The Lie of the To-Do List

After several weeks of enjoyable but hectic travel, I looked forward to a relaxing weekend at home. There was nothing I absolutely had to do except go to church. Oh, and maybe get some groceries, since the cupboards contained only some nuts and a few boxes of Fiber One. Come to think of it, I hadn’t done any laundry in a while either…

Before long, the blank page of my weekend was completely covered by my to-do list. Then a friend called and we talked about going to the movies. I was torn. I wanted to see her but I really needed to clean those toilets. Another friend texted to remind me about the exercise class I promised to attend. Sure, exercise was important, but my kitchen was messy enough I feared cockroaches might move in. And the litter box – don’t even think about skipping that! – I reprimanded myself. Continue reading →

Confession of a List-aholic Mom


Since Neil died, I am learning to appreciate solitude (at least sometimes), but I am still having trouble adjusting to all the work that goes onto caring for a house. I started keeping lists to remind me what needs to be done.

From indoor things like laundry and groceries and pets, to outside things like the yard and the heat pump and the car, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. The lists help me feel more in control and productive, and I admit I love the sense of accomplishment that comes from crossing things off when they are done. I should have known I was developing a problem when one of my friends invited me to lunch and I declined to go. I didn’t tell her it was because I had too many things on my list, but it was. Continue reading →