How to get things done...

on 04 June 2012


Brett is HILARIOUS.  I DON'T get a lot of things done.

Like any homemaker, some days are good and some days are not so good.  So the good days, I seize the day and plow through as much as I can, and that way, on the bad days, I can just do what NEEDS to be done.

In all seriousness, I try to look at my life in terms of what is genuinely Needful:

  • Clothing the naked
  • Feeding the hungry
  • Caring for the sick and afflicted.
And that's Motherhood.  Summed up neat and tidy.  So when these are done, when my kids are clothed and fed and well rested, cuddled and reasonably happy, then I look at the other things that Need to be done:
  • Animals need caring for
  • Our living space needs to be reasonable clean
  •'s never ending
  • Souls need feeding 
  • My husband needs flirting with
And because souls need feeding, I do a lot of reading--books to the kids, scriptures for the kids, scriptures for me and then finally at the end of the day (usually) books for me.  Sometimes the flirtation is my favorite: banter; and sometimes it's a hasty note tossed into his lunch as he's walking out the door.

And my sister lately, has converted me to the idea of having a creative experience every day.  Mine are not typically very grand, we listen to a lot of music around these parts, while we're going about our day, and at some point the Boy will be found dancing, and I will be found singing.  But I also try to pick up my needles at some point every day, even if I only work a couple of rows.  It's incredibly soothing to my mind and it softens me up for sleep, after the tension of the day.

But here's the list of things I Like to do when I have Time to do them:
  • Exercise
  • Take a walk outside with the Boy
  • Play in the dirt with the Boy
  • Tickle and play with my babies
  • Knitting
  • Visit my sister
  • Email my other sister
  • Deep clean my living space
  •  Take pictures of my incomprehensibly cute children
  • Tease my nephews
  • Take the kiddos to Nana and Popper's house
  • Run errands
  • Go beyond reading and actually STUDY
  • Read blogs
  • Bake stuff
  • WORK.  (Sometimes this gets bumped up the priority list.)
  • GROOM.  As in, extensive personal's just nice to feel pretty rather than just clean.

So how do I get stuff done?  Well, we have a reasonably small space (under 1000 square feet) so no matter where I am, I have a good idea of what the Boy is up to, and I can at least see my Girl.  We have a very parent-centered home, which for me, means that I don't usually play with my children.  I think it's good for them to see that Mama and Daddy have work to do that doesn't revolve around them.  They learn to play on their own, they learn they're NOT the center of the universe, and they REALLY appreciate it when we DO play with them--it becomes a big treat, rather than an expectation.  I initially started it, because I wanted the Boy to see me as an authority figure, rather than a playmate.  He's happy and obedient, so I don't think playing by himself is scarring him in anyway.

Monday is my usual Home Work day--I do all the laundry and a big cleaning on Mondays.  Then through the week, I only wash things that have poop on them.  Sorry to be graphic, but it's the truth.  If the Girl has a blow out, or if diapers need washing, that's the only laundry I do during the week.  I vacuum Mondays and Thursdays usually, but it's not hard and fast.  When we're really busy (like we've been for the past couple of weeks), then I usually only vacuum on Mondays.

Rest Time is The Sacred Cow.  I don't understand the abandonment of Rest Time.  Some days the Boy naps and some days he doesn't, but he still has Rest Time.  He has to be IN his bed from 1pm until I come and get him at 4pm.  And YES, I'm very strict about it, and YES there are consequences if he gets out of his bed, and YES, it's happened, and I've been consistent about the punishment that's meted out for that particular offense, and so after about 4 days, he settled down and he plays quietly with his soft animals in his bed on the days he doesn't nap.  Some days I lay down and try to rest when they do, but most days I use that time for Other Stuff--I pay bills, I clean the kitchen, I do freelance work, I fold laundry, I do any surfing on the internet that I need to do.  I do the things that I know I need quiet and solitude to do.

And I say No.  Net.  Non.  Neine.  Nay.  When things are building up on the calender and there are things that I would Like to do, but I know they would push my kids or ME over the edge, then I say No.  Sometimes more regretfully than others, but I say No.  I chalk it up to Times and Seasons.  Right now, my kids are small and at the end of the day, they don't need play dates, baby gym, park days, sports practices every single day.  Those things are Treats.  We do them SOMETIMES.  Most days, they just need Me.  And they need me to be calm and rational and kind.  So I schedule our lives in such a way that I can be a Happy Mama instead of a Harried, Stressed Out, Frustrated, Irritable Mama.  And I don't get to go to many activities or outings (Chris works evenings, so most of them are moot), I'm not in a book club, I don't go to Knit Night at the Library, I don't take classes.  This is my season, and I'm trying to enjoy it for what it is rather than moping for what it's not.  It will pass, and probably all too soon. 

So that's M's recipe for Getting Stuff Done.  I do all the usual stuff too, I make goals and lists and set deadlines for myself, but you will notice, that I'm not super thin, I'm not "shredded" and I don't cook dinner every single night. My house is clean but not immaculate, the Boy has some toys but not TONS (I still think he has too many, but I would be happy if the toys could be reduced to just 1 big bin rather than FOUR).  I don't read a book every couple of weeks (like I did before I had kids), I content myself to be reading SOMETHING and however long it takes me, it takes me.


    the MuLLinS said...

    Hey! Long time no comment, friend! I think you're an expert on being wonderful and productive so I appreciate this post. I agree on the sacredness of nap time/quiet time, and I just wanted to pass along a toy tip a friend gave me which has saved my sanity. We have those rubbermaid gray bins that we took all our toys and divided them amongst (after purging the ones we didn't need anymore). Then we rotate! Only one bin out at a time, usually for like a week or two, doesn't matter how long, but then clean up is quick and easy and then when a new bin comes out it's like Christmas morning! Old toys become new and fun again, it's the best thing I ever did. Maybe it'll help you with your desire to purge toys! Love you all bunches!

    RT and M said...

    I really enjoyed this post. I think we share a lot of similar views about family and the house. It's really important to me to not have a lot of stuff because that helps me keep the house cleaner and makes things a lot less stressful. And I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels that I shouldn't have to be entertaining my kids all the time.