Thieving Little Things

Thomas_Crown_Affair_thief‘I’m just gonna do that one little thing…’


You know, I’m just quickly gonna hang up the laundry, do the dishes, vacuum the house, fix myself a snack…. before I sit down and cherish this God-given time when Lilly naps.


I used to be much more ‘productive’ (in a non-domestic way!) when Lilly was rubbing her eyes by 9.45am. I could never quite work out how on earth she was ready for a two-hour nap after having been awake for barely that amount of time, but who the hell was I to argue?

It actually worked great – I would either sneak away to the local coffee shop to write, or promptly set up office on the sofa. It was early and I was still fresh, and there was plenty of time to deal with the needs of the day after lunch.

These days, the girl doesn’t nap much before 1pm. It’s still great, and even though sleeps shortened considerable for a while, we now seem to be back on a fairly reliable routine.

But somehow bad habits are creeping in, like rats nibbling away at my time pantry. ‘I’ll just quickly do this one thing’, I tell myself as I emerge from the bedroom, having seen Lilly off to the land of nod.

For surely I will be better equipped for creativity with the laundry on the line rather than lingering inside the machine, with the kitchen cleaned instead of cluttered. And hey presto, before I know it, one ‘little’ thing has lead to another ‘little’ thing, and another one after that, and 45 minutes have passed in a flash. By the time I sink into my chair, I am exhausted, still haven’t eaten and am acutely aware of all the ‘stuff’ that still needs doing even after Lilly wakes up.

Unsurprisingly, I end up more tired rather than more creative.  I find each little thing rarely ever takes the ‘just 5 minutes’ I mentally allocate to the task. I am also concluding that the energy I may have freed up by again seeing my living room carpet has been deducted from my own energy level in equal if not greater proportion, with the bottom line benefit equalling a big fat zero.

Worse, these energy-thieving activities are also alive and well during Lilly’s waking hours. ‘I’ll just quickly empty the dishwasher’, I tell her, ‘and then I’ll pick you up for cuddles’, or ‘I’ll just do X before we can Y.’

I know there’s a saying that your kids will remember time spent with you rather than a clean kitchen floor, but still, just how high is my tolerance for piles of dog hair in corners? Even so, I have often moaned that my house is hardly sparkling clean despite the time I devote to the task, so the scales of effort vs. result are already well out of balance. And the stinker is that domestic chores undo themselves practically as soon as they are done.

MISSION IMPOSSIBLESo my resolution going forward is to do less of what doesn’t matter, and to focus on activities that boost rather than drain my energy. So far, I’m doing good – despite the fact that my sheets need changing, there are porridge bowls piled in the sink and the dog’s infected foot needs a saltwater bath.

Ok, maybe the latter shouldn’t the put off for too long, and neither should the olfactory clue of a dirty nappy be ignored for any length of time.


But as for the rest, well, I say let sleeping dogs (and dust bunnies, and complaining husbands) lie…




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