Sometimes I wake up with grand plans. I am going to scrub the kitchen from top to bottom. I will finally clean out and organize The Room Where Useful Things Go to Die (AKA The Office.) I will rebuild my box gardens. I will start baking all of our bread from scratch again. I will write out all my lesson plans for the rest of the year. I will do all that AND teach my children all of their lessons!
I have other kinds of days, too. On those other days, I am not sure how I am going to accomplish anything. The house is a mess. Everything is breaking. I can't find the counters to make breakfast or the books to start teaching. The kids are so poorly behaved I can't trust them to do what is expected of them. We are all going to contract a horrible disease because the house is messy and then the world is going to come to an end! No, worse, the world will keep going and I CAN'T KEEP UP!
It's good I have a sense of humor. Otherwise, I might occasionally get a little worked up. It's also good I love lists. They make me feel so organized. I also love taking standardized tests, filling out forms, and attending long meetings where I can sit in a corner and knit. Yes, I am a passionate nerd. Don't hate.
In high school and college, I would make lists like this:
To Do by Noon
- Eat breakfast
- Take shower
- Write 500 word history essay
- Take Fail Survive math test
- Hand in theatre project
- Call Mom
- Pack for Fall Break
Everything would get done and I always felt so accomplished as I crossed each item off.
As a new mom, I would make lists like this:
To Do Today
- Feed the baby
- Change diapers
- Wash dishes
- Wash laundry
- Re-wash laundry
- Dry laundry
I could not complete even half the list. I started to feel like a total loser. I started to have a lot of those "other" days.
My hubby was the one who told me I needed to give myself credit for what I actually did, rather than dwelling on what I did not do. He told me I was doing a great job and he knew I could do what needed to be done. Then, he abandoned me.
Well, he was just going to work, but it sure felt like abandonment. He was heading to a place where people kept their areas tidy, there was no dirty laundry, nobody was crying, nobody expected him to put his boob in their mouth, and everybody took care of their own bodily functions. It seemed to me he was heading off to Paradise and leaving me home alone with these needy creatures. How could he?!
Then I ate breakfast and realized he had a point. There were a lot of things I did during the day that I would never have put on a "To Do" list. I should give myself credit for all that stuff. I stopped keeping daily to do lists and started keeping "What I Did Today" lists. It really did help, especially on those days that totally derailed.
I don't generally write those lists down anymore. If I feel like I have done nothing all day, I will run through the list in my mind. Occasionally, I will share the list with a friend if the day was really rough or particularly funny. I always tell Hubby, that way I know he knows what it is like for me to be home with his children. He is always appropriately amazed.
What I Did Today
- Fed Ducky
- Got dressed
- Supervised breakfast
- Took dog out and in again
- Unloaded the dishwasher
- Started Bigs on election lesson
- Tried to teach Obie not to nip Strawberry
- Tried to teach Strawberry what to do when Obie nips
- Answered phone – Campaign Call – Asked them not to call back
- Talked to termite inspection guy
- Started a load of laundry
- Walked around house with inspection guy
- Picked up dog poop
- Talked with termite guy and Hubby after Hubby's unexpected arrival
- Talked with neighbor's delivery guy
- Shuffled laundry to dryer
- Told hubby his shirt was dirty
- Accepted delivery of 12 CASES of ammunition for neighbor(?!?!)
- Thanked God neighbor is responsible with guns
- Told Hubby his new shirt was wrinkled
- Lamented derailment of school day and existence of termites while Hubby ironed his shirt
- Checked email while nursing Ducky
- Answered phone – Campaign Call – Hung Up
- Ate lunch
- Fed Ducky her lunch
- Played with Obie outside
- Called all kids back inside
- Called Dinosaur inside again and again
- Read to Dinosaur
- Tucked Apple Blossom in for nap
- Nursed Ducky while reading fun book
- Put Ducky down for nap
- Checked Polar Bear's math
- Helped Strawberry and Cookie Monster with math
- Wasted Time Encouraged friend on Facebook
- Agreed to take friend's children for weekend
- Started blog entry
- Ate dinner
- Answered phone – Campaign Call – Shouted "NO!" and hung up.
- Read one chapter of The Hobbit to kiddos
- Finished blog entry
- Nursed Ducky
- Watched movie with Hubby
- Went to bed
This was not in any way a typical day. It was rather crazy, actually. I still don't know how I got all that done. I suspect in the morning I will find a load of moldy laundry or a stinky diaper lingering somewhere. Oh, yeah, I changed a few diapers throughout the day. That should be on the list!
My point is a mother's day never goes exactly as planned. To-do lists are good and I use them when I am running errands or packing for a trip. It's the "What Got Done" lists that remind me I am not wasting my time. My time may be spent in a different way than I planned, but it's not all wasted.
This is how I felt at the end of the day, but this is not an approved use of my boppy!