A friend of mine came to visit when my first child was three months old. Noticing I was still actively using my day planner, she joked, “What do you write on your task list, ‘Cook and Clean?'”
She wasn’t trying to hurt my feelings, but her question reflected an assumption that many people have about those who spend the majority of their waking hours taking care of little ones…that they’re not actually “doing” anything.
I’ve spent 10 years as a full-time mom, and let me assure you that taking care of a family is a huge responsibility. It’s a party some days, a train wreck other days, but it’s the most important thing I’ve ever done. I’ve created a Mom-and-Dad-friendly “Trigger List” to help parents see what types of things they can organize with GTD.
Let the fun begin:
- Books to read together as a family
- Holiday traditions to create more unity
- Recipes that can be made with lots of “help”
- Lullabies to learn on the guitar
- Parent/Child date night ideas
- Promises I’ve made to my children
- Promises I’ve made to my spouse
- Family service projects
- Neighbors we’d like to know better
- Family Vacations
- “Quiet Time,” family-friendly websites
- Free community events
- Family day-trips
- Errands to run when I’m by myself
- Errands to run when I’ve got lots of company
- Volunteer opportunities with the PTA
- Birthday party gifts to keep on hand
- Fun birthday party games and ideas
- Good behavior incentive programs for my children
- Job charts/housework plans
- Shopping lists (pre-printed, organized by store)
- Sports for my children
- Home de-junking plans
- Cultural experiences to calendar
- Great mentors for my children
- Items to discuss with my children’s school teachers
- Holes in the wall to repair
- Family fitness goals
- Clothing to mend
- Clothing needs (did they grow out of that already?)
- Ideas to make nap time happen regularly
- Parenting books to read or classes to take
- Journal entries to record (so I don’t forget how cute my children are)
- Doctor and dental appointments to make
- Character traits I want to develop as a parent
- Character traits I want my children to develop
- Home decor ideas
- Play date ideas
- Crafts that won’t leave my kitchen sparkling with glitter
- Family memories to create so my children will always remember how much I loved them
The list can go on and on, but way I see it, I have two options:
Option 1: When my children turn two, I can say, “Look, Honey! This is called a TV. It’s going to take care of you for the next 16 years!”
Option 2: I can be an involved parent. I’ll certainly take time, occasionally, to watch great programs on television, but I want more than that for my children.
I want to be the kind of parent who thinks big. I want to bring inspiring books into our home, bake 23 different kinds of bread, visit historical landmarks, tour the world’s museums, help families living in poverty, teach my children about history and politics, create a family of incredible photographers, and bike 12 miles together on Saturdays.
All of this used to overwhelm me. Of course I can’t do everything I imagine, but I can do a lot of those things–if I’m organized.
Getting Things Done isn’t just about “things.” It’s about people, about relationships, and about creating a lifestyle that most people think they can’t achieve.
Our family has improved dramatically since I implemented GTD into my life–not just because I’m less stressed about running my business and managing the home, but because I now see a clear path to turning my dreams of a strong, healthy family into my reality.
April Perry is the mother of four children and co-director of www.powerofmoms.com. She is a regular contributor to GTD Times.