It all began well enough. My husband and I sat on the outskirts of karate class while enjoying a leisurely dinner of the drive-thru variety. I passed French fries to our stroller-strapped toddler and made an obligatory thumbs-up in the direction of our 6-year-old as my hubby and I chatted and enjoyed the romance that is Monday night in our household.
I distractedly stuck my hand into my purse to grab my phone, but instead of feeling hard plastic, my fingers were immersed in warm, sticky goo. I pulled my hand back as if from a flame, and it came out encased in a grease-stained box containing the remnants of a fried apple pie. Those single serving, fried pockets of appley ooze from fast food restaurants are my husband’s favorite guilty pleasure. But why was it in my purse? Why was it on my hand?
My voice lowered to a hiss as I looked accusingly at him. “Why did you put this in my purse? It’s a half-eaten pie!”
Nonplussed, he shrugged his shoulders. “I dunno. I didn’t want to put it in my pockets. I just stuck it in your purse.”
“Did you think about the trash can?”
“Grrrr. We’ll talk about this later.”
We got home and had a discussion about respect and the proper use of trash cans, and then I dumped the contents of my bag onto the kitchen table. My husband’s phone, wallet, keys, and lip balm were all in there. There were also six Hot Wheels, 15 Pokémon cards, four assorted rocks, and a pair of boys’ socks. Yes — I had a pair of socks in my purse. This had clearly gotten out of hand. I did not sniff them to see if they were clean. I just assumed they weren’t and dumped them in the washing machine.
This, my fellow moms, is what I call “the family purse” — when they just dump stuff in our purses without even thinking, forget about it, and then we carry all of their things with us everywhere, all the time. And I’m over it.
This bag I carry everywhere holds my phone, wallet, hairbrush, and of course, snacks. This is what it is meant for. But somehow through our evolution as a family, my purse has become the home, transportation, and burial ground for all the needed and unneeded things. Without a second thought, belongings are placed in there for me to carry.
Need sunscreen? Put it in Mom’s purse! Bottle of water? Mom’s purse! Found a slimy stick you may want later? Mom’s purse!
You get the point.
Now I am sure that there is a deeper meaning in this — something about how I am carrying their burden, or how they depend on me too much or don’t respect my stuff, or something. I am quite positive we have blurry boundaries, but that doesn’t concern me at the moment. No family is perfect. My mission is to restore my bag’s original purpose and lighten my load by a few pounds.
So now I zip my purse and put it away when we get home, so they can’t secretly stow away items in there. I take stuff out when it mysteriously makes it in. I encourage my husband to utilize his pockets, and I play “Do you really need to take that with you?” with my 6-year-old before we leave the house. He probably won’t read all three of those books at the park, but they will most definitely end up in my purse on the trek back home.
There are also two perfectly wrapped Christmas presents already hidden in the back of my closet: brand new and very stylish fanny packs for each of them. Now they will be free to carry around as many half-eaten pies and dirty socks as they can carry — and my purse and I can stay mess-free and out of the equation.