Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The To-Don't List

I am a lazy chick trapped in a busy mom's body.

I have three different calendars in my house to track three different things (social calendar, volunteer calendar, children's childcare and activity calendar) not because I'm anal, but because all the crap I have scheduled into my days does not fit in one place. I am highly organized, but not because I have it all together--rather as a result of being highly forgetful. I make lists for everything, not because I am efficient, but because if I don't write it down it is likely to get lost in the chaos of my day-to-day. And speaking of my day-to-day, I am having some major beef with my daily to-do list.

Every evening before I call it a night, I whip out a small legal pad and a pen and jot down all the things I need to get done the following day. Then I pin that list onto the refrigerator so I can check off the things as I get to them...and can I tell you, for every check I am able to mark, at least two more to-do's are added on. This thing is like a giant weed that I can't kill.
(Side note: Need to weed the front yard...better go put that on the to-do list.)

Today, I had a goal to do a quick dust and shine on the furniture while Jack was taking a nap. Sammi was my "cleaning helper" in charge of spraying the furniture polish on the wooden surfaces.
(Side note: Need to buy more Pledge...better go put that on the to-do list.)
As we were cleaning, I started noticing all sorts of little things that needed attention-- like chocolate fingerprints down the front of my refrigerator and the school of goldfish crackers swimming underneath my sofa. The more I cleaned, the messier things started looking to me. Why were there kissy-marks on the tv screen? Who put the half-eaten biscuit in Mommy's kitchen sink? What is that substance sticking to the bottom of my foot when I walk up the stairs?
My house is not messy at first glance. I am usually pretty happy that people could come over most any day of the week unannounced and I would feel comfortable letting them in. So either my children will make the world's best secret agents or I am much more aloof than I originally credited myself as being...

Anyway, as the now "level red" cleaning commenced, I heard the dog barking at the delivery guy in front of our house. When I went to retrieve the package, I saw that the American flag we have flying out front was laying on the ground. What's more, I saw the flag pole attachment and the broken pieces of stucco that had ripped out of the concrete facade laying alongside it. First things first, I picked up the flag so people wouldn't spit on me as they drove past my house on the military installation. But after that, I had a mini-meltdown. Not only are all of my lists and calendars and schedules not helping me keep up with my house on the inside, but now I have this huge chunk of rock missing from the front of my house screaming "Look at me! I am totally neglected!" (Hopefully the yellow ribbon I have tied underneath the hole will allow passers-by to forgive me.)

I had noticed a while back that I was starting to lose my handle on things. So I put my kids in childcare twice a week to give me some time to get caught up, and ideally, to let the lazy chick inside me roam free for a couple hours. Unfortunately, those child-free hours have been filled up with grocery shopping, running errands to and fro, more cleaning, etc. etc. And what's worse, anything fun that I actually get to do during those days suddenly turns into an annoyance because it is interfering with me completing my list. Oh crap--gotta go on a run again. Dangit--better go grab some lunch. (Or the one I feel the worst to admit) Well poo--gotta sit and Skype with the husband. And as much as I feel like I deserve to do these things for myself (and more!) the guiltier I feel actually doing them. I either do these fun things without the kids, and finish up the to-do's when they are with me instead of playing with them (awful feeling) or I have to put them in childcare AGAIN so I can schedule these fun things for me at a different time (crappy feeling, too.)
(Side note: Need to reserve spots for childcare..better go put that on the to-do list.)

I know most of my stress is self-induced. I have this problem where I think that if I am not able to keep everything looking and operating perfectly, then I am somehow failing. I am smart enough to know that this isn't the case, but I am also in too deep to ignore these feelings of inadequacy. So in the spirit of list-making, I am making myself a to-don't list for tomorrow.

My To-Don't List:

-Don't start any household chores without sitting to enjoy a cup of coffee first.
-Don't miss the opportunity to snuggle on the couch with the kids before making their breakfast.
-Don't rush the kids in morning. We have nothing SO important that they need to be hurried without getting to play and mess up their rooms.
-Don't feel the need to be hovering over them every second. If they are playing happily, that only means I get extra time to get dressed, fix my hair, put on makeup, have another cup of coffee...
-Don't use my freetime farting around on Facebook (my one lazy-girl indulgence that gets enough playtime as it is.)
-Don't freak out if Nathan doesn't call; instead call mom, dad, or a friend for encouragement (and for much-deserved adult conversation.)
-Don't forget to steal extra hugs and kisses from the babies (because they are both quickly starting to think that's uncool, and I'm not ready for that yet.)
-Don't beat myself up if the beds don't get made or there are new chocolate fingerprints on the fridge by tomorrow afternoon.
-Don't cook dinner. Mommy deserves a break.
-Don't add to the to-do list. Anything that's already on there can stay, but there is no little task so pertinent that it needs steal joy from the rest of my day.

Hopefully this is a list that I am successful in checking off!


  1. Yes...call MOM! Your step-dad told me I needed to read this one & that you are definitely your mother's daughter :)

    1. Very much like you :) (But I think it's a good thing!)