Sunday, April 17, 2011

The To Do List


I often feel like I don’t get anything done in the day and wonder why that is—why can’t I accomplish the 5 things on my To Do list today? I know that I have four children under the age of seven and that makes it hard to get things done, especially when one is a nursing baby, but I still think it’s not too much to ask to accomplish my measly To Do list.

When I start thinking like this, I usually end up frustrated and discouraged because I get further and further behind no matter how hard I try. I push myself pretty hard and so as you might imagine, I get frustrated often by my inability to be a superwoman.

I was having one of those days again recently—you know the one where you got about 3 hours sleep, have dealt with sick kids, fed all the kids and you’re still hungry and staring at the mountain of laundry, dishes, and schoolwork…And then I had an epiphany. I realized that I have focused so much on the things I can’t get done on my To Do list that I’ve neglected to recognize the things I DO every single day.

I stopped for a moment and thought about a week’s worth of days caring for my family. It’s a lot of work! We’re all busy and so I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one worrying over inadequacies. I want to share with you what I discovered.

My To Do List doesn’t say…

Change diapers
Make breakfast
Braid hair
Feed baby
Drive kids to school
Do dishes
Put in a load of laundry
Feed baby
Pick up kindergarten car pool
Make lunch
Do dishes
Read/do homework with kindergartner
Feed baby
Clean bathrooms
Change diapers
Read & put 2 YO down for a nap
Feed chickens
Rock screaming baby who is teething
Read/do homework with 2nd grader
Feed baby
Teach piano lessons to girls age 7 and 5
Cook supper
Put in another load of laundry
Rock the baby
Change diapers
Bathe kids
Read and put kids to bed

As I said, my To Do list doesn’t have any of those things on it, yet I do all of those and more every day. When I look at that list I can see why my husband shakes his head when I say, “I didn’t get a single thing done today!”

I’m blessed to have a great husband who helps me and keeps reminding me that I am doing the most important things even if they aren’t on my To Do list. My children are the most important duties I will have in this life. That doesn’t mean that I don’t have other ambitions—I do—it just means that I shouldn’t be beating myself up for working tirelessly on the greatest project God could have given me.
I know my Heavenly Father is happy with the effort I put into being a mom and I’m sure He doesn’t want me to be unhappy because I’m focusing too much on my To Do list and not seeing how much I am accomplishing on the most significant projects.

Perhaps I should add something to my To Do list that I can actually check off every day: Be a Mother

Everyone tells me that this time when my kids are young will go so fast and it’s hard to believe them when I’m caught right in the middle of it, but I know they are right. I’m trying to take note of the priceless moments intermixed with all the chaos and be grateful for this magical time in my young children’s lives.

I wanted to share my thoughts with you on this topic because I’m hoping that my epiphany can become yours as well. And if you’ve already raised your children, perhaps you can remind the mothers near you of what a special job they are doing each day.

And for everyone—next time you get discouraged when you look at all the things on your list that you haven’t yet been able to accomplish, step back and look at all the things you have done and DO every day. Pat yourself on the back and take a moment to value your contribution to your home and family. Give some self-appreciation and extra care to YOU for a job well-done.

Remember that there will always be a To Do list but this moment will soon be gone, this day, week, month will come to an end and this year will soon be a memory. I want to make sure my memories are filled with the things that are most important.

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