What's In My Bag?

Do you have too much stuff? Is clutter and your to-do list overwhelming your life? Do you want to get organized and on track? 

 I can’t help. 

 This is not that blog post. It’s a blog post about what to do when you are avoiding those types of terrible things. 

 So, here’s what you do. First,  I need to take you back to 2004. When I had just graduated college and had a really difficult life of living on a beach house in Marshfield with my now-husband and friends. I did work fulltime, but I also spent a lot of time on the beach. Alone. With US Weekly. In a two-piece bathing suit. I even had a full lounge chair. Why sit when you can lay? It was glorious soft, mesh material – not too heavy. My husband would carry that baby down over the rocky jetty for me and bring me iced coffee before he went to run errands. We would likely see each other in a few hours to take a nap. I know, I know. I hate her, too. 

 But my point is that perusing US Weekly every week was very important. There was an especially compelling celebrity feature – “What’s In My Bag.” Truth be told – I did have to check and it see if this still exists (it does)  because it’s been a while (almost 11 years. My olderst is almost 11) since I’ve examined the contents of a celebrity bag. You know – things like silky eye masks for planes, their own brands of lip gloss or their favorite book they happen to happen carry everywhere. Hey, I am not hating. I would spend my abundant free time reading about this type of thing. 

 The other night, my husband asked my son to grab keys from my purse. I watched as he gingerly put hand inside the back and winced. “I think there is something sticky in here,” he said, eyeing me judgmentally. 

 “Mama’s purse is always scary,” my husband responded quickly. 

 No. They. Didn’t. 

 Listen, I am not ashamed, boys. I will spill those contents and show the world. Or the few Mama Beasts who read this blog. In fact, instead of doing your laundry, I’m going to break it down US WEEKLY style. 

 Antoinette Hemphill: What’s in My Bag? 


Antoinette Hemphill is a mom, Mama Beast, and keeping her kids alive is generally her top priority. This includes making sure there’s always snacks and electronics when they’re on the go. Or whenever, really. Here’s what else she totes in her Baggallini.

So Sweet

I always have some kind of melted or frozen candy (season dependent, but always disgusting) in the bottom of my bag. It could be my kids asked me to hold something and I tried not to eat it, or they didn’t like something, so you obviously stick partially chewed candy back in your mother’s bag. Sometimes, it can be salty! Like these sunflower seeds from..baseball season? Yes, it’s March. So, last baseball season. Correct.


One of a Pair 

Mitten, sock (in this specific case, it’s an Elf on the Shelf sock), air bud. If it comes in a pair, I always have one in my bag. I also find it helpful to always have one part of a charger in there, too. 


Basically a celeb

I always carry my Beauty Counter lip gloss in “poppy.” And one day, I am going to wear it. And a sensible 100-calorie snack pack. That is absolutely not just what’s leftover. 



I like to carry little trinkets representing fun memories – a ticket stub to How the Grinch Stole Christmas (this was the weekend I almost broke a rib coughing and everyone got strep! Ah, the holidays) and a tampon with a cardboard applicator, fresh out of the bathroom from Great Wolf Lodge. If your period is going to surprise you, it’s going to be when you are at Great Wolf Lodge in a Tankini and half your family has the stomach bug. (Don’t ever stay in room 404). 


Anti-Anxiety Meds 

See above memories (or read my story

Hello Brilliant Ideas

I always have cute pens ready for when exciting ideas or fun class plans strike me. Just kidding! This is really odd, actually. I have no idea why there are pens. They’re likely “borrowed.” But I do keep brilliant ideas in my head. 


So, if you’re looking to avoid being productive, I definitely recommend dumping out those bags and exploring the glory that is peek into your life . If it feels a little sticky and disjointed – I would argue you are living it right. And to my slightly horrified 2004 beach sloth self – please note there were some cute sunglasses in there. 


What’s in YOUR bag? 

C U Next Tuesday -- but not in 2019

Eight. I haven’t worked out in eight weeks.

Not exactly a beastly end to 2018. On paper, it’s all perfectly reasonable. I sprained my ankle during a half-marathon the last weekend of October during a Nor’easter. Damn those many miles of puddle jumping. It was one painful week, followed by three limp-filled weeks in a brace. With an awesome team and lots of Motrin, we managed to get through the first half our session at Mama Beasts. Then, a cold struck. But that turned into an epic cough, apparent asthmatic reaction (especially during movement), three trips to urgent care, and one shiny new inhaler.  All to say, I could barely give verbal directions during class without coughing and wheezing – never mind run or workout on my own. Add in some sweet strep throat, sick kids, a husband awaiting back surgery, and this Mama Beast was a de-conditioned, grumpy Grinch with a Robitussin problem. Basically - it was a pretty legitimate rough two months, and I know there wasn’t much I could do about it. 

But that damn C U Next Tuesday, who lives in my head. 

I know, I know. When my grandmother demanded I get back to writing, she probably wasn’t envisioning me busting out C U Next Tuesday in my first blog. I’ve never used that word in my outside life, and I know it induces cringes and offense. But this voice. This inner critic. This judge-y joy stealer. This bitch who lurks around even when things are going well and loves to chime in when they’re not. What can I say? She’s a real cunt. 

She’s obsessed with numbers. Eight. You haven’t worked out for eight weeks. What’s wrong with you? It’s a sprain; not broken. It’s a cough; not pneumonia. Do you know how much momentum your losing? Say bye-bye to THREE years of cardio stamina. Say hello to TEN pounds. Those size TWOS don’t fit any more. Are you working your way out of the FOURS now? Oh, and now you’re eating like shit, too. You’re a real sham. 

 ENOUGH, I interrupt. As I’ve gotten older, I have learned to not always take it. Sometimes, I talk right back.  I’m sick;  I’m run-down; and I won’t be stepping on the scale any time soon. I’m not scared of or defined by ten pounds. Or 20. Or any number. And by the way, bitch, here are some numbers for you. FOUR half-marathons in TWO years. DOZENS of other races. While running ONE business. With FOUR locations. While raising THREE kids. 

That feels good. But oh, C U Next Tuesday has a lot of opinions about the kids. She loves to whisper these musings after particularly rough parenting days. You have no patience. Way to yell at a three-year-old! They don’t read enough. The teacher said he seems sad. You’re missing something. How can you not know?!  You use screen time when you can’t deal with them. Lazzzzzzy. When are you going to start cooking real dinners? Their eating habits frustrate you - but they’re your fault! She can really rattle them off, depending on the day. They can be specific or once in a while, she just goes for generalized, but sharp dagger – you’re not a good mother. Sometimes, I am strong enough to overturn that outright lie on my own. That’s right - C U Next Tuesday is a liar. The problem is, she’s sneaky. She knows me too well. When she’s there — instead of a voice of confidence and reassurance — I waiver. And at my worst moments, I accept that she’s right.

When the frat house is finally quiet, I sometimes sneak into the boy’s room and I see my rebuttal. Sleeping, happy, growing boys, who are loved and supported in a way that makes me bone tired at the end of the day. I hear their light breaths and I can easily think of a moment from the day with them that makes me smile. A moment they were kind or funny, innocent or joyful. Or showed their love for me in a way that only goofy, awkward 8 and 10-year-old boys can. Maybe, there’s a 50 other moments during the day that were hard, but there was that one, too. I am doing something right.

I climb upstairs to my room – where my youngest is taking up my space in the bed. Another sweet boy who just needs his Mama a little bit more, a little bit longer. That’s what I tell myself as I struggle to find a few inches of the bed. Then, I’ll eventually pass out after running over endless concerns about each kid and things I will do for them the next morning. I always go to sleep wanting to do better the next day. Joey’s little snores help lull to me sleep. I awake to a big smile and tight hug. Who does this C U Next Tuesday think she is? 

 So, here comes the New Year. I would like to say that C U Next Tuesday will not be part of my 2019. But I know that’s not realistic. There’s still more work to be done. She’ll be around, but certainly not as loud as she once was. She was the most pronounced voice (and sadly, listened to) during my first years of being a mother and my first year of starting Mama Beasts. In a way, this makes me angry. Her criticism tainted times that should have been more joyful and pride-filled. I am grateful that I also now possess a more honest voice. One that reminds me of a kind friend who wants me to succeed – not a lurking critic waiting for me to fail.  That voice undoubtedly developed because of the people I have surrounded myself with over the last few years. And I am forever grateful for their impact on my internal dialogue.

Over the years, I have made resolutions that were about pleasing the C U Next Tuesday, versus things that will truly make me happy and healthy. Restrictions. Taking things away. Doing things I don’t enjoy to get a result or version of myself that I should want. Too many numbers; too much pressure; and too little living.

As the C U Next Tuesday felt more distant in recent years (again — age and those people who surround me), I focused on resolutions or habits and changes that excited me – running goals, travel plans, goals for my business, and new ways to help my tribe. This year, I am not even working on a “fitness” resolution. (Don’t worry, the C U Next Tuesday has already questioned how can I be in the business of health and not have one?) ENOUGH. I am writing again. Something, I used do quite frequently. Something I studied. Something I loved. Something that once again the SYNT almost squashed. You don’t do that any more. You don’t have anything to add to the conversations out there. It’s unproductive. It’s wasteful. It’s selfish. Instead of writing about your kids, spend more time with them.

ENOUGH. I told you this bitch was relentless. For 2019, I win. I choose a resolution simply because I love it. I am writing again. This is the start. My happiness isn’t selfish. My talent is not wasteful. I have plenty to give and say. Just not to her.

Anyone else got a noisy C U Next Tuesday in their life? How do you shut her down?