Have you ever invested yourself totally and completely into a task only to have your heart crushed when what is noticed is what you didn't do rather than what you did do?
You know what I'm talking about. You clean the house from top to bottom, inside and out, every corner, every crack, every crevice. You get on your hands and knees, you scrub with a tooth brush. You clean until your fingers bleed. Then, someone comes along and wipes a finger along the one window sill you forgot to wipe and comments on the dust.
There's nothing worse than that feeling.
If we're lucky (and I most certainly am), we don't find ourselves in that situation with our husbands or family. If we are lucky, we are with people who love us and appreciate all that we do and would never dream of criticizing the things we don't do.
But, as women, as wives and mothers and homemakers, don't we do it to ourselves? Don't we spend all of our energies making a wonderful life for those we love and then turn around and beat ourselves up for what we didn't do today?
God is gracious enough to bring us together with men who treat us well and then we turn around and treat ourselves with criticism. Don't you think we owe it to ourselves to begin to appreciate all that we do and are and stop harping on all the things that we can't do or aren't?
I can't remember where I saw it (and I do apologize to whomever came up with this for my inability to give you credit), but I recently saw on another blog where a mother said something about her "Ta-Da List".
I fell in love. On. the. spot.
That tiny little phrase spoke to me on a deep level. It was something I desperately needed to hear.
I thrive on order, so I make myself lists. Lists upon lists of things to do. But, as we all know, getting everything on the list actually crossed off is near impossible. Well, maybe if I had a maid and someone else was teaching my children and I had no animals and could spend 100% of my time working on my lists without interruptions. But, yuck. Where would the joy be in life? What would be the point of the things on my list if I didn't have these sweet people to do them for?
Oh, but I digress. Back to the point.
I like lists. I do best when I have a plan of what I need to accomplish. The problem comes when the day is over (or whenever my mojo runs out) and the list is not completed. Now comes the guilt, the shame, the internal name-calling and degradation. I know I'm not the only wife/mother/homemaker/home-educator that does that!
What if we turned it around a bit and spent a few minutes at the end of our day noticing what we did accomplish? What if we focused just as much attention on our "Ta-Da List" as we did our "To-Do List"? Wouldn't that be a boost in our confidence and self esteem?
So, the other day, I did just that. I had about 15 to 20 things on my "to-do list". Things like baking muffins and doing school and reading my Bible and cleaning the kitchen well and taking a shower and cleaning the bathroom and blogging and calling my mom and balancing my checkbook and making phone calls and doing our library stuff online (what needs to be returned, reserve upcoming materials for school) and type out a poem for the Hippie to memorize and reply to two emails asking me questions about food (raw and vegan) and make dinner and make lunch and clean up after each meal and .....
I worked hard, but as you might have guessed, I did not finish everything that day. At the end of the afternoon, though, I took a minute to look at my "Ta-Da List". Here is what I had accomplished:
- Spent time with GOD
- Completed the day's school lessons
- Talked to my mom for over an hour
- Cleaned the kitchen WELL (dishes, appliances, sweep, mop, etc.)
- Published a blog post
- Prepared three healthy meals for my family from real, whole foods
I had done the things that mattered most, really. I mean, what is more important than God, the education of my children, maintaining my relationship with my mother and feeding my family healthy and nutritious foods?
If you take what is most important to you (in my case, that would be God and Family) and what you accomplish aligns with that, what could really be wrong?
There's always tomorrow to get those other things done.
And, for the record, I did bake muffins the next day and as of this moment most of those other things have been taken care of. And, even if they haven't, I can feel good about what I have been doing. Taking care of my relationships with God and family, educating my children and maintaining my home to the best of my ability (amid constant interruptions and distractions) are things to be proud of!