The “I Still Gotta” list is my name for all the things I must do before getting out the door in the morning or collapsing into bed at night. On a typical weeknight, I have two hours to accomplish the following while a toddler demands my undivided attention: make dinner, make lunches for the next day, clean the kitchen, give my toddler a bath, feed the dog, close the door to the chicken coop, get my toddler ready for bed and take my vitamins. An extra heavy list might include a load of laundry, paying bills, making a weekly menu and shopping list and a trip to the pharmacy.
The list is much smaller than it was just one or two years ago. When Nora was an infant, and I went back to work, the list was enormous. Just the grind of getting the breast pump supplies washed and repacked for the following day was enough to bring me to tears.
I can’t stop the list from running through my head, but I can pare it down to the point where it doesn’t suffocate me.
Things I leave off the weeknight list:
Running any errand that isn’t absolutely necessary for survival
Picking up toys
Walking the dog (poor Hoover)
Any cleaning task other than the kitchen
Any outside chores, unless it’s summer and we all spend time in the garden
Two-year-olds love helping, so I have assistance with things like setting the table and loading the dishwasher. She can undress herself and pick out her pajamas. And please don’t think my husband is watching television while all this is going on. He builds lego towers with Nora while I cook dinner, helps with clean-up, and takes turns giving baths. Most importantly, tells me when when I should just sit down.
When I’m feeling really overwhelmed, the weeknight list can be distilled down to two things: eating dinner and storytime. The kitchen stays dirty, the chicken door stays open, no lunches get packed. We read an extra big stack of books while cuddled in bed and let the list rest until morning.