Trash and treasure: do you have a 'mum' drawer in your bedroom?

Photo: iStock
Photo: iStock 

There are five things in my bedside drawer that immediately identify me as a mother - old pregnancy tests, my kids' teeth, chocolate, homemade cards and out-of-date vouchers. 

There are also 400 hair ties, way too many lolly wrappers, three unread books, a dozen lip glosses and an empty notebook titled Hopes and Dreams.

My bedside drawer is both a museum of mum life and a reminder of all the things I never get around to doing for myself.

Recently, I attempted to clean it out. I waited until I was alone, tipped all the stuff in the drawer onto my bed, rummaged through the contents and reminisced. 

As I cleaned out my drawer, I found old photographs and letters from my kids. There were also menus for breakfast in bed and hand written notes. The birthday cards were adorable and it was wonderful looking at the progression of their writing and drawing over the years.

I also found some of my kids' baby teeth. I don't have all of their old teeth, just a few, but I have no idea what to do with them. Do I just throw them in the bin? It seems a little unemotional throwing their teeth out with last night's dinner scraps, but I probably should because they're so gross.

Speaking of gross, my drawer also holds the pregnancy tests of each of my three children. They have now moved with me to three different homes. 

I keep them close because every time I see them they make me so happy. They bring back such beautiful memories of the moment we discovered we were bringing new life into the world. Each one signifies such a joyous time in my life, so I always put them on the 'keep' pile.

While I was deciding what to chuck out and what to pop back into my drawer, I ate all the chocolate and lollies I'd 'hidden' in my bedside table from my kids and husband. Even though they know where my 'not-so-secret' treat stash is, they also know it's not worth the trouble stealing from my drawer. 

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But one of the best parts of cleaning out my mum drawer was finding all the vouchers from birthday and Mother's Day that I'd forgotten about. It was awesome – just like Christmas morning. Luckily, they weren't all expired and I promised myself I'd make the time to use them, but I know I probably won't because I'm too busy doing other things like cleaning, working or driving my kids around. 

Those gifts are given to parents with so much love and good intentions, but are the trickiest to cash-in. I'm just treading water getting what needs to be done, let alone going to the beautician for some pampering.

The unused vouchers were much like the two journals that sat empty in my drawer that I've never filled out or the self-help, inspirational novels that sit beside them unread. I also ignore them. Who has time for that stuff? I certainly don't. They're just a reminder that mums are pulled in way too many directions to 'have it all'. 

Going through all my personal items, flooded with memories and confirmation of how fast time flies, I was reminded to stop ignoring my needs. That while motherhood was all consuming, I too am a person with my own identity. I'm more than what's crammed into a single drawer.

Once I finished cleaning, I popped my drawer back in my bedside table and told myself to loosen my ridiculously high expectations. I ate more chocolate, got my journal out and wrote 'book massage' because it's time I put myself first. 

Weeks have past and I still haven't booked the massage.