A word I have heard a lot in the last five and a half years. There are lots of variations of course. “mumma” “Mumah” ‘Mummmeeeeee” “mum” “MAMMY” the list is endless, but it’s all got the same meaning. It’s me, the person they require 100% attention of and that’s how it’s been 24/7. It’s lovely, most of the time. Suffocating others, and over the last five years – especially since I’ve had two calling it – I hear it everywhere. Even when it’s not coming from my kids.
Bags. Bags and shoes. Bags and shoes, and coats and scarves. Bags and shoes and coats and scarves and jewellery. Bags and shoes and coats and scarves and jewellery and make up.
I love them.
Your priorities change when you have children, we all know this, and we try to prepare ourselves as best we can. However, the one thing that never changes, even if I wanted it to, is my love for clothes and more importantly accessories.
Accessories, the things that can turn even the blandest of outfits into a statement. They are amazing, jeans and a black top? Just pull on your favourite scarf. Same old little black dress? Statement necklace. Fed up of your every day coat and jeans combo for the school run? Pull out your favourite shoes and bag.
However, the two worlds continue to collide, and not always in the way that you would like. Pockets. Pockets and bags. Trains, cars, sweets, tissues, wipes, nappies. As you have kids your beloved bags and pockets begin to become one. It happens slowly, you hardly even notice it. With a newborn, you often have a purpose assigned bag, and just your wallet goes in, the rest of the mahoosive bag is dedicated to the child. Nappies, wipes, muslins, bottles, breast pads, then as the weeks and months go on rattles, teething gel, spare clothes, tiny pots of food, pots with spoons in, bibs, tissues, Milton wipes, hand gel, buzz lightyear, spiderman, ipods. Your pockets were meant to be your bag, they were meant to have enough room for your phone, your keys and touché eclait. But somehow, along the way, you find a toy train, a car, a couple of dummies, a crushed up biscuit, some raisins.
As the seasons change you reach into the back of your wardrobe and fish out your favourite spring jacket, it’s a long lost friend, you put your hands deep in your pocket as the wind blows and you watch the child slowly toddling across the park, your hands brush something. Eagerly you fish it out, thinking it’s a receipt for a purchase that will rush you back, perhaps those shoes you loved so much? Nope. It’s actually a dried out wipe, with the remnants of what could be snot, and a chubba chups lolly stuck to it, because the hairdresser gave it to the child, without checking, and you are reminded of the distract and swipe technique you used to stop the horrid rock hard thing breaking their precsious little teeth.
As your children get older, you suddenly don’t need a “nappy bag” anymore, just a “kitchen sink bag”. Or a changing bag. It’s bulky, and the pram has been replaced with a buggy, meaning that every time the child clambers out of the pushchair, the buggy flies backward, often flicking mini cheddar crumbs and discarded organix crisps into the air before they shower down into your hair.
The paraphernalia technically gets less, not as many nappies, and you can grab a bottle of water and a packet of quavers fruit from anywhere if you’re stuck, however, it’s not as easy as just pulling out one of your favourite tote bags. A shoulder bag perhaps? Because of course…the child is walking now, and it wants to walk everywhere plus, the other child, it wants to go in the other direct, or hang off your arm. You still need both hands free ready to catch whichever child tries to kill itself first. You don’t want to be forced to make a choice…after all, it will usually be dependant on the latest nights sleep or tantrum.
This is where I’m at. I have bags, I even have the odd across the body bag, however, it’s not big enough for spare clothes, nappies, wallets and my book. Plus, I don’t want my nice pre-child bags to become a swimming mess of crumbs, raisins, and broken crayons.
So recently I’ve decided, that’s it. Things are going to change. My amazing mum has bought me an early birthday present. The bag of my dreams.
The new love of my life…the cat isn’t so sure.
It’s amazing, it has pockets, it has a buckle, it has a strap across the body, it has neon pink stitching. It’s beautiful, so beautiful that I’m not going to get those little ratbags (ha) ruin it with their moo biscuit and jammie dodger remnants.
So I pulled out my handbag tidy. YES, I appreciate that I’m not 50 yet, and I appreciate it sounds a little bit OCD, but you know what, it is rather amazing. NOW the children’s stuff is in the tidy. Nappies, clothes, crayons RAR RAR RAR. They’re there. They’re square, and they’re in THERE. Now, when I leave the house without the children I don’t have to grab my wallet and run, I don’t have to take the bag of doom and rummage to the bottom to find my lip gloss. I just simply remove the handbag tidy, and VOILA, I’m me.
And that’s what’s most important. With them I’m mummy and I can produce a web blaster or Thomas engine at a drop of a hat, but with one small movement, I am me again.