Are you one of those SAHMs who lives paper free? Is there an app for everything on your phone, including your to-do list? Does all your paper make it into the trash, shredder, or recycle bin? Here’s a shout-out to you! Me, you ask? Nowhere close! I treasure the feel of nice heavy-weight cardstock in my hand! I adore opening my mailbox and finding a real letter, written on real stationery, hand addressed to me! I have at my fingertips a selection of notepads in various shapes, sizes, and colors on my kitchen counter! I love writing with a good pen and making lists! Seems once I write something down, it’s real, clearly needs attention, and, more importantly, won’t be forgotten! Perhaps this all hearkens back to my days teaching in the classroom. Not only did I perfect students’ printing of the manual alphabet, I taught them the soon-to-be lost art of cursive handwriting. Ah, but I digress. In a future post, I’ll share with you about an awesome planner I use to organize my days, but today, the simple version.
Today. What will you do with it? Your yearly calendar is sketched out. Your monthly calendar is up to speed. But today, what needs to be accomplished today? As you enjoy that cup of coffee before the kids arise (okay maybe that’s a stretch), may I challenge you to determine what two things must get done in the next twelve waking hours. Just TWO! “Just two?” you ask. I didn’t say that was all you were going to get done; I said to determine what two things MUST get done pronto! I consider it a good day when I can crawl in bed at night and name two things I was able to complete. TWO! Bought the birthday present and organized a play date for next week. Emailed friends about the picnic and took kids to the library. Grocery shopped and washed towels. Researched backpacks online and took kids to the dentist. That’s it. I can smile about the two things that I finished. See how nice that is. If you look closely, you will see that one item is something done at my home and one is done away. That’s for my own sanity! Packing the kids up twice (once to go and once to return), may indeed be all I can handle. If all are fed and happy, I might push it and run a second errand. Or if the weather’s beautiful, no one will mind the extra loading and unloading.
This is one way I attempt to prevent “super mom” burnout. I know darn good and well that I cannot do everything. I also know that every single day I will try. With that in mind, here’s how I start out. Maybe it will free you up a little bit. First, I determine the two items that must be done no matter what. They go at the top of the to-do list. Second, I write down all the rest of the things I would “like” to accomplish. That’s it. One, two. I usually mull over all the busyness that never ever makes it onto the to-do list like fix breakfast, get dressed, get kids dressed, oversee teeth brushing, start laundry, replace batteries in something, return a phone call, fix lunch, monitor outdoor playtime, put on band-aids, dry laundry, fix a snack, pull house voicemails, referee an argument, answer emails, call mom, fix dinner, fold laundry, reorganize DVD’s because your son won’t live without the one he can’t find, monitor baths and teeth brushing, read books, say prayers…you know the drill. It’s what we do as stay-at-home moms!
I know in the back of my mind that every day I will do at least 25 things that never make “the list”. That’s why the TWO THINGS on my to-do list are so very critical for me! Getting them done is a sweet success. So are the checkmarks I put beside them!