What my mom's purse taught me about self-care

It seems like one of the marks of motherhood is to carry around a large bag anywhere and everywhere you go. This bag is very different from the kind a tita carries because it contains all the things a parent needs to stay sane while out with her kids. For as long as I can remember, my mom carried such a bag. Even today, she prides herself for being a Girl Scout who is "laging handa" with a treasure trove of hygiene basics, kikay kits, and multi-tools tucked into her giant purse. Honestly, I hated digging through her purse when she'd ask me to find something because there was just SO MUCH STUFF but it also gave me my first ever lessons in self-care. 


Pay attention to the details. 

Putting on makeup is a given but my mom has always been extra. She grew up in the 70s so curls were her thing for the longest time. While she no longer bothers with sleeping in curlers, she's still particular with her hair and nails. She loves toting compact hair brushes like this one from Wet Brush (P899) because they don't take up much space, and has recently taken to applying these niftily-packaged hair treatments in capsules (Ellips, P45 for 6 capsules). If she doesn't have time for a manicure, nail buffing (P54) while stuck in traffic is a productive way to pass the time.

Develop good beauty habits.

A well made-up face and styled hair can only go so far into getting one to look good. It's important to invest in habits that create long-term benefits. Pack some eye cream (P59) to reapply through the day, and salve dry patches with moisturizer (P74). My mom would also decant her favorite perfume into an atomizer - the scent not only made her smell good, but it also lifted her mood. Having a signature scent is also important if you're keen on standing out and making a lasting impression on the people you meet.

You're never fully dressed without a clean, minty-fresh smile.

My mom first met my dad after eating a meal that was heavy on garlic. While he was fortunately not turned off, she's been conscious about her breath ever since. She always keeps some kind of breath freshener in her purse, her fave being mint strips (P59) because they work quickly and don't need to be chewed. Having food stuck between your teeth is also pretty embarrassing so an interdental brush (P79 for 5 brushes) is a must. She made sure to get me plenty of these when I had braces on!

Don't forget to stay fresh down there!

Self-care has so often revolved around skincare routines and at-home spa treatments that we may forget other parts of our bodies that need looking after, too. Apart from tampons (P280), pantyliners (P39), and feminine wipes (P40), Mom usually packs some clean underwear, just in case. It's especially useful for these hot summer days, because sitting around in sweat-soaked underwear is not fun and can actually raise your chances of getting an irritation.


Know your body's limits.

Like my mom, I have allergies to things like dust, seafood, and my own sweat (yes, a derma confirmed this) so it's literally a life-saving habit to always carry medicine. She would also have analgesics and pain-killers so that we had immediate access to treatment when the need arises. Because she's Mom, she'd also pack along vitamins in case we forgot to take some before leaving home. Alcohol is better than hand sanitizers because it can also be used for cuts and other small wounds. And if you're wearing out new shoes for the first time, better have bandages in case they cut into your Achilles' heel.

The theme for my mom's purse is to always be prepared for whatever life throws at you. It's curated to helps you to navigate life with confidence, but as we all know, it's impossible to be ready for everything. For that, I have to thank my mom for teaching me not to panic, to think fast and act fast, to stay graceful even under pressure, and above all, to have the courage to face anything. I live my life trying to be as strong and brave as she is, and it helps me to have a strong sense of self-worth. That, to me, is the best kind of self-care.

Happy Mother's Day!