I am a planner. I like to make a list, set goals, work really hard, and then check it off the list. Truthfully, I’m sitting at my computer right now with two different notebooks open to lists and a planner with a monthly to-do list on top of them. When I say I love a list, this is not to be taken lightly.
Lists are my thing.
But here’s where things get dicey.
I never have my kids on my list.
I’m really fighting the urge to explain my way out of that sentence. To make myself not sound bad or neglectful. But I’m working on worrying less about how something might sound and focusing more on writing honestly.
Because there are times I’m so goal-oriented that I ignore my kids. Or turn the TV on and let Ellie watch an hour of cartoons while Harper naps. Or lock myself in the bathroom and read for 15 minutes when all I really had to do was blow my nose.
Sometimes I have bad thoughts about how much stuff I could get done if they weren’t around for the day. I don’t know where they would go (the fantasy never gets that far), but it’s a thought that crosses my mind every once in a while. About how easy it would be to clean if someone wasn’t following right behind me and making everything dirty and messy again. About how good dinner could be if you would just leave me alone for a minute. Tonight I served burnt carrot chips and extra crispy chicken breast. No one really liked it. I had a bad attitude while making dinner and I think the meal took on my nastiness. They say chicken is very versatile so I guess it can absorb bad attitudes also.
But tonight as I sat in a silent house (another truth: I always love my kids more when they’re asleep. It’s a lot easier then.), I came across this blog post and it made all the mom-guilt I’ve been having for the past few weeks come crashing down. And it almost suffocated me.
How often am I stopping to listen to my children’s laughter?
Because there will come a day when it won’t come so easily. And then another day will come and it won’t be in my house at all.
That broke my heart.
And made me hate my lists that I love so much.
Tonight as I put Ellie to bed, she chose The Little Red Hen for her bedtime story.
And here’s how I know God has a sense of humor.
The Little Red Hen is all about a hen asking for help doing various things and no one has time for her. No one is available to help her. So she does everything by herself. Until the end when she has the last laugh.
It’s a children’s book and, I’m sure, not supposed to make a parent feel absolutely horrible about herself.
But it did.
The Little Red Hen basically bitch slapped me.
Because my kids sometimes get pushed to the back burner while I get stuff done. Things that I could be doing with them, but I don’t want the hassle or to take the extra time. Or to make the mess.
And that’s really not fair.
So here’s to a summer of getting less done, but being more. More mom. More fun. More patient. More flexible. More Little Red Hen and less lists.