Have you ever felt like you finished exactly where you started? Like you ran in place all day? The minute you get one thing done, something else needs your attention (usually not 2 feet away). And when you've finished with that, something else comes along. With two little boys in the house, this is a common scenario for me. Case in point... this afternoon I fed the boys pasta with their lunch. I served Drew first. I turned around after dipping up Jonah's plate to find that Drew had tossed all his pasta onto the floor. I told him "no-no" and bent over to pick it up while he ran his buttery fingers through my hair and giggled at me. I told him "no-no" again (this time with a little disgust in my voice) and dashed upstairs to clean myself up real quick. I came back dowstairs to find that Drew had then tossed all of Jonah's pasta onto the floor. I told him "no-no" and proceeded to pick it up and get Jonah a fresh plate. Then I cleaned off one of Drew's hands with a wet cloth. I moved to the next hand while he put the clean hand back onto his messy plate. After I recleaned both hands and carelessly decided to just let him go with a cup of cheerios, I turned around to make my own lunch. I quickly got it prepared and checked on Drew who was playing in the next room and found that he'd tossed all of his cheerios - all together now - onto the floor. We picked them up together, he merrily singing the clean up song, and I - not affected by his sweet little carefree outlook - took them away... because obviously anything that can scatter in all directions is not safe in the hands of this little stinker.
Some days I feel like the unamused lunch lady who says "Next." all day long. I just move from one little task to another and have nothing much to show for it at the end of the day. I am lucky to have a husband that understands days like these. I've made sure he's experienced a few for himself! He never asks me, "What have you done all day long?" because he knows how easily you can get stuck in one place. I think of a funny email that got forwarded to me this week. A man comes home to a house that looks like it's been robbed: furniture is overturned, there are dishes all over the floor, clothing and shoes are strewn about in all the bedrooms. He moves from room to room, his jaw dropping, until he reaches his bedroom where his wife is peacefully napping. "What on earth happened?", he asks. "Well, you know how you've asked me what I do all day?" she replies. "Today I didn't do it."
My advice on days like mine is don't sweat the small stuff. I almost feel like a hypocrite saying that because it has taken me 8 years of parenting to put it into practice. But here I am at 4 in the afternoon - toys strewn about, my lunch still on the counter - testifying that it really is not going to help you to run faster than you have strength. A few years ago I did not understand the mom who said, "Hey, as long as my kids are fed, clothed and happy, that's all that matters to me!" But now I know that that alone could make for a full day's work!