This mama needs to leave the laundry. I am a list-type of person. I easily become unfocused and overwhelmed when I don’t have a list to direct my day. Even if I don’t have a physical list on paper, I feel like I am constantly carrying around a mental list in my head. I am currently learning that I am writing these lists in all the wrong ways. While there is nothing inherently wrong with a to-do list, if that list is not composed correctly or with enough breaks and rest and joy, that list is going to leave you burned out. The way I write out my lists is that I think of all the practical things that need to get done. Regardless of what day it is, I can almost guarantee that there will be dishes in the sink and dirty laundry in the basket. These two tasks seem to be never-ending. Once I list these things out, I tack on the things that really bring me joy, like writing this blog, reading my new copy of Homebody, and working on a scrapbook of Hudson’s first year, to the very end of the list. I do this almost every day and the same thing happens nearly every day. I don’t get to the things that truly fill me up and bring me joy. The result? I end my days feeling exhausted, burned out, and ironically unproductive. By doing the things that I have to do, I end not feeling as fulfilled or even as productive because the projects that really energize are left untouched. While the kitchen is usually pretty tidy and laundry never sits in the basket untouched for very long, the scrapbook project I began sits in the corner of our bedroom neglected. The books I’ve been looking forward to reading have piled up. The empty room I have been looking forward to converting to a playroom gathers dust.
All this to conclude that I need to restructure how I write out my lists. I need to start putting some of the things that really bring me joy at the top of my lists not at the very bottom. I need to be more intentional about writing in things like pause, rest, play. I need to be okay with occasionally leaving the laundry and instead picking up that book. I need to fully let go of this false notion that in order to do the fun, fulfilling, and restful things; I must first accomplish the mundane and necessary things of life. While the laundry of course must be done and the dishes must be put away and the dinners must be made; it is not always as urgent as I make it out to be. Laundry can pile up for one more day. Dishes can sit over night. Dinner can come out later and be more simple.
The irony in all of this, is that I am still in the midst of learning this lesson for myself. I have begun this post over a week ago. I have been interrupted multiple times in writing this. What were the interruptions? Laundry, a baby, dinner. I know deep in my heart what I long for and could actually use, but I still do the things I feel are the priority. I am still learning, but hopeful that I can slowly let go of the “have to’s” in order to embrace the “love to’s”.