Mom’s, It’s time to take back our “To Do Lists”. Ever since we added a third kid to our brood (and my To-Do List has grown exponentially), I get nothing done. And I mean nothing. As in, the pile of laundry in my room just grows and grows. In fact, it seems my bedroom floor has just become the place where we keep and search for everyone’s “clean” clothes. The dishes sit piled up in the sink, until someone in the house loads half in the dishwasher and leaves the others in the sink for 3 more days. I have bills stacked up, a list of phone calls to make and grocery shopping to do.
Now, I know I need to give myself a break because this third kid never sleeps. As in, he is going to be listed in the 2015 Guinness Book of World Records under Worst Sleeper, Baby Category. Wait, I take that back – I meant he never wants to sleep alone. If I carry him, rock him and nurse him, he sleeps just fine! But truth be told, he is my last baby and I am trying to enjoy every “baby” moment with him because I know how quickly it goes.
How to Accomplish More Without Really Trying
But, that being said, I am a task oriented person. I always want to cross things off my to-do list and I get really discouraged when I don’t. I also don’t function well with mess or chaos. I understand that those piles of paper and future craft projects will wait. But the problem lies in my attitude about the half completed list. I am subconsciously beating myself up every day for not doing more. For not accomplishing more. I berate myself for being so tired (have I mentioned the baby?) that I oversleep, miss my alarm and my precious shower and exercise time. (But who I am kidding, I am not going to exercise anyway!) I am shaming myself that when dinner comes around, another day went by that I didn’t get to the store so I could make my family a well balanced, homemade organic meal at home. My husband and I even have begun to argue about how I am doing at my “job” as a Stay-At-Home Mom (Read: Not well).
So today I decided I had had enough. Someone wise once said that she needed to focus more on the fact that she kept 2 human beings alive for 24 hours and less on her mismatched socks that needed to be sorted and put away. I want to take it one step further. Moms, we need to focus on the huge amount of tasks we are accomplishing every day! I decided to encourage myself that I do have many successes each day, so I decided to take back my To-Do List, by simply reversing it. At the end of the day, I wrote down everything I had accomplished that day. I couldn’t believe it, but it was enormous!
Here is a snippet of all I accomplished that day:
• Got all 3 kids fed and dressed
• Showered (this is a huge accomplishment in and of itself)
• Walked kid #2 to swim practice
• Got kid #3 down for a nap (again, miraculous!)
• Helped kid #1 make cookies
• Helped kid #1 clean up after said cookies
• Cleaned up sticky kitchen floor from the brown sugar spill from said cookies
• Emptied and loaded the dishwashers (yes, again from those darn cookies!)
• Emailed a friend as a favor to someone else
• Texted someone to schedule a playdate for kid #1
• Read kid #2 three stories
• Put eye patch on kid #2 for prescribed 2 hours
• Put prescribed eczema cream on kid #2 three different times
• Changed 12 poopy diapers (yep, he was sick!)
• Talked to the pediatrician about said diapers
• Washed 2 loads of laundry that were a result of said poopy diapers
Now my list goes on and on, and in the past, the fact that I didn’t fold or put away any of those 2 loads of laundry (well, really the other 12 loads on the floor) would have overshadowed the fact that I actually washed the dirty clothes! And just being honest, sometimes those diaper mishaps get forgotten about, just say’n.
But as I looked closely at my “done” list, I noticed that those were just the physical tasks I accomplished that day. Nowhere did I give myself credit for cuddling my sweet baby, joking around with my oldest or reading to my middle child. All of those things count. In fact, at the end of the day, aren’t those things that count the most?
So, from now on, when I need a pick me up, when I don’t feel like I have accomplished anything lately, in addition to my regular “To Do List”, I am going to take back my To Do List by focusing on all the stuff I “Got Done” that day. And there are some days, where I may have to dig deep- it might just be kept all the kids alive and got fed myself. There are some days where that’s a major accomplishment!
But I am also going to try to look for the small things too- did I reach out to a friend by a text or a phone call? Did I stop what I was doing and acknowledge my husband when he walked in the door? Did I say “yes” to my kid when it was easier to say no? Did I listen to my kid when he was talking and ask questions about what he was sharing to really connect with him? In essence, did I love my family and others well today? No more, how well or how much did I accomplish on my To-Do List, but how well did I love others today? Did I love God and show that love by caring for and serving others? Now that’s accomplishing something!
And if I didn’t, well, there’s always tomorrow’s To-Do List!