The list was impossible to maintain on a daily basis and I really beat myself up about the things that didn't get done instead of feeling joy in the things that were accomplished. What kind of mother was I becoming? In a strange way I felt I was implementing the routine and rhythm that so many books say is vital for children but the reality was that I was becoming overly scheduled and forgetting to acknowledge and go with the natural rhythm of life. I was so stressed about this role I felt I needed to fill that my health suffered. I got the worst stomach flu I've had in years. I become so dehydrated I couldn't even nurse my child. I had to put down the list and rest.
An amazing thing happened. I just never picked that list up again. I got over my flu and felt renewed. Yes, I had a fever of 103 but I slept, read books and drank tons of fluids and healed.
Before having kids I was pretty strict about the cleanliness of my home. I just can't function in a chaotic environment. But I made a commitment to myself and to April to not let the little messes come between us and happiness. I will tidy but I tell myself to let most of it go. I don't need to dust, sweep and vacuum all the time. Simply putting away the toys or cleaning off the table is enough to keep things tidy enough that we can play and work well. Sometimes if it is really bothering me, I just close the door to that room and we go somewhere else. Or better yet, we go outside.
It is a constant mantra for me but a good one. Just let it go. Focus on April. She is growing up and every minute is special. Sparkling clean floors are not the memories you want. No one is perfect so let it go. Who would have thought that I could be a better mother if I just dropped my to-do list.
See Mom, no need to fold, laundry is for fun!