A Life, A Legend, A Purse| Candid Motherhood


Few things define a woman as much as her purse.  It’s an inner sanctum we rarely allow others into. And, on the rare event that we have to lay it all bare and allow someone else in, be it our husband hunting for the car keys or our kids trying to sneak a piece of gum, we feel this sense of imposition. Our purses are a microcosm of our minds. If it is neat, tidy and well organized, your mind is a well oiled machine. If it looks like “the PIT of despair” then you’re probably a mom of children under 5. My kids are older than that. Not sure what my excuse is.

Purses grow with age. And once you’re a mom, forget it! You end up with the scourge of Pursedom: the Diaper Bag. It’s the RV of purses.

At the risk of totally losing your respect, I will allow you to make the harrowing journey into my purse (mind.) But, once you glance inside, you’ll probably have a few questions:

1.)    What’s that smell?

2.)    How many lip glosses does one person really need? Answer: Did you really just ask that question?

3.)    Did you accidently dump your dirty laundry in there instead of the hamper?

4.)    Why don’t tampons ever stay in their wrappers?

5.)    If this is anything like your brain, how do you sleep at night?

Just for fun, I’ll list the things that are in my purse right now: A Willie Nelson CD, my tax returns, coupons for 2 free kids meals at Mimi’s café, iPhone, little girl’s pair of dirty socks, cell phone adapter, bottle of Dramamine, lighter (I don’t smoke), 2 caramel apple lollypops, keys, pair of goggles,  prescription bottle, broken pen, one used tissue, concealer, a lump that’s supposed to be a wallet, 14 lip products, Stila black liquid eyeliner (love), half a pound of sand, $3.42 cents in change, 4  sticky cough drops and mascara.

My mind is like my car. A mess. My purse is the natural extension of that. Seriously though, I think that we’d all do well to be less judgmental of other people’s purses, and less critical of our own. The mystery and allure of a woman’s purse has permeated all layers of society. Let’s maintain the legend.

There’s actually been someone who’s researched the contents of women’s purses. Next time I’m in the market for some good bathroom reading, I’m getting What’s in Your Purse: The Archeology of American Handbags by Kelley Styring. I’m fascinated. Also,  comedienne Anita Renfroe wrote a book called, The Purse Driven Life, and followed up with the DVD Purse-onality. I love everything that woman does. Those will soon come live in my collection.

So, don’t leave me hangin’ ladies. I dare you to dump your purse and post the contents in the comments section. Who’s game?!?


Karis Murray is a Scottsdale, Arizona native and mother to daughters Riley, age 7 and Lydia, age 6.  She is currently the Creative Director for the Family Matters Minute Radio Show and serves as Lead Writer and Editor for the show.  She has been a freelance writer for more than 10 years and is a poet in her own mind!  Learn more about Karis at her blog: CandidMotherhood.com.

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  1. I emptied my diaper bag (yes, that’s my purse, 2 kids under 3), and this is what I found: 2 burp cloths, 1 diaper, baby wipes, monkey rattle, infant tylenol, wallet, Fry’s ad, baby sneakers, key rattle, elephant teether, Johnson’s hand and face wipes, Go, Diego, Go Diego figurine, keys, 2 lip glosses, 2 baby spoons, medicine dropper, wheat thins, and a few grocery store receipts! I guess I pack lots of stuff!

  2. I need to clean out my purse, so now I have motivation. Here goes: 1 tub of Aquaphor and 1 tub of Vaseline, and un-inflated beach ball, last week’s grocery list, half-full water bottle, Costco coupon book, mammogram prescription from my GYN, iPhone case (with no iPhone in it) and datebook (I can’t seem to migrate to an electronic calendar!).

  3. So much paper and old recipes it’s rediculous, a notebook, mardi gras beads, a purse hanger, hotel hand lotion, business cards (for SMB), a dime, gritty-unnamed substance…

  4. My purse is not very big yet I seem to have a lot in there. Wallet, I Phone, 2 tiny notepads, 4 lip glosses, brush, 2 pens, motrin, bandaids, wipes, tampons, gum, car key

  5. i’m almost embarrassed to admit how organized my purse is. on the flip side, I jam pack every “i just might need that” that i can think of in it… so for the sake of my fingers, I’ll just type a few items: wallet, phone, lip glosses (what is your fav by the way, fellow gloss-a-holic??), notepad, receipts, checkbook, Nook, gift cards, tissues, lotion, contact info for Dr.s, club cards, P&S camera…
    huh…not one kid item. there’s usually something random in there. BUT i do have a beach bag sized diaper bag for all the kiddie junk.
    i’m really not all that AR i swear! i’m actually extremely envious of women that can find exactly what they are looking for in clutter… i never was very good at I Spy.
    Great post Karis! xoxo

    • Erin- my fav right now is Bigelow Apothecaries Mentha lip tint. I have five shades, and they also make clear gloss. It has peppermint oil in it so it doubles as a breath freshener too! Glad to know I’m not the only addict out there!

  6. Hm…. a wallet, a lip balm, a lip gloss, a lipstick (yes I use the lip products all at once….), keys to three houses, keys to two office buildings, Polar Ice gum, hand cream, listerine mouth strips, advils/tylenols, two checkbooks, a pen, hand wipes, eyeglasses wipes, tissues, business cards for 3 different people, bandaids, a bottle opener, imaginary gold bricks, and the most important…. all my coupons! (thank you to my husband for upgrading my purse to “elephant size” for making all this fit!)

  7. This post is so funny. I was just thinking if there was a “weirdest thing in your purse game” I’d probably win! But after reading some of these, maybe not. LOL.
    so here goes:
    1 ballie
    5 fruit leathers
    2 containers of Tiger Balm
    excedrin migraine
    a notepad
    2 things of lotion (one that exploded last week)
    2 half-wrapped pieces of gum, now covered in said lotion)
    a lanyard
    hand sanitizer, lip balm, change
    a PURPLE army dude,
    a pacifier (my kids are school aged)

    & that’s after I cleaned it out. LOL.

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