I love making ‘to-do’ lists. I even write ‘write to-do list’ on my to-do lists just so I have something I can cross out immediately and feel an instant surge of gratification. I also include things like ‘pee’ and ‘eat’. Seriously. This is a good example of a Bree to do list…
- Write to-do list
- Clean off dining room table
- Drink a glass of water
- Put in Washer
- Put in Dryer
- Put away
- Tidy up closets and re-organize clothes
- Clean living room.
Notice how multi-step things like laundry are broken down into separate tasks? This serves two purposes. First, it makes my to-do list longer which makes me feel like my to-do list is important. “Look at all these things I must do!” Second, I get to cross things off quicker by breaking down the tasks which feeds my productivity obsession.
Here’s the danger. Sometimes I get so fixated on ‘doing all the stuff’ that the list of things-that-need-doing takes over my tempo and I’m hurrying, I’m multitasking, I’m not present with the people in my home. I just keep muttering, “One more minute… almost done!” and what usually ends up happening is I become so connected to the list, the tasks, the doings that I disconnect from the rhythm of my home, from my husband and son. Which usually looks like my husband getting frustrated and irritated with me, my son throwing a tantrum, or me accidentally hurting myself (Stub my toe, trip down the stairs, donk my head, bang my knee…). Or on really successful days- all of the above!
All because I was moving too fast.
My hack for slowing things down is this…
- And look for something.
Stop what you’re doing. Take a breath, and allow your eyes to expand out of tunnel vision mode and take in the whole room- the PEOPLE in the room.
Stop and look your child straight in the eye.
Drop what you’re doing.
Drop the to-do list.
Drop your phone.
Drop the PLAN.
Look For Something. And by something, I mean anything- even if you don’t know what it is.
When I look my son straight in the eye and lift my hands up and say, “Where is it?! Where is it Cole? I can’t find it.” He stops whatever he’s doing and looks right back at me, throws his hands in the air and says, “Dah?!” (Cole lingo for ‘I don’t know where it is either mama!’).
Then we immediately get on our hands and knees and start looking for something. We search under the couch, behind the bookcase, under the TV console. Most times neither of us know what ‘it’ is but whatever it is we’re gonna find it together, as a team.
After we’ve searched for a little while the ‘it’ usually reveals itself. This week it was a 6” plastic spider my husband’s colleague off-loaded onto our house as a gift for Cole that scared the crap out of me. The day my husband brought it home I tried to tolerate it but it was just too creepy so I asked him to throw it away. He hid it under the tv console instead.
As Cole and I searched for ‘it’, we both looked under the TV at the same time and the moment we saw the huge plastic spider we both froze.
‘Dah!!’ Cole pointed.
And there it was. Cole pulled it out and we laughed and clapped and celebrated finding it together. And just like that we were re-engaged, on the same page, going the same speed, doing life together.
Life. Is. So. Fast.
When the stress overwhelms the joy- SLOW DOWN. It seems impossible at first. Like stopping the titanic. But if you truly just STOP doing. The unimportant stuff will eventually get back in line behind the important things. It’s freaky at first to watch all the undone stuff stay undone. But if you keep at it… it’s quite freeing. All the weight, the pressure, the stress it goes away and all that’s left is the stuff that really matters…. The joy.
And as for something more tangible…
They may as well have called it ‘butt spackle’. This stuff is so thick it’s reminiscent of Marshmallow cream. It cures any and all diaper rashes. Trust me, we tried ‘em all and nothing solves butt problems faster than Triple Paste… and let’s be honest, butt rashes are nothing to mess with. If your butt aint right YOU aint right.