It’s 4 o’clock on a Friday and I’m feeling stressed and panicked. My mind is muddled, with only one thought ringing loud and clear.
“I haven’t gotten anything done today.”
But wait, is that really true? I haven’t gotten anything done today? Anything at all? I take a moment to review my day.
- Up at 6 with the kids, keep them quiet and occupied until 8 when the rest of the house awakes
- Help the teen with some laundry
- Feed the whole family a proper breakfast of fried eggs, at different times
- Clean up from breakfast
- Dress the Littles
- Take 4-year-old to summer camp by 9
- 9-12 – pick up around the house and keep an eye on the little man who refused to go down for nap
- Help husband with some work files
- 12:15-1:30 interview a new babysitter in person
- 1:45-2 interview a new babysitter via phone
- Feed littles and get them down for naps
- Set up a meeting for work
And I’m sure I’m missing a few things. Back to that thought, though, it’s not exactly accurate. I’ve gotten TONS done today. I just haven’t had time to do the things I wanted to do today. Like create some demonstrations for work, work on the blog, shower, or put away the laundry.
The Bigger Picture
That struggle I feel between work that is valued or not. Tasks related to the kids or home are not “real work” to me. I don’t feel the same sense of accomplishment that I do when I get a project done at work, or have a successful sales meeting. And I often don’t even allow time for those things, demonstrating again where I put their importance in the scheme of my life. And for me, this negative thinking is not exclusively related to the kids. When I was in school and not working, I often felt lost and directionless. I had less of a sense of achievement without the firm concrete goals that working for someone else often provides.
At the surface, this mentality could easily point to how I was raised. In my household, domestic tasks were considered less important than working or education. Or perhaps it can be blamed on societal ideas that domestic tasks are an old fashioned view of women’s work. Or maybe it is strictly a fault in my personality that I find it difficult to perceive value in the more nuanced or maintenance type tasks.
And while I could conduct a more in depth analysis of what has led me to this way of thinking, I’d much rather focus on the solution. Awareness of the faulty thinking is the first step. Disputing the thoughts is the next step. And mentally re-framing the thoughts is the last step.
So, the next time I catch myself thinking “I haven’t gotten anything done today,” I will pause to reflect. I will recognize that this thought leads me to think and feel very negatively (in this case, stressed and panicked). I will consider everything that I have accomplished, domestic tasks included. Lastly, I will make a plan for addressing the other tasks on my list. Because, there is always another day for my to-dos. And hey, raising kids is my important work!
Do you struggle with this? Do you place the same value on tasks related to caring for your children versus work related tasks?
Even as a SAHM or SAHD, is it hard to shake needing concrete tasks and goals to feel accomplished?