Faking it: Workingmums.co.uk guide to what’s in your bag

In the old days, your bag used to consist of just a few odd items. It was compact and organised. Now, it often looks like a minor explosion has occurred inside it. What can you do to fake an impression of order when you open it in the workplace? workingmums.co.uk has some suggestions of what might be in your bag now and how you can fake looking professional.

What's in my bag?

Why is there a fork in my bag?

1. Odd items of children’s clothing.

How did socks – almost odd ones – get in there alongside the emergency pair of pants for small people? This is probably a legacy from the time you used to carry around a massive bag with you whenever you went out. Remember the days when it felt like you were moving home every time you left the house? You could probably ditch the odd socks, but still, at the back of your mind is that niggling feeling that it is best to be prepared for all circumstances.

2. Breast pads.

You may still be breastfeeding or it may be nine years on from whenever you last breastfed, but there is bound to be at least one pad lurking in a dark corner at the bottom of your bag. Useful as ink blotters, they are a reminder of those horrible times when you sat in meetings post maternity leave with the awful awareness that the one breast pad was not enough and you were still only at agenda item one. After that you filled your bag with the things so you had reinforcements at all times and could appear coolly professional even though your bosoms were on fire.

3. Pens that don’t work, including colouring pens.

All your working pens will have been snaffled by small people, meaning your bag is full of ones that don’t and crayons, etc, that you have had to resort to in emergencies. You never know when a red highlighter pen may come in handy and you will be the person who is ready when that moment arrives. How efficient is that?

4. Pictures drawn by small people.

There will be many of these squashed down at the bottom of the bag with inspiring messages of love and understanding. Cherish these in the sometimes harsh world of office politics. They may well get you through and restore your hope in the human race and remind you what life is all about.

5. Forks and other items of cutlery.

Again, you never know when you might need an emergency spoon in a lunch meeting or for emergency medical administration and you will be the go-to person for any sort of practical problem. Like the Brownies you are always prepared. Similarly, you may find the odd tool in your bag. This may appear slightly strange to office colleagues, but the odd screwdriver or indeed hammer may be right at the bottom corner of your bag, a remembrance of when you had to prize open the car/front door/window because someone shut them with the key inside thinking it was a great fun addition to the school run. Beware: if you work in a high security location or have to go to meetings in such, said tools could be seen as slightly suspicious so check your bag beforehand.

6. Nappies.

Even though your kids no longer need them, they can come in very handy for any task requiring lots of absorbence. A highly versatile and handy item.

7. Broken biscuits/emergency snacks, possibly wrapped in foil.

Just in case you get stuck in a 10-hour traffic jam or in a desert/up a mountain with no access whatsoever to food. A symbol, if ever there was one, of just how good you are at forward planning, even though it is a skill only learnt through hard toil and tears.

8. Lists and lists of lists.

Christmas lists mixed with work to do lists, itemising absolutely everything you need to remember. These lists are like a reading of your short-term memory because you know that your short-term memory will forget them unless you write them down immediately. Despite the advent of technology the act of writing stuff down makes it so much likelier that stuff will move from pending to active.

9. Medicine

Odd combinations of medicine, including Calpol and Nurofen sachets, some of which have leaked and are suitably sticky round the edges. They have probably stuck to the lists and the nappy. You are clearly the ideal candidate to be first aider at work.

10. Plastic toys

Toys from fast food outlets, assorted items from nature [rocks, leaves, flowers etc] and old phones which don’t work, but which you are keeping in the hopes of running into someone who understands them. Possibly someone at work. At least if anyone is bored during a dull moment in the office, you will be able to entertain them with a couple of plastic minions. Not only are you prepared for all things, but you are also first in line for entertainment officer. What would your work do without you?

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