Call for Done Lists!

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I sit in a darkened room. It’s early, the night sky isn’t yet lit. I’m wrapped in my creature comforts: fleece and slippers and coffee and words.

At the stroke of 6, I peek out the window and see that it’s almost bright enough to head out, so I do.

After I run and (gratefully) see the sky turn from night black to the brightest of painted hues, I arrive back home.

As soon as my sneakers hit the driveway, I see that my husband and my puppy and my kids are waiting for me.

Jason is ready for work. The sharp lines of his suit frame him as he leans against his car, legs crossed at the ankle. He taps his imaginary watch showing me that I’m a titch later than we both expected, but his smile warms his face from his lips to his eyes, and I know he doesn't really mind.

Louie, our puggle and my biggest fan, wags his tail in greeting.

And my three face me. They’re dressed for the day in jean shorts and cute tops in shades that mirror the quickly brightening sky — tangerine, turquoise, and red. Their hair is unbrushed, their cheeks are still kissed with sleep. They've just gotten out of bed.

Everyone’s words tumble toward me at once. I reach in to hug Jason good-bye. Have a great day, he says, his hands wrapped gently around my waist. I can’t believe you’re leaving already, is my answer.

But what I really mean is, I’ve barely gotten anything done! This morning, I traded an hour of work for an hour of running, and I feel more than a slight panic at the thought of how little I’ve accomplished.

I have to literally shake these thoughts away. On what planet have I gotten nothing done?

Well, I’ll tell you–the one that we women have created where our To Do lists are longer than is humanly possible to ever complete–where crossing one item off just means adding a few more tasks to the bottom. Where we almost glorify our busyness because that’s what everyone else seems to be doing.

Feminist blogger K.M. O’Sullivan says, “The myth of ‘having it all' was created organically by the mere thought that our choices as women are unlimited. Of course, having all options on the table doesn't mean we can pick them all up and carry them home. Something has to give. Something has to be left for someone else, and that simple act of choosing to leave one of our choices untouched and unused feels like a betrayal to our feminist ideals.”

I have a sneaky feeling that the panic I feel is universal amongst my Mother-Sisters. We’re doing our best and writing our lists, and mostly, we're just drowning in their fullness and never-endingness. And that drowning is what needs to be changed — by us.

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I have a sneaky feeling that the panic I feel is universal amongst my Mother-Sisters. We’re doing our best and writing our lists, and mostly, we're just drowning in their fullness and never-endingness. And that drowning, is what needs to be changed — by us.

If the thought of this shift and this change sounds daunting, it doesn't have to be. Here's how.

Glennon Doyle of Momastery said, “I want women to be inspired to not do anything else today… to just be proud of what they've already done. To fill out a Done list instead of a To Do list, to drop out of this competitive culture, and just take a deep breath — together.”

It seems to me that this is exactly where we all need to start. I won’t ask you to throw away your To Do lists, because my goodness, how will we ever remember anything without them? But I will suggest that we need to redefine these lists for exactly what they are: they're just reminders of tasks to  be done (eventually). They’re not scoreboards or grade sheets or values of our worth as women or as mothers.

Instead of wrapping up our days with the stress-tinted bows of looking at our To Do Lists that look like combat lines with numbers and red strikes and add-ins and asterisks, let’s create — Pretty! Peaceful! Clean! — Done Lists to look at at the end of the day for no other reason than to pat ourselves on the back for a job well done.

Only once we focus on our own value and goodness and light, can we truly shine.

What do you think?

Call for Done Lists!

Galit Breen is the bestselling author of Kindness Wins, a simple guide to teaching your child to be kind online; the TEDx Talk, “Raising a digital kid without having been one”; the online course Raise Your Digital Kid™; and the Facebook group The Savvy Parents Club. She believes you can get your child a phone and still create a grass-beneath-their-bare-feet childhood for them. Galit’s writing has been featured on The Huffington Post; The Washington Post; Buzzfeed; TIME; and more. She liv ... More

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