Most people know that I’m a go-get-’em girl. By the time my feet hit the floor in the morning, I’m already thinking about lunch time, play time, work time, nap time, dinner time, bedtime. All of the times, they are ever-present for me. I want my house to run smoothly, and I want the people inside of it to feel loved and supported and full of joy. Who doesn’t feel joy at the thought of a freshly-vacuumed carpet, or a well-organized weekly schedule? Christopher likes to pick on my inability to relax. I have a hard time plopping down onto the couch if I know something needs attention first.
People love to tell new moms to slow down, to soak up those fleeting moments that don’t last. This is great advice, and it’s true. But after a few children, I’ve found that I can’t follow it to the letter. When I let go of my busybody personality, I lose a little bit of my identity. When I can’t check things off of my to-do list, I grow resentful towards the thing (or tiny baby) keeping me from the other things in my life and family and home.
So I keep moving. It’s why I go to church at one week postpartum. It’s why I let the twins chatter for a few extra minutes after nap time, so I can finish folding a load of laundry or writing a blog post. It’s why I’m a staunch supporter of moms who keep their iPhones on them throughout the day. It’s important to hold onto the things that make me who I am… even in the midst of my busiest years, the ones that call me to pour myself out over and over, day after day.
Since Hadassah Lee arrived, I’ve kept up with our kitchen chalkboard pretty meticulously. I write a few to-do list items on there, along with what we’ll be eating and some kind of quote for the day. When I find myself wanting to stay busy and do too much, I slow down and look at the board.
If the list has one box beside the word laundry, I will only do one load of laundry. If the list says clean bathroom, I will scrub it top to bottom and let the toddler pee outside while I do so, but I will not move on to another room after that. If the list reminds me to return emails, I will not feel guilty for propping the computer up on the couch while I nurse the newbie, but I will not hang out on Facebook when I’m done.
I recently taught Ames to say, “Momma’s doing mental health” when he sees me running around the house like a wild woman right after breakfast. I usually cram the entire list into a single hour or two. But after that, after I’ve proudly placed an X inside each box, I will spend the rest of the day slowing down and soaking up the fleeting moments.