Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Making a "Did Do" List

I love "To Do" Lists. I find that if I don't start my day with one in place, I wander about semi-productively all day without much of a feeling of accomplishment. In fact, I derive SUCH satisfaction from crossing things off my lists, that I've been known to go back and add things to my list after I've done them, just for the pleasure of seeing another item crossed off. (I'm a crosser-offer, not a checker-offer. There's a difference. Making little checkmarks does nothing for me in comparison to a big ol' line right through the words. But I digress.)

Anyway, as a stay-at-home mom of small children, I think it's especially important to find ways to monitor my days. Otherwise, for me at least, I can do things all day long and not feel like I've done a stinkin' thing. By the late evening, this puts me in "redeem the day" mode, where instead of relaxing, I fritter around trying to figure out which tasks I have the energy for---to make my day end with a productive feeling.

(Now, a little side note: I am in no way saying that loving, feeding, and caring for my children all day isn't enough. And I am blessed with a sweet husband who understands why the house isn't always clean and my tasks aren't always completed. But for MY sanity, sometimes I just need to know that other things were done as well, even if they're small things.)

The other night I was having one of these "redeem the day" evenings. I had a few kinks thrown in my plans throughout the day, and although I didn't have a "to do" list that day, there was much to be done in preparation for upcoming events. So out of curiosity, I made a "Did Do" list---I wrote down all the things I could remember doing that day:

*read to kids for 1 hour and 20 minutes
*sat with and comforted a sick child
*2 loads of laundry
*prepared and served 3 meals
*called our weekend guests to make arrangements
*hung a sizeable stack of my kids' clean laundry in their closet
*took a "seize the day" moment to open the door and watch/smell the rain for 30 minutes, explaining to my children what this strange phenomenon was (we hadn't had a hard rain in months!) Also filled buckets with rainwater for watering.
*swept kitchen

And all this was on a day that I thought I'd done nothing! After seeing the day's events on paper, I was easily able to call it a night.

I'm not exactly sure where I'm going with this post, but I thought it might encourage other moms to cut themselves some slack. Tending to the basic needs of a child 24/7 really is a full-time job. Some days are going to be crossed-off-list days, and other days you may as well just crumple up the paper. But as long as the little people are loved-on, the rest, as they say, is just details.


Granny said...

Oh Steph, you are SO right. Some women ought to do this every day...all of us should do it now and then, just to stay in touch with how much we really accomplish on those days that we look around and just don't see it. Thanks for reminding us of all that we "Did Do."

walkmom said...

And I thought I was the only one out there who added things to my list so I can cross it off!! I do that to my calendar sometimes, too.

Chelsea said...

inity93That's so much better than my days' lists:
Roll out of bed.
Check email.
Throw bagels at whining children.
Investigate funky smell in sink.
Give into whining children and let them watch Tom & Jerry.
Refluff clothes that have been sitting in dryer for two days.
(Forget to fold that load, again.)
Run errands, which somehow takes us into a wormhole that miraculously wastes five hours.
Come home; reheat leftovers.
Stack dishes in sink -- promise to do them tomorrow.
Play Scrabulous on Facebook for two hours.
Crawl into bed.

Oh, like you've never had a day like that, either.

Stephanie said...

Ha! Trust me, Chelsea...I've had many days far worse than that, my friend! I just chose not to write a list that day. ;) It's better to forget.

Chef Mama said...

I just wanna know why Chelsea is spying on me! LOL!

OF COURSE you cross them off, not check them off. Checks & stars & such are for when you want to remember it's a REALLY IMPORTANT thing to do. It might even get double crossed out, or, in the right situation, that circly-doodly type of marking it out.

You do know it's "legal" to leave spaces in your grocery list, right? I mean, you gotta have a space to write in, "Bluebell ON SALE" (goodness knows we don't buy it full price!), milk (because you forgot to check it at home & you REALLY don't want to go back, so better have 2 usable ones than 1), and at the cash register, that candy that is just SCREAMING your name and is marked down to 3 for $1.00. Oh, wait, it would be screaming MY name, since you have said chocolate runs through my veins as blood does. And, YES, you do have to buy 3 when it says $3.00. One for the ride home, one to give your hubby so he thinks you are so wonderful to think of him, then one to eat when the kids are in bed.

Um, maybe I better spend more time reading your "get up early & exercise" posts!

Chef Mama said...

I just noticed Chelsea missed the load of laundry that's been in the washer for 2 days. That's the one you are now going to wash a third time because it sours before you remember to put it in the dryer!

Not that Chelsea or Steph or anyone would do that, but this mama is older than you two & forgetful! tee-hee!