Pre-kids, you may have always carried a small, trendy purse. Once the babies start coming, though, we moms tend to rely on a diaper bag to hold our wallets and lipsticks (along with diapers, wipes, bibs, baby food, bottles, a change of clothes, burp cloths…). Even when the kids get a bit bigger, we do what our own mothers did and carry huge bags filled to the brim with band-aids and sippy cups, coloring books and spinning tops, asthma inhalers and epi-pens, and, if we’re lucky, a hairbrush and our checkbooks.
You don’t have to be “the mom with the big purse,” though, no matter how old your kids are. If the time has come for you to reclaim your own handbag, here are some tips on finding the perfect one for every day:
- Don’t go too small. While you don’t need to carry a bag large enough to hold the kitchen sink, you will need to carry some necessities other than a lipstick and your keys, particularly if you have a child who needs quick access to a medication. I carry an epi-pen for my daughter, and have found that a purse measuring about 8 inches by 10 inches is the smallest I can really go.
- Express yourself. If your normal attire is jeans and a t-shirt, a funky, fun purse is one way to bring a bit of interest to your outfit. You probably already have a brown bag and a black bag for the outfits that require subdued, neutral accessories, so why not buy something bright and eye-catching for everyday?
- Get one with a strap. One of my favorite purses, looks-wise, is green with turquoise handles. Since I’m usually carrying library books or a shopping bag or a kid’s backpack or a basket with a few groceries, however, it’s not feasible for everyday use. Get one that you can wear over your shoulder for hands-free carrying.
- Avoid too much glitz. Feathers, jewels and other dangly decorations might not stand up to the rigors that you will put your purse through. Beads hanging by a thread and dirty-looking tassels aren’t an attractive look.
- Check out the stitching and liner when you’re buying. Both of these can be giveaways as to how the purse will hold up. Loose stitching and a cheap, ill-fitting liner are clues that you should keep on looking. You don’t need to spend an arm and a leg on your bag, but you do want something that will last for a while.
- Look for one with dividers and pockets. It’s annoying when your keys and cellphone fall to the bottom of your purse, and even more so when you have a baby in one hand and a preschooler holding the other. Make life easy on yourself and give every item in your purse an assigned spot, so you can find it later.
The good thing about purses is that you can rotate them in and out of your wardrobe as you see fit. The reality, though, is that most of us tend to stick with one or two purses, because it can be a hassle to transfer everything on a daily basis. Finding a purse that you love can be a challenge. And don’t forget: if you happen to like being “the mom with the big purse,” then by all means, be that mom! Every group of friends needs someone who has itch-relieving spray on hand for mosquito-filled days at the park!