A purse is sort of a necessary evil when you're a mom. When you're a single girl, you can shove your ID and debit card in a pocket or slide them into your phone case. You can bring a small wallet on a strap and call that a purse. But when you're a mom, you have to be ready for your own needs and your kids' needs at any given moment. Which means you have to be a walking doctor's office, drug store, snack cart, school supply, hardware store. In other words, your purse better be up to the task.
But like most areas in my life, I come to a crossroads where two conflicting parts of my personality stare each other in the face: do I go with practical? Or do I go with cute? Deep down I'm a very pragmatic person. Seriously, it's probably one of my defining characteristics. For better or worse, I'd much rather be practical than creative, I'd much rather be sane than impressive. But a purse is also a statement piece for a woman, so do I choose form or function?
Well last fall, my fashion side won out. I had seen a fantastic black and white polka dotted purse while browsing at a department store. It was easily twice as much as I normally budget for a purse, so I let it go. But a few months later, I spied it again, and then again, and it seemed to be calling me. So on a vacation whim (you know, because being on vacation justifies shopping for things that are normally seriously out of your budget), I bought it. The reason I held back for so long was because, despite this purse being ADORABLE, it only had ONE compartment. Well, one compartment, a small zippered pocket inside, and a couple of very shallow slots for credit cards inside (like who is going to just keep credit cards in there without a wallet?). But if there's anything I like more than cute, LOVE more than cute, ADORE above just about anything else, it's purses with compartments and pockets. It's actually one of my major joys in life. So to give in to a purse with really only one main compartment and no way to divvy up my things into neat, controlled spaces, it really had to be a cute purse. And it was. Is. Is cute. Is very very polka dotty and cute! But still very very impractical.
After about 8 months with this bag (and it looks as good as the day I bought it -- must be the $$$-- and I have somehow survived not having all the pockets), I went to lunch with a girlfriend whose purse was replete with amazing compartments and pockets. And I realized this had gone on long enough. I needed a better purse! But I didn't want to abandon this cute polka dot one altogether. So I decided to assign it my "winter purse." And I set out looking for one with a lot more organizational talents.
Eureka! This weekend, I found a smashing deal for a genuine leather (not pleather!) purse at TJ MAXX with OH, SO MANY POCKETS! It may not be quite as stylish as the polka dot. I may not have people stop me on the street to say how cute my handbag is. But it's not hideous. It's rather fun. And the pockets will more than make up for it not being a beauty queen in an evening gown.
Here is the lady in question:
A phone pocket
A receipt pocket
A key pocket
A pocket for sunglasses
A main compartment WITH zipper! Wallet, Check book, pen. Check!
A snap-close side pouch for my lipgloss, nail file, gum ....? Whatever I want!
And in the other side pouch....all my kids' crap. Emergency band aids, emergency pads, emergency fruit snacks. Why is everything with them an emergency??
And that doesn't even include the inner zippered pocket and two pouches for pill containers, business cards, coupons, mints, hair ties, sandwiches....
I'm just about in ecstasy now. Excuse me while I go swap purse stuff and sigh with happiness a lot.