By Kristen C.
As far back as I can remember, I've been obsessed with purses. I mean really. Who doesn't love a cute bag? It's like a baby, except way quieter and no sore nipples or puffy eye lids involved.
Back before the kiddo arrived, I was known for carrying the smallest purses ever. I had a ton - the bright green one shaped like a Chinese take-out box or that pink sequin number that looked like a change purse with a strap. Granted, I could barely squeeze my credit cards in them, but that was okay - because what else do you need when you're out clubbing at 1 a.m.?
I remember perusing the purse section at the local department store, staring curiously at the large gigunda handbags, and thinking "who carries these things?" I mean, seriously. They could quite possibly hold a lamp, mirror, and large ficus plant (ala Mary Poppins).
And then I saw them.
There they were, lugging their huge purse over their shoulder while chasing their child through the store in their socks- still wearing the clothes they were attempting to try on.
I never really got why they had such big bags. I would watch reruns of "Let's Make a Deal" with great curiosity, particularly loving the end of the show where the women would madly scavenge through their bag to finding a sewing kit or a bandaid for the chance to win $50. "A sewing kit?!" I would chuckle, until about five women in the audience would stand up in their ridiculous costumes and wave them in the air.
I guess I just didn't get it.
That is until I had kids.
Initially, I toted the ever unpopular, yet reasonably stylish diaper bag, which, in most other countries could house a family of four. I mean those bags, no matter how cute they might be, are gigantic. And I think they cause undue pressure on mothers who think "Oh no, I have an empty pouch - I must not have packed enough diapers..." when she already has a full pack stuffed in there "just in case." (Right, just in case the world ends while you're out at Target to pick up some milk and bread).
That lasted a good six months until I became a little more comfortable with the whole mothering thing and realized I didn't really need to bring diaper rash cream, 14 teething toys and my hand pump with me to the grocery store. And then I transitioned to the big purse. Yes. THAT PURSE. The one that holds 14 crayons, a bottle of bubbles, a Nutragrain snack bar, a diaper, 3 checkbooks, a cell phone and charging cord, and my wallet.
Now I'm proud of my big purse. Granted, I can't find a darn thing, even a very loudly ringing phone, but if my kid starts screaming in Old Navy, I can sit her in a dressing room, serve her a full meal, and entertain her with an educational puzzle session while I'm trying on tank tops.
And as for the small purses, they're still near and dear to my heart. But instead of packing them away, I have a little girl who totes them around just like her mama did. And in true form, she packed one up yesterday for a trip to the store - a ceramic cat, a Lego, her cell phone, and a set of keys.
Then she handed it to me to put in my purse.
And it fit just fine.
Kristen is a former college music professor turned stay-at-home-mother/rock star to her 20-month-old daughter, Quinlan.