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Posted on Mon. Sep. 05, 2011 - 12:01 am EDT

Life … without bumper pads: Why a mom needs a big purse


Editor's note: Jill Adams is a professional writer based in Fort Wayne.

On a recent family outing, I asked my husband to do the unthinkable.

“Can you hold my purse?” I held it out in his direction, and he stared at me.

“Can't you just put it on the floor?” he asked.

I looked around. We were in the children's shoe section of a department store. The kids were getting antsy, and most of my mental energy was allocated to making sure they all remained in the vicinity and didn't knock anything over.

I decided I could not handle leaving my purse on the ground, where it was subject to dirt, trampling and neglect.

“No,” I said tersely. “Just hold it for two minutes.”

He begrudgingly took the bag, and I pretended not to see his look of annoyance. He tucked away behind a shelf, and I got back to the business of shoes.

Little did I know, I had made a big mistake.

“What do you have in this thing?” my husband called from his hiding place. “It weighs at least 5 pounds! This isn't a bag — it's baggage!”

I smirked. He obviously did not understand that, when you are a mother, you need a lot of gear.

That bag contained hand wipes, Band-Aids, extra diapers, toys, snacks … everything I needed for a successful outing with our children.

But I knew by the look on his face that explanation was futile, and I went back to my task as he continued to rifle through my purse with incredulity.

When I was finished, he guided me over to a corner of the store. It was the purse section.

“Why don't you try something like this?” he asked, pointing to a tiny satchel.

“That won't work!” I exclaimed with furrowed brows.

“Yes it will,” he said. “You just have to carry less stuff.” And before I knew it, we had purchased the impossibly small bag.

When we arrived home, I examined my new “gift.” I had to admit, it was a lot lighter and more convenient than the contraption I was used to. So, I painstakingly packed the bare necessities and decided to give it a shot.

The next day, we went out for a full day of family activities. Though I felt as if I was missing about 1,000 things I needed, I did enjoy having less weight to carry around.

As we arrived at our destination, my husband handed me his sunglasses.

“Can you toss these in your purse?” he asked. I looked down at the tiny bag. I supposed I could fit them.

“Mom, can you put my toy in there?” my son asked. I shoved the airplane into the purse. I began to suspect this was not going to work.

Sure enough, by the time we went out for ice cream at the end of the day, the bag was so full of everyone's stuff the seams were threatening to burst. As I went to pay, I noticed my wallet had disappeared under all the accumulation.

“Just a second,” I told the clerk with embarrassment, unpacking one thing at a time until there were items all over the counter. My husband looked at the lineup and had only one thing to say.


I didn't have to point out that I wasn't even carrying my own things. I knew he recognized the situation in front of him.

“How does that big purse look now?” I asked.

“Point taken,” he said. “Go back to that. I won't say a word.”

I smiled. My husband had just learned firsthand that when you are a mom, sometimes baggage is a good thing.

This column is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinion of The News-Sentinel. To read other columns, go to and click the left-side link for Columns.

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