The other night, after the twins were in bed, I complained to Tyson that "I'm completely exhausted and I got nothing done today!" (To his everlasting credit, when he asked what it was that I wanted to accomplish, and I moaned that the bathrooms weren't clean, he stared at me and replied, "who cares?")
I might be a little over three weeks postpartum, but my type-A personality is revving right back into overdrive, with to-do lists on paper and in my head outlining that I want to accomplish this, and this, and THIS today.
Of course, with two toddlers and a newborn, this and this and THIS are rarely my reality these days. (Heck, even with just the two toddlers, they were rarely my reality before.) These to-do lists are a compilation of all the other things...rooms that need to be cleaned, items to be organized, miscellaneous tasks to accomplish. I don't write down the obvious things; the dishes and the tidying and the laundry...the general duties that make our household function. Because they aren't anything special, anything "extra", they don't even make it to the to-do list. Why bother, when they can never be "crossed off"? Yet these daily chores are important things. Tasks that, because I do them every. single. day., often don't feel like much.
It can be so difficult for me to take a step back, and realize what I do accomplish, even on the days when my mental and physical to-do lists remain untouched. Let's be honest: it can be hard to see what's so noteworthy about a load of laundry.
That day, the day when I got "nothing" done, I actually forced myself to sit down that night before I went to bed and make a list of what I succeeded in doing that day. This is what my "nothing" looked like:
- made a healthy dinner and healthy(ish) lunch for my family, plus snacks
- cleaned up from those meals and snacks
- nursed - quite literally nourished - my newborn 12 times adding up to over two hours
- made time to play and read books with my two toddlers
- soothed and rocked the baby to sleep several times
- changed (and changed, and changed again) three sets of diapers
- found time to feed and rest myself...especially important as a nursing mom (and one still recovering from birth!)
- tidied up the endless mess of toys, toys, and more toys
Even on the days we accomplish "nothing", we are doing work that matters, mamas. It might be exhausting, it can seem mundane, it may feel unimportant, but it is so essential when we successfully run our own little households. These everyday tasks seem so inconsequential, but just imagine the state of our homes and the mindset of those in it if they were left undone. We might be able to deal with the dirty bathrooms for a time, but who else is going to care for my children's essential needs like I do? We are caring for little bodies - little souls - that can't quite take care of themselves. We're teaching, guiding, and playing, feeding and bathing even the tiniest members of our families.
Throw out the mental to-do list. Chances are, on one of "those" days where the list doesn't even come close to being touched, our arms and hearts are full, and we're accomplishing things - BIG things to these little people - anyway.