What's in Your Mama Purse?
When I was a kid my mother’s purse was a no-touch zone. If I ever needed anything from it, I’d bring it to her and she’d dig it out for me.
I doubt there was anything I wasn’t supposed to see in there. And I don’t think it was that Mom didn’t trust me with her stuff (though in my pilfering teen years she probably should’ve had this concern). I’d guess my mother made her purse off limits simply to set some personal boundaries. Staking out a bit of space that my three sisters and I couldn’t climb on, paw through, or otherwise disrupt. A small spot of sanity and control.
For me, my No Kid Zone is my desk. Beware the child who drops so much as a Polly Pocket shoe on it’s adult-only surface. Take heed all ye youngsters who dare grab a pen or roll of tape from its hallowed drawers.
I am vigilant about staking out that small three-by-five-foot surface as my sole, highly-protected territory. Even when I really don’t care that they’re grabbing a paper clip or Post-It -- even then, I generally tend to hoot and howl and swat their hands away. “Do you take things from Mama’s desk?” I bellow. “Nooooooo. You do NOT touch anything on Mama’s desk.”
I rather enjoy the chances I get to refresh these hard and fast rules in the minds of my young, forgetful daughters. I’d go so far as to pee on the four corners of that desk, if marking my territory that way wasn’t so stinky and likely to warp the wood.
We live in a cozy Craftsman cottage. I share my room. I share my bed. I sometimes share food that’s en route to my mouth. I tend to pee with the persistent presence of children asking me to get them Band-Aids, tell them stories, or make their sister “give it back.” Even my bras have been unearthed from laundry baskets and paraded around in by my little darling devils.
Not much of mine ’round here is sacred. So I think threatening to remove the hands of those who deposit fists-full of acorns or Old Maid playing cards on my desk is utterly justifiable. What’s that expression? Oh, yes: No court would convict me.
As for my purse? In the great tradition of my own mother, my purse is also off limits for my kids. In theory at least. I no longer carry a diaper bag (yee-ha!). In fact, long before I really should have given up on a diaper bag, I did. I just couldn’t bear the bulky awkwardness of it any more. So I’ve just come to accept that whatever I need to carry -- for myself or someone else -- I shove into my purse.
Last night I was out with some friends and was looking for something -- tickets to the show we were seeing, I think. As I clawed through my overcrowded purse, dumping items out onto the bar, I was appalled by what I came across. Here I was having a gals night out, trying desperately to appear cool and un-mom-like, but this is what I found in my purse -- beyond the standard wallet, sunglasses, make-up bag, and flask (okay, just kidding about the sunglasses):
- 3 tattered ticket stubs to the SF Ballet’s Nutcracker (December 13, 2011 performance) which I’ve been saving to shove in a box to eventually stick in a scrapbook
- 1 Dum Dum lollipop (root beer), 1 Tootsie Roll pop (lemon-lime), and one lollipop stick and wrapper (grape)
- 2 safety pins
- 2 ponytail holders
- 1 lavender plastic doll-sized dog bowl
- 1 small metal tin filled with pink plastic beads, fabric roses, and wooden doll cookies
- 2 Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies (miraculously un-crushed)
- 1 yellow sparkly flower clip-on barrette
- 1 box of crayons
- Various pieces of free-range crayon
- 1 plastic Heinz ketchup packet
- 2 mint tea bags (Proof I’m getting old: I carry my own tea with me. Agh! Before I know it I’ll be ordering hot water with lemon at restaurants.)
- 2 United Airlines baggage tags. I had so many things to keep track of on my last flight I labelled everything obsessively -- even my purse. (Say what you will about this dorky tactic, but neither a child nor a suitcase went missing that day.)
- 5 grocery lists
- 1 egg-shaped Eos lip balm with a kid-sized bite taken out of it
- 1 “redeem for one hug” ticket
I may think that my purse is one of the last bastions of my personal space, but this exercise clearly illustrates I’m losing ground. Even if that is the case, it’s hard to say when a doll-sized dog bowl might come in handy, you know? I mean, maybe having all this stuff within reach isn’t such a bad thing after all.
What do you have in your mama purse?
Photo Credit: valerierenee.