Of lists and non-lists; to-dos, will-get-to-its, and one-days

I love making lists. For everything. Lately, however, I have avoided making lists but that experience is more like a mouse who sees cheese and is smart enough to realize that the cheese is purely a tool of entrapment and yet, wonders if she can somehow outsmart the trapping hinge. Hmm..ain’t gonna happen!

What I mean by this analogy is that I want to make lists – it gives me some semblance of control over the haphazardly done tasks strewn all over my home, the many chores I need to complete outside of the home, and the few official ones that I HAVE to get done like sending in the paperwork to renew my passport. I am foolishly tempted into thinking that I actually could accomplish all these tasks within the required frame of time (hence, the delusion that the mouse might actually get the cheese by outsmarting the odds stacked against her) because I do have a kid who goes to early-preschool for three hours, two days a week; and an infant, who, in the worst case scenario of not napping, can be placed safely on her activity mat while I do what I need to get done.

Unfortunately, life does not work that way. I was able to make time dance to my tunes sometimes when I was married and many times when I was a single, working professional, both in India and the US. Today, with two bosses, life revolves around their desires, wants, and needs.

See the list in the image above? Yesterday, I made my first list in many, many weeks. I have tried making lists online on apps and they help sometimes but I usually forget what’s on them anyway so I give up on them within a day or two of downloading them.

The beauty of this list was that it was on actual, physical paper – something I still love – writing on paper. Did I mention I am obsessed with journals? I have countless blank journals and I keep desiring more every time I see good ones. Anyway…

I had just dropped TJ off to school and so I had three hours minus the driving time back home. I wanted to stop by a grocery store and buy a gallon of water – TJ is the snack boy on Thursday which means he is responsible for bringing in snacks for all his classmates and a gallon of water. I took care of the snacks last week but I wasn’t going to pay $3.99 for a gallon of water at Trader Joe’s even if it came from New Zealand – which it did!! Seriously, after Fiji, we need water from New Zealand?! Can you even imagine the carbon footprint!? But then I buy lamb meat from Australia and French Green Beans from Guatemala, what do I know?

I couldn’t stop at the grocery store because over the weekend when we switched cars, we switched strollers and I couldn’t put Baby E’s car seat on an umbrella stroller which was now in my trunk and I don’t have the super human strength needed to lug a car seat with a baby in it in the crook of my arms even till the grocery cart! That was a no-go. So I returned home, instead.

Baby E had slept in that morning so she wasn’t going to nap at 9:15 a.m. but I still needed to get things done. I made that very long list above and though impressed with what I was able to accomplish, I still had a lot left to do. Let me tell you what I did get done:

Organizing clothes for donation and a consignment sale, sale
  • Folded laundry – Two loads that had been sitting patiently, one in a basket and another still in the dryer
  • Put laundry away (both these laundry tasks took a long time)
  • Made coffee (and drank it while folding laundry and entertaining Baby E on her mat)
  • Put toys away (read: Made living room livable)
  • Watered plants
  • Put Baby E to nap
  • Took a shower
  • Put breakfast away
  • Organized Goodwill donation items
  • Organized consignment sale, sale items
  • Kept lunch ready (Made pancakes batter with grated zucchini, blended avocado, and cheese – ready to pour, cook, and serve TJ for lunch) – this took the longest time
  • Woke Baby E up
  • Nursed her, changed her diaper, put her in her car seat
  • Picked up TJ
    ..and it only took 2 hours and 45 minutes!!

Other things on my list that I did not accomplish: Put children’s bingo cards away (they have been lying around for at least 5 weeks now and I still did not get to them), tummy time with Baby E, organize foyer, sweep and mop entryway, tweeze eyebrows.

Sigh…every time I look around my overflowing home filled with clutter, I feel overwhelmed with the sheer number of things I need to get done. We have totally outgrown our 2 bedroom rental townhome too. Before all the stuff starts closing in on me, I need to do something about the many to-dos, will-get-to-its, and one-days tasks lists and I will, one day.

Published by Suchitra

I am a former Communication Studies professor turned stay-at-home-mom (SAHM) to two multiracial kids. I write about my adventures in parenting and living a multicultural life with my family. Blogger at: www.thephdmama.com Follow me: @thephdmama

Please share your thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: