Wednesday, March 6

the done list

First things first.

I had a whole other post slated for today. Half-written, even. But then, I've had to admit defeat, as I am being attacked on two fronts: allergies, and insomnia. Three days running, and I was up for three hours last night. No bueno.

So today seemed like a good day for softened expectations, and for pulling out a practice from back in the tiny infant days: the done list.

You remember those times, or perhaps are deep in the muck and mire of them, when days and nights blur, when you feel like a wrung-out rag, and are barely coordinated enough to make your own coffee in the morning, let alone get anything else done? Yeah, it's been a bit like that.

Under regular circumstances, I love me a good to-do list. Just writing one out gives me a great sense of possibility, like I'm somehow already on top of things just for putting pen to paper. (I like Jamie's thoughts on to-do lists, and Tsh's.) But on days like today, when the kind thing to do is to have little to no expectations about what I can get done beyond the bare essentials, I switch to a done list.  I move through my day with gentleness, attending to the necessities and only doing what I feel I can, resting as much as possible. Then, to avoid feeling like the day got the better of me, I list the things I managed to accomplish.

Today, I:

  • Changed and clothed and fed a toddler
  • Had coffee and wrote morning pages
  • Emptied the dishwasher and cleaned the counter
  • Folded and put away (bonus points!) a load of laundry
  • Took a long nap (thanks to my mother-in-law)
  • Made lunch for the boy
  • Put the boy down for a nap
  • Wrote a blog post. (Bam!)

And it's only two o'clock!

It's not much, but it's a conscious practice that reminds me that I showed up for my own life, that I tended to things that matter, and that our home runs a little smoother now than it did this morning. I also find it affirming, when I do this exercise, to list things I never put on a to-do list, like the care I provide for my son. It's a good reminder that there are a lot of tasks in my day, and while many are small and nagging, they are vital in their importance, and I'm the one (usually) who shows up to attend to them. A good remedy for the old "I-don't-do-anything-valuable-my-life-has-no-meaning" SAHM blues.

And so, with several warm beverages, a nap for me and for my boy, and a done list, the day is somewhat redeemed. But tonight? I'm hitting the Benadryl and hoping to break the cycle. Wish me sleep. And clear sinuses.

What about you? What are some of your coping strategies for less-than-optimal days? I'm heading back into the salt mines of tiny infant sleepless days, and would love to hear your thoughts!

PS You still have until midnight tonight to enter the giveaway to win a copy of Erin Goodman's CD, Three Deep Breaths!


  1. I hope you feel better soon. I think when days are less than optimal I try to do the bare minimum around the house and squeeze in some "me" time (coined by my adult daughter). It helps immensely. I hope you sleep well.

  2. I love your 'done' list...I've never looked at it that way before. I'm currently suffering from one of the worst bouts of tonsillitis and fortunately two of my four children are older and if I can manage to get up and toast some fruit loaf then they are usually more than happy to help out for a slice, even my two youngest can get involved. But, yes, it's always the bare minimum, surfaces cleared, dishes maybe and plenty of films and books to snuggle up with quietly with all of my children.


Thanks for stopping by for a chat! I read and appreciate every comment.