When my daughter was born, the world as I knew it changed. Within a matter of weeks, I had turned from a confident professional working woman into a nervous wreck, covered in various stains, as well as a constant look of fatigue.
And the contents of my handbag changed too. Gone was the MacBook and the diary – enter nappies, creams for this, creams for that, spare bottles, emergency milk, teething gel, muslins, blanket, cuddly toy…
But now I’m a working mum, things are a little different. My two worlds have met in the middle and this is clearly visible from the contents of my handbag – which I frequently notice as my daughter rifles through and unpacks the contents, one item at a time, and if I’m lucky, puts them back, one item at a time. Children love repetition!
So, what’s the happy medium for a working mum? What do you need to carry around with you and what can you do without?
Here are the essentials:
• Mobile phone, keys, wallet – check
• Emergency nappy stowed away neatly in one of the inside pockets, along with half of a pack of wet wipes, to save space
• A small bottle of sanitising hand gel for dirty food surfaces and grubby fingers
• Bottle of water for mum. Sippee cup for toddler
• One small toy
• One small bib
• A laptop for days in the office
• Possibly a lipstick on days when I feel like pampering myself!
And the things you can do without on a daily basis, except when specifically needed:
• Cotton wool
• Nappy rash cream
• Teething gel
• Diary (Finally - I have started to use my online calendar)
So, there you have it. I have finally reached a compromise in deciding what I need to take out with me, and can now leave the house with a normal-sized handbag again, without having to cram in the kitchen sink.
Being a working mum is certainly challenging, but definitely worth it. In fact, with a little forward planning, a great support network of friends, family and childminders – and some common sense in the handbag department – it all works rather well.