It was nearing my toddler’s bedtime. I reached up with my half-limp hand and flipped the light switch on as I walked into our bedroom to change into my pajamas (aka, take off my bra, because, who am I kidding, my leggings and shirt were my pajamas and day wear that day).

I reached my arms around backwards, unfastened the clip to my bra, and loosened the reins. You know that magical move, the one where you Houdini-maneuver yourself out of bondage without even lifting your shirt? I did that move.

I’d freed myself in a rather slick fashion and reached up underneath my shirt to grab my underwire, so I could ninja-like whip my lady-cage across the room and into the laundry basket, when I heard a clunk. I looked down at the floor and there, resting at my feet, was a wooden block: a very large and chunky wooden block.

I’m accustomed to finding a cheerio or a puff—or, like the other day when we visited the beach, a small bucketful of sand—in my secret pocket, but I, for the life of me, was baffled that a rather large wooden block had enjoyed a symbiotic relationship with my bosom, unbeknownst to me, for most of the day.

I thought back to when my daughter last played with her blocks, and when last she nursed, to discover that, that thing had been riding shotgun for a good five hours.

At that point, I was ready to conclude one of two things: 1) The girls had shrunk, leaving too many nooks and crannies in the lady-cage or 2) my one-year-old has me so preoccupied that I fail to notice when she buries time capsules while nursing or feel the burrowing of said time capsules after the fact. Both are probably valid conclusions.

I could say that really it’s not the biggest shock, that my body hasn’t been my own since her little embryo nestled in—that my space, my time, and my thoughts have been invaded ever since. But, the truth is, there hasn’t been an invasion. There has been a welcoming.

I’ve welcomed and embraced her—and everything she brings—from the moment she came to be. I’ve welcomed the warm fuzzies her smile brings and the dark circles her sleepless nights create. I’ve welcomed the pain of childbirth, nursing, and biting my bottom lip as she ventures outside of my protective comfort zone.

Isn’t that what we mamas do? We welcome. 

Our hands are full, our purses are full, our mouths are full as we clench some object between our teeth to carry one. more.thing. Our bras might as well be full, too. Though it’s a full our adolescent selves didn’t quite envision.

I once heard a story about a grandma who’d pull everything from a tissue to a tuna sandwich out of her bra and offer it up. It’s stuck with me, especially now that I’m creating my own toy box, refrigerator, and sandbox. Anyone need a bib? Hang on, it’s folded in section 3 of nook number 2. Let me…grunt…errr…get…it…THERE!

Our days are full, our lists are full, and our hearts are full. 

As much as our lives, bodies, space, and time aren’t our own, mama-life wouldn’t be the same any other way. It’d be duller, there’d be less emotion—less to laugh about and to cry about.

I fell asleep that night smirking, giggling inside at all that had become and all I’d become. And when I awoke the next morning, I spotted that chewed up, wooden block in the spot where it had landed on the floor the previous night. I picked it up, tucked it back into my bra, and began again. Just kidding—I didn’t bother with the bra. 

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Holly Mthethwa

Holly Mthethwa is the author of the Christian memoir "Hot Chocolate in June: A True Story of Loss, Love, and Restoration." She hails from the small, Midwestern town of Cozad, Nebraska, but currently resides just outside of Washington, D.C., where she lives an adventure with her husband and daugther. Holly writes regularly about faith, family, and the moments that fish-hook her heart at