How many bags do you carry on the daily, mama?
Just your purse? Or maybe your purse and your laptop bag? Purse, laptop bag, lunch bag, tote or messenger bag for “other shit”?
What do you have in all of those bags? Makeup? Books? Notebooks? An “on-the-go” office? First aid supplies? Snacks? Stuff for your side-gig so you can work on it when you have a free moment? Bills?
There’s a reason I’m asking...I had a very enlightening experience many years ago and it’s always stuck with me, but it REALLY strikes me when people mention how few bags I carry (either compared to a lifetime ago, or even compared to other women). And this nasty habit crept back in not too long ago...but I caught it before it really got out of hand this time.
Before we go any further…
If you’re new here, WELCOME! I’m glad you found me! Once you get to the end of this post, scroll back up and check out this other post I’ve linked to...I think you may like it!
Alright...so let’s get back to the topic at hand.
What’s in it? Do you carry a small cross-body purse so that you can only carry a couple necessities? Or do you carry a big ol’ tote complete with three meals, clothes for two days, every bill that you’ve paid recently, along with every bill that’s due soon, plus lotion, perfume, makeup, hair brushes, maybe even nail polish, one or two pairs of shoes, your laptop, a notebook, maybe a book to read, a notebook or two...you know...to keep all that other shit organized…
What else do you carry?
Pretty common these days, but what’s in there? Just your laptop? Maybe a mouse because...that damned eraser mouse and touchpad mouse drive you freaking BONKERS!! What else do you throw in there? Files you have to look at (or, let’s be honest...that you were supposed to look at two weeks ago and can’t get to because of all these damned meetings)? Or the open enrollment paperwork that’s been in there since October and you still haven’t taken it out to file it at home?
Pretty self explanatory...or, do you throw a bunch of “just in case” shit in there too? Deodorant, dry shampoo, another hair brush, a headband, running shoes AND cross-training shoes, t-shirt, tank top AND hoodie? Long leggings and capri? Arm band for your phone and a belt, just in case you don’t feel like the arm band today? Ear buds AND headphones? Seriously...look at what’s in that bag.
Well, you’re eating healthy and you want to make sure you have something that you like quickly available just in case that one coworker brings in those donuts or bagel from that place down the street that’s freaking amazing. You have your shaker cup prepped in there, a couple of snacks, your lunch...and a little extra. Plus you have that coffee mug that you love, but you never just leave at the office for some reason.
Then...the big bag
What’s in there? Stuff for your side gig? Notes from that last meeting where they told you the latest and greatest way to market to your audience? You know, the notes you have to review again because you weren’t fully paying attention during that last call. Business cards...yours and others you’ve collected at that last networking event. Catalogs...you always have to have extra catalogs, what if your company comes up in a conversation? You NEED to have info on hand to whip out at a moment’s notice. Oh, and don’t forget the Amazon return you need to take to that store that has the locker and the mail that you forgot to put in the mailbox at home and you said you’d swing by the post office on your way to work.
Do you carry all of these? Or some combination of these? Post a pic on the socials and tag me @natalieihde, let me know how many bags you carry.
Mama...what the fresh hell are you doing with all this shit? Why are you carrying around 95% of this??
Even if it’s not exactly this...you have some version of “a shit ton” of stuff you carry around. I know you do...we all do at some point (or at multiple points) in our lives.
Let me give you a little background
I was in my mid-twenties, married, no kids, two dogs and a cat, a good job, and a side gig.
I loved my job and I loved my side gig - I was just starting out and it wasn’t bringing in a ton of money yet, but I worked on it every chance I got.
We were behind on bills because my, (now ex) husband, had been out of work for quite some time. We were using credit cards like mad to maintain the lifestyle we had created and bills were pouring in.
All the while, with unemployment bringing in a fraction of what his paycheck was, and to avoid arguments, I never disagreed with going out to eat, buying a new video game, having people over for dinner (take out, of course..because why would we use the $300 in groceries we just bought?! DUH...).
I resented him for not working; for gaming while telling me he was looking for work. So I SPENT. When I say I spent, I mean...Starbucks three times a day (some of which I’d buy for others and tell them not to worry about paying me back) and three trips to Target each week, with each total at $200 or more. Like...this is NO EXAGGERATION. When I think about the money I spent and what I spent it on, it makes me want to vomit.
At first, I only carried a purse - relatively fashionable but not too expensive...I liked purses, so I didn’t spent a whole lot on them just so I could have multiple and change them out whenever I felt like. But these weren’t small purses.
Usually, hobo style bags, where I could keep my wallet, a hair brush, hairspray, a “travel” (ha!) makeup bag, perfume, hand lotion, cigarettes, lighter, spare lighter, pictures. Anything anyone could have wanted was in my purse; my bag was the equivalent of the bag in Mary Poppins.
Then I would carry a shoulder bag...what was in it? A notebook or two or three with different stories/books I was writing...had to carry them all, I never knew what mood would strike and I’d have the urge to pour my heart out into another story. I was carrying all the bills...I had to make phone calls to defer payments, negotiate a lower bill for this month, do all kinds of “borrow from Peter to pay Paul” in order for our finances not to go down the toilet. Plus...these people had my work number as my primary daytime number, so I had to have all the information there in case I got a call at work. The stack of bills got bigger and bigger, and the bag got heavier and heavier.
I carried my messenger bag that had all my side gig supplies in it. Catalogs (roughly twenty of each, two or three volumes at a time...so between 40-60 catalogs), along with bags, samples, notes from the last meeting, a special planner just for my contacts for my customers. I would stuff the bags with catalogs and samples on my lunch so that I could “toss” on my route home and try to get new customers.
Then, I carried all my drinks/cups. So, on top of all of of that shit, I had a bottle of pop, a cup of water, my travel coffee cup, and my Starbucks that I was so well known for.
Now, I didn’t make the connection right away...but after a little while, I figured something out. What was it??
The shittier I felt…
The more shit I insisted on carrying with me
The more shit I carried with me… The shittier I felt
It really was a vicious cycle that lead down a very slippery path of being reactionary, overly-emotional, crabby, depressed, anxious.
The anxiety increased, the panic attacks started, I was told I was crazy because there was no reason for me to be feeling this way.
But there was…
I felt like I had to take on the world. I felt like I had to handle everything, for myself and for everyone else.
I never took a break from any of it, it was all on my mind all the time.
I slept 3-4 hours a night because if I didn’t keep going to “handle it” all the balls I was juggling would come crashing down.
Let me tell you something
Doing this shit doesn’t work - it makes things worse.
Carrying everything with you (emotionally, mentally, physically) doesn’t pay off.
When you don’t take time for yourself, when you don’t tell other people “no”, when you don’t set boundaries, and when you don’t share the household responsibilities, whether that’s finances, family, pets, cooking, cleaning, or laundry, you are going to drive yourself - quite literally - crazy.
When you don’t admit you need help with some of the things on your plate, you’re going to burn out - or spin out of control. Neither of which you want to do.
So, what am I telling you to do?
I really hope you got something out of this.
Just thinking about how many bags I used to carry makes my muscles tense up, so I hope you can reduce the amount you carry - physically and emotionally - after reading this.
If you’re up for it, take a before and after pic of how many bags you carry each day and tag me on Facebook and Instagram...I’d love to see your progress and hear your story!
If you have any thoughts on this topic, I’d love to hear them! Comment below or reach out on the socials!
I’ll see ya’ next week, mama!!
Hey, I'm Natalie and I'm an author, a wife, and mom of two kids and two dogs.
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