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Looking Back: It All Comes Out in the Wash

shutterstock_398146798-2Marilyn Stilley, Tulsa, Oklahoma

Originally published in January/February 1973 issue of La Leche League News

Editor’s Note: The first issue of La Leche League News, the bimonthly publication for members, was published in 1958. The name changed to New Beginnings in 1985. New Beginnings continued to be published until 2014 when it transitioned to its current blog format at www.lllusa.org/blog/.


My fourth is two months old. There are dirty dishes in the sink. I’m beginning to think it’s hopeless! Sunday evening the family wanted to play that new game (“average playtime thirty minutes”). In reckless abandon I joined them for three hours! Monday afternoon one of those wonderful Disney movies was back in town. The children loved it (even the baby). It was worth warmed up leftovers and stacked-up dishes.

But here it is Tuesday. By early afternoon I was ready. Everyone had been dressed, and fed at least twice. The baby was asleep, and I had an hour before I had to start the chicken for dinner. I actually got a pan of soapy water filled with dishes. The next 45 minutes were spent spinning around and around in the kitchen pouring drinks of water, putting together the musical choo-choo, bandaging a bad scratch incurred by a tumbling toddler, looking for the Barbie doll’s missing head, sopping up milk off the ironing board, remembering I hadn’t eaten lunch, and getting a sandwich half eaten and a letter from my sister half read, supervising the picking-up of several thousand spilled Cheerios, getting down the paint box, drawing a sample valentine, putting the diapers in the dryer—by which time the baby was awake and it was time to feed somebody again!

Sometimes I think I must write it all down and call my book Perpetual Motion Getting Nowhere. On some days it will be the world’s most poignant, entwined soap opera, full of pathos and irresolvable problems. On other days, as I look with delight into those big, brown, sparkling eyes of my two-year-old, I know it will be warm with loving humor. And then, just as I am considering keeping a notebook for the epic work, I realize it will never be written. I am creating, not books, but people—really wonderful little people—and putting all my heart and energy into doing justice to the job and being very glad about it after all.