"There was once a old sailor my grandfather knew
Who had so many things that he wanted to do
That, whenever he thought it was time to begin,
He couldn't because of the state he was in."
-from "The Old Sailor" in Now We Are Six by A. A. Milne
This is one of my favorite poems by A. A. Milne. If you aren't familiar with it, it goes on for several stanzas about how the sailor was shipwrecked and all the things he should do in order to survive, but he could never decide on a proper order and thus ended up just sitting on the beach until he was rescued. If you add in many small children and take away the beach and the palm trees, this is my life.
I often feel as though I have so many things to do, but can never decide the proper order. Or, more truthfully, I begin one thing, move to another room because I need to, forget what I was doing, see something else which needs to be done, start on that which causes me to move to another room and the whole process starts over again. The end result is that nothing ever really gets done, I just rotate household items from place to place.
This would be bad enough by itself, but I also have these little "helpers" who follow me around. They see me pick things up and move them to another room, so they want to do that to. The trouble is, they often pick up things which are where they belong and helpfully move them to someplace else. It often feels as though I am followed around and they are undoing what I have been doing right behind me.
This is why I need to really wait until they are tucked into their beds at nap time to really get some serious picking up done. So I can't start that. I could move bags of give-away stuff to the out-of-the-way place it lives until it actually gets given away, but if I do that, some little people might discover long-forgotten treasures that I would rather not have them remember. I guess that needs to wait until nap time as well.
Or there's the craft project I need to prep for next week... but the littles would want to "help" with that as well and it would not really be so helpful. Plus, then the project wouldn't be a surprise.
How about the outgrown clothes which need to be reboxed? Well, the room in the basement in which I store them is not really little person friendly and they cry if I don't let them follow me around. Nope. Nap time.
I need to grind some corn and some flour for meals this week. Yet, now I've dithered about for so long that we are coming up to lunch and those little people are going to want to eat. Best to wait until after lunch to start that project.
I could probably come up with several more examples, but you get the idea. So what's a mother do to? Take a page from the old sailor and figuratively sit on the beach. I brought out all of our Thanksgiving books so I will now go and snuggle with all of those small types and read books with them until lunch.
I find the reading of books to always be the appropriate course of action.