I think I speak for all of us moms when I say there are just not enough hours in the day to get everything done, am I right?! My laundry (like many other chores) gets neglected often and it’s not because I don’t want to do them, (well maybe a little) but it’s more like I am so busy with the regular routine stuff, like making breakfast, washing the dishes, etc., that I just am too tired to tackle the neglected things.
Take my pile on the stairs for example. When something needs to go upstairs I have a basket on the stairs to put those things in. Organized right?! Better than a big messy pile! What you don’t know is that basket is pretty much always full, and sits there for days before I take it upstairs. I read on one of those organizing websites that suggests every time you go upstairs take a little bit up with you. By doing so, the pile stays to a minimum. It’s a great tip, however if you’re a mom, and you’ve been carrying a crying newborn all day, or you’re fighting a toddler up the stairs who has suddenly become a limp fish, the last thing you want to do is grab stuff to take upstairs.
Honestly, I am lucky if I get the daily things done let alone the “bigger things”. The internet has a whole slew of articles such as “How to make the most of your time,” “Getting more done every day,” along with several versions of cleaning schedules and “to do lists.” It can be overwhelming! While they are great tools, and I have used them before, I can’t help but wonder if they sometimes are a setup for feelings of failure and inadequacy.
For example, if I don’t get my Monday chores done, I feel like I failed. At the end of the day, and after baby girl is asleep, I find myself crashed on the couch, thinking, “What did I do today?” Being a mom is so rewarding, but I can’t help but feel like the movie Ground Hog Day some days. Same thing, every day. Often, I find myself feeling down on all I didn’t get done that day.
After reflecting on this, I came up with a solution. I have a “To-Do List” for you that can help if you are feeling overwhelmed with the daily things. Ready? Stop making to do lists. Simple as that. When my daughter was born, and I was learning about balancing it all, I started a “To Do” notebook. Yep…a whole spiral notebook on things I have to do. It’s organized by room and category and when I get something done I cross it off my list. I love it. I really do, and I do get things done from it, but some days I found it served as a reminder of what I didn’t get done. So I decided to turn things around. Instead of having a list or notebook of things to do, why not make an accomplishment list or notebook? This has served me much better, and I am finding that those small things I do are so important. This was my accomplishment list for yesterday:
Fed my daughter breakfast.
Got showered and dressed for the day.
Read a book to Baby Girl and danced to silly songs.
The list went on and on. I never realized how much I actually did get done that day and while it may seem like they are the everyday things, they still got done, and that is a great accomplishment. I am also learning it’s a matter of prioritizing.
In the last General Conference, Sister Reeves, a second counselor in the Relief Society general presidency for the church, gave a talk on pornography and the destruction it causes in the lives of church members and their families. She talked about how to avoid it, and how to better protect our families. My favorite quote from that talk, though, was something that can be applied to our feelings of not getting it all done. She said,
“The only things that really need to be accomplished in the home are daily scripture study and prayer and weekly family home evening” (Linda S. Reeves, Protection from Pornography—a Christ-Focused Home, General Conference for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, April, 2014).
It’s so true! I will admit that I have often complained to my husband how we are expected to do so much and on top of it should be reading our scriptures, doing family prayer, etc. and “I just can’t do it all!” But in the same talk, Sister Reeves said,
“These are the very practices that help take away stress, give direction to our lives, and add protection to our homes.”
Priorities, my friends. I believe if we make prayers, daily scripture study, and Family Home Evening a priority, we will find the time and energy to get those other things done. It’s okay to want to be more organized and want to get things done. If making lists is what works, then that’s great! It does for me! Just don’t be hard on yourself if you look back and realize all you did was one thing off that list. Instead mark a big fat line through that list, and write down what you did do today.
My accomplishment list today:
Said my morning prayer.
Got out of bed.
Was welcomed by my daughter with a big, sleepy, good morning hug.
Fed my daughter breakfast.
Snuggled and watched a TV show.
In other words, so far, I have loved and cared for my daughter, and that was all by 8am, and you know what…that’s enough for me.
Krystal is a latter-day mom and Holy Homemaker to 3 beautiful kiddos who is striving to find joy in the everyday trenches of motherhood and life! Her passion is sharing her experience of decluttering with a purpose to help others create a Holy Home where the messes subside and the Spirit resides. She is a lover of books, nature, music, food, the gospel, and all things Texas! Follow her at her website, Latter-day Mom!