The Identity Crisis That Moms Face and Nobody Talks About: Diaper Bag Distress

There’s an identity crisis that moms struggle with but is rarely spoken about in such terms: diaper bag distress. One does not simply choose a bag. There are serious considerations that must be made before making a purchase. A diaper bag isn’t just a means to lug around baby items. It’s also a statement of a women’s personal style and must remain true to her identity before she became a mom. And the most stressful part of all? Being a mom on-the-go when your dream bag just doesn’t exist.

It’s a post-partum problem I’ve been dealing with since my daughter was born almost five years ago. And it got even worse when I had my second child and needed to find a bag that could accommodate go-to needs for myself and two kids.

Come along as I reflect on this journey, down twists and turns lined with bags of all shapes and sizes. Get my honest opinion on popular bags-from quality to colors- before you make your next purchase.

This is the true story of a mom searching for “the one” bag to grow older with and all the wrong bags she meets along the way.

My requirements:

-Lightweight

-Prefer vegan material

-Prefer drink holders on the outside

-Big enough to carry my own food and snacks because I have food allergies

-Can hold diapers and change of clothes for 2 kids

-Meets my sense of style and doesn’t look like a typical mom bag

-Easy to clean

Bags I will review- all products that I have purchased over the past 4.5 years:

MZ Wallace Large Sutton

Happ Brand Paige Mini

Baggalini Ready to Run Diaper Bag backpack

Baggalini On-the-Go Diaper Bag tote

Sirens and Starlight Convertible Day Bag- Go Gold and Give Edition

Skip Hop backpack

Olivia and Joy Portia Diaper Bag

Tutilo New York Lux Tote

2 Red Hens Coop Carry-All Diaper Bag

Momkindness Carry All & Carry On

MZ Wallace Small Metro Backpack

MZ Wallace Metro Tote

MZ Wallace Large Abbey Tote

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MZ Wallace Large Sutton

I came across the bag of my dreams from MZ Wallace–or so I thought–right after the birth of my son. It’s the Large Sutton Tote in Estate Blue available at Saks. I saw this bag on someone in person and couldn’t stop thinking about it for months. I thought about this bag for months and finally decided to splurge.

Pros: Statement bag. Unique color. Light as a feather. Can be worn as a tote or crossbody. So much space.

Cons: Price. Look for it on sale or ebay. Disappointed in the quality of the material. The quilting teared on the outside less than a year after I got it, so I try not to use it too often. Bad customer service at the company that won’t send a replacement bag.

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Happ Brand Paige Mini

The Instagram ads won me over! I wasn’t sure which Happ bag to buy but decided on the Paige mini for times when I don’t need to carry as much.

Pros: Statement bag. Love the blush color and knotted quilting. Lightweight. Can be worn as a tote or crossbody. Inside drink holders and compartments.

Cons: Don’t like the “Mary Poppins” type of structure. It makes that bag too boxy and defeats the purpose of having a small bag that I can wear crossbody because it seems to get in the way. It’s not built with enough height and can only fit a small bottle of water– not full size–in the drink holder.

Baggalini Ready to Run Diaper Bag backpack

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Every mom needs a backpack at times, for trips to the zoo, park or petting farm when you need to be handsfree.

Pros: Lightweight. Affordable when you score online sales. Lots of compartments to neatly store your stuff. A man can kinda get away with wearing for you, too. Two outside drink holders.

Cons: All the compartments do take up space and make it hard to fit in as much as I would like.

Baggalini On-the-Go Diaper Bag tote

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When I found out I was having a boy, I decided to get a new diaper bag that had more space for a change of clothes, etc. At the time, I was really into Baggallini and used the brand’s Black Friday sale as an excuse to purchase their new, bright blue diaper bag. I love the Baggallini On the Go Diaper Bag tote in Cobalt Blue.

Pros: There are so many compartments that everything can be ultra-organized. There are FOUR outside drink holders! Enough to carry water for the entire family. Love the bright color.

Cons: It’s not big enough for me to ditch my purse and carry just one bag. And there’s not enough room for me to add everything I need for two kids. It also looks like a diaper bag.

Sirens and Starlight Convertible Day Bag- Go Gold and Give Edition

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I thought this was going to be the dream bag to solve all my dilemmas. These bags are handmade by women in Guatemala. They feature a front panel made from “huipils,” a traditional, square-cut blouse that they wear. The rest is (roughish) leather. A proceed of sales went towards helping children with cancer and goes back to help the women in Guatemala. A bag you can feel good about purchasing and look good wearing!

Pros: Unique. Artisan, hand-crafted and one of a kind bag. Two outside pockets for drinks. Convertible backpack that can be worn as a tote, backpack or crossbody (if you buy the strap, an additional expense). Small women-owned business. So pretty!

Cons: Expensive. The leather isn’t soft. The bag ends up being really heavy to wear once filled so you can’t use it as an everyday bag. Only when you have a little to carry. The straps are PAINFUL. I wanted to cry when I took this bag shopping. I literally bought another bag at the store and left this in my cart.

Tutilo New York Lux Tote

Found this in TJ Maxx for $24. What? Steal!! It looks the same as the Caras Sport bags that are hundreds of dollars.

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Pros: Affordable, lightweight, so many compartments. I can fit two water bottles on each outside pocket.

Cons: I like this as my extra bag to carry snacks and kids stuff, use as my camera bag, etc. But it’s not what I would like for my personal every day bag. Wish the top had a zipper.

Skip Hop backpack

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I wanted a bigger backpack and loved the teal. I end up using this when I go places where I know my bag is going to get dirty, like the petting farm.

Pros:Has insulated carrier for bottles. Lightweight. Color pops.

Cons: Boxy. Looks like a diaper bag.

Olivia and Joy Portia Diaper Bag

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Found these in Marshalls with the purses. Didn’t even know they were diaper bags. Loved them, got in two colors.

Pros: Plenty of compartments, Lightweight. Pretty nylon fabric. Very affordable.

Cons: The leather material on the straps started to peel so I can’t use them anymore unless I get new straps.

2 Red Hens Coop Carry-All Diaper Bag

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My first diaper bag.

Pros: I loved the colors and the design at the time (would never use now).

Cons: The bowling bag shape ended up being annoying. I found the bag too bulky. Would never use as my personal bag too.

Momkindness Carry All & Carry On

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Love the concept of a three-in-one bag that can be used as a crossbody, tote and backpack. AND it comes with a smaller crossbody bag inside! Not a fan of the bag itself but I LOVE the insert and smaller crossbody that it comes with.

Pros: Mompreneur business, pretty, got a cute extra crossbody strap. Love the small crossbody bag. I use this all the time, apart from using this bag—I used it to carry my cell phone and wallet when I go shopping and throw a larger bag under my carriage. Affordable. It even comes with an insert to store bottles so they can’t spill inside the bag. I use the insert in other bags. The price makes sense. Washable material. Plenty of outside pockets and inside organization.

Cons: The tote doesn’t zipper on top, so I feel things can spill out when I wear it as a backpack, because it kinda sinks forward. The quality can be slightly improved. It’s obvious the bag is constructed with a cardboard type material and then waxed canvas over it.

MZ Wallace Small Metro Backpack

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I wanted to try a mini backpack, after I feel in love with MZ Wallace. Thought it would be a nice handsfree change.

Pros: Great when I need to be handsfree and just carry a few things, leaving the majority of my stuff in a diaper bag. So pretty—I got the atmosphere color, which is a shimmery beige.

Cons: Again with MZ Wallace quilted bags—POORLY MADE. The stitching began unraveling just three months after I got it and the company won’t refund or replace since I got it at Bloomingdales. Utter disappointment. Not what I expect from such a pricy bag. No more quilted MZ Wallace bags for me.

MZ Wallace Large Abbey Tote

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Got this on sale as my travel bag. I can even fit my own smaller bag, change of clothes for all, and food storage—all in their own compartments.

Pros: Sleek, stylish and so many compartments! I love, love, love it. Beautiful clean nylon and gold zippers. Tote or crossbody.

Cons: Price. But I got it on sale. Don’t like the leather tote straps, they are painful. Wish they were nylon like the rest of the bag. Very big, so not for everyday use. If it was a little smaller I would.

MZ Wallace Metro Tote

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My current bag. I love it, but it is lacking a few things.

Pros: Lightweight, sleek nylon material that is waterproof. Statement color. Plenty of compartments. I even have a separate key pouch so I never lose my keys. I use the outside pockets to store an extra diaper and wipes on one side, and bottle of water and snacks on the other. It’s the perfect bag for me to use as my bag and also throw in stuff for the kids when I need to. I use the extra MZ Wallace insert bags from my Sutton to hold diapers, change of clothes, etc. so I am very organized. Doesn’t hurt me when I carry it. Can also be used crossbody and easy to wear when holding my toddler.

Cons: Price. But I got mine when they had a sale. Wish there were dedicated outside drink holders and convertible backpack option. Sometimes I need more room, like when I pack extra, but then I just use an additional bag.

***THIS BAG IS MY WINNER SO FAR! I WANT TO SEE HOW THE QUALITY HOLDS UP AND THEN I WILL GET THE BLACK ONE TOO THE NEXT TIME IT’S ON SALE.

Lesson Learned From This Post: It’s really hard to find the perfect bag that adapts from “me” to “mom.me” Shop sales and get different styles for different needs/ occasions.