“I didnt get a thing done today” I told my friend as we sat watching our kids dance.
She nodded. “I’ve had a day like that too. I just don’t feel like I have achieved anything!”
“At least we got our kids to ballet on time” I told her, and we laughed.
I felt like I hadn’t accomplished anything that day, and later, as I replayed the conversation in my head (am I the only who does that?) I suddenly realised how wrong I was.
I didn’t do anything today, but…
I got the girls to the bus stop on time, and made sure the boys ate a decent breakfast before I drove them to school.
I hung out a load of washing, put another one in the machine, and sorted the clean clothes.
I made a shopping list, added a few items to our meal plan, and started defrosting the chicken for tomorrow night’s dinner.
I paid some bills and made a plan for the rest.
I made dinner at lunch time so it would be ready when we got home from dancing.
I made a batch of muffins so the kids would have something to fill them up after school.
I unstacked the dishwasher, and then filled it up again.
I found the lost shoe, and the lost library book (winning!).
I picked up one child from school early and took her to an appointment, and organised the other three to be picked up and dropped off where they needed to be.
I bough a birthday present, and made plans with a friend to pick up her kids tomorrow since she picked up mine today.
I signed a notice, wrote in a reading diary, and downloaded a new book to my son’s kindle.
I cleaned the bathroom, and the kitchen, and the floors.
And in between all of that I carved out some time to do some work, write a proposal, and send an invoice.
I did all of that today, and more, and yet I still felt like I didn’t accomplish anything?
I am pretty sure my friend could have tallied up an equally long list of achievements, and yet neither of us felt like we’d achieved enough.
Why is that?
Why don’t we feel like these things, the family things, the life things, are achievements?
How did we get to a place where we feel like all of these ‘little’ things ‘don’t count’, that they are not important?
Is this how we become overwhelmed? How we find ourselves constantly ‘busy’?
Because we don’t value the work of caring and nurturing, and so we don’t see all the things we are already doing?
We’ve been conditioned to measure success by the big things, the things that cause change, the things that make money. We’ve been taught that we have to ‘hustle’ and ‘push through’ and ‘go the extra mile’ to achieve.
But what if that is not the case?
What if it is the small, everyday things that matter?
As I lay in bed and contemplated all these questions I realised that although all the things I did today may seem small and unimportant on their own, when you put them together they make up something big. Together they are what make up a family, and a life.
And, is there any better way to measure our lives than by how well we love and care for others?
Am I the only one who is always ‘busy’ but never feels like they have achieved anything?
Read the comments or scroll down to add your own:
Navreet Heneghan says
Thank you so much for the reminder. I feel that way often and feel so much guilt when I find myself with a few hours and decide to make a pot of coffee and read fiction (I tend to read non-fiction otherwise). When the kids get home from school, I feel like I can’t even say that I read a book for a few hours and enjoyed it! I let the illusion of my always being busy become the story in their minds also. And in the process, they lose an important lesson in taking care of themselves. But we keep trying and your story is a good reminder. Thank you!
I have also felt like that. I think the other side effect of not seeing all these thing we do, is that we don’t actually give ourselves true time to “do nothing”. I’ve taken to trying to make a half day every 5 weeks or so that I take as me time. Where I don’t do all those family things and actually do something just for me. I might read a book, watch a movie etc, with as little guilt as possible.
Soumi Das Chatterjee says
Glad that I am not the only one three feels this way… Sometimes I think I am lost in a pile of chores… Then I motivate myself thinking my mum did it… Why can’t I…. I gather courage for the day and continue….
Thanks for the great write up…. Love Soumi.