Parenting Confession time: Please don’t let your child rummage in my handbag!

Sometimes I blog about things, that seem to me like a sort of parenting confession session. This blog post is one of those!


I had an interesting conversation, with a mother, at a toddler group that Small Boy and I attend, occasionally. (Not the one I work at) My bag, was on the floor, under a chair, and Small Boy was playing happily, and I was chatting a friend, who is a parent, and a child-minder. A small child, aged about 18 months old, wandered across, and sat down on the floor next to us. I said hello to her, and offered her a toy, I had found on the chair, and then carried on chatting. I then noticed she was trying to get into my bag. I gently removed the bag, and put it on the chair, which of course, the little girl didn’t like, and she started to cry. I felt a bit mean, that I had made her cry, and looked about for her mother. She came across, and I explained that I had moved my bag, out of her reach, and that she was a bit upset. The mother was semi apologetic, but told me “oh, she likes handbags, I let her play with mine, all the time, she probably didn’t mean any harm”. I replied, “well, I’ve got paracetamol, hand santisier and migraine tablets in there, and I wouldn’t want her to get hold of any of those things”. She looked at me a bit oddly and wandered off. My friend and I then had a brief conversation about not letting our kids play in our bags, and then we got dragged into making pasta necklaces by our children.

Afterwards, I was thinking about it, and I realised that I don’t like anyone, rummaging in my bag, my own children are not allowed to play with it’s contents, I even prefer LSH not to go into it, unless he asks. I do let Big Girl get things out, or I may ask her to go and find something for me, but as a rule, my bag is off limits. For me it is two fold. As a parent, I don’t get a lot of private space, and my handbag is one space that I regard as mine, and I object to little fingers fiddling away with my things. Also, as I said above, I keep items that would not be safe, in the hands of small children. My emergency migraine medication or some paracetamol, if ingested by a small, curious child, could be serious, if not fatal. My children know my bag is off limits, and very rarely will even try to explore it’s contents. I learned the hard way, that my bag was not a good toy activity for my children, when in a busy restaurant, having a meal with a friend, who didn’t have children, and was being very polite and tolerant of my then 2 year old Small Girl, (who was a bit bored, after waiting a long time for her food, then not wanting to be confined in a highchair, and had discarded all the toys and child friendly items I had brought with me to entertain her) I gave her my handbag, removed the non safe items (pain killers etc.) and let her merrily empty it’s contents about. She had great fun, and it kept her happy and amused for a good 20 minutes, while we ate, but then when we had to pack up to leave, I realised that not only had she smashed my favourite lipstick, but had posted my travel card through a slot in the floor, next to the table, and we couldn’t retrieve it. This was when travel cards were paper, and not registered online, so basically, I lost a months worth of travel fare, in one fell swoop. After that, I swore that my children would not play with my handbag, or it’s contents and I have stuck to that, ever since.

I have, on several occasions, had to ask friends to not let their children rummage in my bag, when they have come across it, and have gently extracted my bag, from curious little fingers. It often surprises me, that it is ok to let children ferret about in other peoples possessions. I sometimes feel like a control freak, and of course, if you as a parent, are happy to let your child play with the contents of your bag, then that’s not my problem, but I don’t feel I should have to allow it myself.

I did ask about how people felt about this, on my blog’s Facebook page, and on Facebook, and got mixed responses, some agree with me, that handbags are personal space and off limits, and some admitted they let their children play with their bags. It is of course, a personal choice, and it may be that I am of course, being too strict. I would love to hear what your thoughts are…..?

I’ve also linked this post up with Post, Comment, Love, at Verily Victoria Vocalises. Click on the linky to join in!

Post Comment Love
Posted in Everything else.


  1. I let my younger one open my bag, there is nothing poisonous there or dangerous, and if he makes a mess, then my bag is messy anyway. Not sure I would want someone else’s kids rummaging through it though.

  2. no way would I let my kids play with mine, I have lost my keys enough times myself without letting my kids have access to do my bag to do that for me on an even more regular basis!! not to mention credit cards etc… its not fair on them to let them play with all of that, they can’t understand the importance of it and will end up losing things, like your daughter with the travel card, then i will feel angry with them even though it would have been my own fault for letting them have in the first place. so no, just best avoid altogether. and tbh the mum in the playgroup was a bit rude – have to teach them from the start that you dont just mess around with other people’s things.
    here from #pocolo 🙂

  3. At times when I need to use the great art of distraction parenting method I let Peanut rummage in my bag but….this is where I draw the line – I don’t see why someone else’s child should be going through my stuff – they are strangers after all and I think it is good for the little people to learn early on that some things are off limits 🙂 popping by from #PoCoLo x

  4. As I said on FB – not, no way for me! My handbag is my stuff and not a play area for any kids (mine or others). Too anal??

    • I don’t think so at all, I am very strict about it. I do feel that as parents, we don’t get a lot of private space and my handbag is well out of bounds! 😉

  5. I have always kept my handbag as my space and it’s been off limits. If Grace or Ross ever wanted anything I would always go in there to get it. Not because I have anything to hide but because it is MY personal space. Thank you for linking this to PoCoLo, great discussion piece x

    • Thanks for commenting. It’s interesting, I think a lot of people agree with me, but some don’t. 🙂

  6. I agree with you 100%! My children are not allowed in my purse/diaper bag without permission. We have friends at church who allow their two year old to go through anyone’s handbag that will allow him. I have had to tell him on several occasions that my bag is off limits while his parents just kind of roll their eyes at me. Many of my children’s friends light up when they see my bag because I usually have small toys, games, snacks and anything else I think will keep my children entertained and quiet. Many times they think my bag is a free for all land of happiness but I have to remind them that it is private. The problem is usually the parents that think I “should” supply their children with food and toys when they are around me.

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