I love a to-do list. I love lists in general, but a to-do list is one of my favourites. Since having children, the only thing I have found that helps me from being driven mad by my ‘mumnesia’ is a to-do list (there’s more about this in my previous post ‘From Baby Brain to Mumnesia’). My ability to remember even the simplest of tasks appeared to take a downward spiral from the moment I became pregnant with my first child. He’s now 6 and the mumnesia is showing no signs of disappearing. So now I rely on my faithful to-do lists to try to bring a smidge of organisation to the chaos of family life.
But not today. Today I am ignoring the mountain of growing items on my to-do list in favour of doing nothing. OK, that’s not completely accurate since I’m writing this blog so I am technically doing something, but instead of looking for pet insurance, searching for a new oven, sorting through a pile of papers the height of Mount Everest and whatever else is currently on the list, I have decided to do very little today. The problem is, I can’t help but feel guilty about taking time out knowing that I have so much to do. And I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling like I should always be doing something. But today I am going to ditch the guilt and the to-do list in favour of bringing some well-needed calm to my life.
If like me, you have just survived enjoyed half term with your children, then you’ll know how I am feeling this morning. I decided to take the full week off work to spend some quality time with them. In my madness (or mission to prove I am still a fun mum), I had made plans for every day of the half-term break. We had trips to the cinema, theatre, museums, three Halloween parties (yes, three!) and play dates galore. I have loved having my kids at home for the week and spending time with them but today I am just flippin’ shattered!
As I sat watching Lorraine on the TV this morning, I found my mind wandering to the gazillion things I should be doing and trying to recall everything that was on my to-do list. Then came the guilt. With a list that long, should I really just be sitting there doing nothing?
But, sometimes I just need to stop and do nothing. That may mean taking time out to have a lazy breakfast with Bradley Cooper (sadly that’s not quite as exciting as it may sound – he was being interviewed on the TV), or reading a book and forgetting all about the piles of washing or other chores that need doing. So why do I feel so guilty?
I know I’ll get through my to-do list at some point but that doesn’t stop the nagging feeling that I should be doing something more productive than watching TV. And then it dawned on me – the only person really putting pressure on me to get through my to-list today is me. So what if I don’t order the new oven today or the washing waits until later? Today I just need to stop and take time for me without feeling guilty. So, for now, I’m going to pack away the to-do list and enjoy this rare bit of peace and quiet. And importantly, I’ll try not to feel guilty about it.