To the mama who thinks, 'I wonder what people think of us out in public'

This time in our lives is beautiful in every sense of the word—to us. But is it to outsiders?

To the mama who thinks, 'I wonder what people think of us out in public'

We just got back from a family vacation overseas, and in reflecting on our trip this morning in mass, I couldn't help but think—I wonder what people think of us out in public together?

We have three children; ages four, two and seven months. This time in our lives is beautiful in every sense of the word—to us. But is it to outsiders?

Our daughter's dino roar is hilarious to us. But does it tick other people off? My baby's cries make me want to calm her immediately, any way I can. But does it make you feel impatient? Sometimes she needs to breastfeed Right. This. Second. Does seeing that annoy you?


My husband and I try our best to get out into the big, wild world and do things with our kids. We plan and prepare as best we can, and then we just go for it and get out there. Sometimes it works really well and everything goes as smoothly as possible and we're left feeling surprised because... did that even just happen?

And sometimes, our adventure turns disastrous—not in a dangerous way...more in an "OMG she has a blowout poop all the way up her back and we only have two wipes, a size 5 (not 3) diaper, and no extra clothes!" type way. And we're left feeling drained because… remind me why did we think this would work out, exactly?

It is not easy. I get anxious sometimes about going places with the kids. Will they listen? Are they going to throw a fit? Did I pack enough snacks? What if they flip out? I guess sometimes I am so distracted by how my kids will act or feel or what they need pre-outing, that I don't worry about what other people think about us until we're in it or until it's over. And then its kind of too late, so we just keep going.

But then… I wonder…

I wonder what you think of us as you watch us frantically dig for snacks and crayons and whisper "Listen to the priest, hunny" over and over in the pew at church.

I wonder what you think of us as you watch me rock and bounce my overtired baby squished in our row as we fly overnight to our destination.

I wonder what you think of us as you watch our conversation get interrupted at least 10 times and we haven't even heard the specials yet.

I wonder what you think of us as we chase after toddlers at the museum while checking out the latest exhibit.

I wonder what you think of us as you watch my baby sleep on my lap as the crowd goes wild at the Celtics game.

I wonder what you think of us as we wrangle toddlers and babies and preschoolers in the coffee shop.

I wonder what you think of me as I walk down the aisle at my sister's wedding with a 6-day-old baby strapped to my chest, a toddler on my hip, and a preschooler's hand in mine.

I wonder what you think of us as sweat pours down our necks plotting for a quick way to escape this quiet play if one of them freaks out.

I've been a mom for almost five years and I'm realizing that a lot of my motherhood has been spent worrying about what other people might think of me. Of making things up in my head. Of comparing myself to other women I know. Of comparing myself to women I don't know, but follow on Instagram. Of assuming people are thinking the worst of me.

But I think I've come to a conclusion. There's now a pre-first-overseas-trip-with-three-kids me and a post-first-overseas-trip-with-three-kids me. The pre-trip-me worries about these musings. The post-trip-me hopes, instead.

I hope you see a family who is simply trying to have some fun together.

I hope you see a couple who loves each other and needs to get out of the house—no matter whether they have a babysitter at that very moment or not.

I hope you see good parents who are trying to show their children the world, trying to take them on adventures—whether it be the grocery store or on a train ride.

I hope you see us doing our best to be a mom, a dad, a preschooler, a toddler, a baby, a couple, a family—in a world where we have every right to belong, to experience, to explore.

I waste too much time wondering what people think. But I think I am finally learning… that I actually don't even care.

You might also like:

These are the best bath time products you can get for under $20

These budget-friendly products really make a splash.

With babies and toddlers, bath time is about so much more than washing off: It's an opportunity for fun, sensory play and sweet bonding moments—with the added benefit of a cuddly, clean baby afterward.

Because bathing your baby is part business, part playtime, you're going to want products that can help with both of those activities. After countless bath times, here are the products that our editors think really make a splash. (Better yet, each item is less than $20!)

Comforts Bath Wash & Shampoo

Comforts Baby Wash & Shampoo

Made with oat extract, this bath wash and shampoo combo is designed to leave delicate skin cleansed and nourished. You and your baby will both appreciate the tear-free formula—so you can really focus on the bath time fun.

Munckin Soft Spot Bath Mat

Munchkin slip mat

When your little one is splish-splashing in the bath, help keep them from also sliding around with a soft, anti-slip bath mat. With strong suction cups to keep it in place and extra cushion to make bath time even more comfortable for your little one, this is an essential in our books.

Comforts Baby Lotion

Comforts baby lotion

For most of us, the bath time ritual continues when your baby is out of the tub when you want to moisturize their freshly cleaned skin. We look for lotions that are hypoallergenic, nourishing and designed to protect their skin.

The First Years Stack Up Cups

First year stack cups

When it comes to bath toys, nothing beats the classic set of stackable cups: Sort them by size, practice pouring water, pile them high—your little one will have fun with these every single bath time.

Comforts Baby Oil

Comforts baby oil

For dry skin that needs a little extra TLC, our team loves Comforts' fast-absorbing baby oil aloe vera and vitamin E. Pro tip: When applied right after drying off your baby, the absorption is even more effective.

KidCo Bath Toy Organizer

KidCo Bath Organizer

Between bathing supplies, wash rags, toys and more, the tub sure can get crowded in a hurry. We like that this organizer gives your little one space to play and bathe while still keeping everything you need within reach.

Another great tip? Shopping the Comforts line on to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices—and follow along on social media to see product releases and news at @comfortsforbaby.

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

Our Partners

Motherly editors’ 7 favorite hacks for organizing their diaper bags

Make frantically fishing around for a diaper a thing of the past!

As any parent knows, the term "diaper bag" only scratches the surface. In reality, this catchall holds so much more: a change of clothes, bottles, snacks, wipes and probably about a dozen more essential items.

Which makes finding the exact item you need, when you need it (read: A diaper when you're in public with a blowout on your hands) kind of tricky.

That's why organization is the name of the game when it comes to outings with your littles. We pooled the Motherly team of editors to learn some favorite hacks for organizing diaper bags. Here are our top tips.

1. Divide and conquer with small bags

Here's a tip we heard more than a few times: Use smaller storage bags to organize your stuff. Not only is this helpful for keeping related items together, but it can also help keep things from floating around in the expanse of the larger diaper bag. These bags don't have to be anything particularly fancy: an unused toiletry bag, pencil case or even plastic baggies will work.

2. Have an emergency changing kit

When you're dealing with a diaper blowout situation, it's not the time to go searching for a pack of wipes. Instead, assemble an emergency changing kit ahead of time by bundling a change of baby clothes, a fresh diaper, plenty of wipes and hand sanitizer in a bag you can quickly grab. We're partial to pop-top wipes that don't dry out or get dirty inside the diaper bag.

3. Simplify bottle prep

Organization isn't just being able to find what you need, but also having what you need. For formula-feeding on the go, keep an extra bottle with the formula you need measured out along with water to mix it up. You never know when your outing will take longer than expected—especially with a baby in the mix!

4. Get resealable snacks

When getting out with toddlers and older kids, snacks are the key to success. Still, it isn't fun to constantly dig crumbs out of the bottom of your diaper bag. Our editors love pouches with resealable caps and snacks that come in their own sealable containers. Travel-sized snacks like freeze-dried fruit crisps or meal-ready pouches can get an unfair reputation for being more expensive, but that isn't the case with the budget-friendly Comforts line.

5. Keep a carabiner on your keychain

You'll think a lot about what your child needs for an outing, but you can't forget this must-have: your keys. Add a carabiner to your keychain so you can hook them onto a loop inside your diaper bag. Trust us when we say it's a much better option than dumping out the bag's contents on your front step to find your house key!

6. Bundle your essentials

If your diaper bag doubles as your purse (and we bet it does) you're going to want easy access to your essentials, too. Dedicate a smaller storage bag of your diaper bag to items like your phone, wallet and lip balm. Then, when you're ready to transfer your items to a real purse, you don't have to look for them individually.

7. Keep wipes in an outer compartment

Baby wipes aren't just for diaper changes: They're also great for cleaning up messy faces, wiping off smudges, touching up your makeup and more. Since you'll be reaching for them time and time again, keep a container of sensitive baby wipes in an easily accessible outer compartment of your bag.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

Our Partners

Errands and showers are not self-care for moms

Thinking they are is what's burning moms out.

A friend and I bump into each other at Target nearly every time we go. We don't pre-plan this; we must just be on the same paper towel use cycle or something. Really, I think there was a stretch where I saw her at Target five times in a row.

We've turned it into a bit of a running joke. "Yeah," I say sarcastically, "We needed paper towels so you know, I had to come to Target… for two hours of alone time."

She'll laugh and reply, "Oh yes, we were out of… um… paper clips. So here I am, shopping without the kids. Heaven!"

Now don't get me wrong. I adore my trips to Target (and based on the fullness of my cart when I leave, I am pretty sure Target adores my trips there, too).

But my little running joke with my friend is actually a big problem. Because why is the absence of paper towels the thing that prompts me to get a break? And why on earth is buying paper towels considered a break for moms?

Keep reading Show less