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In Praise of The Stagnant To-Do List

(Me doing, well…not a whole heck of a lot.)

It’s Monday, and already I’m completely and utterly overwhelmed by my “to do” list. (Wait, who am I kidding, I’m overwhelmed by my to-do list every. single. day. of the week.)

Luckily our resident voice of reason, Kay Wyma, is here this week to make me feel less guilty about *not* getting things done. Enjoy!

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By Kay Wyma

Sixteen years ago, I sat on in my doctor’s office, computer on my non-existent lap, waiting for my doctor to tell me when I’d be having our first child. I dreaded the word “induce”, for so many reasons, and the word “tomorrow” for even more. Unsure about the pending mom gig, I just had too much going on in my life – deals to close, people to see, places to go – to slow down enough to have a baby.

Needless to say, “tomorrow” came (five times over) and I discovered lots of “who knew” along the way.

Who knew you’d be in car for over three hours and never cross a city limit? Who knew the enormous pressures around every corner? Who knew that discussions about diaper brand, formula vs. breast milk, attachment slings, pacifiers, pre-school, playgroup, ballet, club sports, piano… could consume so many hours; or that decisions on such topics could make or break a kid’s life? And really, who knew how much you could love something so much?

But more than anything, who knew that despite the same number of hours in a day and days in a week, and weeks in a year, that the addition of kids to my life would usher me to a place where I get absolutely nothing done.

Take last week. All I wanted to do was send a friend a funny card. I bought it while standing in line at Vintage Car Wash. Our crud-infested car desperately needed professional assistance. While waiting on my car to get its final rinse, I saw the funny card, bought it, wrote a cheeky note to my friend, and began to address the envelope. But I couldn’t remember the address. So, when I got home, I pulled out my archaic address book, since I’m technologically challenged and haven’t downloaded it to my phone. (Really I’m a procrastinator who keeps putting off entering all those names into my computer or phone.) Within minutes of flipping through the book, I remembered I was supposed to be picking up Kid A at an early release for school. While racing to the car, my phone rang. It was Kid B’s school.

“Hi Kay,” pause… “Well, it’s Marin and … well, we have Kid B here and … he had a little fall… He hit is head on the playground equipment … There’s some blood… He’s sitting right here (code for: he’s hearing everything I’m saying to you) … Might be a good idea for you to come by…”

She was so sweet to gently break the news to me that my kid had cracked his head open and needed to get to the Emergency Room stat. So I raced to get Kid A. Then raced to get Kid B. I dropped Kid A off at home with Kid C who was already home sick. Then I furiously dialed to find a ride home for Kids D & E while driving A to the E.R.

Thankfully Medical City’s E.R. was empty upon our arrival, so what could have been a six-hour ordeal ended up lasting only three hours. Kid A left the hospital with a few staples and a lot of admiration from his mom, the E.R. staff, and his teachers and friends back at school for his bravery.

By the time we got home, afternoon activities had fired up. Even though Kid B was fine, his mom was still reeling from the ordeal’s aftermath. The agony of holding your boy while nurses clean a nasty wound as he cries and wimper begs them to “Please, just please, stop.” And the pain a mother feels as each staple dramatically finds its new home in your child’s skull while he bravely tells the doctor, “Wait…. okay, now do the next one.” Throw in the evening meal, homework, nursing hurt and sick kids, baths, and the rest of regular mom stuff, and my head hitting the pillow couldn’t have come soon enough.

Sunrise brings another day of similar, though not quite as dramatic, activities. As does the next day and the day after that … and the week after that.

So when I saw the crazy car wash card sitting on my desk yesterday – still waiting for an address and stamp, I couldn’t help but shake my head. That card represents my life as a mom. Start. Stop. Forget.

It’s about this time that I could wallow and wonder, “Do I ever get anything done?!

But why? Many moons ago, I told my accomplishment-oriented self that if I could do one or two things a week, I’ve hit success. Seriously, why let what I do or don’t accomplish define who I am? As long as I’m focused on a few priorities (loving my kids being one of them) the rest will come out in the wash.

This mom thing is a good gig. Here’s to relishing the appearance of stagnant to-do lists. I think we’re accomplishing a lot more than we realize.

Thanks for walking the road with me.

-Kay

 

Kay Wyma is the author of  Cleaning House: A Mom’s Twelve-Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement. She shares the hilarity and the tears that  come with raising adolescents & teens on her blog The Moat … because who wants to walk that road alone. 

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