Broke-Ass Mom and Mass Transit 101

Now that you’re car-free, mass transportation should be your new best friend.  If you’re not careful, what was once as easy as “hop on and hop off” can now be the most miserable thirty minutes of your day. The goal is to not get a standing ovation as you and your screaming, red in the face, whaling about baby exit the bus. The key to successful traveling is plenty of distractions and a lightly packed bag.

The best part about mass transit (besides the fact that you don’t have to strap your kid into a car seat and you’re saving cash) is that there are windows everywhere, and windows mean automatic distractions for you and your baby. A fantastic way to distract your child for possibly the whole trip is to talk about what you’re seeing. Even if you’re travelling underground this still works.  If you’re above ground, then talk about the types of cars you see, any construction happening, dogs walking by, or people.  If you’re underground, you can still talk about dogs and people, but now you can also wax poetically about the color and architecture of the stop.  And most importantly, underground transit means tunnels and babies go ape-shit for tunnels. In either scenario you can always hope for another baby with a cute hat on, or if you’re really lucky some other adult will notice your child and begin to interact with them.  Aim to sit next to the “mom looking” people, and not the smelly ones with the “potty” mouths.  They might possibly distract your baby long enough that your trip is over, and you didn’t have to pay $15/hr for it. If you can’t find a “mom looking” person to sit near, just remember that everything in the world is new to your baby, and they are interested in all of it.  

A Broke-Ass Mom has learned to love the challenge of packing lightly, and it has never been more important then when you’re on a train, bus, or subway.  In this case less really is more because more could mean an additional ten lbs on your shoulders. Below is a list of items you need with you at all times:

  1. Drink – water or juice; if you need to bring milk make sure to put it in an insulated bottle that will keep it fresh
  2. Snack – anything they can eat easily with their fingers and not so small that it will all end up on the floor; apple slices, cereal, cheese, berries, steamed baby carrots, etc
  3. One or two small toys – Anything that your child has either yet to see, or hasn’t seen in awhile.  This could be a small book, or a little doll, or a car.  You should consider this your “emergency toy”.  Only take this toy out when ALL else has failed.  Otherwise it will no longer be “new”.
  4. Two spare diapers
  5. About ten wipes
  6. Hand sanitizer (small bottle)
  7. Foldable changing pad
  8. Collapsible grocery bag

This is merely how a parent and survives on mass transit with a baby, but getting on and off is what separates the tadpoles from the frogs.  But until next week, remember that transportation can save you on a rainy afternoon when you have nowhere else to go.  Even if you just ride it a block or two, that’s still about half an hour you’ve just killed – just be prepared, sit back, and enjoy the ride. 

Photo: by me

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About the author

Jennifer White - Mommy No Bucks

Jennifer has been a bit of a nomad having lived in seven different cities. Her life as a gypsy has settled down for the moment in San Francisco with her husband and two-year old son. Recently, she decided to throw caution to the wind, quit her job as an analyst to be a full-time mom while chasing her dreams (and the Pulitzer Prize). When she's not writing, she's aspiring to be a luddite (although blogging isn't helping), knitting the occasional hat, or running in the park with her son and his secondhand compost truck in tow.

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