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So, the other day Briar (if that is her real name and not her spy name) was out walking in the Upper West Side and saw a woman pushing a stroller and lugging a huge diaper bag around while her husband blithely strolled along, unencumbered by so much as a pacifier on a clip. No, I misspeak: it was every couple she saw, not just one. No, I misspeak again: it was every straight couple she saw.
I am here to offer explanation and defense of this practice, known in the dad world as MomPacking (not to be confused with the unsavory site on the web of the same name which involves, well, I won't describe it beyond saying it involves a suitcase and many many rolled up socks).
First MomPacking makes perfect sense because kids are gross. Kids are gross and nobody likes them, except for mom. Dads don't like them. If dads liked kids they would gestate them at least half the time, but dads don't gestate kids even one quarter of the time. So, dads don't like gross little kids and those gross little kids get their gross little hands on all of the stuff within reach: give that stuff to mom to put in a bag and hang around her neck like medal, because it just makes no sense for dad to go near it.
Second, MomPacking makes perfect sense because dads are incompetent. Seriously, dads don't know anything about anything. Ask a dad to get a bottle for the gross kid he doesn't like and he's as likely to pull a tube of Neosporin out of the bag as he is to actually pull out a bottle. Why put the gross little kid in jeopardy of ingesting a paste intended to accelerate the healing of cuts when he could be safely entrusted to the care of someone who knows what milk looks like? Give the bag to mom.
Third, Mompacking makes perfect sense because moms just like carrying heavy things. Look, this should be obvious. It's not just that moms are the only ones who like kids that explains why they gestate for the entire nine months rather than making dad do it for half the time: moms also love the back-cracking weight of an engorged womb dragging them down to earth. They've come a long way in the last century, but they'll be the first to admit this whole equality thing isn't for them. The weight of a tragically over-laden diaper bag is just the reminder they need not to get too big for their britches in other realms, like politics and business. They actually like carrying the diaper bag because it confirms for them that the world, despite its overtones of egalitarianism, is just as chauvinistically ordered as it is supposed to be, and that brings them comfort.
I hope this has straightened things out. I'd hate for the situation to be misinterpreted as a dad just being a jackass or a mom being a control-freak, because really, those are the least-likely explanations for what is going on in the world. Men are rarely jackasses, and I have yet to meet a woman who has had an opinion about where things should go.