Being Present When Your To-Do List is Miles Long

It was a Monday, and my to-do list was a mile long.

On a typical morning, you can find me making breakfast, getting my run in while my daughter watches cartoons {no need for screen time shaming here}, spending the morning doing random home tasks, occasionally running errands, returning business emails or messages, and piecing away at my daily-dos list with half-hearted play sprinkled in between.

My morning to-do list leaves me feeling overwhelmed and exhausted by the time lunch comes. There has to be a better way to balance it all.

So, I finished my run for the day and made a commitment to my daughter, “when I’m out of the shower, we will play. You get to choose.” She was elated. Mom was going to play with her. Whatever she picked. I put chores, work, and my to-do list on hold and decided to spend part of the day doing what she wanted.

Running your own business definitely comes with its perks. I am grateful for the ability to make my own schedule, adjust my work schedule as needed when illness or family needs arise and be my own boss. Most of the time, I can fit my large work tasks into her three weekly school days. Occasionally it flows over. Balancing mom-work life can be challenging sometimes. Being successful requires diligence, consistency, and doing the hard things when you would rather be doing the fun things. However, I could say the same thing about being a mom. Learning the balance between the two is a continual give and take.

Learning how to be present as a parent as well as being diligent and motivated in daily business tasks is work in itself.

It’s work that I am continuing to learn how to find the ‘happy medium’ in. This time, though, I gave into playing with my daughter on a Monday and I don’t regret it.

Time is fleeting and the days where she wants to play with me are numbered. So I set thirty minutes on the kitchen timer, put my phone away, and played. It felt good to spend quality time with my daughter without trying to multitask other activities. I shut the work part of my brain off and let it play. She felt important and loved. I felt the stress of the day melt away and enjoyed every minute of it. 

I feel that this should go without saying, but I’m going to lay it out there anyway; I love and relish every minute I get to spend with our daughter. I miss her during the day when she is at school and some days I wish I could just play with her the entire day without any other responsibilities. However, as moms, we know that groceries need to be bought, meals need to be cooked, laundry needs to be done, floors need to be cleaned, bills need to be paid, and so much more. Whether you are a work-from-home mom, SAHM, or work outside the home; you’re a mom who works. Being a mom is work. Running a home is work. Life gets busy. Our to-do lists are endless.

But take it from me – don’t let the opportunity to play pass you by. Give into the play, your inner child will thank you and so will your children. 

Recently, I have found that setting a timer for myself to complete different tasks has been helpful in chunking my time; fifteen minutes for laundry, forty-five minutes in my office working, and so forth. I now add playtime with my kiddo to that and I verbalize it to her so she knows what to expect. It teaches her the concept of time, gives her the opportunity to still learn how to entertain herself, but also reminds her that she is loved and important enough to make time for. 

Do you make time to play with children on a regular basis? Do you struggle with balancing mom-work life? What things have you done to help relieve the pressure of balancing it all and being present with your kids?

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Hi! I'm Cassie Butters and I am an Occupational Therapist, run my own health and wellness business, while juggling all things 'mom.' On various days you can catch me running, crafting with my kiddo, exploring the great outdoors, helping others with their wellness goals, or writing on wellness and mom life. While I don't punch in a "full-time" work schedule; running a business, treating clients, and being a mom keep me well occupied! My husband and I are natives to the Mitten State and we reside in Jackson, Michigan with our fun-loving, 4-year-old daughter and our fur-baby; Lambeau. I'm so excited to be a part of this amazing group and having the opportunity to share motherhood and adventures in Mid-Michigan with all of you!