It’s funny how your handbag represents your stage of life. When you’re kid-free, you can carry a cute crossbody just big enough for your purse and phone. When you have a baby, you need a mammoth nappy bag. And once the baby days are over, you can revert to a smaller, more fashionable handbag. Just not if you’re an allergy mum.
You see when your child has food allergies, they’ll outgrow nappies but they might never outgrow their need for lifesaving medication. And you need to carry a medication-friendly bag wherever you go.
The carefree days of crossbody bags and clutches
Before I had kids, I worked full time and handbags were my indulgence. I had to wear a uniform at work so I would use fashionable handbags to reflect my style and personality. My beautiful bag only needed to carry a few essentials so I had an extensive range to choose from.
The filled-to-the-brim nappy bag days
Along came babies and my fashionable array of handbags morphed into one big, practical bag. The list of everyday essentials grew dramatically. I couldn’t leave the house without nappies, wipes, a change mat, dummies, bottles, snacks, toys and changes of clothes thanks to those delightful projectile spews and poonamis. Every compartment was filled as fashion gave way to practicality and durability. My bag needed to be comfy to carry and easy to clean both inside and out!
The post-nappy-bag days
Fast forward to 2019 and at seven, five and three, my kids are no longer babies. We also have no plans to have any more kids. I’d love to celebrate this new era in my motherhood journey with a cute, fashionable handbag but my list of essentials is still slightly longer than most thanks to food allergies.
The allergy mum’s bag
When you’re an allergy mum to young children, you’re most likely the one who has the responsibility of carrying their lifesaving allergy medication everywhere you go. In addition to the usual everyday essentials like keys, purse, phone and lip balm you need to carry two EpiPens, a bottle of Zyrtec, wipes, a medical action plan and possibly a steroid puffer, an asthma puffer and a spacer. Sorry cute bag I saw in the window of my favourite shop, you and I are never going to happen.
The allergy kid’s bag
Charlie carries his own medicine when we go out. He has a cool Star Wars branded bag with a keyring hanging on the outside that says, “I carry an EpiPen”. His insulated medicine bag fits neatly inside and he feels confident carrying it because it doesn’t scream, “I have food allergies”. We bought it on a family trip to Disneyland so it also has a bit of sentimental value. Charlie’s bag hangs next to the front door as a daily reminder to never leave home without it.
As an allergy mum, you want to have peace of mind.
Even though Charlie has his own bag of supplies, carrying allergy medication in my handbag will probably be something I’ll continue to do for the foreseeable future. I like knowing that I always have a second set of allergy medication on hand if we ever need it. Plus, Charlie’s younger brother Arnold is allergic to mango so I need to be prepared for more than one allergic reaction when we’re out and about.
Mum to the rescue!
Recently we went on a family holiday to Broadbeach in Queensland, Australia. After a day of exploring, we got back to our hotel and realised Charlie’s medicine bag was not with us. Charlie and his Dad started to panic but I reminded them I always have a second set of medication with me.
Fortunately, after tracing our steps and making a few phone calls, Charlie was reunited with his beloved bag. But the experience highlighted the importance of always having a back-up plan. Charlie and I had a chat about the experience afterwards and he came up with these handy tips for other allergy families.
Charlie’s top allergy bag tips
- Once they’re old enough, kids with food allergies will have to carry their own bag stocked with medication. Try and get a super cool bag that you love and are proud to carry.
- Make sure your primary care giver always has a second set of medication in their bag. This will come in handy if you ever get separated or lose your bag.
- Try to relax knowing that you’re stocked up and safe.
I’m so proud of how independent and responsible Charlie has become. As for me, I’ll be heading out this week to buy a new handbag. It won’t be tiny but it’ll represent everything I’ve learned as an allergy mum while giving me peace of mind. And that’s more important than anything.
Do you have any handbag recommendations or top tips? I’d love to hear them. Please share your thoughts in the comments.