Why motherhood is all about coat pockets NOT handbags

Ten days overdue, the size of a house, swollen ankles, sore back, the August heatwave and I’m shopping for a cross-body bag. A treat to myself, the one thing I definitely need for maternity leave (as well as the millions of other ‘useful’ things I spent my money on whilst waiting for my daughter to finally make her entrance).

Fast forward 6 months…..

What was I thinking? Who uses a handbag when pushing a pram or carrying their baby in a BabyBjorn? Who has arm space for both baby, bag and another Aptamil haul? How many nappies and baby wipes can one really fit in a Fendi?  Not enough, trust me, I’ve tried. (Don’t get me started on carrying used nappies in said Fendi either…)

How many nappies can one really fit in a Fendi?

I’ve also said goodbye to my wallet – my dream Louis Vuitton wallet, a gift from my husband when we were first dating.  I am officially hands free.

Instead I pack my coat pockets with a healthy bundle of debit card, credit card, house keys, car key, £5 notes and a muslin. It is a tried and tested formula. Why only carry £5 notes? Answer: You get minimal coins back from the obligatory £2.99 cappuccino (aka the lifeline of maternity leave).

Always roll the muslin, don’t scrunch it, and pack keys at the last possible moment so they lie on top of said pile, for easy access. It’s all carefully wedged into a puzzle-like design, akin to packing the boot of a car.

Always roll the muslin, don’t scrunch it, and pack keys at the last possible moment so they lie on top of said pile, for easy access.

My point? Next time you are wasting time on that last minute spree pre-baby, invest in a coat with decent pockets and NOT the cross-body Gucci handbag. No one told me this. And yet all I see now are new mothers like myself, scrabbling in search of a pocket, one hand on the buggy, attempting to pay for a minor transaction with a stick of gum or a loose dummy. (Oh if dummies were currency I’d be a millionaire!)

Step away from the Mulberry store, with its buggy-friendly doors

Hold fire on even gazing at handbags. Step away from the Mulberry store, with its buggy-friendly doors and staff who eagerly ogle your baby (‘Ooh isn’t she lovely’ – they are trained to do this, I am convinced of it.)  Avoid the delectable COS gems winking at you at the till (as you buy another oversized, haven’t-quite-shifted-the-final-pounds shirt) and instead look forward to a time when you have a moment – possibly in the distant future – to enjoy fully a sparkling new handbag, one that will add a dollop of excitement and inner smugness when accompanying you at your side.

I have said handbag in my sights. It is the stuff dreams are made of – almost as rewarding as a baby sleeping through the night. I’ve yearned for this new addition for over six months and am waiting for the key moment to treat myself.

A sudden splurge when I least expect it.  A moment of calm as my baby sleeps in her buggy and the pain of teething is temporarily bid adieu. The chicest of shop assistants will smile sympathetically at me, and I will look down momentarily and wince as I realise I’ve tried to buy a Chanel handbag with an Oyster card.

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