I was behind schedule. I felt overwhelmed. I pushed myself to hurry. I couldn’t believe I was lagging like this. I had meant to get so much more done. I looked at the clock for the tenth time that day.
It was 7:00 a.m.
At 9:30 I entered my office at work, sat down at my desk and took a deep breath. I had a full day ahead of me and yet I sat there, feeling like I was already behind.
Now, I believe in the power of a to-do list. I make one when I feel like I need to get organized, get a lot accomplished, and generally see in black and white what I need to get done.
That morning, I was just about to make a to-do list for myself but then I stopped. There I was about to “begin” my day and I was feeling behind and tired already. I took a minute and instead of a to-do list I decided to instead write an “Already Done” list for the morning.
Here’s what it looked like:
Read the paper.
Read about twenty blogs and commented on most.
Wrote e-mails to my family.
Texted a friend.
Walked the dog for three miles.
Fixed hair and make-up.
Made lunch and packed it up.
Straightened up house.
Ordered present from Amazon.
Checked bank account.
Had long talk with dog about not tearing up the house while I am at work.
Drove to school.
I sat there, looked at that list, and for once, I gave myself some credit for all I had done already that day instead of beating myself up for not getting enough done. It felt great and maybe it’s just a coincidence, but I went on to have a very productive day at work as well.
I think about those years when I was a working mom, when I had to get two little ones off to their schools in the morning. All those things I had to do and had to remember! I got kids up and fed, packed lunches and backpacks, and got everyone dressed and ready for the day. We had a cat who liked to steal socks and place them underneath the family van in the garage, so many mornings you could find me belly-crawling under the van to get one or two matching (sometimes matching) socks. My head spins when I think about all I did before I went to “work.”
One morning when Evan was about five years old, I had everything packed up and ready to go. It had been a hectic morning. I looked at the clock. If I was lucky, I could deliver the kids to their schools and still get to work on time. I hiked my bags on my shoulders and glanced down to see Evan, standing there with his shoes untied.
As I bent down to tie them, the bags fell down, and off my shoulders. Ouch. Grrr. I felt myself getting frustrated. As I tied his shoes, I felt his little boy hands on either side of my head. “There goes the hairdo” was my first thought. Then he said, “You have a very busy brain this morning, Mommy.”
He squeezed my head and I felt those sweet little hands curving perfectly around my skull. I raised my head, my eyes level with his from my kneeling position and looked into his blue eyes. Suddenly, I was no longer overwhelmed by time constraints but instead overwhelmed with gratitude at being able to be at that place, at that time, with this dear little person.
I think about all my nieces and friends who are young mothers. They carry so much on their shoulders and need to be reminded of all they do even before the official workday begins.
That work matters.
So this is for you, Carrie M, Trisha, Amanda, Alyssa, Jillian, Carrie F, Rebecca and all the other young mothers out there. Make that “Already Done” list this morning and feel proud of all you have accomplished. Maybe you’ve made breakfasts. Maybe you’ve made lunches. Maybe you’ve made the bed. Heck, maybe you’ve simply made a path to the bed. That’s OK! Celebrate it. Above all, you’ve made life easier for someone else and that’s worth putting at the top of the list.