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You are not a to do list

Life moves so quickly doesn’t it? I often find myself rushing from one task to another, squeezing in the next things on my to do list whenever I have a spare 5 minutes.  

A woman holding a cup of coffee

Last week I had a 20 minute window before I needed to pick the children up from school so I thought I’d walk our dog, Jess with that time that I had.  As I left the house, I saw our elderly (they’ll kill me for that!) neighbours pottering in the front garden.

For a bit of context, we live on a lovely road with lovely neighbours, we all know one another and got even closer during lockdowns, watching out for and helping one another.

I’m ashamed to admit that my first thought was ‘oh no, there’s Mr & Mrs P, they’re going to want to stop and chat to me, what should I do? I don’t have time’.  Obviously, I stopped and said hello, told them I was always rushing from one thing to the next and heard myself say the phrase I seem to have on repeat – ‘it never stops’.  

Tom looked at me, came a little closer and started to tell me a tale.  

Tom is the youngest of 8 boys, his lovely mum worked her fingers to the bone caring for them.  She did pretty much everything; all the cooking, keeping the home clean, helping with school work, playing games, always making sure her boys were happy, loved and cared for as they grew.  There were no automatic washing machines Tom said, no fancy gadgets, no ‘convenience’ meals - she really did work hard for her family.  So when Tom and his wife moved into their new home many years ago now, they started their own family and the hamster wheel commenced.  He invited his beloved mum over to make her a meal and frazzled from the stresses of looking after small children he asked her ‘how did you do it mum?  How did you look after all us boys and make it look so easy?’  

Her reply?  

‘Those were the best years of my life Tom, looking after you and your brothers, because as time goes on, and it goes on so very quickly, you all left home one by one and now there is nobody to cook for, no shoes to polish or clothes to wash, I’d do it all again in a heartbeat’.

I’m so glad I stopped to talk to Mr & Mrs P, that tale will stay with me for a long time.  I shall call upon those wise words he uttered when I’m wondering what chores I can squeeze into my 5 spare minutes and maybe I’ll have a 5 minute pause and consider that I’m living through the best years of my life, full of the buzz of life with young children.

I am not a to do list. 


2 comments

  • This is beautiful. Life with 3 children has been hard the last 15 months and I have a never ending list of things to do and feel like I’m always dropping balls and forgetting/missing stuff. I’m going to allow myself time to breathe and to enjoy this time as much as I can. Thank you.

    Liz Jones
  • oh wow that brought an unexpected tear to my eye <3

    Margaux

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