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  • Ali Bair

Heart as Full as a Laundry Basket

It’s 10 a.m. Dishes both wait to be put away and to be washed. There’s a clean load of laundry in the dryer and a basket full of clothes still waiting to be folded. My baby just fell asleep for his first of two naps for the day. Do I clean, or relax? I feel as though I’ve accomplished very little considering the things yet to be done. This morning as I was walking home from the park, I made a mental tally of all the things that I did complete before 10 a.m., and I exhaled a contented sigh. I’m doing alright, I tell myself.


I woke up at 7AM and got Benjamin out of bed. I changed his diaper then set him on the floor with toys while I prepared blueberry banana pancakes for him while also unloading last night’s load of dishes. I reloaded it while he ate. I poured my first cup of coffee and ate breakfast that hubby left for me before going to work. While Benjamin ate, I read two chapters of Genesis with one more to go (I’m reading the bible in a year). 

 

I cleaned Benjamin’s hands of peanut butter and yogurt, then we went downstairs. He was in one arm(let’s not forget he is 25 lbs), and his laundry basket in the other mixed with both of our clothing. People warn you about a lot of things of what it’s like being a a mom, but no one ever warned me of the things I would do one-handed. We came back upstairs and with him still straddled against my left hip, and I loaded the washer. Then, we both sat in his room and played with blocks together while blowing raspberries back and forth at each other. After a while, I set him in his crib, close enough to grab the bars to hold himself up; a new unlocked achievement for him.

 

Topo hadn’t been exercised yesterday, so we loaded up with the stroller and headed to the park where she got to run free while Benjamin giggled at her zoomies. 

 

We came back, and I ran downstairs to switch the laundry from the washer to the dryer. I glance over at the full laundry basket taunting me. I added to the grocery list that we will both go and get later. I nursed him to sleep, and now he’s napping. I have about an hour to myself. What shall I do? Sometimes I clean, but sometimes my energy is low, and I read instead. This morning, I’m writing this.

 

Being a mother is the most beautiful and selfless thing I have ever accomplished. I love it more than words can express and yet the same time, my body and soul are exhausted. It’s the best kind of exhaustion, because when I see his smile or hear his giggle, I know that there is nothing else I’d rather be doing. Do I miss wandering deep into the forest by myself? Sure. We still get out. Just not as much. Do I miss multiple baths a week, reading until my fingers and toes are pruned? Sure. I still take baths; I just cherish their seldom occurrences now. Do I miss going to a coffee shop to write nearly every day? Sure. Do I miss being able to leave the house at night on a whim? Sure. I still get out, but it just takes coordination. Do I miss going to the movies with my husband? Sure. We’ve gone to one since having Benjamin, and we’re both more than okay with that.

 

Would I trade a day like this? Not for even for a moment. This selfless act of giving my heart to another developing human is the most precious thing I could have ever asked for, and I love being a mother. It’s hard and it’s the most beautiful thing I have ever experienced. I love it so, so much.

 

My heart is as full as my laundry basket, and I am A-OK with that. There will always be a full laundry basket, but there won’t always be a time and space for blowing raspberries back and forth. I’d rather prioritize laughter while he’s little than check off each to-do list item that I won’t care about when I’m eighty-three.

 

If you’re feeling discouraged today, write a list of the things you HAVE done instead of only seeing the things you haven’t, even if they sound silly. I find myself needing to do this often. And don’t forget to take a moment and do something that fills your cup. Never mind the to-do list for a moment. Here’s my list before 10 a.m.

 

-changed and fed Benjamin

-gave Benjamin solo play time

-unloaded and loaded dishwasher

-ate and hydrated myself

-read three chapters of Genesis(and listened to the Bible Recap podcast to follow)

-walked to the park where Benjamin swung, and Topo ran

-texted my husband that I love him and I feel blessed to have him in our lives

-blew raspberries with Ben

-built block towers and knocked them down

-completed our grocery list for later

-helped Benjamin practice pulling up from sitting to stand

-nursed Benjamin to sleep for his first nap

 

There’s so much to do yet so much laughter to be had. I’d rather focus on the latter of the two.

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