Do you ever have days where you wake with a sense of dread because of all you have to get done that day? Maybe the baby woke up early – before you could even jump into the shower and you already feel like you’re behind before you’ve even begun. You quickly throw breakfast together and while the kids are munching, you scrawl out a to-do list with a handy index card and a crayon left out from yesterday’s coloring session. There it is – the day’s agenda!
That first thing gets crossed off, and your heart lightens a bit. You can tackle it all! Sure, cleaning the kitchen after breakfast took a little longer than planned, but you can do this! After all, you aren’t supposed to cry over spilled milk or the cereal that your toddler decided to throw across the floor. And taking time for prayer and a devotion at the breakfast table was the best way to set a positive tone for the day.
What’s next? Laundry? Ugh! There was a load left in the wash from the day before that needs to be redone. You’ll just run it again and come back to it later. Hopefully…
“Momma, I need help brushing my teeth!” You walk into the bathroom – the one you just cleaned yesterday – ready and willing to assist. Water is splattered across the mirror and toothpaste has been strewn across the counter tops. Sigh. Teeth first and then the mess…
And just as you are about to tackle the next task, you hear, “Mommy, can you read me a story?”
Several stories and even more cuddles later, you look at the list again. Beep! Beep! Beep! Little chimes from the phone alert you to an incoming message. It’s a text from a friend who is going through a difficult time. You call them back and wholeheartedly muster the most encouraging responses you can. As soon as you hang up, you set off to find a card from the stationary basket to send with the hopes that it will brighten their day.
It’s not on the list, but you’ve just remembered that in addition to making dinner tonight for your family, you’ve also promised to send dinner over to the neighbors who just came home from the hospital with their new baby.
“MOM-MY! My fort won’t stay up!” First, it’s time to grab some blankets and teach the kids the fine art of couch cushion, fort building. It will be the perfect place for them to have a fun, indoor picnic lunch!
The seconds turn into minutes…minutes into hours… And before you know it the day is done. The kids are fed again, bathed, tucked in, and kissed. The remains of the day are yours, but there are crumbs on the floor, dishes to be washed, laundry to be folded, and very few check marks on the to-do list. You worked. You gave. But you’re exhausted and wondering…”What did I really accomplish today?”
I’ve often been guilty of using the to-do list as a measure for my day. You know the list with only two things checked off? At times, I’ve let it gauge my success as a wife and mother. I make unrealistic lists, and then the tasks left unchecked stare back at me mockingly as if to remind me of my failings that day. I silently berate myself and promise to get it all done tomorrow.
On one such day, it was my own mother who pointed out to me that even if all I get done is caring for the kids, I’ve done a big job. I’ve done enough. It’s enough to just splash water on my face, pray, begin my day, and love on my kids. It’s really enough!
It’s easy to dismiss all that I actually accomplish in a day. It wasn’t on the to-do list, so it didn’t matter. Right? Maybe…just maybe the things that weren’t on that list were the things that mattered the most though. And maybe that’s the case for your list too…
Maybe more gets accomplished than we realize. Let’s try a new list–the done list! Let it be a list of the things you did rather than the things you wanted to do. That list would probably look more like this…
Made breakfast. Prayed with the kids. Didn’t cry over spilled milk. Mopped up a mess. Picked cereal off the floor that the dog didn’t already beat me to. Bandaged a skinned knee. Kissed tears away. Braided hair. Reran a load of laundry. (Yes, that counts!) Brushed little teeth. Wiped up the mess from the bathroom. Read stories. Gave cuddles. Encouraged a friend. Built a fort. Prepared food.
And perhaps if we look even deeper, we’d see…
Laughed together. Made memories. Taught the kids about grace. Served. Showed love.
Even when it feels like our efforts are not enough, there are often unseen results that come from what we do. Let’s not miss the extraordinary things we are accomplishing in the midst the ordinary moments of motherhood.
What’s on your done list today?