Handbag essentials tend to change as a working mum when you have a toddler in tow. Below are some of my latest must-haves.
It’s fair to say that life since I became a new mum over 40 has changed and so have the contents of my bag. The days of walking out of the house in heels clutching a tiny patent leather bag are gone.
Now I have a good old-fashioned rucksack to cart everything around that I need. My flats or trainers now also help me scurry to nursery.
This change got me questioning whether that meant I was less organised – or perhaps a little bit more organised than I was before. I like to think I’m the latter, but to decide once and for all, I carried out a little study of the contents of my rucksack over a working week.
You can never have enough pens when you’re a creative soul. They are one of THE handbag essentials, as you never know when one will come in useful.
Being a busy mum, with little C’s bag to pack, H’s shirt to iron and drop-offs at nursery to plan, I don’t have time to prep lunch. I buy sandwiches and snacks at whichever store doesn’t have a queue in a morning. It usually means tasty treats from Greggs.
An apple a day keeps the doctor away was the first nutritional advice I was ever given, so it’s my weapon of choice. I’ve found it’s also a great way of soothing a hungry baby.
Bottled water just doesn’t fit into a petite handbag, hence the rucksack, because I need to stay hydrated. It stops me passing out.
Mini first-aid kit
Kalms – to cope with little C’s cranky moments. A band aid – in case I trap my finger in the pushchair en route to nursery (it has happened). And Lemsip because bugs are rife at this time of year and there’s just no time to be ill. I also carry a plentiful supply of painkillers for those ‘just in case’ moments.
The Chanel perfume and lipstick are comfort accessories to remind myself that I am not just a mum, I’m a supermum. It’s often a tough choice though on what to wear. Do I opt for the Vaseline or the lippy? More often than not, it’s the lippy for a nice smile to try and detract from my tired eyes.
Purse and keys
I group these or lose these. Absolute essentials.
Baby wipes are a working mum’s handbag essential. Whether that be cleaning Cyrus, mopping up the contents of a carton of milk or wiping down clothing on the way out of the door – I always have a pack to hand.
A good book
After enduring the stampede at nursery in a morning, I need a spot of inspiration as a busy new mum over 40 and The Tantrum Survival Guide is a brilliant page-turner on the bus to work. Most parents of toddlers and pre-schoolers know a thing or two about tantrums.
With candour and wit, Rebecca Schrag Hershberg, PhD explains the science behind why tantrums occur and what parents might unintentionally be doing to encourage them. She offers a plan for nipping blow-ups in the bud while fostering healthy development and deeper parent–child connections. Imagine family life with equal measures of love and limits—and less drama.
I always try to carry Post-It notes and a pen to jot down any light-bulb moments because you never know when they may strike.
When you have family members living abroad and send parcels on a regular basis, it’s always good to have a roll of Cellotape handy.
There are times when I have help packing my bag with handbag essentials in a morning. Little Cyrus loves nothing more than taking everything out and putting everything back in his own bag. Sometimes he is mistaken which is which though and I bring some interesting items into the workplace.
After almost a week of sugary treats, the guilt-trip hits me and I feel the need to balance my PH level with some wheatgrass juice.
This always comes in handy when you have to change a baby on the hop. Some changing facilities are not what they are cracked up to be.
The lines are definitely blurred by Friday on whose bag it is. It’s clear by this point that a five-day working week is quite enough for a busy new mum over 40.