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What do you have in there? – A guide to the mom purse.

What do you have in there? – A guide to the mom purse.

Every single time someone picks up my purse. Scratch that. My diaper bag. Wait, no…my suitcase? Ok, my mom purse.

Every time someone picks up my mom purse, they make the same exact statement. What do you have in there? My response? ALL THE THINGS.

You see, when you first have babies, you carry a diaper bag. A 52 pocket monstrosity that they half attempted to make cute with some sort of floral pattern. You buy the one that all the other cool moms have, even though it looks like you’re carrying around a house on your back with those “functional backpack straps”.

By the time you’re pregnant for the second time, you could care less about what your diaper bag looks like. Instead, you only want one that is fully functional for the hundred items you need to stuff inside. The trouble is, when your kids become toddlers, you no longer need the diaper bag, but you still have too many things to put into a cute, normal sized purse. Hence, the mom bag.

The problem is that moms have just as much crap in their mom purse as we did in our diaper bag, but we’re so desperate to rid ourselves of anything that has a fold out on which to change a poopy diaper, that we graduate ourselves to the mom bag.

An endless abyss of leather with no pockets and no functionality, whose only purpose is to make us feel like we’re normal humans again. In reality, it only serves to stress us out more because when we dive into this abyss to find one item, it’s like looking for a specific grain of sand on a beach.

So what’s in my mom purse? Well, clear space the size of a ping pong table and I will show you.

Cotton On (US)

Toys. The toys in each mom’s purse are a reflection of their children. Me for example, my purse contains at a minimum, half a dozen cars, trucks, transformers, or tractors. My son has each one memorized carefully. So heaven forbid I try to downsize and he wants to play with Brushfire from Rescue Bots or his excavator while we’re in Target. There’s also a random mask, a few legos, and the occasional paper airplane made out of a grocery receipt.

Food. You’re not a mom unless you have 15 snacks in your purse. I’m pretty sure I could survive for a week off the contents of the food in my purse. If I rationed correctly. The thing is, these snacks go through hell and back as they’re crushed under the weight of all the other crap. Goldfish turn into a fine powder, gummies melt into one giant coagulated blob, and applesauce packets usually tend to explode at some point. Yet you never learn your lesson and you continue to put more in.

Wipes. Diaper wipes, hand sanitizer wipes, boogie wipes. Mom purses basically function as baths-on-the-go for every spill, stain, and snotty nose.

Clothing. Having toddlers who are potty trained doesn’t mean you get to leave behind a change of clothes. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Now you’ve got multiple pairs of shorts and undies because accidents are way more likely to happen than when your kid was in diapers. At least those kids are wearing absorbent material. Two toddlers times two outfits each. I might as well roll around my airport carry on bag.

Bags within bags. This is where the few items that actually belong to moms reside. Since most mom purses do not have a sufficient number of pockets, we fill smaller bags with crap because it makes us feel quasi-organized. My bags contain some lady products, 3 tubes of chapstick, ibuprofen, sunscreen (which is really for the kids), and Altoids…because those are the closest things I get to a snack. Oh. And sunglasses. I have a minimum of 3 in my bag at all times. Mostly because I always panic that I don’t have any, so on my way out the door, I throw in another pair. These are critical when you take your kid to pre-k without a spot of makeup and you want their teacher to think you’re trendy. Not trashy.

I’m not sure when mom purses make the shift back to normal sized purses. But I can tell you that I used to search my grandma’s purse for toys and my favorite cherry lifesavers. Until then, I can pretty much answer any request for a single item with one simple sentence.

Let me check in my purse.

Megan Rix

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