Friday, January 21, 2011

Expectations, Meet Reality


I am a get-it-done kind of girl. A doer. I am pretty sure that I thrive on getting things done. It's just the way I am wired.

Before I had the boys, I had an administrative-type job in which I was very good at getting things done, managing my time, and being efficient. It was really satisfying for me. I could juggle several hats and still end the day with most, if not all, of my to-do list checked off.

I think you can tell where this is going...

When I quit my job after Ethan was born to stay home full time, I had to learn to adjust to not getting everything done. Although truthfully, one (very easy) baby who sleeps most of the time still allows a good amount of time for productivity. Still, it was different from what I was used to. I was no longer complete master of my time.

And now that I've got two boys, two schedules for each of them, and twice as many caretaker tasks, I have less than half as much time to get anything else done. I'm sure that additional kids only compound this issue. So, reality has finally really hit me this time. I may have a list of 10 things that I really need to get done (and want to get done), but I may only get two crossed off that day. Or one. Or none.

I have really had to confront the fact that I feel very dissatisfied and upset at the end of the day when I don't get things accomplished. (Just ask Casey.) I have been forced to re-define what it means to be productive. Because I AM getting things done....feeding the boys (and Casey), reading to the boys, playing with the boys, dressing the know, raising the boys. And being a wife. According to that definition, I should probably consider myself very productive at the end of each day, right?

(Two sweet iphone photos.)


That doesn't mean that I am magically okay with the other things still un-done...and that list certainly isn't going anywhere (I currently have two part-time jobs...and laundry). In fact, I think I will always have to remind myself of my "true" productivity every single day in order to stay sane. I think I can see where it can be such a plus to be the type of person that doesn't really care about getting things done. Who doesn't have a list constantly running through their head. Who doesn't gain any pleasure from completing tasks. But I am just not that person and I have to work with my personality...good or bad.

And of course, I know that this is just a season of my life. A sweet season for which I am very grateful.


Emily Cade said...

I would guess that you are still super impressive at being super efficient. To someone with or without kids!

Supermom-In-Training said...

I know how you feel! There are days where we all stay in our pajamas, just so I can get a few things done. It is amazing how much time the simple tasks take with kids!

Anonymous said...

I could have written this post. Though I am certainly less task/list oriented than you, this has been a HUGE adjustment for me. The very first weeks Colt went back to work at the end of July I really thought I was going to go insane because I felt like I never accomplished anything. Every task/every project felt like it was being interrupted and the house felt chaotic... Of course this wasn't the truth (for me or you). I am constantly, seriously every day, moment by moment, trying to reorient myself to a new perspective, realizing that I don't have to feel unhappy or somehow out-of-control, just because I didn't mop the kitchen floor when I wanted to.
Thanks for sharing this. It's nice to know I'm not alone!

Mary said...

This has been a huge spiritual lesson for me, one I am still learning. Not just one of check-off lists, but of focus and ministry. God made us Mom's and assigned us the task of ministering and raising our family. And so often, I want to do somethign that FEELS so much more meaningful, when that is just about the most important ministry out there!

Rabelers said...

Well said! This has been a big stuggle for me as well....especially on the days that I feel 'unproductive'. But then I have to remind myself that my definition of 'productive' has been completely redefined!