Women's handbags are a frequent topic of conversation.
All women have one and the world is always trying to sell us more. A different one for each outfit, to match another pair of shoes, to fit the occasion. A big one, a small one, a beach one, a plane one, a travelling one, a work one, a weekend one.
When you have kids, things change, bag-wise. Your daytime bag (even your biggest beach bag) cannot fit all the things that you need the bag, Yes, of course you can have your own bag and then have a change bag as well, but I'm willing to bet that you'll soon give up that idea as it is pretty much just another thing to either a) forget; or b) get hacked off with carrying.
So you end up having a huge sack which (at the beginning) carries:
1) All manner of feeding paraphernalia;
2) Wipes (6 packs- at least);
3) Several changes of clothing (you never know which part will leak) for baby (and sometimes yourself);
4) 400 nappies;
5) Nappy Cream;
6) A selection of toys that you always carry even though they never pacify your child; and
7) Your wallet, keys and phone (in a teeny compartment).
It is an unspoken rule of life that you will forget the one item you actually need on the day.
So you have this gargantuan bag- so big that Santa Claus calls and offers to lend you the reindeer and a sleigh.
As the kids grow up though, the bag size diminishes- you no longer need nappies, feeding paraphernalia. Eventually, you just takes snacks and water. You're so proud. You're almost back at a normal bag size.
Then, if you're me, you think it's a good idea to have 2 children in 2 years. So you have to upscale your initial baby bag to one that provides for a newborn and a toddler. I may as well have attached a tow bar to myself and dragged a caravan behind me for a good few months.
But, you know, life gets easier- the kids grow up.
So, where I am now is that I have a larger bag than is ideal but it can accommodate the odd My Little Pony, a bottle of Water and other small stuff.
From the outside, it looks pretty smart. It is roomy and has lots of pockets for hiding all manner of sins. If you didn't know you wouldn't know I had kids just by looking at the bag itself.
I have had a few close calls though- recently I reached into my bag at a business meeting and almost pulled out a pair of panties with Dalmatians on them. Once, when looking for my wallet I first had to pull out a monkey, a pink feathery pen and wipes. Fortunately, this was at a dinner with mums so no one batted an eyelid. My crap didn't stand out among the dummies, ponies and tissues that everyone else had put on the table while looking for their wallets.
Today proved to me, however, that having a (big-ish) smart bag is not enough. I'm still in child-world. I can't deny it. It appears I have to pay attention and be organised too. Anyone who knows me will know I'm not very good at zipping up the pockets of my bag which contain all manner of things. Things that are prone to dropping out.
And, today, as I walked my daughter into school I left a trail of...sachets of toddler stool softener in my wake. A bit like Hansel and Gretel, just, well, much grosser and more humiliating.
It looks like I need to work harder on my bag image. I clearly haven't graduated back to the adult bag just yet.