Dear Diary,

Before I became a mom, stopping at the store was a snap. I was in and out in a matter of minutes, with my purchases in hand. My timing significantly slowed down with my daughter in tow. It takes time to safety secure children in car seats. And if your child is anything like mine, she typically has to debate what toy to take inside. Once in the store, she browses the toy or candy aisles. Sometimes we stop off at the potty. I don’t mind really. I really enjoy shopping and spending time with my little girl. But sometimes, we don’t have time to make a pit stop on the way to school. Here’s my top ten essential items I keep in the car.

1. Blanket: If you’re child is in a car seat, it’s safer to keep cozy and warm with a blanket versus a bulky winter coat.

2. Cell Phone and portable charger/battery: Be sure to remember not only your cell phone but also your charger. Beyond communications, children can use the phone to play games and watch movies.

3. Change of Clothes for Children: Kids are drawn to piles of snow and muddy puddles, so always pack a change of clothes for kids to stay dry.

4. Emergency Contacts: In case you ever get hurt in an accident, emergency responders will know immediately who to call to report what happened or obtain medical records.

Click here for the complete list.

About The Author

Vlog Mom/DFTM Creator

Not long ago, Heather Hopson hosted a television show in the Cayman Islands. Today, she's back home writing a different kind of story as a new mom. In her 15 years working as a professional journalist, this by far is her best assignment! Growing up, she dreamed of becoming Oprah Winfrey. She was the features editor for her school’s newspaper and a teen talk show host for her city’s most popular radio station. She went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Michigan State University. After graduation, she worked as a television producer and reporter at CBS, NBC and Fox affiliates throughout the U.S. Instead of heading to Chicago to join Ms. Winfrey on her set, she bought a plane ticket to the Cayman Islands instead. She arrived five days before a category five hurricane! She lived in paradise for seven years, hosted an award-winning television show and traveled the globe with a government delegation. She also served on the board of directors for Big Brothers Big Sisters and spearheaded a Send a Kid to Camp campaign. Then, she relocated to Washington, D.C. to obtain a teaching certification and instruct 8th grade reading at a high needs middle school. She later returned to her hometown of Pittsburgh, PA to raise her daughter Caitlynn, now 4-years-old. During her 10-month-stint as a stay-at-home mom, Caitlynn inspired her to create this blog, and Diary of a First Time Mom was born on Mother’s Day 2012. Two years later, she expanded the family to include 20+ writers. Currently, Heather serves as the communications director at Allies for Children. In addition, she is the owner of Motor Mouth Multimedia, which ranked #49 in Startup Nation’s Home-Based 100 Competition sponsored by Discover Card and Sam’s Club. Recently, The Pittsburgh Foundation and The Heinz Endowments selected Heather to receive an Emerging Black Artist award to develop Diary of a First Time Mom.

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