Saturday, June 16, 2012

Keeping It Together: The Master List

Right now I feel supremely disorganized. Having a baby has thrown my whole routine into complete and utter disarray. My house is cluttered, my meals are sporadic, and my marriage consists of a business like relationship based on conversations like this:
"When did you feed him?"
"Eleven and three. When did you feed him?"
"Two and five. I think he is ready to eat again."
"Okay. I will go make Simon breakfast while you feed him."
"Great. See you after the next diaper change."

What gives me solace is that my friends, family, therapist, pediatrician, and lactation consultant are all in agreement that this phase will pass and my life will return to some sort of organized chaos rather than just all out chaos. I am looking forward to that.

I do have a few things that I cling to in an effort to stay sane. Some of them were tools I was using before the baby was born and some of them are new. Obviously, they have not made my life perfect but they do help. A couple of friends have mentioned that they liked the ideas, so I thought I might as well share some of them with you.

The first one is the Master List. This is a tool I have been using for a long time. Before you start looking at this and freaking out about how long it is, let me state empathically that these are goals. I do not complete all of these tasks each week. Ever. I don't beat myself up about what gets done. This is just a tool to help me focus my priorities when my brain is going in a million different directions. I also love checking stuff off of lists.

The top section of the list is a table showing the chores that need to be done on a daily basis:

Those are dishes, 1 load of laundry, pack lunches for the next day, take care of the day's mail, wipe down the bathroom counters (every other day), lay out clothes for the next day, clear off the dining room table, and spend 15 minutes picking up. These are our first priority for the day. Our next priority is the Weekly section:

These are vacuuming, dusting, mopping, cleaning the mirrors/doors, cleaning out my purse/work bag/ or the magazine pile, changing the sheets on all beds, updating the budget, updating our calendars, making the weekly menu, grocery shopping, cleaning the toilets, refilling Simon's stash, cleaning out old stuff from the fridge, and watering my orchid. This section was loosely adapted from FlyLady. Frankly, FlyLady has no concept of women who work outside the home - I tried her system and it depressed me.  Our next priority in the goal section:

These are things that are not housework related that we would like to get done. For example, getting the Father's Day presents and cards together was a goal. The last work section involves a list of each room of the house along with a few things that need to be done in each room.

For example, this week I would like to santize Simon's bathtoys and Julian's bathtub. The last section is where I keep track of Simon's schedule for the week. This is not the calendar as it doesn't include our appointments, etc. It is just a place for me to plan ahead how Simon will be occupied each day. I have found that the best strategy for dealing with my two boys during the summer is to get them out of the house and/or have a playmate for Simon. (I nearly laughed when a woman came up to me yesterday and said, "Oh, he's so little, is this your first outing?" Um, no. Julian had his first outing before he was a week old.)

Remember: these are goals. Do not fool yourself into thinking this is what I actually get done in my house each week. I am just trying to keep the chaos at bay as much as I can. Which, really, is very little....


  1. Be still my heart! Such organized lists!

  2. OMG that's amasing!!!!
    Good luck...

  3. To be honest, I am the one who hardly made any list...I don't even have a grocery list...and you know the result? I sometimes have to visit the same grocery store twice, just to get a small bottle of cinnamon powder, or a box of eggs. You are a very organized person.

  4. Oh, I remember those days! To be honest, once I got into the swing of things, I didn't really find two kids much harder than one. The second time around, I realized how wonderful it was to have a baby who DIDN'T MOVE from where I put her. With a lively toddler dancing circles around me (and the baby), this was huge!


Thanks for your comments!