Resentment and the diaper bag that wasn’t

As the new mom of a toddler, all manner of things are ending up in my purse that weren’t there before.  In addition to my regular stuff, on any given day, you can find a pull-up or two, a box of raisins, baby wipes, a kleenex travel pack, ziplock bags of snacks, a couple of 8 oz water bottles, a busy bag, a bib and a sippy cup.  Not all of these all of the time, but at least three of these at any one time.

Nana’s been with us for almost a month now, and for 3 of those weeks, I was with her all day long.  We rolled.  We went to the store, we’ve visited friends, we’ve eaten out a restaurants, hung out at the mall.  I’ve gotten pretty good at streamlining what I need to put into my purse based on where we are going and I’m also flexible enough to manage the situation if I happen to have forgotten something. Snacks can be bought, paper towels can be wet, straws can be requested. I got this.

So it chaps my hide, I mean, it really burns me up when Wood asks me before we leave the house “Do you have wipes?  Do you have a pull up?”  I start to see red.

It gets even worse when he requests to put things into my purse that I don’t think we need – “We should carry her sweater just in case.”  It’s 76 degrees outside.  “What about her sippy cup.”  We are going to a restaurant – they have straws and kiddie cups.

This is sooooo irritating to me.  I mean highest level of pissivity.  Resentment is building and I’m not sure how to make it dissipate.

I resent that there is questioning of my efficiency, my preparedness, when I’ve been the primary caretaker.  I got this.  And even when I don’t, I still got this.

I resent that he feels like my purse is a diaper bag when I just want to still be a stylish mom with a couple of toddler things thrown in.

I resent that he doesn’t realize that the whole time he has been playing around with Nana, I’ve been walking through the house with a mental checklist, collecting items, checking if there are still enough kleenex since she had a cold the day before, looking at the time and making a calculation of how many snacks I need to carry considering how long we will be out, or making sure the wipes have not dried out because I didn’t close the ziplock.

I resent that when I try to explain why this upsets me, he makes it seem like I can’t handle the responsibility.  “Well, if you can’t handle it, I’ll just do it.”  And then walks out the door with two pullups and a package of wipes and puts them in the backseat. Since he didn’t have a bag, I guess he was planning on walking around the mall with pampers and wipes in hand.  LOL.  Such a dweeb.

I suggested that I get him a small backpack. I was thinking one of those cross-body bags like this.  Then he could also share the responsibility of ensuring that everything we need was refreshed, and he could also add the extraneous items (that I don’t think we need) to his heart’s content.  He thought I was being cheeky and basically said he wouldn’t use it.  “You can’t force me to carry a backpack.  Why can’t you just put it in your purse?”

BECAUSE IT’S MY PURSE!  And since it’s my purse, then the contents are my responsibility.  I have to listen to you sigh all extra hard if I only have two kleenex and act like it’s the end of the world and I’m just not prepared to take care of this child.  I have to carry the overstuffed bag around because you insist on bringing a fleece.  I have to pick the squashed raisins out of the bottom of my very nice bag because the box flattened and the raisins fell out.

In the interest of full disclosure, he did say if he ever needed a bag he would use a plastic bag or her Mickey Mouse tote.  Apparently a backpack is just too overbearing and it makes more sense to carry around a recycled Target bag or a pink tote bag.

It just irritates me that he wants to always be the one to pick up Nana (and carry her around) and I’m left picking up everything else, including the slack.

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17 thoughts on “Resentment and the diaper bag that wasn’t

  1. Sorry to hear about the frustration. I have the same issue of taking offense when I feel like I’m being questioned, especially since my husband is usually the one who forgets things. He even makes comments about how bad his memory is sometimes! I don’t think he has a clue how much more irritating it is to be questioned when he’s the one making comments like that.

    Maybe it would be better to go ahead and have a designated diaper bag? That way you can maintain sovereignty over your purse while ensuring no one’s left carrying loose diapers and wipes in their hands? I don’t carry a purse, but I can imagine how irritated I’d be if my husband started telling me what needed to be in there. Thankfully by now he knows how irritated I’d be, too. Good luck!

    • I think the designated bag is the best solution because we both can be responsible for it. It can easily be said, “you get the diaper bag and I’ll get her together” and vice versa with no resentment attached. Actually I would love it if we could flow like that. Right now it seems like he always gets to engage with her and get her ready to go and I’m responsible for pampers and snacks. At the same time I’m aware that the diaper bag is just symbolic of transitional issues. We are still trying to define our new roles as parents and understand who is responsible for certain things while also being aware of other’s feelings. There is a lot going on.

      • Sounds familiar. We’ve had to negotiate a lot of different things related to Splash over the past few months. For example, who gets up with her in the morning? As much as we love Splash, we also love sleep, so this question comes up quite frequently, and gets negotiated whenever possible.

        There have been times where one of us has gotten annoyed because we feel like we’re doing more of something than the other person. I know my husband has felt like he changed all the poopy diapers one weekend, so the next time she pooped, he would have nothing to do with it. Or another day he felt like he was the one who had to keep putting her in the car seat, and he was getting tired of it.

        In the end, a lot of it is pretty small stuff if you stop to think about it, but it ends up feeling like a big deal. It’s important to know you’re partners in this and one person isn’t always doing all the work or, on the flip side, getting all the reward.

      • So interesting though. On our side it seems like the opposite type of negotiations. We each want to be the one to give her a bath, or wake her up or carry her to the car and put her in the car seat or pick her up from day care. I”m sure the novelty will wear off eventually, right?

  2. I agree with the above; I would just have a diaper bag near the door “ready to go” and give him the restock responsibility and also carrying responsibilities that way he doesn’t need to ask you.

    • Yes, I agree. A designated bag is probably the best solution. I was soooo trying to avoid that, hence the small additions to my own purse, but that vanity may be causing my sanity. LOL

  3. I’d be frustrated too! Maybe this is why I’ve stuck to a smaller purse and a tote bag for kid stuff…. because I hate my purse being taken over by unnecessary items! I am flashing back to using my big purse for a few weeks and being asked to stuff things in it all of the time.

    With us, this problem of overpacking occurred with toys. My fiancé always wanted to bring a ton of toys when we visited relatives for even just a few hours (here I thought we were going to VISIT)– like 10 toys, but then he wouldn’t think of obvious things like diapers, snacks, drinks, or always having a change of clothes in the car in case of any accidents…. And he wouldn’t put them away when we came home which made it even more annoying. I think a comfort item and one or two small toys to keep the child occupied, if she may be disruptive, is plenty. It was insane and I’m so happy it has passed! I feel like kids only need toys everywhere they go if they are taught they do — I know my parents didn’t have a trunk of toys for me everywhere we went. *rant over*

    I love reading about your and Wood’s journey. I’m always happy to log on and see a new post!

    • Thanks for the encouragement. I might need to write more often 🙂

      I agree with the children only needing a couple of toys. Especially at Nana’s age. Everything is exploration for her, so just about any household item. I don’t remember having a boatload of toys either but memory is a funny thing. LOL.

  4. Stinky Fairy had a backpack that she loved and held the things we made need in addition to whatever was in my purse.

    When my parents watched Stinky for me, I would call to check on her every day. Hear me! I would call just to see how her day was going/behaviors/eating well/ slept well and etc. However, my mother interpreted my call as me checking up on her as if she didn’t know how to handle her. Our thoughts were completely different! I had full knowledge that my mother was capable. I just wanted to know how Stinky herself was doing. I say this to say, maybe..maybe.. your honey isn’t second guessing you but is trying to show his care for Nana. It may be beneficial for you guys to pack her things together and let each other voice their reasons for wanting/not wanting certain items. It is absolutely awesome that you’ve got this, lady! As woman, we usually do!! He may need some gentle guidance and time to be primary caregiver to get to your comfort level.
    Thanks for your transparency because I know that can be difficult. I hope my thoughts don’t come off strong. I promise they definitely don’t come from a bad place. ♡

    • You don’t have to apologize for your thoughts or suggestions. I’m welcoming both the support and the gentle checking.

      I know that Wood is asking because he wants to be prepared and be a good father. I’m thankful to have a husband that is soooo into being a good parent. And I feel fortunate that he’s not a bumbling father and I trust his parenting judgement. Perhaps I should have started with that before going full speed into a rant.

      However, his intent is to be a supportive and active parent but the impact of his actions were that I was feeling unappreciated and like he didn’t trust my parenting skills. After voicing my concerns, he responds that it wasn’t his intent so I should just stop feeling that way. Throw in a refusal to take on some of the responsibility of a gathering supplies and we have a complete breakdown in partnership.

      We both have work to do in the area of communication, listening, accepting and honoring each other’s feelings, and most of all, remembering to believe the best about each other.

  5. I just found your blog through Adoptive Black Mom. I’m also an adoptive black mom through foster care (10 month girl), and my husband and I are current foster parents to a little boy (2 years old) with a situation that looks promising for adoption. Our kids have baby bags, but I just went out of town, for work, and didn’t have time to clean out my purse. I found a diaper, empty fruit pouch, and one or two other baby items. It’s hard for them to not take over EVERYTHING!! I look forward to reading your blog!
    Toni

    • Thanks Toni for stopping by! We are trying to make a little spot over here in the interwebs for black adoptive and foster parents so glad that you found us! I’ll try to write a bit more often to make it worth your while.

    • Hi Toni – Thanks for stopping by. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on any posts, especially since there is such a vacuum of people of color writing about foster care and adoption. I hope you stop by again.

  6. Oh Good Grief! Apologies Mimi–somehow WP unsubbed me from your blog too. WTH! Oh, just so you know, you will still carry stuff when Nana is 12…occasionally even *her* wallet because it’s inconvenient for her to carry her own cash. (Do I sound bitter?) Sounds like the Nana bag is the way to go.

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