What’s in Your Game Day Bag?
Man, it’s been a good run this season, and now that things are (slightly) starting to calm down around our house, I thought I’d share a few of the items that made my season much easier.
This is now my sixth year as a sideline wife, and we have a four-year-old son who loves to get involved. These are all the items I keep stowed away in my game day bag.
Let’s start with my carry-all-of-it-errrwhere-bag! I have the Holloway League bag from Logo Softwear with my name embroidered on it. With all of the sideline “stuff” that collects, being able to identify which thing is mine quickly is key!
I always have a purse size pack of “Wet One Wipes.” There really is no need to explain this other than to say, “Toddlers touch everything.” These little packs are in the car, in the bag, in the purse, and they are lifesavers when the toddler finds already-used gum under a stadium bleacher.
It’s rare that I spend money on “equipment” for sideline wife-ing, but this kid carrier was worth every single penny. It’s called a Piggyback Rider, and it’s basically a backpack carrier for bigger/older kids. You put the backpack straps on and there’s a little bar/swing where their feet go instead of where the “pack” would be on a backpack. It holds up to 50 pounds and allows him to jump on and off as needed rather than having to constantly take off and on. It saves me time and mental stress as we tote around stadiums—no more waiting for toddler speed, he loves getting the view from the top and it’s super unique design makes us friends every place we use it!
Whether I’m taking notes from parents, needing an impromptu doodle pad for directions, being whined at for drawing space for the kiddo or writing my latest article for Friday Night Wives … my little dollar store book of blank paper (4) serves all my needs!
Anyone else’s phone running out of battery constantly? I keep both an iPhone cord and plughead around. Additionally, I recommend the Otterbox Defender case for your phone—whether your kid is learning to juggle or you trip over equipment, I’ve yet to have a screen break on me with this case. Additionally, we live and breathe in our household using the Life360 app, it helps us understand where the other person is (Me: losing my mind; Him: Band Hall).
I love finding little brainteasers and puzzles in the Dollar Section. There have been a few, though, that stick around in my bag. I love this little robot that my son can bend and stretch into different positions (he makes it both march and tackle!). Additionally, we love Rubik’s Cubes, any sort of magnet block or tile as well as anything that is felt with Velcro and “sticks.” We also keep a pack of playing cards in my bag for those little moments when we get a down moment at an event.
I love these collapsible water bottles. They fit into my bag and squish around instead of having to have everything fit around them. Super light and durable their “accordion-like” nature also keeps my son busy making them make interesting noises while he makes them “tall and short”!
When competition season is here, my job is to bring the coffee! I realize our Starbucks has carriers, but I’m trekking across stadiums and fields sometimes and their biodegradable versions fall apart. This nifty coffee carrying gadget saves my front seat from spills and makes everything much easier to carry!
In addition to my full time day job and wife-ing gig, I’m a family photographer—so my camera is always with me. I feel like recording these moments in our life will ensure the memories live on. When friends and parents ask me about getting a camera to record all these fun memories, I suggest to them a mid-range Canon camera. Easy to use with high quality output, I find myself always suggesting this one! Also super important though is to protect your investment – please get a comfortable strap and try not to hand carry your equipment. My current favorite is this cross body camera strap that stays comfortable and places the camera in an “easy to grab” position.
Also, something my kid refuses to take off: ear protectors. I realize how you Mom is your business, but if I can get on my soapbox … being a band director’s wife means listening to lots of loud music, up close and personal for many of the events. We use ear protectors everywhere we go. I realize that some littles have their moments of “heck no I’m not wearing that,” but don’t stop trying. This remains an important practice in our house and we’ve found this particular style and brand to be very comfortable! If you’re looking for something for yourself or your husband, I also suggest Earasers, super effective and comfortable and come in different sizes.
Whether you’re a band wife like me finishing up Bandtober, you’re just starting your season’s run, or you’re heading into playoffs, it’s not about the stuff in your bag but the tough stuff you’re made of! Enjoy the memories and march on, everyone!
Got something in your game day bag you’d consider a “lifesaver”? Help a girl out and let us know!
Just a heads up that this post includes a few affiliate links. This means that after we’ve already written the piece, we’ve added links to products that are currently available and might get a few cents if you buy them yourself. This has zero effect on the products we choose. All recommendations made are honest and made because we truly love them!
Lesley Ann Jones is a band director’s wife in Katy, TX. She has one future tuba-playing son who just turned three. She works full-time as a business analyst in the Oil & Gas industry. When she’s not toddler-wrangling, she serves as the photography chair for the band and volunteers at church. In her spare time…wait….nevermind. Catch her snaps of band wife life at @crhsbandwife on Instagram.