Thursday, May 9, 2013

Things I Did Today That Nobody Will Notice

We all make assumptions on what we think people do or do not do in the course of a day.  It might have been the first time you are off your feet the entire day when your husband walks in and it looks like you are just laying around.  It might be the first time you've stepped away from your desk all day to take a bathroom break and that is when the phone will ring or someone will be looking for you...

It is easy to be critical of others and what we assume they have done.  We hear it all the time - stay-at-home moms should be able to keep the house spotless or it means what they have done all day isn't good enough and working moms must surely be neglecting their duties at home.  Its harder to identify how many little things we all do that may not be the big recognizable stuff that we get credit for but keeps the world going 'round for our families, bosses, and co-workers.

Few words can set me off like words that discredit whatever I did for the day - at work or at home.  With the insane pace between both right now I have been questioned recently on both fronts as if what I did was insignificant because it wasn't what others thought I should be doing.  One night I made a list of all the things I did that weren't on anyone's radar but kept me running all day and interrupted progress I would have loved to have made on the bigger "more visible" projects.  

I started my morning like this while keeping track of my 4-year-old son:

  1. got my son up, dressed and ready for the day
  2. made a trip to town for donuts and ice
  3. filled the cooler with drinks and ice at the new house
  4. filled the stock tank with water for the critters
  5. fed and watered the dogs
  6. tied 2 horses and the goat out to eat grass in the yard for the morning
  7. unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher
  8. folded and put away a load of laundry and started another load
  9. hauled a grill and lunch supplies to the new house
  10. carried a folding table, shelf stand and 6 chairs to the new house, cleaned and set them up
  11. took out the trash at both houses
  12. wiped the kitchen counter at the new house
  13. set up a Keurig party few people showed up for and only one person tried the stuff...
  14. put sunscreen on my son
  15. handled several "there's a bee!" and "there's a bug!" freakouts by my son
  16. took pictures of the progress at the new house
  17. fetched supplies for projects others were working on at the new house
  18. gave my grandparents the tour of the house and property and answered their questions about plans and projects
  19. grilled hot dogs and brats for everyone for lunch - and made plates for my husband and son
  20. handled #2 bathroom issues with my son
  21. took the lawn mower, wagon and garden tools to the new house
  22. took my son back to the other house and put him down for his nap
While my 4-year-old was taking his nap and I couldn't stay at the new house, I did this:
  1. returned the critters to the barn when it started getting hot and gave them hay
  2. spray painted 2 wicker chairs and a storage bench and carried them to the new house
  3. carried a shelf and several pots and decorative items to the new house and placed them around the porch
  4. washed a sink full of dishes
  5. washed the kitchen counter
  6. put 2 cubic yards of potting soil in the pallet garden
  7. planted 5 herb plants, and started lettuce and spinach seeds in the pallet garden
  8. watered plants
My son finished his nap so I did a few more things:
  1. swapped loads of laundry, folded and put away the clean stuff and started another load
  2. started a game for my son
  3. picked outfits for the kids for the week and put them in the clothes sorter
  4. cooked mostacchioli for dinner
  5. swept the kitchen floor
  6. finished a third load of laundry
  7. cleaned out my truck
  8. fed my son dinner
  9. played a game with my son for about 10 minutes
When my husband called it a night at 7:30 and stayed at the house with my son, I continued:
  1. mowed the backyard at the new house
  2. washed all the beams, doors and door/window frames on the new front porch and the garage door to prep for painting
  3. rounded up my painting supplies for the morning
  4. cleaned up dishes, pop cans, and food at the new house
  5. daughter was delivered back to us so I chatted with my mom about our days while I finished prepping the front porch at the new house
  6. went back to the other house to say goodnight and get the scoop from my daughter on her day
  7. fetched the kids glasses of water
  8. showered

Sure a few of those were things I "wanted" to do.  Like planting the seeds and herbs - however, those are things my family also enjoys and appreciates later on.  And those are the things that give me a few moments of enjoyment.  Is it a problem so much to do those things in the course of everything else?  There were a grand total of 47 things that made it on my list - there are probably a few more I didn't think of.  

I'm sure by the comments that were made by more than one person that they did not even notice way more than half of these things.  That's hardly consolation when those words are said though.  I know in my heart that it really doesn't matter what I did or did not get accomplished and how it ranks on anyone's list but my own.  A couple of my favorite Emerson quotes that I think apply to times like that and I hope can help you when others are being critical:

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. 
Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. 
Tomorrow is a new day. 
You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.” 

“Whatever you do, you need courage. 
Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. 
There are always difficulties arising that tempt you to believe your critics are right. 
To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires some of the same courage 
that a soldier needs. Peace has its victories, but it takes brave men and women to win them.” 


country life said...

Like the just sat down and husband walks in.....that has happened before work outside for hours, clean house, take care of kids, put dinner on, set down for a minute and hubby is home early from work....says have a good day dear...felt like I got caught with my hands in the cookie jar! He laughs....

Joy Makin' Mamas said...

I completely hear you on that! My husband wanted to know why I "refused" to go grocery shopping this week. The kids and I were all sick! But, you're right, honey, there's no good reason I shouldn't have taken my feverish, vomiting children to the grocery store! I think it's easy for us all to have blinkers that only show us part of the picture when it comes to other people's responsibilities.