Recently, my best friend and I were catching up after vacations and hosting houseguests. Both of us felt like there were a hundred things to do in order to get our households back to normal routines, and I laughed as she described finding herself picking up toys when there still wasn’t any food in her fridge or clean laundry. I had been doing the exact same thing over here! We were caught up in the minor stuff and needed to refocus on the major household needs.
As moms, we’re always multitasking, right? I’m usually unloading the dishwasher while the kids are eating breakfast. I’m reading to the kids while nursing the baby. I’m folding laundry or cleaning the bathroom or changing a diaper while talking on the phone to my mom. I’m refereeing fights over train tracks while cutting up raw chicken for dinner. We’re doing, doing, doing! But sometimes we get so focused on “getting stuff done” that we end up doing the less important stuff first.
A very dear mentor once told me that she didn’t allow her feet to touch the floor in the morning before she’d spent time with God. Of course, that looks a little different for me right now (I’m praying as I nurse, having been awakened by a hungry baby). I do try to start the day with the Lord, because once I’m out of bed, the whirlwind begins! First up are our basic physical needs. We need to have food—three meals a day, plus snacks. We need to have clean clothes (and clean diapers). So grocery shopping, cooking, and laundry are the three tasks I absolutely have to do every week. (Note that I don’t say gourmet cooking—this week, with my husband out of town, a potty training two year old, and a nursing baby, we’re having PBJ and box mac and cheese for dinner…)
After our basics are covered, I try to focus on cleaning up our living area at intervals throughout the day, and certainly before bed at night. (My house looks like the above picture on a daily basis–come over, and you will step on a duplo at some point.) If all those tasks are done, we can do other things like clearing off my kitchen counter, or washing the windows, or dusting. Or getting crazy and cleaning the bathrooms! (Don’t worry—I promise they’ll be cleaned before any of you come for a visit.)
And then there’s a lot of fun stuff that I really want to do, and the beautiful stuff that enriches our life. I love to sew, and I have about 50 cute projects pinned for the kids. I love trying out new recipes and cooking from scratch. As a homeschooling mom, there are always more fun projects or field trips to plan. As a displaced Midwesterner with few local friends, I freely admit that facebook is my lifeline to back home—checking in on my friends every day makes me feel a little less homesick. And there’s this blog, for which I always have new post ideas swirling around in my head! But all of those things are minors, and if I want my life to run smoothly, I need to major on the majors before I turn to the minors.
How do you prioritize your daily activities?