A few weeks ago, I decided that Wednesday was the perfect day to clean my house. By Wednesday, it usually really needs a clean, and Wednesday is still far enough away from Friday that I have time to do it.
Now, moving from decision to action can take some time. And so, yesterday, I planned to stay home and clean my house. It was pretty much my only goal for the day. In fact, when my friend called and asked if she could use my driveway, I said, “sure. Come anytime. I am home all day.” As the saying goes, man plans, G-d laughs.
This morning, as I sit here in my still messy house, I wonder what happened. Just what did I do yesterday? I sorted the clean laundry, so that was a start, and I ran the dishwasher. I nursed my baby. I went to the mechanic to get a quote on summer tires for our van, came back and took the van in at the end of the day so that the tires could be changed today. I made lunch for my daughter and brought it to school because the lunch program suddenly ended and she was left with nothing to eat. Just as well I went, as I needed to tell her to walk home as I would be taking the van in at that time. I nursed my baby. I found my son’s soccer clothes and prepared his water bottle. I went to the bank. I went to the depanneur to buy popsicles for the kids to have after school. I drove my carpool. I sent my older boys off for dinner and soccer. We ate the posicles. I took the van in. I made supper. I nursed my baby. We ate supper. I learned with my daughter and my niece for their bas mitzvahs. I took my daughter to the grocery store at 10:30 at night to get snacks for a project at school, and some fruit for the kids’ lunches today. I helped my son prepare his Shakespeare monologue and read some of Huckleberry Finn with him, while nursing the baby, of course. When I finally fell into bed at 12:30, I had had a full, productive and happy day – but I wasn’t able to cross a single thing off my to-do list!
I realized today that there are two parts of me that often come into conflict. On one hand, I am a slow moving, savour-the moment person. I like to do things well and in-depth. On the other hand, there are so very many things I feel I need and want to do and so very few hours in which to do them. I try to pack as much as possible into every minute and often end up rushing around as a result.
Every minute is a precious gift and a beautiful opportunity. As mothers, there are many unplanned for disruptions in our days – like my daughter’s ended lunch program, or my baby’s incessant need to nurse all day long. These are the essence, though, not the annoyances, of our parenting days. What good is it to have well fed, well dressed, well slept children if we are not there for them when they need us?
So, in the important ways, I went way beyond my list yesterday. Yes, my house is still a mess, but my children are richer. They know they are loved and cherished – and they don’t see the mess!