she’s busy with practices and games. She attends school dances every couple months and she also goes to the movies with her girlfriends. And if she’s not hanging out at a friend’s house all weekend, then one of her friends is hanging out at ours. I actually love that she is social and has such amazing friends. But gosh, I feel like such a “mom” sometimes.
You know what I mean, right? Being a mom is awe-inspiring and I honestly wouldn’t change anything about it. (Well, I might change the sleepless part. And the toddler tantrums. Whatever…) But when I think negatively about being a mom, I think of these things: frumpiness; no makeup; wearing sweatpants all day; being spit up on; no social life; and (gasp!) the mom bag.
When Brienne was little, I took such pride in carrying around her diaper bag. It was absolutely precious – yellow check with her name embroidered in white. Maybe it was because she was my first child and we had tried for so long to get pregnant with her, but I was perfectly content to carry that diaper bag around everywhere I went. No big deal.
Seven years later, we unexpectedly adopted Jonah as a newborn, and I needed a new diaper bag. I found one that was the perfect size and had a somewhat masculine design. I loved carrying that diaper bag around too. But when Jonah was nineteen months old, Vivienne was born and suddenly I had to figure out a new diaper bag situation. For a while, I continued to use the bag I had bought for Jonah, and my sister-in-law sent me a great diaper bag to use with Vivienne. This worked for several months, but as the kids got older, it became more and more difficult to haul two different bags around everywhere I went in addition to my own handbag. I finally ended up switching to a purse of sorts, which was large enough to hold juice cups in the two outside pockets and plenty of snacks and diapers inside. It was convenient but it certainly felt like a mom bag, and after a few months, I was over it.
Then I was introduced to a great product. A Kelly Moore bag. Have you heard of these? It’s my understanding that these bags were initially developed as a camera bag for photographers, which is how I stumbled across it. But in my mind, I thought it would be absolutely perfect as a diaper bag. It had everything I needed. I loved the dividers inside the bag which kept me organized – something I had always thought that regular purses needed! I currently have my bag divided into three sections. In one section, I have Vivienne’s snack cup and juice cup, in another section, I have Jonah’s snack cup and juice cup, and in the middle section, I keep my wallet and makeup bag and an extra change of clothes for each kid. There is also a place for a small laptop where I can store my kindle or my iPad. And the best part? It looks like a real grown-up purse! It doesn’t look like a diaper bag at all. When I carry it, I feel like an actual adult even though it’s disguising sippy cups and goldfish crackers.
(For the record, my mom bought me a great Coach bag for Christmas last year that I use when the kids aren’t with me. No way am I putting goldfish crackers or a leaky juice cup in that thing.)
You know, our lives can often look a lot like a mom bag. Crammed full of “good” things, useful things. We can become so busy with our kids’ extracurricular interests, taking care of our homes and families, and involvement in activities within our church and community that our life begins to look a little messy and chaotic. We feel unorganized and unattractive. But just like I found a prettier and more organized solution with my “grown-up” bag, God has a better plan for your life too.
The Lord delights in spending time with us. When we come before the Father, when we read His Word and listen to His commands, He shows us how to prioritize our lives. He grants understanding to us as we attempt to organize the many activities and tasks that are presented to us each day. If we sincerely ask for His guidance, He will show us the activities we should say yes to and He will reveal the tasks we should say no to.
As women, we often feel like we must say yes to everything that is requested of us. I am guilty of wanting to give my children whatever they ask for on demand. But this desire to meet their requests also makes me irritable as they interrupt my productivity throughout the day. I have learned to prioritize what they really need and then let the rest go. The same goes for other things that are asked of me. Maybe someone wants you to serve on a church committee or teach preschool choir. We must seek the Lord to help us decide which opportunities will be the best use of our time. And then we have to say no to anything that doesn’t meet that requirement.
Proverbs 3:6 says, “In everything you do, put God first and He will direct you and crown your efforts with success.” What an incredible assurance. I challenge you this week to bring your schedule before the Lord, particularly as we approach the Christmas season. Pray over it and ask Him to show you those activities that are making your life unorganized and messy. And then be courageous enough to say no to the “not-so-good” and yes to only the best.
(And if you have a love/hate relationship with your own mom bag, you may want to check out all the Kelly Moore options. Click this link. The Esther is my favorite! These bags would make a great Christmas present for yourself or for that new mom in your life.)
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