I miss carrying a diaper bag. Yep. I’m a weirdo. Most moms are happy to be rid of an extra piece of luggage holding primarily wearable toilets, or worse, used wearable toilets tied up in a shopping bag. Not me. I loved having a diaper bag. Diaper bags are a separate entity from purses. They are there to serve and to hold things that we don’t really want in our purse. Sadly, when Baby Girl stopped wearing diapers, I didn’t really have a good reason to carry a diaper bag anymore, but I did use a kidlet-style backpack for some time, which unfortunately has also been nixed, now that Baby Girl repeatedly tells me “Mom! I’m not a BABY anymore, ya know!”
Every few months, I begin to notice that my medium/large-sized hobo-style bag has become the Bermuda Triangle of things that I need from my purse. That’s because said purse is full of crap. I know all you purse-carrying moms of kids too old for a diaper bag but under the age of 10 are nodding in agreement right now. My purse is not MY purse – it is the garbage bag and supply cupboard for the most incredible collection of junk that any man or non-mother woman would never have to deal with in their purses. Yet somehow, most of these items were deemed important enough to gain entry into my purse in the first place.
Take, for example, my napkin addiction. No, not like that chick on “My Strange Addiction” who EATS the napkins. I just collect them. From everywhere. Mostly fast-food places and movie theatres (nice restaurants don’t appreciate you stuffing their linen napkins in your bag). On any given day, my purse probably contains about 20 of these napkins. Every time I pull out a paper napkin from the dispenser, I immediately grab 6 more, knowing that kids are messy and I will surely need them when their food ends up on the table, chair, my clothes, their clothes, face, hands, my hair. Yet somehow my kids never end up making as big of a mess as I think they will, and I have a mini-stack of unused napkins that I feel guilty throwing in the garbage. So I stuff them in my purse, assuring myself that they will come in handy at some point because I don’t have a diaper bag with a full supply of wet-wipes available. Except they never get used. Oh sure – the odd snotbomb or tear gets wiped by one, or a splash of coffee when I have to brake too fast, but generally, they collect in my purse. Blanketing my wallet, Blackberry, glasses and other more vital items in my bag with a crinkly, crumply blizzard of recycled paper until they are eventually unusable themselves from extensive rumaging in my purse. Why don’t I just put a pack of wipes in my purse instead, you ask? Good question. They just seem bigger, bulkier, and more of a solid heavy weight than a few napkins here and there. Plus, wet wipes are for diaper bags, aren’t they?
Next would be my collection of kids’ items. Thankfully my stepson is now 12 years old and doesn’t collect or need “items” any longer. My daughter – notsomuch. Being a 4 year old girl, she don’t leave home without it – the hair and fashion accessories. My husband often complains about how cheaply-made these barrettes, clips, pins, hair bands and bobbles are. Little does he know they’ve usually endured hard time at the bottom of my sack prior to arriving on his fix-it bench. Fact is, Baby Girl is fickle. She often wants to remove hair objects part-way through an outing or event. I don’t often have pockets attached to my clothing, so there’s no other receptacle for them but my purse.
Besides hair ornaments, I have a stunning collection of child entertainment aids. Small containers of play-doh, stickers, crayons, mini pads of paper, and Happy Meal toys (a chosen few of the 50 or so that always litter the back seat of my car). I always like to have something for Captain Sassypants to entertain herself with during times when she’d be bored silly like at the doctor’s office or waiting for our food at restaurants. However, I think I’ve gone further than needed when my purse resembles the toy chest for kids to pick a prize from at the local roadhouse restaurant. Diaper bags were great at carrying these items outside of my purse.
It probably sounds like I’m dragging around a full-scale suitcase at this point, and sometimes my shoulder feels like I am, but there’s more. My purse also often contains a selection of clothing items. Socks are almost a staple, especially in the summer, for impromptu visits to McD’s playland. (I’m starting to feel concerned about how often McD’s is factoring into my blogs as a reflection of our lifestyle…we honestly don’t eat there every other day, promise!) Often ballet shoes are floating in the chaos, jammed in there by me on our way out of dance class and forgotten about until the following week when I’m madly searching my glove box and other inappropriate places for them. I’ve only recently felt confident enough in the potty training department to leave a spare pair of panties at home, which used to reside in a baggie in my bag. Sweaters pulled off, skirts over leggings that were “bugging me” have also resided in my lady luggage. My daughter once suggested I carry her winter coat in there, it’s such a given that the purse is a mobile storage unit.
Cleaning out the sac a main can be a real drag, too. (I just love that French trio of words for purse, don’t you? Say it a few times out loud – just rolls off the tongue!) Tampons with half the wrapper missing (always the half that would render them salvageable, of course), unwrapped and furry restaurant mints (how does lint get inside my purse?), crumpled receipts from grocery store trips you can’t even remember, granola bars bearing the signs of purse travel gone wrong, crumbs from plastic containers of goldfish or other snacks not fully consumed, the containers themselves, I once had to dump everything out and detach a lollipop and its residue that had breached its plastic and melded to the lining of my purse. I never had to prop up a diaper bag over a heating vent to dry because the inside of diaper bags are made to be wipe and go.
What I also miss about a diaper bag is my husband’s easy acceptance to carry it or hold it. Despite it being covered with flowers in pink and green, he had no issue carrying it around in public, yet somehow my purse just doesn’t have the same acceptance. Don’t men have it all figured out? They tuck what THEY need into a tiny little flap of leather inside their pockets and they’re good to go. Everything the kidlets need are left in the mommy’s bag, hence making constant contact with ONLY mommy a necessity. Daddies can sit in relative obscurity on family outings, because mommy has ALL the goods.
In her purse.