lists

January 14, 2010 at 10:50 am 2 comments

For the past month or two I have been driven to really scratch things off the to-do list, and I have.  I’ve cleared out the email inbox, packed up most of our house, gone to the recycler and goodwill ( a couple times). It has been a productive era. But lately I have felt a little bit of my  DO! DO! DO! feelings ebb  and it has has been helpful for the part of my life that doesn’t live on a to-do list.

Wanting to “get things done” has been an almost irritating drive when my toddler wants me to hold her, or read books. I have been putting her off, saying I wasn’t quite ready to settle in for reading and she says “Why not mama? What are you doing? And my answers sound so lame. Dishes don’t make sense to a two year old.

And what’s worse is that if I can put her off for a couple minutes she sometimes gets distracted and the few minutes might turn into fifteen minutes and I finish the one task and then, because she is now occupied, I launch onto a bigger task. And then she finds me and asks to read books again and the great drive to “get things done” thrashes in resistance and the cycle continues. I get a lot done, sure. But I also purposely distance myself from my daughter to do it and that doesn’t feel good.

My currently less ambitious state feels a little better. At least now I can read a book (or twenty five) without looking around the room and adding to the to-do list at the same time. But it also means that when I go looking for something in the basement and can’t find it, I don’t organize a bit and stack and order as I look, making the basement tidier as a result. Instead I listlessly shuffle a couple things aside, feel overwhelmed, and give up, leaving the basement worse off than before. Sigh.

If only we could turn these things on and off. I would like it if, when the girls were busy making Hamster Heaven, I could charge through my list, but when they were done or needed me, I would be able to immediately let go of my attachment to completing the tasks and step fully into being with them again.

It’s not okay with me to feel irritated with Echo just because I don’t get to vacuum the bedroom.

It’s also not okay with me to live in a dirty house.

Hmmmm. I think I’ll add this to the list I have going of what makes up “the human condition”. Loneliness is on that list, fear of being known, seen or different is on that list, and now “a clean house versus connection with your children” is on that list. I guess I like making a list because by identifying my trials as universal I feel better.

Haha, it’s kind of ironic. Now I see that putting this on the list helps me feel less alone, and less different, the very first items on the list to begin with. Maybe lists are good for something after all.

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Entry filed under: life lessons, parenting principles. Tags: , , , .

foundations thinking of you Haiti

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Ivy  |  January 14, 2010 at 11:40 am

    I do that exact same thing with my daughter. It doesn’t feel very good, and yet, I feel compelled. Sometimes I think it’s because she is my third child and I feel like I’ve done it all already — but the problem is I haven’t necessarily done it all with her.

    Reply
  • 2. amy  |  January 14, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    i hear ya. way to put into words what apparently is a universal struggle. makes me feel like i am not a heel or a crazy person that i too do not like a disorderly and messy environment nor do i like always putting my children off until things are “done”. if you ever find the magic solution (yeah right), let me know. until then it’s swinging back between one extreme and another for me.

    Reply

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