This list applies to all moms that ever leave their house with their children. Please print and stick to the back of your hall door as you see fit.
Smart Phone – yes this is a “don’t leave home without it” piece of equipment that would naturally be on anyone’s list. However, throw in mommy brain and the herding cats activity that is getting children out of a house and into a car – whilst dragging more luggage behind you than Kim K going on vaycay – and it can be pretty easy for moms to completely overlook the phone that is sitting in the middle of the hall table (just so you wouldn’t forget it!). Our phones now literally control our lives and act as calanders, shopping lists, reminders, address book, mobile bank etc.
I usually leave the house with two iphones, a laptop bag and an ipad and my daily ritual usually involves strapping the kids in, loading up the Kim K luggage pile and then dashing back to the house shrieking “where’s my phone”. There’s a high likelihood that my 9 month old’s first proper sentence will be “where the f**k did I leave my phone?”
Baby wipes – If you do not have a pack of wipes in your handbag or car then please stop reading, drop everything and go out and do it NOW! You will thank me the next time your child decides to puke their ring up on the way to crèche/sneezes all over their new clothes/decides to eat any form of chocolate/walks into dog shite. (all have happened to me, all more than once!) if you are a mom of more than one then it may be easier to keep a big 64 pack of wipes permanently in the glove box of your car. There are smaller packs of wet wipes that are brilliant for handbags for quick clean ups on the go for mom or kids. Don’t forget that baby wipes are also brilliant for cleaning handbags and shoes and wiping puke/yogurt/snot off mommy’s good work jacket or trouser leg.
Roll up shopping bag. I got myself a bargain and snapped up this fab Cath Kidson one in the Kildare outlets for €6, so treat yourself to a pretty roll up shopper if you don’t already possess one. Don’t kid yourself with talk of “sure I have all the Tesco bags in the boot of the car”. Believe me, once I have done a weekly shop I usually find I leave said shopping bags in the porch for the next week or two and then kick myself every time I stop off to grab a few bits. It’s also great for bringing lunches to work, carrying your flats or when you just want to grab a few bits at lunch or on the way home. It’s a really practical must have for the handbag but it’s pretty and stylish too so win win.
Sunglasses – In my opinion you can never have enough sunglasses. I currently have three good pairs, one which I keep in the car at all times (Ralph Lauren)and two other pairs for throwing into the handbag/changing bag when I am out and about at work or weekends. (Ray Ban Aviators and Prada cat eyes) Irish people are still a bit morto about the whole sunglasses wearing thing, as if we’re getting a bit above our station by walking to the shops in our Ray-Bans but believe me, as busy moms we should have the fecking things stitched onto our faces. The benefits are endless, the bigger they are the more of our tired and aging eyes they cover, they are an amazing cover up for early morning crèche/school drop offs when you have no make up on and they always look stylish, even when worn with the old reliable leggings and ballet pumps combo. Plus the overarching massive benefit is that a good pair will actually protect your delicate eye area from the sun and harmful rays that contribute so massively to aging and fine lines caused by squinting. If you need a treat for your next birthday, anniversary, payday why not splash out on a really nice pair of designer glasses – you’ll have them for ages and like shoes, they will always fit you and make you feel good no matter what shape or size you are. Just remember to keep them in your handbag so you have them at all times!
A snack – We are busy. We are moms on the run. We skip meals or eat breakfast in the car. You need some food in the handbag for when the slump hits or you haven’t had a chance to grab lunch yet.. A nature valley granola bar and an apple are my recommendations, both are perfect for a snack for you or the kids, when on the run or for when meals get skipped on the go. Note: Do not put bananas in your handbag – don’t kid yourself, you will invariably forget to eat it and leave it in your bag, they will go black and manky and wet banana mush will leak onto all your things.
A pen – Ah yes the simple, underrated biro. With our all our fancy smart phone apps and reminders, digital devices etc., why is it I always find myself scrambling for a pen to scribble a phone number or appointment time on the back of my hand. Always have a pen in your bag, preferable with a lid so you avoid ink scribbles all over the lining of a good handbag (guilty as charged!)
Tinted moisturiser – I only really discovered tinted moisturiser when I became a mom. I don’t actually wear a lot of make up and really see it as something I have to do for work and something I like to do for a night out but I usually don’t bother wearing any at weekends or in my casual gear. However, I’m well aware that I’m getting older and looking more mutton and less lamb by the year. While it’s all well and good swanning around Dundrum or Marley park sans make up, I don’t exactly have the dewy complexion of a 21 year old to pull it off. Tinted moisturiser is a great middle ground when you want a bit of coverage but don’t like wearing make up. I tend to lash it on before I walk out the door or even in the car on the way to the crèche, just so I look a bit more human before I get a chance to put my proper make up on. A good tinted moisturiser with SPF will also ensure coverage while out and about at the park or playground, but means you look natural and casual. I’ve tried a few and I really like my MAC studio moisture tint SPF 15.
Mini dry shampoo - I have really dark hair. When dark hair gets greasy it looks like an oil slick. I also have really thick hair. Thick hair is a bitch to wash and dry and can require an entire evening set aside to tackle. Being a busy mom, I sometimes skip this job in favour of a veg evening on the sofa and then panic the next morning when I realise that I really can’t get away with another day of manky hair tied into a topknot. Baliste dry shampoo is my friend. I love it, it is a great emergency product, it smells lovely and makes your manky hair feel just a little bit less manky for one more day. They have a dedicated dark hair version to avoid that grey haired look and the mini cans are perfect for handbags for travel and on the go top ups. If you’re not already in the dry shampoo club, get thee a can of Baliste on your next shopping trip – stocked in Pennys, Boots and most supermarkets and chemists.
Hair grips/bobbins – maybe you’ve already gone for the mom cut by now, maybe you have managed to maintain your long glossy locks (yeah right, see above!!) or maybe you fall somewhere in between. Personally, my hair is only nice down when I have shelled out for a proper wash and blow dry and someone actually styles it for me. For the other 29 days of the month I usually wear my hair up in a bun, or a fancy bun with a donut, or a messy bun with bobbins, or a low bun with bobbins…you get the picture. So even if you have short hair, you will definitely need a clip or bobbin at some stage. And what’s with the baby fluff hair that always seems to grow around my hairline and needs to be pinned and sprayed into place? Keep a selection of grips and bobbins in your bag at all times, especially on a night out. Because let’s face it, the fancy blow dry only lasts about two hours before you are itching to tie it up. And the bonus is, you can always be that good friend who has a spare bobbin in her bag.
Mini deodorant – Believe it or not, running around like a madwoman can sometimes work up a bit of a sweat. Ok, I’m over sharing here but by the time I make it to my desk I can sometimes feel like my 7am shower is a distant memory. I travel a lot for work to the UK (which requires 5 am starts) and also can be on the go in the car out at meetings etc. and I love the security of having a mini deodorant in my bag for a blast of freshness whenever I need it. Boots are great for all the mini versions of everything so whether you’re a roll on or spray girl, you should be able to find something to throw in the handbag.
So that’s my handbag survival kit. Did I miss anything or anything you would add to the list? Would love to hear your tips or feedback below.