What to do when your to-do list goes undone. Encouragement for moms in the trenches.

The dishes sat dirty for yet another day. My socks made a slurp-pop sound as I walked across the sticky dining room floor. The house smelled faintly of dirty diapers and a garbage that needed to be taken out hours ago.

So is life with a newborn baby and three other children to care for!
To do list

I’ll admit there have been more than a few times these past three weeks since our sweet little girl joined our family that I’ve groaned in frustration when I’m unable to do the task at hand because something else more pressing needs my attention. 

How quickly I forget what’s most important. 

We’ve heard the sentiment often, haven’t we? They grow up so quickly. 

But in the midst of the sticky floors and the spit-up, the piles of laundry and pleas for “one more show” {which I admit I’ve given into more than once these last few weeks}, it’s easy to dismiss that oft-quoted phrase and just get downright annoyed. 

Some people can live with messes and not be one bit phased. But my type-A, get-er-done personality cringes when I can’t see the bottom of the sink because the dishes are piled too high. Tripping over toys in our small family room can add injury and insult to this perfectionist’s day. 

When I’m steaming over something that truly is insignificant, I realize again that I need grace. I need an eternal perspective. My wayward thoughts must be brought under control.

“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5

Portrait Of A Mother Teaching Baby To Walk Indoors

Someday my children will be grown and gone and my to-do list will likely get crossed off very quickly. Then I may sit around the house wondering why it is so quiet. Or notice that the house is so clean because there are no little ones left to clean for.  

And truly, even a few months from now, it will become easier. We will slowly find our rhythm and routine again and I will have more energy to diligently direct my children in their tasks and organize my thoughts enough to think past the next few hours. 

The day we came home from the hospital with our 4th baby

So for now, while I sit in the momentary quiet and share my thoughts with you, I purpose myself to cherish my little ones while they are still little.  

I try to accept the fact that my to-do list, rather than being finished, will likely grow every day and often remain undone with no end in sight.  

I remain imperfect, because my frustration will rise again. At some point, I’ll probably go on a crazy cleaning spree and then hope to start fresh once more. Likely I’ll struggle with impatience when I need to clean up more spills and be training my children to pick up their toys when I really want to be decluttering my kids’ clothes or organizing my kitchen. 

But God gives us more grace. And that is what we must fall back on, day after day. Even with a to-do list that goes undone.

“This I recall to mind and therefore I have hope. The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:21-23

So please…..hug your children, even if the growing boy in your life resists a little. Hold your babies and rock them, even if that means it takes a bit longer to sleep-train them than you’d like. Read books and expand your toddler’s knowledge, even without an organized “curriculum”. Play princess dress-up with your little girl, even if the clothes end up all over the floor. Kiss your husband like you mean it, even when it’s been a really, really, really long day. 

I’m right there with you!



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21 Comments on When Your To-Do List Goes Undone

  1. Sounds like your house looks like mine! =) I need to be constantly reminded that my children are more important than my selfishness (my biggest problem). Thanks for the post!

  2. Thank you for this! I have two at home (3.5 and 20months) and one arriving in April. My house generally looks like a storm hit. I’m struggling with the best way to handle it but I am encouraged and reminded of what’s important in your post. So thank you again! Praying for you as you continue to find your rhythm and recover!!

    • Thank you for your prayers! I’ll be praying for you too as you approach the birth of your third little one :)

  3. Thank you for sharing a real view of motherhood and putting life into perspective! Easy to say the right things and so hard to do! God bless you and your family! Sonja

  4. I love this! It’s definitely okay to let the “to-do” list go undone. Oh how quickly the time goes. Soak it up, friend!

  5. I love the picture and your words, too. You won’t hear kids talking about how much their moms got done when they were young, will you? ;-)

    • I thought of your comment this morning as I looked at my super messy kitchen and living room. Such good advice!

  6. This post really touched me. I have been feeling like I’m the only mother in the world with a to-do list much bigger than I can handle. I’ve had to just agree to take it one step at a time and do what I can when I can and be happy in the moments. God Bless You and your beautiful family!

  7. Thanks for sharing Jenn! It came to mind the other day that I am living my dream! As a child I always wanted to be a stay-at-home wife & mom…and now I have that privilege. I need to remind myself often(when there is yet another load of laundry, dirty diaper, messy floor or another mound of dirty dishes) to live my dream out with purpose & contentment:)

    • I love that you are living your dream! I know I am too, but must always remind myself of that! :)

  8. Such a great post! You are right, it is so hard to keep the right perspective and not feel frustrated, annoyed, or irritated when there are never ending messes, disobedient children, sleepless night. Focusing on appreciating and fully embracing the small moments in the day to day is something that I’ve been working on. So thankful for His Grace!

    • My great-grandma used to tell me just to take one day at a time and that God’s grace is sufficient for that day. :)

  9. Aw, Jenn – love the photo! New babies are so sweet. You put it so well, and a bit humbling to think of- one day we will sit in a quiet home with our to-do list done and wonder where the time went. I definitely want to cherish my messy and not as organized as I’d like it life now, and living the moment and blessings God has given me!


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