Every once in a while, I take a closer look at the load of stuff piled in my purse and I realize that the constant pain in my shoulders is not just tension, it’s the massive weight I carry each day on my arm. Sometimes the kid paraphernalia is overflowing but God forbid I forget my daughter’s water cup; she looks at me sometimes as if I’m the worst mother on the planet if I do not have her every need stowed away in my bag like Mary Poppins.
Sometimes the load I carry seems to weigh too heavy. There have been many nights that the strain of it has left me exhausted or other nights sleepless from the aches of it all. But every day I wake, sometimes fresh, again to carry that load and heave it with pride, for I am strengthened by the repetitions and the increasing weight.
I wore a cute little clutch before having kids. Inside was a small wallet, chapstick, lipstick, a pen, a small notepad, cigarettes, a lighter and my cell phone. That’s it. And I could have done without a few of those items but they all fit in the clutch, so that was just fine. Whatever was in the purse was just what I needed as I would skip out the door at a moment’s notice.
Then, I had a child. I gave up the clutch for the massive diaper bag that held far more than I ever needed but all of those things gave me a sense of comfort and control that I desperately needed being a brand new mom. I carried diapers, rattles, change of clothes, powder, wipes, blanket, never used pacifiers, snacks, and a small pouch that held the necessities for me, like money and keys. I no longer carried lip gloss, notepads, pens or cigarettes but would always double check the bag before leaving the house and would usually grab one more thing.
My child grew and my bag shrunk. She turned three and I began to carry a normal purse again, bigger than a clutch to hold a sippy cup and a small snack, but not quite so “mom-ish” anymore. She became more independent and my heavy load lightened.
A baby boy was born about six months after converting to the stylish purse again. The diaper bag came back, albeit much smaller than my first, and carried only the necessities: diapers, wipes, a nursing cover and some small baby toiletries. While the weight of my world increased, the load became more manageable as I had learned how to carry it through experience, strength, love and sheer will.
Baby boy grew and the diaper bag was no longer needed. Now, in my messenger bag-like “purse”, there is still an extra diaper and wipes but it can be said that I have returned to the world of regular purses, although still a far leap from the clutch. These days the contents of my purse are wallet, crayons, lip gloss, chapstick, pen, notepad, Advil, matchbox cars, princess stretchy necklace, old Goldfish, expired coupons in a pouch stinky from dried milk spills, a miniature baby doll, Wet ones wipes, antibacterial gel, sunscreen and a mini first aid kit. Then, two sippy cups and a snack cup grabbed before walking out the door and when my husband is with me, his keys, sunglasses and sometimes wallet. I could probably be comfortable in a diaper bag but I relish having moved on from that stage.
Carrying my loaded bag while lugging a child on one arm and holding the other’s hand leaves me feeling like a donkey yet I stubbornly bear it with pride. My load has increased substantially since the days with a clutch and as my bags swell and shrink with time, my heart continually grows; and that is a weight I carry with ease.