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Over the summer, I went to visit one of my friends from college who I hadn’t seen in years.  I was a bridesmaid in her wedding and she was one in mine and we have the sort of friendship that can always pick up where we left off and that we know will last forever.  She doesn’t have any kids but loves hearing about my adventures and I can always count on her as a sympathetic ear when I need to vent.  So I was telling her about my struggles with allergies and stress and how they are both wreaking havoc on my poor body.  And we talked about how it always comes down to me not feeling like enough…not enough time spent bonding with each of my sons, not enough time to prepare all of the food from scratch, not enough time for sleep and meditation and exercise, not enough time left at the end of the day to be a good partner to my husband, not enough time to keep in touch with family and friends, not enough time to learn new skills like sewing and knitting, not enough time to spend outside in nature…I could go on and on but you get the idea.  After listening to all that I had to say, she had a very simple but outstanding suggestion that can turn around those feelings of exhaustion and falling short at the end of the day and instead leave me feeling like a ROCK STAR that can’t be stopped!  She said to me, “First of all, Maria, you are enough.  That is easy to see from the outside.  But since you are struggling to see that from inside your head, maybe you need to change your perspective a bit.  Instead of comparing and measuring yourself against a To-Do List and either pointing out what didn’t get done each day or cringing at how short the list was, what if you sat down and wrote up a “Got Done List” at the end of each day and included every little thing that you accomplished that day?”  Genius!!  Now, instead of feeling like a bit of a loser for not being able to do it all, I have a way to feel great about myself and motivated to do it again the next day.  And then when I went back home and tried it out, I realized that I was not giving myself enough credit for everything that DOES get done in my world.  For example, here is a typical daily “To Do List” for me:

  • Plan meals for the week
  • Pick up milk at farm store
  • Make pizza dough
  • Wash diapers
  • Pack snacks and lunch for next day

I know.  It’s short, right?  And the ridiculous part is that I still won’t be able to complete it all in one day!!  But I digress into my old ways of beating myself up for not being enough.  My point here is that we should now compare that list to my “Got Done List” for the same day:

  • Got a shower (if you are a mother of young children, you know that this in itself is an accomplishment!)
  • Went for a run
  • Packed the snacks and lunches that I forgot to pack the night before
  • Did not yell once while getting the kids into the car
  • Arrived at preschool drop-off early!
  • Read a book to my 3-year old (5 times – the same one over and over)
  • Worked on potty training with my 3-yr old
  • Changed pee-soaked sheets on two beds
  • Made snacks, lunch, and dinner for my family from scratch
  • Sent a quick text to my husband to let him know that I am thinking of him 🙂
  • Got outside of my comfort zone and crafted a frog leaf creature with my 4-yr old
  • Picked up milk at the farm store
  • Dropped off some clothes and toys to donate at the thrift store
  • Put in some floor time in the play room and made a crazy awesome block tower!
  • Made pizza dough with my kids (and a huge mess of the kitchen)
  • Washed the dishes and cleaned up the kitchen
  • Gave the kids a bath
  • Washed the diapers (and then forgot them in the washing machine overnight and had to wash them again the next morning…..but that just means they get to go on tomorrow’s “Got Done List” all over again!)
  • Fell into bed exhausted at the end of the day and my wonderful husband packed the snacks and lunches instead – thank goodness I have him on my team!

Wow.  Doesn’t that look so much better!  I feel better already!

Try it.  This will change your world!  Now I’m not saying that you need to throw out that notepad with “TO DO” printed across the top or that you should do away with sticky notes in your house.  I still keep a list of daily and weekly reminders and I still have long lists of things that I would like to do that are stored on my computer.  But there’s no reason that you can’t combine those lists and reminders with one more kind of list that allows you to pat yourself on the back and feel good about all of your accomplishments for the day, no matter how big or small.  The Got Done List.  And if your kids can’t read yet, you could even dress it up a little and call it the “Got SHIT Done” List 😉  Hope this idea helps you as much as it is helping me!!


This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. This is such a great reminder, Maria! It’s so important to celebrate everything that does get done on any given day. I often fall into the trap of looking forlornly at my “to do” list, wondering why I didn’t accomplish more. But, when I look at my “completed” list, it’s certainly something to celebrate and be proud of!

    1. I agree. Especially because, as mothers, our to-do lists can sometimes consist solely of those repetitive everyday tasks like dishes and laundry and cleaning. It’s hard to feel good about a list like that when you know that those same tasks will be back on your list the next day or week. But when we stop to recognize all the good stuff that happens in between those repetitive tasks, we realize that we might actually be making a difference!

  2. Positive thinking! I love it! Even though I don’t have the kind of days that you do, I start with a ‘to-do’ list. Then I add tasks that I did and cross them out, even though they weren’t in my original plan for the day. It’s a good feeling to cross things off. Keep collecting those good feelings 🙂 Kudos to Robin for her suggestion!

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