Finding The Joy. (But Not In Dirty Diapers. I’m Not That Joyful.)

I recently read Superhero’s take on the To Do List. This is a common topic in the blog world and often I walk away from the entries I read commiserating, understanding, but rarely enlightened. But this entry? Got me thinking. Is this TRUE? Am I stuck in this To Do List cycle forEVER?

Oh my. I think I am. I think she’s right. There will ALWAYS be something new on that list. ALWAYS.

I don’t mind the To Do List so much. (I act like I actually have one organized, which I don’t. But for the sake of this entry let’s pretend I do.) On the days I don’t make it to the end of my list I feel disappointed, but that’s EVERY DAY. I never finish everything so I just accept it. BUT – I always go to bed thinking, Tomorrow. Tomorrow I’ll do more.

But…she’s right. It’s never really done, is it? So why do I let it bother me? Why, on many days, do I let it overwhelm me? Why can’t I got to bed thinking, Damn. I did good today. A paradigm shift is right.

Which is another way of saying, let’s love each moment as much as possible. I can see how simply doing what’s in front of you, with as much mindfulness and joy as you can is a piece of the puzzle. Maybe we should trash our to-do lists and create some to-be lists instead.

Man. I love this sentiment. I love the idea of being in the moment. I often, as a Mom, wish I could be in the moment with my kids more. But I never thought about how that would benefit my whole life. What’s the point? What’s the point in taking care of my home, my job, my self? What’s the point if I don’t find someone way to enjoy it? I mean, I’m never going to happily scrub the toilets. Okay? I’m not saying that. But how amazing would it be if I could simply enjoy taking care of my family. Taking care of my home.

I’ve read book after book about putting the energy into the world that you want back from it. A basic karmic philosophy applied to everyday living. And this sentiment fits right into it.

This is the best thing about the blog world. Every day that I open my feed reader I open myself up for inspiration. I find inspiration for cool crafts, meals (Ha! Like I ever cook them…), decorating tips and blog topics. And some days? I find inspiration for even more.

I don’t know exactly the best way to try to shift my perception but I’m going to try. Instead of ending the day thinking about the things that didn’t get done, I’m going to wind down patting myself on the back. (‘Cause we all know no one else is going to do it! Am I right?) Instead of grumbling about putting up the shoes for the 10th time that week, I’m going to ask myself, Why do I care? If I’m doing something that makes me bitter, maybe I should make sure there’s a reason for doing it. If there is no good reason, maybe I can remove it from my To Do list. Or at least put it on someone else’s list. (Like the owner’s of the shoes!) If I can think of a reason I do something, like putting up laundry to clean up the clutter, then maybe I find a way to enjoy the clutter-free result. Bask in the product of my good work.

I love these type of revelations. These type of inspirations. These type of realizations that there are ways out of the rut. We’re not bound to these often frustrating patterns. If we’re open to the lives of others around us, different or not, we can find those ideas to inspire us. Thank you, Andrea. I need that kick in the ass out and out the doldrums.


11 thoughts on “Finding The Joy. (But Not In Dirty Diapers. I’m Not That Joyful.)”

  1. This is so true. I don’t actually have a “to do” list either, but I know there are things I must do and – like you – need to find more joy in. It’s not the act, it’s the result of the act. So it’s not scrubbing the floor, but the fact that your family isn’t getting sick from rats who have moved in from no scrubbing for a year. (Ok, bit of an extreme example.) Thanks for making me think!

  2. Very true. I think we need to shift the focus off what we didn’t get done and focus on what we did accomplish. The to-do list is endless because we add to it each day. Why not celebrate that we crossed four things off our list?

  3. P.S. I think many of us live by the “treat others the way we would like to be treated.” Why don’t we ever treat ourselves the way we deserve to be treated, the way we would like others to treat us, the way we are treating other people?

    Okay, I’m rambling and not making sense.

  4. Yes, I am stuck in a Groundhog Day of To Dos. I fixed the laundry one years ago by designating Sunday as laundry day. It the chore I loathe the MOST and it saved my sanity.

    The scattered toys are slowly driving me insane and this post makes me realize I need to set a schedule for picking those up as well.

  5. I rarely have to do lists. I have one now that I am back from vacation but it is fun things, like write a blog entry about it. Upload pictures. Unpack. Okay that isn’t fun but still. I will get it all done when I can, and just take each moment by moment. I have a few things I have been saying I will get done forEVER and maybe they will, so for sure will, and I will feel great getting them done. Motivation is something I need more of. :)

  6. -If I’m doing something that makes me bitter, maybe I should make sure there’s a reason for doing it. If there is no good reason, maybe I can remove it from my To Do list. Or at least put it on someone else’s list. –

    This is the exact reason why I pay someone to clean my house. It is amazing how much my stress is reduced when someone else is responsible for cleaning the bathrooms! Now I don’t mind, as much, picking up the clutter and doing the laundry.

  7. Highly suspect but I was seriously going to write a similar topic today. I have been struggling with this a ton the past two years. I am always trying trying trying to find a balance between work and life and being in the moment with the kids and getting the STUFF that is required of life. I think it is a daily thing – maybe even moment by moment to just focus on the fun I am having playing with my son and let go of the fact that GAW those toilets are REALLY growdy! This is a never ending process but I am glad I work on the awareness of it all now and not get to the point where my kids are grown and like my mom does wishing I had that time back.

  8. I actually made a to do list for chores a few months ago. The reason? Every weekend I was stuck in house cleaning purgatory, after having worked a 45-60 hour week and I was miserable. I felt as though I never had a break… The list is manageble.

    It’s not really broken down by room, but by big chore. (Although, Bathroom cleaning and litter boxes are on the same day – because the litter boxes are in the bathroom.)

    I made it into a table and everytime I check something off I know I’m one step closer to having the weekend to lay around, or run around, as I please. I feel a zillion times better and hardly dread the cleaning anymore.

  9. I can tell you that my life has been a whole lot easier since I quit stressing so much over the stuff that doesn’t get done! I have enough to do as it is, and am glad to be able to get done what gets done.

    I imagine you will find lots more time to be in the moment, too, once you can get past even just the stress part. Because really? Stuff still doesn’t get done anymore when we stress over it, right?

  10. Great post! I will have these grand plans and make out a to do list, but health problems usually keeps me from completing my list. I need to focus on what I did complete, and forget the things that I didn’t get to.

    Oh I see on Twitter that Andy had his ENT visit. How did that turn out with his ears?

  11. You are so very right. It seems to be human nature to get grumbly and lose focus when caught in the day to day, menial tasks. I too find myself wishing I not only worked on keeping things more organized but simultaneously being angry at myself for not being fully engaged. Maybe if I stop feeling bad all the time, I’d be more engaged. And who IS engaged in doing laundry or watching Spongebob for the millionth time? That person is weird.

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