Doing the to do list before leaving to do something | Living with Gleigh

Have you heard the joke about the husband and wife who decide it’s time to go to bed? It goes something like this: A husband and wife are watching TV in the family room and the wife gets up and announces she is going to bed. On her way to bed she pauses to pick up a few items of clothing someone left on a chair. She picks up someone’s shoes in the middle of the floor.

Have you heard the joke about the husband and wife who decide it’s time to go to bed? It goes something like this:

A husband and wife are watching TV in the family room and the wife gets up and announces she is going to bed. On her way to bed she pauses to pick up a few items of clothing someone left on a chair. She picks up someone’s shoes in the middle of the floor. She finishes loading the dishwasher and wipes down the kitchen counter. She makes her husband’s and children’s lunches for the next day. She writes a grocery list and plans the next night’s dinner. She fills the dog’s water dish and lets the cat in. She goes into her bathroom and puts on “age-defying” cream, files her nails, brushes her teeth, applies foot cream and finally crawls into bed. She opens her book to read for a while.

The husband, still watching TV, decides to go to bed and he does.

I experience this scenario every day. But last week it really hit home for me. I was planning to attend the Pacific Northwest Writer’s Conference in Bellevue last weekend. Because of the intensity of the conference and the late nights, I had a hotel room for a couple of the nights. My husband decided to go to a street rod show in Yakima during the same time.

In order to get ready to be gone for the weekend, I had a huge list of things I needed to take care of. I had to cover the basics, making sure there were groceries in the house and the laundry was done.

Then I had the extra tasks to coordinate for my kids: I had to arrange to have my mother pick up my oldest and take her to and from work and fill my mom’s gas tank so she had gas to run her to and from work. I had to take my youngest to find a birthday present for a birthday party she was attending over the weekend and print my mother directions to the birthday party. I had to leave a list of phone numbers for my kids and my mother as well as a schedule of my kids’ activities. I also made up a list of tasks for my kids to complete while I was gone.

Then there were the things I had to do for myself for the conference. I had to pack my clothes and toiletries, connect with the person I was sharing a hotel room with, write my book pitch, make sure I had the first page of my children’s book with me, charge my cell phone and laptop, and get business cards printed.

I also had out-of-town guests until Wednesday morning and was doing all these tasks while simultaneously visiting and preparing meals for my company.

My saving grace for my planned trip is that I didn’t also have to coordinate babysitting, since my kids are old enough to be home alone. In the past when I had to coordinate babysitting, I also had to coordinate meals. There is a lot to be said for that point of no return when your kids are “old enough” to take care of themselves. Now I just need to get my oldest driving; yet another thing to coordinate.

All these things take pre-planning and coordinating and by the time I left for the conference Thursday morning, I was already exhausted. My husband was also leaving on Thursday for the car show. So Wednesday night around 8 p.m., he stood up, went out and washed the street rod, came in threw some underpants and a toothbrush in a plastic grocery bag, put that and his sleeping bag and a tent in the car and was ready to go by 9 p.m.

Sometimes, as the mom, I wonder if it’s worth trying to be gone. But then after all the stuff I have to get done, I’m always glad to go.

Gretchen Leigh is a stay-at-home mom who lives in Covington. She is committed to writing about the humor amidst the chaos of a family. You can read more of her writing and her daily blog on her website livingwithgleigh.com.

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