Minimalist Mom

I know many people think of black, white, empty and void of joy when they think of minimalism but I am discussing a kind of a strand of minimalism especially in relation to motherhood and parenthood.

I have been recently following many Instagram moms who homeschool, use Montessori style toys or minimalism in their lifestyle, and I’ve been blown away by their inspiration. Funnily, it isn’t the type of fake inspiration that is actually guilt, pain and anguish I used to get following Pinterest (the “I need to have this and that and buy things for status mentality”) It’s truly inspiring and makes me feel calmer and more peaceful in my mom life. Of course, I’m like any mom who wants the best for her kids and I have bought a lot of things from the posts of others. But I have tried to be intentional about my spending as of late.

I read Marie Kondo but she doesn’t really address having kids and the mom life which does come with a lot of baby, toddler, kids gear. I took issue with that from day 1. I supposed that minimalism was not the answer for most women, especially mothers with young kids, but I guess I am giving it more thought because my small steps in cleaning out my house did help me so much. 

It’s not as extreme as blogger Allie Casazza’s (where her kids only have one bin of toys) but it’s the same concept, to have less and find joy in being less materialistic. Since decluttering, my life has improved a lot. This time, it is even more intentional and focused. Laser focused.

A few improvements:

1. I realized that after reading Allie Casazza’s blog and the book Simplicity Parenting by Payne that minimalism positively affects kids. And I didn’t realize this was true except that after decluttering during round 1 last year, my kids played very well by themselves, and my twins even have improved a lot in this area though they just turned 2. We have been working on acquiring open-ended toys. Last year, the old toys thrown out were replaced by other similar toys. Now old toys are being replaced by more creative toys like Grimm, unit blocks and just plain wood bowls and scoops for sensory bins etc. Now, SG takes big issue with this because it seems like my consumerism has no end, but I actually do feel like there is a sort of closure to our old life. Yes, I will still indulge here and there but I’m not as concerned about my kids having to have a certain amount of presents for Christmas. I am a little worried that I’ll be perceived by others as being wasteful because we have a lot of toys, mostly gifts, begin sold or donated, so after a big toy purge, I will in the future just store away things so that they are a least out of sight. Then maybe people including my husband and kids will realize they haven’t missed out by having “that one toy” (with batteries that I hate so much). Then we’ll have to do a round 3 purge when toys aren’t asked for any longer.

2. I am working on self care in a more positive, long lasting way and minimalism is part of that. Having twins was incredibly straining on me, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. The past two years were beautiful but exceptionally difficult requiring me to give my all. On top of this I felt strongly the need to homeschool my oldest when he turned 4 and the twins were 1 and it was all too much. I built an excessive wardrobe of LuLaRoe leggings and clothes that basically acted as pajamas, loungewear and sort of outing wear. It was the worst thing I could have possibly done for myself. But at the time I really needed it. I shopped conveniently at home, I got retail therapy, and because I felt like I would never get my body back I just accepted my shape and size by just wearing stretchy clothes. Maybe it was all justified a little.

Perhaps I needed those two years to be chill years and it hasn’t been all that bad for D. He still gets his playdates, outings with dad and a lot of free time to develop creativity. He is also exceptionally good with younger kids. But I know he needed more. So this year, I enrolled him in swim and choir and I realized I needed to go back out into the real world with him. I realized we were actually doing more of a real homeschool schedule and that I don’t have time to handwash my clothing, pick out matching leggings and do massive loads of laundry every day. So I have cleared out most but not all of my clothing, to motivate me to look nice, to look healthier, to simplify the workload at home. This is true self care. It is making good habits and sustainable life changes.

I’m not trying to bash LuLaRoe as it helps many women feel beautiful, but I bought so much clothing, it was too much for my needs. And YouTubers and a few real life friends have told me that they stopped wearing it because they felt lazy in it and therefore weren’t as motivated to get into better shape or at least be more active. So just keep that in mind.  

I hope you can see that this is minimalism with a purpose and a realization that all things cost not just money but also time (from Allie’s blog). I think this is definitely worth exploring if you are a stressed out mom.

Note: I have had major breakthroughs just by hearing about minimalism the second time around but I haven’t paid for the class (I’m not sure I need to at this point in my journey, I liked her blog just for the reminders but it might be helpful to pay for the course if you are just starting out.) I recommend checking out Simplicity Parenting, I just checked it out from my local library so it was like taking parenting and minimalism class for free. 


School Room Reveal 

I had a goal this past year (2017) to be slightly more minimalist and we conquered a huge problem area: the formal dining/mom office/homeschool room.
Let’s clarify that I’m not an extreme-minimalist. I see the need to cherish your stuff and to not spoil your kids but I think there is also no problem with having an abundance of good literature and even age-appropriate toys, as long as what you have is organized and taken care of and used. Toys should be rotated and sorted through every now and again. My kids don’t receive too many gifts for Christmas and birthdays but since I have three kids now, those gifts are quick to take over if I’m not careful. 

Here was the desk area around February 2017. I kept books and curriculum in boxes under the desk. Now that I look back on it, this was completely insane. I don’t know how we lived like that. 

There is hope! Around June or July, the desk space became like this and there were fewer boxes of random Amazon purchases I was keeping hidden from the littles. But still a few.

Lastly, I was inspired by Pinterest and Instagram homeschool moms, many of which use Montessori method for their school rooms. Even though I am more of a Charlotte Mason/classical/unit studies homeschooler, I do like a ton of Montessori ideas for play areas but we are not Montessori purists.

PictuAt the beginning of the year, we started with too many toys (pictured above) and transitioned to the more traditional Montessori orderly system (pictured below) in which each toy or material as its home. This made organization and clean up very easy and doable, even for my two toddlers. 

Less is more. Especially for homeschooling.

The huge desk from Costco, which was way too wide and usually completely cluttered, was replaced by the sleeker and longer Ikea Micke desk (we chose black because it is more kid-friendly but I wish they made a high gloss white like the Kallax shelves.) This desk is perfect for me and D to sit together. He has one drawer of workbooks, magazines, etc. I have a mom-drawer where my keys hang out. Surprisingly, when things have a place, suddenly I don’t misplace them as much! The drawers are longer but shallower than the Sterlite plastic drawer unit we used before, but it still works. The old drawers were too deep.

Find a space that can optimally used. 

No, the desk is hardly ever this clean, but I can at least focus on keeping bare essentials on the desk and the mess is sorted right away, otherwise the desk would be unusable. This works well for me!

The shelves and desk work perfectly and with a coupon only cost $189 combined.

What’s great about this is that all the books we were storing in boxes in D’s closet are now here and his closet is now a storage area with the old Sterlite drawers for crafts and other art supplies. This change transformed two areas in my house. 

KonMari with Kids: Part 3 Think Simple

I should get extra credit for typing this with manicured nails. (Yes, I’m 32, and I just got my first manicure last week!) At the time it seemed like an awesome idea to get a manicure. Then I went back to the real world, changing the twins’ diapers and cleaning toilets and eating chicken wings…what was I thinking? My life is not conducive to long nails at all.)

After Magic of Tidying Up, the real magic lasts if we address a deep-rooted issue most of us don’t want acknowledge.

If we do not change our consumerist habits then all the decluttering in the world won’t do any good.

Maybe it’s because somewhere in the cosmos, the fates realized I have a gift for decluttering that 3 (count ’em)—3 people I know (and I don’t really know many people to begin with) in the last 6 months have given/gifted/trashed me with garbage bags full of junk, things their kids stopped playing with ten years ago, a pile of garbage-looking toys, a collection of really nice Gymboree shorts I sold to Once Upon A Child (cha-ching) also 4-5 sizes old from a family with only one child at home. (So you’re saying you can’t trash these items, but I can?) I should start a business, “We trash your stuff so you don’t have to live with the guilt!”

In came more “stuff” and I had to revisit my need to hold onto things and my need to buy things.

Everyone knows I love shopping.
Everyone knows I love kids’ toys, kids’ clothes, and kids’ gear.
I may have de-cluttered, but I’m not recovered:

I realized that wall art is a nice new money-hobby because it takes up only room on a wall instead of part of my living room floor. It’s still buying things without the mess.

I don’t buy as much clothes now, but when I do I don’t feel bad overpaying for brands like Madewell so are things better now that I don’t go clothes shopping at Ross (for the poor quality) or are they worse because a pair of jeans cost $130? Not sure. 

I am also surrounded by people (ahem, millennials) who think they are rich. They want their kids to wear fashionable clothing. Statement pieces for toddlers? What? For moms’ day out, we’re going to order $40 plates for our dinner out? What? I mean, I love indulging too. But whatever happened to the simple life, the beautiful life I wanted when I first became a mom and had simple aspirations to just be content and not moving around the country for SG’s graduate school?

When did we become so entitled we feel we need to have stuff all the time? And to portray a certain value and status through the stuff we have?

I own to the fact I will always have stuff and I will be an Amazon Prime (get it in 2 days or less) type of girl. But there must be real change within, to not go back to the old ways. Maybe I’ll never fully embrace minimalism because I want things for myself and my kids but I can embrace a less consumeristic view. No, my kids don’t need every latest gadget. Yes, I want my home to feel comfortable and inviting but I don’t need to follow every Pinterest trend.

Think Simple.

KonMari with Kids: Part 2 Organizing 

From the high of the discarding phase, I was hit with the reality of organizing.

My discard pile was one of the biggest in my life, but as I set out to organize, I could see now why my house always seemed cluttered. My house was severely disorganized. All this time I feigned organization and cleanliness, but I was letting areas of my house go to serious disarray.

Going through each category for the second time showed me where the problem areas were. First, I organized clothes, books, random stuff  (you know, the tray you stash everything in because it’s the landing spot of whatever is in your pockets). They were all relatively easy to conquer.

Using Kondo’s shoebox trick, I used both halves of my Samsung Galaxy tablet box in my closet which has built in shelves and acts as my dresser, and it works like magic. Shallow and sturdy, it is perfect for seeing what you have. (Better go get some more tablets! Do you think Samsung will sell me just the box?)

But then it hit me, my kids’ toys, books and homeschool preschool “classroom” is what is truly troubling the house. Toys are now in 2 closets and I will try one day to consolidate them into one place.

I set out to fix the problem, first by consolidating all things in one locale. This method sI set out to fix the problem, first by consolidating all things in one locale. This method shows how much of an item you have. Doing some toddler busy book games let my crafting supplies run crazy. It’s time to tame the pile into controllable and organized amounts. It shows how much of an item you have. Doing some toddler busy book games let my crafting supplies run crazy. It’s time to tame the pile into controllable and organized amounts.

I’m slightly crazy and ever OCD so I actually had already my kids’ toys inventoried on a my phone, just using the Cozi app. I checklist the boxes of the toys in storage and I make sure to rotate through those toys periodically.

Ask yourself:

Does everything have a place? That’s the question of the century and the solution to most clutter after decluttering. If it does not, then things are left to roam without a home. Our house is messy because our stuff is homeless.

The New Year So Far 

Last night as I crawled into bed at 1 am again, I thought, “Dang it, not even a month into the year, my resolution to go to bed earlier is so not working!” What can I say? I am a night owl and I am super productive at night after the kids go to bed. I clean, sometimes I cook when I’m up to it, and lately I’ve been discarding under the KonMari method so it’s taken up my nights (more on this to come).

I will do better. And I think I will sleep better when all is organized in my home. 

Then when I got into bed I compared this year so far to last year at this time.

Last year I had twin infants. I was recovering from a c-section. Luckily I had my mom with me, then my mother in law, then my mom again. So it was nice but not nice. (If you’ve ever had a mother in law, even the most angelic, you know what I mean.) All in the same month. 

I didn’t sleep more than two hours at a time. Sometimes I was nursing every hour with the two. We supplemented with ready-to-feed for a long time (and Baby B never got off formula.) So there was a lot of juggling back then. And I was truly on survival mode.

This year is already better and I’m trying to be grateful that it is better. 

Baby A has slept through the night since 5 months. Baby B whines a little at night but she’s okay, it just could use improvement. Both of them are well-mannered babies. Baby B just started whole milk. Baby A is still nursing to my dismay but it’s still early in the game and he likes it so it’s fine. 

The only horror now is they are both learning to walk and I can’t just plant them on the ground  anymore. Separation anxiety is starting to kick in. But things are so much better. 

I can actually wear regular clothes again instead of my pjs. I get six hours of sleep and even eight when I plan it right. I don’t have to have my nursing pads in and distract Toddler all the time because he’s better at playing independently. 

My goals this year center around helping others and doing more for other people including my kids who will be 4 and 1. Last year, I went a little crazy indulging myself when I could because I needed it: I heavily relied on Amazon shopping and bought things for me and the kids whenever we needed it; when I needed a new wardrobe, I bought it and then some. I bought rich food and desserts because I was nursing two for a time. And while some of this is justified, it can’t remain this way forever. 

This year we’re returning to the simple and beautiful ways. Come with me.

Tale of the Fancy Dress

​Just returned from a week with fam. It only takes a so-called vacation to remind me that being a mom is not glamorous. Let’s not ever be in denial about that fact.

There was a lot of talk. Talk with the siblings (all of whom are or soon will be Parents) and their dream cars, dream phones, and dream houses. We all have plans and dreams for the future. But all these things paired with babies or children are completely impractical. 

And these things don’t make our lives all that much better when we do have kids. Expensive stuff gets ruined with kids. Lavish vacations are just babysitting at a hotel instead of at home; we do get to enlist more baby holders when family or daddies take time off but Mom still does most of the work. We get to do some grown up things but it is all interrupted by naps and diaper changes.

I’m not innocent either. I spent a ton on clothes this year including this past month, some nicer outfits, things I’d wear to a nice party. Simple Guy had a work party coming up and I figured I had an excuse to try out some fancy clothes. When was the last time I treated myself anyway? When the items arrived with all our held mail after vacation, I was pretty happy but in my vain heart, I knew deep down this was, plainly speaking, stupid. I don’t go to nice restaurants anymore. I don’t attend concerts, the ballet or the opera. I don’t attend holiday parties, unless they are kid birthday parties. So why did I pretend that I do? 

Sometimes we parents need an escape from reality and I guess babysitters can help with that. Yeah, it is possible we will get that one night of elegance. One day. So I would wear the dress a grand total of one time. Hmm.

I get that we mourn the loss of past freedom and independence we had as singles or married without kids. But it’s time to grow up, people. When all life stops for kids to be sick or dirty, let us realize there is more to life than just what we adults want. I know one day I will be able to leave all three kids with a babysitter. I know one day I will be able to have nice stuff. But I’m doing something eternally more important right now and luxury can wait. 

We are doing a great work by raising the next generation. When we are parents we are more than just an individual or even a partnership. We are caregivers with power to influence generations. 

The irony of it all is that the whole family got sick after the week of supposed vacation and we missed the work party, so I didn’t get to wear my fancy eveningwear. Luckily it was LuLaRoe holiday wear and doesn’t really break the bank, but it’s still kind of ridiculous to admit I own something that sparkly when I’m about to have two toddlers and a preschooler. Guess I will wear it on New Year’s after the kids all go to bed.

Lesson: Don’t buy stuff that doesn’t go with your current phase of life. Got kids? Don’t buy a fancy car, dress, or house or furniture. Kids will destroy or spit up on it anyway. Don’t falsely assume that your kids are going to be somehow cleaner than the rest of their demographic. Even Preschooler is compulsive about cleanliness and he just transferred marinara from his pants to the carpet not even 12 hours from me writing this.

Good for You

Rant time. Hope you don’t mind.

Since becoming a parent, I’ve encountered a lot of other parents with other styles, philosophies or priorities. Of course, to each their own. But today, could you hear me out?

What’s good for adults (you parents out there) is not necessarily good for your kids.

Example one: nutrition

I have several friends and relatives who are kind of health nuts: love to exercise, eat healthy and do recreation all day long.

While I of course support kids getting exercise and eating healthy, I do not understand why these friends push fad diets like vegetarianism and eating non dairy *without medical reasons* to do so.

Pediatricians recommend whole milk for babies from age 1 to 2. Instead these little kids are drinking almond milk when they are not lactose intolerant.

Doctors recommend a healthy amount of meat and other protein which is good for kids who grow rapidly compared to us adults. Instead these kids eat vegetables all day long and don’t ever get full. Or, get full on “snacks” perceived as healthy but not completely (granola, smoothies, (aka sugarrrrr!) or whole wheat crackers with a ton of sodium).

These kids are not obese either. I could see why a kid with a weight issue would need to cut back on (but not entirely eliminate dairy) a little or eat a little less meat. But these kids are normal, in fact, if anything they’re underweight.

Then these kids have serious behavior problems and are cranky all day and can’t control their emotions. I’m not talking about autistic kids or typical toddler tantrums, but consistent bad behavior which is not prevented by better well balanced nutrition and being well fed and is left unaddressed by poor parenting.

Harsh words. I know. I love these parents but I can’t get why they do this to themselves.

Read about CHILD nutrition. And don’t rely on blogs, fad diet books or holistic medicine. Be a good parent and support your kids’ growth to reach milestones. This isn’t complicated, people. Go do your research. Scientific peer reviewed would be your best option.

To say that your dietary needs as an adult and the dietary needs of your child are the same, is to seriously neglect your child’s needs. Kids don’t eat that much. Make every bit count. Of course, seek to be well balanced.

Example two: community

Simple Guy and I have a deep connection to the Bay Area of California because of his family and my volunteer missionary work for our church in Oakland. We always talk about if we didn’t have kids how we could live in the big city…’kay, we love our kids so much, but I think every parent naturally wonders what things they could do without kids. Exotic travel and fine dining comes to mind. Oh, yeah, and buying designer furniture!

We choose to live where kids can grow and have a sense of community and wholesome activity. And I’m sorry, but the big city is not wholesome. It has a lot of fun. It’s great for travel. But it’s not an ideal place for people like me who 1) want to save money instead of pay rent and 2) believe in traditional values and family. I believe with all my heart there are good people in all places, for I’m now related to some big city dwellers and I lived in a pretty big city (Oakland). But the problem is the overall community.

What does the community value? And will the community support your values?

Those are the biggest questions. I respect all walks of life but I don’t necessarily want my kids in a culture of chaos, confusion and coldness, which is what is in all city life. Go ahead and prove me wrong.

I know many suburb dwellers and small town people and we’re always complaining about how boring it is where we can’t do activities we once did, because now we have little kids. Get over it! Parenting is not glamorous!

We live in one of the nicest suburbs, probably in the nation. It’s freaking awesome! It’s got good schools, good eats, and lots of walks of life. But we do it without being in a huge city where people have learned to only think of themselves. I’d love if all my friends lived here, but I know they can’t.

They’re limited to jobs and family and a billion other factors. Some have to deal with the city issues to support their families. But these decisions are not just about you. Choose for your kids to be in a place where they can thrive and have a sense of community and where values are upheld.

Example three: childbirth

Okay, I know this is a tough subject, but I have to write this!

It is wonderful if you or someone you know gives birth naturally, in a birthing center or in your home.

But before recommending it to all your girlfriends, please, please know this. There are tons of things that can happen to women and their babies in a birthing situation.

Several mom friends have described to me their birth stories: c-sections, vbacs, premature births, large babies, babies with respiratory issues. All these things are best treated by a doctor with medical experience and in a hospital with NICU and with licensed and trained professionals.

Let us agree that there are many good ways and options to have babies. But not one fits the needs of all women.

Do what’s good for your child.

Recently a dear friend of mine debated on having her baby in a birthing center or hospital. Of course, I had my opinions but let her choose her way and would respect her decision.

She told me, “I wanted to be in a birthing center because my first delivery was really painful and I wanted to have the extra support a birthing center would give me. But then I realized that I was only thinking of myself and what I wanted for my birth plan, without really thinking of the needs of my baby. So because of certain health issues I am concerned about, I sought out the best hospital in the area so in case I need the help it will be there. ” and she described to me this strong feeling she had to follow this impression.

This was absolutely. brilliant.

She is a great mother, thinking of the needs of her unborn child.

Think of your baby. What does she need? As a c-section mom, I realize that the baby only cares about coming to earth in a safe and healthy way, where her chance of survival is highest.

Think that over, ladies.



ASOS Maternity Clothes Review

With the heat and the kids,  I don’t get out much. I do my grocery shopping at 10 pm after two of three have gone to bed. So online shopping has become a very important thing in my life. I need retail therapy as much as any parent with three littles.

Of course Amazon has a place in my shopping world, but so do these new discoveries of online shopping, the first is ASOS.

I was first introduced to ASOS by my adorable, fashionable sister in law, but I wasn’t convinced at first glance. I saw a lot of teeny bopper clothing similar to Forever 21 and I wasn’t buying.

But then one day said sister in law and I were at Target with twin baby b and we saw another girl, an expectant mom, wearing a dress. Okay, maybe it was seeing a dress in person that made me a believer because isn’t that the horror of online shopping, buying something and then getting it realizing that you need a new laptop or a new pair of eyes because you must be colorblind because that thing you bought looks hideous!?!

The girl also told us it was a nursing dress, so as a new mom with my new babies, I had to go check it out.

Fast forward to now, I have that dress and two other maternity or nursing dresses in my closet. I adore ’em.

ASOS is a UK-based brand but they ship to the US and to many countries for FREE and include FREE RETURNS. This is big. This is like having an H&M in my house. I get to try on all the clothes I want and return anything (unused, of course) that I want to.  I love that the maternity line has a lot of modest options. I also love the double layer concept of their maternity dresses.   I also love that they have maternity formal dresses, so if you have a wedding to go to while sporting a bump, you do not have to settle for a frumpy looking dress, you can go and look amazing! I think this would be so cute to wear to such a function:

Cute and comfortable!

The return policy is easy, you reuse the bag your items come in, slip in your order form and can place it in your mailbox for regular postal service to get and ASOS will notify you when they receive it. Just keep in mind that a previous order of mine with a promo code was partially returned and I also lost the sale price of the items, even the ones I kept. Meaning, they will remove the entire discount you received at initial purchase.

Please go check it out. I really think in the next few years, I will phase out almost all my old clothes to ASOS clothing. I love it that much.


Confessions of a C-Section Mom

I know there are plenty of doctors out there who will push c-sections on expectant women and it’s not right. Plenty of us can and should have normal deliveries.

The key is to finding an OB-GYN you really trust, to give you sound medical advice and to give you the best shot at a healthy pregnancy and delivery. Easier said than done.

My c-section was scheduled because my baby was breech.

I had a few ultrasounds done throughout my pregnancy by the same sonogram technician who was always grumpy and sour (I know, not the best person to tell pregnancy news to expectant moms, but you know, can’t have everything). My last sonogram a few days before scheduled c, my ultrasound showed the baby flipped but uncharacteristic of this grumpy tech, she went into detail about giving birth to her son, a 9-lb child and how she tore and she had many lingering issues due to a delivery that in her mind should have been a c-section and kindly advised to stick with the c-section.

Yeah, I guess it’s true she could have been paid by the docs to say that to all the women who came into the office. But the way she said it indicated to me she was completely sincere especially when she related to me her own experience. (Later, then my second pregnancy with the twins, she told me she has dealt with back pain for years, ah, ha, that explains the grumpiness. I felt bad for being judgmental. When will I ever learn? )

I had to make a choice and it was a choice most “granola moms” would not support me doing: I chose to proceed with a c-section. The granola moms asked me if anything could be done to prevent me from having a c-section. They asked me if I was being manipulated by my doctor and commented on how evil and money hungry doctors are. I really respectfully disagree with them.

People are very vocal about c-sections. Many old-timers will tell you “Once a c-section, always a c-section” which is not necessarily true anymore. Other more sympathetic old-timers will tell you about their own c-section experiences, which were a lot more risky back in the day than they are now. We know a lot more about c-sections and what risks are involved.

My so-called birth plan went out the window as I had to prepare for surgery instead of delivery.

When my 8 lbs 12 ounce child with a head of 98% percentile size was delivered, I was so grateful that for me, I had made the correct decision.

Recovery was slow and tedious. There were many times I thought I failed as a mother and I took the easy way out. I was also battling other losses in our family’s life, my father in law passed two weeks prior to Baby’s birth unexpectedly. We were in shock.

Time healed these wounds.

For my twins I wanted to try for a VBAC. A lot of people think it’s not possible with twins but it can be done. My old OB retired so I found another in her practice willing to do a VBAC if Twin A was head down and I really think she would have done it for me , except Twin A did not cooperate and and was transverse from Week 32 on. There was actually a lot of movement during the last trimester when they predicted there wouldn’t be. But no matter how the twins moved, they did not get into the correct position. I was due for a repeat C.

This time I was almost completely prepared for the process of getting a c-section and this time it went better than the first time. Healing was faster. The hospital days were a mini vacation and we left the hospital with our boy/girl twins, 6 lbs 1 oz and 5 lbs 8 oz.

In the end I I was just thankful for healthy babies knowing a lot of multiple births have complicated pregnancies, deliveries and post births problems.

Now I view c-sections differently especially since this will probably be my mode of delivery for the rest of my childbearing years. I have accepted this in my life.

Is it ideal? Of course not. Would I wish it on my sisters in law or my daughter? No! Emphatically no. But it happens, so can we remove the stigma associated with cesarean birth? Yes.

People like to talk about how the statistics of c-sections are rising but honestly, I don’t care that I add to that stat. Me and my three beautiful children are not a statistic in my eyes or my husband’s. We’re a growing family. I care not how they were born, just that they are here now, and I thank God for healthy children.

I wish people would be less judgmental about my decisions to have c-section and just realize how blessed we are that we can have medical care necessary for almost each birthing situation.

Honest Company City Backpack Everything Tote Diaper Bag Review

Hi, it’s me. Back from incubating and delivering our boy/girl twins via repeat C. Sorry, it’s taken so long, but really I’m not sorry. I’ve been tried to bond, recover and organize a house that is going through serious growing pains. Our 3-bedroom house suddenly went from spacious to very tight with three kids three and under. That’s a story for another day.

I wanted to share with you my recent discoveries, the most exciting one being new diaper bag that I’ve found from an unexpected place—the Honest Company, you know, that company that sells subscription diapers and wipes. I haven’t tried their products yet but when I found their line of diaper bags then I decided I would.

Toddler and I were at the mall on a morning that Grandma was watching the Twins. I know it sounds bad, but it’s feels great to be able to escape them sometimes, it’s just so intense watching twins sometimes.

I went to Nordstrom, which is a store I never shop at because it’s so expensive even though I must admit I heard their return policy is kind of amazing. I guess everyone has his or her weak spot for material goods and Nordstrom bags might be my next weakness.

I returned the bag I bought in store to order online through Honest Company directly because I got a discount buying two bags (a little excessive? My rationale below) as well as trying out their Essentials bundle. I’m still working on testing the products. I went crazy and bought two bags, but if you just need one, you might try Nordstom online, to check out the other colors not available in store like Elephant Gray which is not gray, more khaki.


One of the main issues I have with my old Petunia Picklebottom boxy backpack is that the backpack straps are so incredibly painful to wear as a backpack. I always wear it as a messenger bag and I have the most sloped shoulders ever. Asian girl shoulders. So it can be extremely annoying having the strap fall off during diaper changes in those gross public bathrooms, during flights, and basically anywhere. The City backpack is extremely comfortable In comparison, which is its most winning feature.

I searched high and low for a diaper backpack to be hands free with my twins. I bought and returned the Vera Bradley one, available on the Vera Bradley website. It’s awesome because it is black exterior, but it’s fabric, a quilted nylon. The biggest pro is that the inside is wipeable vinyl and would be so easy to clean. The mesh pockets I thought were kind of too tight, and not deep enough to hold baby items like bottles or formula dispensers. I also did not like the designated diaper area. Not big enough for diapers for two kids.

The Honest Co. City backpack is an vegan leather exterior, I hate that term, but it is lightweight and wipe clean. The pockets are well thought out. The front one is great for cell phone and keys, though I read on other reviews the iPhone doesn’t fit. This could be a deal breaker for some of you. The second deeper pocket is insulated, which is an awesome feature. You can store food, milk bottles or sippy cups. Just be aware that it’s not going to fit every type of bottle. I have to squeeze my Avent bottles in for a snug fit.

The main compartment has a mommy pocket with a zipper and two open pockets. There are two small elastic side pockets as well. The main compartment is divided into two sections. The back side is best for diapers and wipes because there is a zipper on the back of the backpack, so you can easily access the diapers while still keeping the main zipper of diaper bag closed. Cool cool features.


As with any backpack, the biggest issue of using it as a diaper bag, is depth, aka digging for things you need. But if you use little bags and the compartments well, then it lessens the digging around. Waste of time! Simple Guy wanted me to use a regular Jansport, but they just don’t work if they don’t have pockets and dividers. This one I feel is really well designed, having just the right amount of pockets.

Thus bag would be plenty big for one baby. It is tight for three kids, but we’re going minimalist, keeping extra diapers and wipes and other random items in the car, etc.

Everything Tote

The second is the Honest Co Everything Tote, which I have been using as a backup bag. Crazy, yes I am. It is a great bag strapped on the stroller. Hands free is a great concept, but a diaper backpack means you have to carry the weight, either that or make your husband carry it all. I have been using the backpack more for quick outings and the tote for more major outings, it’s more spacious than the City backpack.

Yes, I wish the City backpack had a better way to attach to a stroller like an added strap you could clip off, but no. It’s really trying to be a backpack in style, not look Iike a messenger bag backpack.


The best feature of the tote is the outer zipper pocket that is wipeable similar to the Vera backpack. This works great as a wet bag and I wish the backpack had this feature. The pockets are deep. The bag is kind of heavy by itself, but so is the PB boxy backpack. It is a beast to haul around so I use it on stroller outings. I would rather not carry this around my shoulders.

Why two bags?
Short answer: Because I’m crazy.

Long: With so many little people, I thought I would need to use both at one time, but I have only had to do that on full day outings which don’t happen for me that often anymore with so many littles. The backpack would carry diapers, the other a ton of snacks and water bottles. I will review my use of the bags in a year or so, but they have been great, totally functional for me.

What’s also nice about these bags is that they can be used beyond the diaper years as mom bags. They don’t scream diaper bag. So hopefully they will be used for a while.

After a few months of use:
I am not one of those vegan moms who buy all organic, so I’m not loyal to the brand, but so far the bags have been awesome. I wish they were cheaper, they range from $149-169 MSRP. but I think they are so worth it, given the smart design. Yes, real leather would have been cool, but probably make the bags heavier. And no I didn’t need two bags. But I’ll use the everything bag as a weekends bag.