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What’s In Your "...

What’s In Your "Mommy Purse"?

I received a greeting card from my teenage daughter one year for Mother’s Day describing the “mom purse.” Coming across this card while scrambling through my own purse one day, I was inspired to write this little story. As women, we tend to carry a lot of “stuff” in our purses—wallet, keys, makeup, lotion, hair brush, receipts, Blackberry or day planner, maybe a book—you name it, we probably carry it.

For those of us who are mothers of toddlers or preschoolers, we bring a whole new dimension into what would otherwise be considered a very basic wardrobe accessory. The “mommy purse,” in my case could even be considered a miniature snack pantry, a medicine cabinet, an entertainment center and a beauty salon all in one. While I might not need all of those items all the time, well, you just never know when I might need something for a minor emergency or for those “just in case” moments. And at some point, nearly every item that I carry has been put to good use.

I’m not embarrassed by anything that I carry in my purse—after all when shuffling through my belongings in search of my makeup or day planner, coming across a baggie containing crayons, band-aids or a bright pink barrette reminds me of my little girl and provides a pleasant distraction in the midst of a hectic day often filled with deadlines, meetings and follow-up phone calls. Finding a half-eaten bag of goldfish crackers or Skittles (yes, I do allow her to eat some candy), reminds me of the fresh ball of energy that I will embrace when I walk into her daycare to pick her up.

While proudly reflecting over the contents of my “mommy purse,” I decided to ask a few other women on the spot what they keep in their “mommy purses.” Here’s what a few of them had to say:

My best friend Sandra had wet wipes, hand sanitizer, plenty of pens and paper because “Laila loves to write,” and extra hair stuff… she’s pretty practical.

A fellow daycare mom found crayons, gummy bears, tissue, cookies, and an unidentified toy.

A woman that I often see on the train commuting to work had a bag of cheese crackers, a sippy cup, an ABC book, a toy cell phone, and wet wipes.

A co-worker, after emptying the entire contents of her purse on a table, shared her mommy-centric selection consisting of wet wipes, a stuffed animal, a Barney DVD, drawings that she’s been collecting for two weeks from her son’s daycare, gummy worms, tissue, and fever medicine.

My dear friend Deanna from Los Angeles e-mailed me her list which included baby wipes, children’s Tylenol, juice, snacks, small toys, and water. And she claims to have scaled down.

A mother of twin girls from my church carries everything in double quantity, ranging from wet wipes (this seems to be the common denominator), a variety of snacks, books, crayons, a blanket (is this considered a purse?), band-aids, extra socks, extra underwear, extra changes of clothes, and hand sanitizer. Talk about everything but the kitchen sink--actually she had that too--a mini kitchen set with pots, pans and utensils.

I could go on and on, and the similarities and uniqueness of each mommy purse is intriguing. Almost every mom carries wet wipes and some sort of snack. I found some of the items amusing (and I’ll probably start carrying some of them). It amazes me how a snack and a few crayons can keep even the most active or impatient child occupied just long enough… The “mommy purse,” properly loaded, can save the day, worth every bit of its weight—literally.

So what if carrying the cute, little purses is trendy; for me, it’s just not practical. Trends come and go, and with my busy lifestyle I don’t have time to keep up. Therefore, I have mastered the art of being cute, fashionable and functional with the right purse—zippered closure is important to protect all of my treasures, a sturdy handle is key, ideally one that fits comfortably over my shoulder (gotta have my hands free), and several compartments are an absolute must.

If carrying a larger than average purse makes me a better-prepared, well-equipped mommy, then so be it. I’ll gladly wear my badge of honor! What’s in my mommy purse is my business anyway (and now yours if you’ve read this). I won’t even begin to discuss what I keep in my car. I’ll save that for another story!


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