I never realized how difficult it could be to accomplish a simple task… until I had three kids. Every day the to-do list in my head gets swallowed up in the constant demands and responsibilities of caring for three little humans. And when I do finally manage to get something done, it seems to be almost instantly undone.
I tidy up one room, only to find a tsunami of Legos has been unleashed in the next. I finally finish the morning dishes and turn around to discover my 4-year-old playing chef with everything he can get a hold of in the pantry.
Kids also seem to have a radar for when you sit down to a computer to work, pay bills, etc. They can be perfectly entertained, but the moment you sneak away, prepare for all hell to break lose. And what about time for myself? That would consist of the brief period between putting the kids to bed and going to bed myself; a sacred time reserved for Netflix with my hubby.
So today I started to calculate all the things I won’t get done: My To-Don’t list.
Today, I’m pretty sure I won’t…
1. Work on the manuscript for that children’s picture book that’s destined to be a bestseller.
2. Whittle down the laundry pile to an acceptable level. Really just getting a load to the dryer before the mildew sets in would suffice.
3. Make a Pinterest-worthy anything.
4. Engage in a battle with the weeds that have overtaken the back yard.
5. Restore the van so it’s no longer a graveyard of fruit snacks and goldfish crackers.
6. Exercise, play my guitar that has been gathering dust in the corner for months, get lost in a novel, or any of the other hobbies I once enjoyed in my free time.
But here is the thing: You may walk into my house and wonder, “What does she do all day?” And there was a time I felt badly about myself for that.
But what I do everyday matters because it matters to them, to my kids. It is what works best for my family for right now.
No one else is going to get up and breastfeed my baby in the middle of the night. No one else is going to keep my two older boys from destroying each other and the house every day. No one else is going to keep this household running smoothly and make it possible for everyone to get done what is on their list that day. So here is what I CAN get done today…
1. I can make my baby smile and laugh out loud and that feeds my soul even better than the sweet melody of my guitar.
2. I can comfort my son after his first bee sting.
3. I can beam with pride at my seven-year-old for staying up way too late reading because he loves books so much.
4. I can prepare a meal for my family and smile when my son tells me I am “the best cooker” for making muffins from a mix.
I can make sure my children are loved, fed, and taken care of on a daily basis and that feels like the most important task in my life right now, although no one will ever give me a paycheck or even a pat on the back for doing it.
Then, I can find the time and push myself to work on that manuscript.
Katy Anderson is a stay-at-home mom to three busy boys trying to carve out some time for her writing.