The Junk Drawer

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junk drawer
© sayhmog via Canva.com

There is a junk drawer in my kitchen where things go to hide. It is the catch-all from various aspects of our life: stubs of movies seen over the years, single candles unlit from a pack of 10 because my kids aren’t that age yet. There is a box of batteries and I’m not sure which ones are still good; shoved in the back are copies of holiday cards we’ve sent because I feel like I should keep them even though I already have a copy in our memory box. Oh, there is even a rubberband that, for some unknown reason, also has to live there next to the paperclip – which I don’t know the last time I used a paperclip.

Parenthood is like a junk drawer.

It feels like that lately, and as hard as I try, I can’t romanticize it into something it isn’t and make it sound nicer than it is.

As a stay-at-home mom, I am the keeper of all things, right? The schedules, the school forms, the making of lunches and dinners all fall in my wheelhouse. I keep track of the rotation of clothes and the wearing of shoes and ensure that all those items fit and are clean and ready when needed. It falls to me to ensure that we keep the memories saved, that the school photos are ordered, and that candid photos are taken, even if I’m not in them.

Then there is the randomness of it, right? Much like the rubber bands or the paperclips, I also have these one-off moments of suddenly my child not liking a safe food or that now I have to find that one slip of paper handed to me for safekeeping – even though that piece of paper only had a sticker on it; the same sticker of which we have a whole book of in our craft bin. I navigate the ever-shifting politics of birthday parties and extracurriculars and which ones are the best fit for my kids, even though I actually have no idea.

And there, at the very back of the junk drawer of parenthood, there lives the dark place. The dark place of the junk drawer is what we should talk about more. Here are where all my insecurities as a parent go to hide, biding their time until it is most inconvenient for them to slip out and cause a ruckus. These emotions are like that crumpled piece of paper, you know the one that prevents the drawer from fully closing? Anxiety and self-doubt are very much like that piece of paper. I can’t smooth it, I can’t let it all come out, and so, as a result, I shove it until I can’t see it anymore because I don’t have time to worry about myself.

And hard as you try, you can’t help comparing your junk drawer to others. You feel like your junk drawer is messier than the parent next to you or the parent on the screen’s junk drawer. I promise you this: Theirs is just as messy. Their junk drawer has all the same things yours does; it may look different, and maybe they have half-eaten candy instead of a broken keychain. But a junk drawer is a junk drawer.

It is full of snippets of our lives, and while messy, it is also a safe space for seemingly small things.

 

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