Do you hear that highly annoying song from Dora in your head yet?
“Backpack, Backpack! Backpack, Backpack!
On The Backpack Loaded Up With Things And Knickknack’s Too
Anything That You Might Need I Got Inside For You
Backpack, Backpack! Backpack, Backpack! Yeah!!”
careful, it gets STUCK in your head.
It’s only mid July and the stores and catalogs are already shoving Back to School products down our throats, sending waves of terror to our children and our wallet. One catalog already had Halloween costumes. People, please. Let me enjoy us being in our jammies till noon and not packing lunches. In fact, now that I think about it, I don’t know that I even wiped out the lunch boxes from my kids’ last day of school, which means they are probably so gross I will probably throw them away. Add that to my list of new things to purchase for fall. Thank you Pottery Barn Kids. You suck my funds dry by brainwashing me into thinking I have failed as a mom if my kid’s backpack isn’t new, clean and personalized. I have a friend who throws the catalog out as soon as she gets it. She admits that the perfection of it all depresses her and sets the bar way too high for real life. Amen Sistah.
No, pottery barn, free shipping does not cushion the blow of the prices, but thanks for trying.
So cheapen out on your kids and treat yourself to something that you will love each and every school year. The backpack for grownups. No it is not exactly being featured in the fall pages of Vogue but I promise you will use it. I fought buying one for so long but I can give you a short list of all the times I wish I had one. I love a cross body bag for when it is just me or it is a short trip. But more than not I am packing for 3 or 4.
1. Field Trips
This is not a time to bring your new Louis Vuitton. Kids will sneeze on it, maybe even throw up on it on the bus ride. You will need your hands free to run after kids whose names you have already forgotten but have been assigned to you for the next 4 hours. I’ve been there. (You can read about it here) Good Luck.
2. Disney World
My shoulders ached after carrying an oversize bag containing sunscreen, layers for ever member of my family, maps, sanitizer, sunglasses, etc. Not to mention smuggling in our own water to avoid buying $8 bottles of the same kind inside the park. Also included in this category is any type of amusement park, fair and street festival. Basically anywhere that Mom is the pack mule of the family essentials. And then God forbid your hubby asked to put his keys in there too. That is when I usually shoot lasers out of my eyes.
3. The Movies
Again, everybody needs an extra layer of clothing because it may be 20 degrees below freezing inside or it may not be. If your children are like mine they will want their sweatshirts on then off, then on again, then off. And no they will not want to hold them themselves. This is another place where I try to smuggle in as much as I can from home. I know it sounds cheap but the movies are not. $40 for tickets and another $20 on food and drink? No, I want to save that $20 for the bottle of wine I will need to make my head stop ringing from the 3D movie.
4.Concerts, Sporting Events.
These places all require me to have my hands open and free to hang on to my children with one hand and preferably an adult beverage in the other. They are places where under no circumstances do I want my handbag touching the ground. Ever. Especially in the bathroom. Dr. Oz did a special one time on Oprah where he swabbed what was on the bottom of a women’s purse. Oh God was it gross. Really, really, gross. And then we all bring them in the house and put them on our kitchen counters, not realizing what we are bringing in. Ew.
5. Miscellaneous family excursions including, but not limited to…Mini Golf, Arcades, Bike Rides, etc.
With the deluge of rain we have had lately our beach trips required indoor activities. At the arcade I looked like a diva and a fool with my oversize bag, having to drag it up and down off of my shoulder so I can play skeeball. I also realized that I am pathetically old and out of shape. My shoulder hurt the next day from said skeeball, and a too vigorous game of air hockey. But I did need a bag to hold all of the kids tickets, tokens, treasures and of course copious amounts of hand sanitizer. And of course I need my camera to capture moments where my mom was possibly having more fun than the rest of us.
So if I have maybe convinced you as to why you need a back pack here are some stylish options. You can click on any pick for links to shop.
Longchamp is my fav. You can fold it up into a tiny square if you don’t need it. And you can monogram it. And it is French so the chic factor is practically built-in.
Beachy, casual, neutral, this one from ShopBop is pretty perfect.
Sleek, sophisticated, and under $60, by Akira
An investment, but a perfect year round neutral.
Super fun. Super cute.
Need something a little more rugged and sporty? This bag is a great price, and for a great cause.
The FEED collaboration with Target is created by Lauren Bush. You can read more about it here. When you buy this bag you are paying for 28 meals for people affected by hunger in our country.
Yes, this bag from The Row is a fantasy, but…
… if I calculate the fact that each of kids needs a new backpack what feels like every year, so $50 x 2 children x 12 years of schooling = okay still not enough to justify it. Never mind.
*Insider Tip –
Recently I helped one of my clients pack for a 2 week trip in Europe. She was going on a tour package her itinerary included everything from dining in France to hiking in Germany. She could only take one suitcase. As we were packing we came down to what she would be wearing on the plane. A backpack was determined to be the perfect solution. But being that we had worked so hard on making her whole wardrobe look less American (no clunky sneakers and printed t’s) and more European (sleek, easy and sophisticated), there was no way we were going to mess it up with just any old backpack. With only hours left until she was to board her flight I pulled the Nordstrom website up on my Ipad. The Longchamp bag was the perfect solution. We called ahead to the store and they pulled aside the bag and even rang up the sale over the phone. She only had to stop in on her way to the airport and grab it and go. The moral to this story is don’t be afraid to call ahead and ask for help. All stores, big and little, should offer you the best possible customer service. If they don’t then take your money to somewhere that will. Calling ahead saved my client precious time in running around finding what she needed. Now if I just could have fit in that backpack and gone with her….
image via Pinterest
Thanks for reading and if your are still singing the Dora backpack song, I’m sorry.