I honestly couldn’t decide what to title this post: My Quest for a Mom-Friendly Purse or Ways the Buxton Bag Sucks. It was a toss-up, but I decided my judgment is currently clouded by my disappointment with the Buxton Bag, when the real issue is the lack of great purses for moms.

I have toddler twins and a 5-year-old. I need hands-free first and foremost, and that eliminates about 90 percent of remotely decent bags. I am also an early adopter gadget geeky mom, which means I have a variety of gadgets that need a safe, cozy spot in a purse: iPod, Smartphone, digicam, etc.

Since becoming a mom, I have bought purses. I mean, a lot of purses. I always have such high hopes for them. Then I use them and usually within a day, maybe a week, I hate them. I endure them usually for several months before I resort to trying again.

Then one day I saw the infomercial-esque commercial for the Buxton. It looked so alluring. They were showing like an endless number of things going in and out of the thing. I thought to myself, “I know this is probably a scam… yet I can’t help but wonder if I should get it. I DO have a lot of crap.”

Jump six months later, and I was standing at a Bed, Bath and Beyond store. And there it was. The Buxton. I couldn’t resist the impulse to try it. I even pulled it out of the bag before making my purchase and thought two things: “This looks like a cheap crappy purse,” and “This does NOT look like it can hold a bunch of crap.”

I was right on both points. It barely held my wallet and AT&T Tilt Smartphone at the same time! It does have several pockets, but they are miniscule pockets. For example, I couldn’t dream of getting a gadget in there like an iPod or even a slim digicam. Not unless it was the only thing going in there.

And I’ve had it less than a month, and there are already sections tearing. Probably from my attempt to make more than two things fit inside.

Oh, and the best part? That little cell phone pocket they brag about? I don’t think the stylus for my Smartphone would even fit in there.

So I’ve decided I’m sick of trying purses that are not mom-friendly, only to waste money, waste precious time I don’t have moving crap from purse to purse, and then just be aggravated with it later.

I’m making a call-out to PR people, companies, manufacturers, Etsy crafters, whoever. If you have a purse you think is mom-friendly, contact me and I will test it. If I hate it, I will write about it (sorry, but I’ve got to share!). But if I love it, I will write about it and gush to my mom friends. On several social networks. (Psst: I have a lot of mom friends. I mean, a lot. And most of them have blogs too. Just sayin’.)

Here are my demands of a purse. I would read them closely. These are non-negotiable. For a purse to be mom-friendly, it should be all of these things:

  1. It must be hands free. I have three kids. When they see my hands tied up, they plot against me. Two of them are 2-year-olds. Enough said? I need my hands. I don’t care what makes a purse hands free. It can be a backpack, a messenger bag, and it can float right next to me for all I care. But I need it to be hands free in a comfortable manner (as in, not a back breaker!).
  2. If I have to let go of it or set it down suddenly, and open, it needs to keep all my crap inside. I know this demand probably sounds a little unreasonable, but here’s the thing. Because of said kids above, I often have to put down a purse without forethought and effort to zippers and snaps. Some purses will allow gravity to keep crap down, but some actually have gravity working against you. If you leave your purse open, it WILL dump its contents. I can’t have that.
  3. It must have multiple secure, closable inner pockets and pouches that will hold a variety of gadgets. A mom-friendly purse should be able to hold cell phone (yes, a big one), PDA, iPod, digital camera, maybe a Flip. If these pouches can be padded, all the better. It should also have plenty of room for you to organize checkbook, wallet, keys (how many times must I dig around a stupid purse looking for keys? I want a special pocket easy to get to, but not subject to fall-outs, that holds keys). A purse that is just one bag sack is useless. You can’t find anything in a rush, and moms always rush.
  4. It must be roomy, but not ginormous. I know this is a subjective thing, but size with purses never seems quite right. If it’s huge (and one big glorified tote), it is a back-breaker and you also carry everything but nothing since you can’t access anything. If it’s too small, well, it’s utterly useless.
  5. It must not stain easily. Because let me tell you. Something will get spilled on it.

Beyond that, there are some features that would be nice, but not mandatory:

  1. It should look good. I would love to actually put that in the mandatory list for a mom-friendly purse, but I’m trying to be reasonable here. If it could look great and stylish, that would be an amazing bonus.
  2. It should be manufactured/made/designed by a mom.
  3. It should be reasonably priced (accessible for most moms to buy).
  4. It should be environmentally-friendly. A purse made with recycled materials, for example, would honor a mom’s desire to protect the planet for her own children.

Here’s the totally weird thing about my quest to find the perfect mom-friendly purse: moms are buying a crapload of purses. Aren’t they a major purse demographic? I mean, are they testing these things on any actual moms? I can’t help but wonder.

I’m ready. Do you have a purse that can stand up to a type-A mom’s test?

And if you’re a mom, what annoys you about purses? Have you found the perfect mom-friendly purse? I would love some recommendations! I’m getting desperate here!

Photo of woman with purse, © Ugur Yilmaz.