Setting Aside the To-do List

Yesterday, I wrote about the notes I've been sending my girls in their lunch. (Read about it here.) My younger daughter loves them. My older daughter loves them, too, but yesterday afternoon she came home and asked me not to put them in her lunch. Some of the kids at school kept trying to read her note and it made her uncomfortable. She still wants the notes; she just wants them at a time when no one else can see them. So, this afternoon when she gets home from school, there will be a note on her desk.

More than anything else, I think being a mom requires adaptability. We have to be willing to change and do what's best for our kids, which isn't always what's most convenient for us. We have to be able to understand our kids and decide if what we're doing is working, and if it's not, we have to be able to change. One call from the school nurse and our days can change on a moment's notice. A backpack full of homework that a child is struggling to complete means dinner is going to be late. Spur of the moment invitations to play means we might feed extra mouths for lunch.

Our kids need us to hold our schedules loosely. They need us to be willing to change things around to meet their needs. They need us to not assume that everything will go exactly as we planned.

Plans are good. They help us accomplish what we need to get done. I work, I blog, I clean the house, I make the meals, I run a ministry. Plans and to-do lists help me to get all of that done. But when I cling so tightly to that to-do list that I miss meeting the needs of my family, that to-do list is now a hindrance to my ability to be a good mom.

Last night, I was tired. My day had been full, and my girls had brought drama in the door with them after school. I really just wanted everyone to go to bed. But both girls needed to talk as I tucked them in. They'd both had experiences with other kids during the day that had reduced them to tears. They needed to work those things through. They needed to know they were loved. They needed their mom. If I had stuck to my agenda -- get everyone in bed as fast as possible -- I would have missed some precious teachable moments with my girls.

Don't miss those moments because you have one more thing to check off your to-do list. As you start your day, ask God to fill it with the things that He has for you to do. Ask Him to help you hold onto your agenda with loose fingers, so that if He wants to change it, you're willing to let Him.

Our kids need us to be adaptable. They need us to be willing to set aside the to-do list to meet their needs. They need to know they're more important than the floor being mopped, the work being done or even our favorite TV show. It's not an easy thing to let our days be interrupted, but those precious kids will only be small for a short time. The to-do list can wait.