As I mentioned, I was in Dallas for a bar and bat mitzvah this past weekend. Besides comparing the ceremonies and parties of now to those of then (as in, 20 years ago, when I was 13), I realized something about traveling with a toddler. It seems that the smaller the person, the more you need to bring for them.
I have traveled around seven countries of Europe twice with less baggage than I needed for 48 hours in Texas. Forget not checking a bag. For my first experience with staying in a hotel with my daughter, I packed enough changes of clothes to keep her outfitted for a week. But without ready access to a washing machine and her tendency to wear half of what she tries to eat, what else could I do? I also brought enough healthy foods (see my post about vacay eating) to feed several adults. Crazy? Perhaps. But there was no way I was chancing having to pay mini bar prices.
This all really came to mind after my mother-in-law twice pointed out that I had to schlep a diaper bag instead of delicately carrying something more fashionable. Unfortunately my dressy bag – a Lauren Merkin clutch – wouldn’t be able to accommodate several size 4 Pampers, a wipes case, several bags of various Gerber Graduates, a snack cup of peanut butter Ritz Bits, a jacket in case my daughter got cold, tissues, two water cups, two toddler books, and my wallet.
In my defense, my “diaper bag” is actually a snazzy Lululemon Athletica bag that just so happens to have all the right compartments in all the right sizes for toting all of my 21-month-old’s assorted items. The bag is a lifesaver and I love it, plus it’s black so it’s subdued and goes with everything – including the dresses I wore to temple and to the party. So, I think I deserve a slice of slack for forgoing a posh purse.
In retrospect, it’s not easy getting dressed up with a toddler around, period. At the temple, I laughed at the image of myself sitting on the lobby floor in my Ann Taylor dress and high-heeled pumps while keeping Ellie from disturbing the goings-on. I mean, there was Play-Doh involved. And markers. I was dodging spilled food and milk and praying the rubber soles on her gold mary janes wouldn’t somehow snag my pantyhose mid-Haftarah.
My ability to be fashionable has slowly increased as my daughter has grown. At first, the constant spit-up prohibited any kind of nice shirt or dress, and her habit of grabbing dangly earrings and necklaces precluded wearing those. Once she was starting to be mobile, I stopped wearing dresses and skirts because I spent most of my time cross-legged on the floor with her. Slowly, I have added jewelry back into the mix, and the occasional nicer ensemble, but I can see where moms get a bad rap for the Mom Look.
How do you maintain your style while adapting to the necessities of motherhood?