It took me a lot of years into mothering to realize that I can set my to-do list down at the end of the day. It most assuredly will be there to pick-up right where I left off tomorrow.
Prior to this I was scrambling after the kids were in bed to get any unfinished work done. I wasn’t enjoying the companionship of my spouse, I wasn’t resting and re-charging. I wasn’t praying for my family, practicing gratitude or just being still.
Instead I was frantically checking boxes, folding laundry, scrubbing toilets, making more lists, organizing toys, taking mental notes of whether or not it was time to clean the fridge, checking expiry dates. I was doing everything else except refilling my empty cup at the end of another long day with little ones.
Take time to recharge
It took me a lot of years into mothering to realize that it is okay to stop “doing.” Not only is it okay, but it’s healthy and it’s necessary to set the never-ending to-dos and demands of motherhood down. I know what you’re thinking:
“If I don’t do it tonight it will catch up with me tomorrow.”
I used to think this too: but that thing will still be there tomorrow and you’ll likely do it a whole lot quicker and much more efficiently if you are actually refeulling and recharging right now.
Are you refueling and recharging right now? Or are you stressed about something? Are you trying to meet a deadline? Are you frustrated by the clothes you folded and now need to re-fold because the kids tore them apart in one fell swoop? Are you enduring a stressful conversation with a family member or friend when you could be enjoying fellowship with the God who created you and calls you His child?
You’ll always have things to do, it’s ok to set them aside for a minute
Because the other thing about tomorrow is that it’s not promised to any of us. The to-do list is though, right? So of today was your last day do you really want to end it stressing over what you didn’t get done? We get so wrapped up in checking boxes and keeping up with the Jones’s. What about checking in with the One who loves us so much He wants us to cast all our cares and anxieties on Him (1 Peter 5:7) and not worry about tomorrow because tomorrow will bring with it its own worries (Matthew 6:34).
Set it down Mama, set it down. Seasoned Mamas know that the to-do list will keep you going like a hamster on a wheel for the rest of your life. Grandma’s know the importance of savoring the moments that pass us by at lightning speed because we are so busy being busy.
Set it down sweet Mama, set it down
Don’t define yourself by how much you get done: because there may be days you don’t get anything done except build a blanket fort with your kids: and those days you stopped doing and started living may in fact be the best days of your life.
The days you stopped doing and the trash overflowed, may very well be the days you remember when your kids are grown and gone and you only wish there were some old snack wrappers and soiled diapers sitting in the empty trash can.
Setting it down and looking up
And look up too the One who made you to be so much more than what you can get done in the run of a day. I know it’s so hard. I know there’s so much you need to do that just can’t wait. But I also know the awfulness of burn-out. I know that when you burn-out, you are no good to anyone, not even yourself and then the to-do list you couldn’t set down becomes an erupting volcano that can’t be contained.
Pull out a book you enjoy, turn on a show you like, listen to a podcast you love, pray on bended knee for longer than 60 seconds, open up your Bible and see what tidbits of strength and wisdom your Heavenly Father wants you to glean for the next day. And please, now and again, go to bed early (this alone has helped my overall health and mental state immensely!)
Life is short and just like they say you won’t take your “stuff” with you, you also won’t take that “to-do” list with you. It won’t matter a bit. But His words stored up in your heart and all the prayers you sent up to Heaven will matter for Eternity. Your tears matter to God (He keeps them in a bottle, Psalm 56:8). Even the very hairs on your head matter to God (for they are all numbered, Luke 12:7).
But your to-do list?
I believe He wants you to set it down and soak up His wonderful words of life. For when you stop doing, you start living. When you set the to-do list down, it becomes much easier to look-up and be reminded of what really matters.