Thursday, October 22, 2009

Bad Idea?

Sometimes, I feel the compulsion to track my accomplishments and create a great, long list of everything I do as "manager" of the family. I can't decide if creating this list is a very good idea or a very bad idea.

I can see value in identifying and clarifying my tasks and projects. I can see value in striving to understand how things are currently so I can make changes and improvements. I can see value in just getting honest. I can see how such a list could be a tool in conversation with Craig as we sort out who does what in a mature, responsible way.

On the other hand, I can see that such a list could be used as a weapon in the wrong hands (i.e. crazy Mommy who didn't get enough sleep last night). Do I really want an exhaustive list in front of me so I have ammunition for my Mommy martyr syndrome or my Mommy rage?

Oh, poor me, I do everything and no one appreciates me. Don't worry about me, I'll just keep working away even though no one notices all I do. Sigh. I am overwhelmed and victimized.

Or, Look at this list!! See my list? See yours? Or do you need a magnifying glass to see the list of tasks that you are responsible for in this family? This confirms it, I DO IT ALL!!

Hmmmm.... I can see that I need to understand my motives before I put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard. Can I make the list and feel all angry and resentful and then let it sit for a few days or a week before I share that list? Would a cool-down period help?

Should I let all the uglies out as I list and then shake my head, take a deep breath and dive into the productive results that could come from adult, mature conversation?

I'm going to experiment. I'm going to give myself five minutes as soon as I'm done here to type all the things I've done so far today (and if I get on a roll, I might go on to list my "to do's" for the rest of the day since it's only 9:43 am).

I'm going to examine my feelings and responses and then choose my next step. Ah, ah ... there is the key. Choice.

If I choose to tear it up and just feel better that I got it out, that's good. If I choose to hold it until it carries no emotion and then discuss it with Craig, that would a good response too. Clearly, I am committed to doing good with the list, not bad. Therefore, I can simply choose to reject any negative outcomes. I'll let you know how the exercise goes for me, will you let me know what you choose to do with your list?


Catherine said...

I just did my list and you know what I learned? I didn't feel any emotion attached to the list - that's a great thing! That means I don't harbor any anger or resentment about my role in the family (at least in this moment, I can't comment on future irritation:)

I do the things that I feel are important and I can see how Craig's work commitments don't allow him time to pick up more than he does now. My list gave me a realistic view of how my family operates. It brought acceptance and calm.

Roxanne Dicke said...

Oh, this is a goooood topic. I understand the necessity of lists, and their questionable effectiveness. I did an experiment and stopped writing them for a while until I was able to get them back in perspective (and I realized I was forgetting some important things). But it helped because I found what floated to the top, so to speak, was the really "must do" things, and I felt less obsessive about the smaller items that I wanted to get done but which were not absolutely essential. It's been good for me. I didn't even realize I had organically done this until you wrote this blog! I will need to think more on this...