Once upon a time, I used to have loads of handbags. As in, a heap of them. A veritable plethora. Big ones, small ones, gorgeously impractical ones. I didn't want to end up like one of those women that carted around a massive handbag full of rubbish (like my mother, if truth be told.) And why would I? Because all I needed to carry around in my bag was a notepad and pen, mobile phone and wallet - easily transferable between multiple bags.
Then I became a mother and my bag collection got whittled down to one - the bag that's big enough to fill with a bunch of random items but small enough to stuff into a stroller or sling around a neck while wrestling with a baby intent on escape. As to the contents of my handbag? Well, this happened:
Tipped out on to the coffee table, the contents of my handbag look like this:
There are many surprises, even for me - a lonely shoe. A sock. A rattle. Sophie, the hipster giraffe (it was a present, honest. I wasn't aware of how chic my child was, till someone informed me of the coolness of the toy then rammed into the chubby jaws of my drooling infant. Well, hello hipster me!). Wipes, nappies, coupons, a note from my Auntie Attracta with precise instructions about the type of yarn I have to buy for her. A lip gloss. Receipts.
Oh, my goodness, the tissues. There are tissues stuffed in my pockets, up my sleeve, down my bra - and not in the saucy way, but in the you-stay-down-there-till-I-need-to-spit-on-you-and-wipe-a-sticky-face way. When I undress at night, there's a snowfall of balled-up paper handkerchiefs. And the startling thing is, my mother is the exact same. Just like Hänsel and Gretel left a trail of breadcrumbs, she leaves a trail of ... tissues.
Which is why yesterday's Mothers' Day realisation was much less a realisation and more of a mental smack in the head, affixing a truism to my forehead that I know, but would rather forget: the older we get, the more inclined we are to become like our mothers. Because I now no longer have a handbag, I have - shudder! - a mambag.