To paraphrase Madonna, we are living in a material world and I am a material mom. An uncertain material mom, to be exact. Parenting in this era of consumerism means constantly questioning what stuff you should be spending your hard-earned bucks on and what’s really not worth it. (Wipe warmers? Kiddie perfume? One Direction packing tape??)
But there are a few items that moms and dads know are worth opening their wallets for every time. Here are some of the things that I and other parents say they can never have enough of …
It doesn’t matter whether you’ve got infants or teenagers. Moist wipes are handy for so much more than just cleaning little butts. Sticky hands, sticky remote controls … basically, sticky anything can quickly be cleaned up with a wipe or two … or five because JELLY.
Bandages and antibiotic creams
Because kids manage to injure themselves in a variety of new and exciting ways on a daily basis, first-aid supplies are a must-have. I have a variety of both cartoon character bandages but I often opt for the boring plain kind because, really, when your kid’s skinned knee is gushing all over the kitchen floor, the last thing you care about is whether he’s sporting Elmo or Dora on his leg.
Prudent sun protection is important for everyone, but if you have a family of so-pale-they’re-almost-translucent people like I do, it’s even more of a hot commodity. I slather my kids with so much sunscreen that UVA becomes UVAin’t.
Because parenting isn’t hard enough already, many toys come with the insidious disclosure, “batteries not included.” Why, sweet Lord, WHY?
Everyone has one or two of these — something that your kid loves to nosh on that isn’t super unhealthy … or, at least you tell yourself it’s not super unhealthy. These can range from raisins to crackers to, in my toddler’s case, yogurt. Whatever wards off “hangry” tantrums is worth buying in economy-sized cases.
When it comes to visible dirt and grime on your or your child’s hands, washing with soap and water is your best option. But the convenience of hand sanitizer for use in combating invisible germs is irresistible. I’m constantly loading up my purse with small hand sanitizer bottles because you never know when a playmate will pick his nose before playing patty cake with your kid. If only nose sanitizers were a thing…
Zipper or sandwich baggies
These little plastic, sealing wonder bags may have been made mainly for snacks, but they’re also invaluable for making ice packs when your little one bumps his noggin or otherwise injures himself … which he will … repeatedly. (See no. 2.)
Small, key things that get lost easily
Pacifiers, hair ties, lip balm, etc. — you’ll want to invest heavily in items such as these because both you and your child will lose them all the time … unless you’re one of those incredibly organized people who never loses anything, in which case we can’t be friends.
Unlike everything else on this list, you can’t buy patience … but it can help get you out of a jam if you do, heaven forbid, run out of some of the items above. Don’t have batteries? Have the patience to deal with the ensuing whinefest when your kid can’t immediately play with his newest toy. Run out of baby wipes at the park? Have patience while you hunt down the nearest public restroom to scrub your little one’s hands (or butt) clean. Out of snacks? Have the patience to endure a hangry tantrum until your emergency pizza order arrives, which bring us to …
Because patience is free, but pizza is not.