To-Do Lists and Letting Go

Among the swirl of social media, some of my insanely gorgeous friends and neighbors, and that occasional super mom in the school drop off line (who got a spin class and 8 loads of laundry done before 7 a.m.), I have some days where I feel like I should be doing better than just getting a bra on before I leave the house. I can get pretty hung up on where I’m lacking, and I can camp out wallowing in those emotions for the better part of my day if I’m not careful. Case in point, let’s take a look at my “to do” list for today:

Jess’ “To Do List” for today:

  • Write essay for magazine
  • Send birthday cards and gifts to nieces and nephew
  • Send card to friend
  • Bring returns to Kohl’s and Target
  • Update Twitter posts with new book publication availability
  • Buy new contacts
  • Get to bank for notary signature
  • Sign up for painting class
  • Sell Grace’s old dance shoes on E-Bay

Well, it’s now after 12:00 noon, let’s check in to see what I’ve completed on my list:


I’m an over achiever.

In all seriousness, how many of us Moms are beating ourselves up because we’re comparing ourselves to other moms and their insanely perfect lives? I have this feeling that too many women are silently suffering in their quest for perfection, but are loath to ever admit it for fear of being “found out”. How liberating would it feel to remove the mask and just take a break? Maybe quit taking Xanax and don’t shampoo your hair one day? What would things look like if we rallied around one another, and supported each other? Rather than comparing ourselves to one another in this silent and exhausting competition taking place 24/7 all over social media and in the real world? I’d love to let those “to do” lists sit there once in a while. 

I’m tired of looking at my a*s and my thighs and worrying about what people will think because I’m 15 pounds heavier than I should be. I’m tired of worrying about how clean my house is for fear that someone will decide that I’m lazy because of my dusty coffee table. I would love nothing more than for a neighbor feel like they could drop in unannounced to sit on my leaf strewn patio (because I haven’t had a chance to sweep it) and pour their heart out to me because her child is failing their classes or she fears her husband is pulling away from her and her heart is breaking and she doesn’t know what to do. I applaud anyone who takes to social media posting photos of their messy houses and failed Pinterest projects. I have so much admiration for those moms who leave piles of laundry all over their couch to spend the afternoon playing on the swings with their kids.

If we’re being honest, none of us has perfect spouses, kids, houses, financial situations or bodies (for real – we’re all shaving or getting something waxed on a regular basis, and how about those Spanx we all own?). Why the constant quest to keep up with the Jones’? And I know this isn’t a new concept or concern, but at what point will we just decide that we’ve had enough? How much more contented could we all feel if we would spend our time building each other up, instead of tearing each other (and ourselves) down? I am SO ready to start being more honest about who I really am, to the point of vulnerability. I wonder if we all wouldn’t connect a little more if we were?  

So for now, at least for today, I will have no shame about this list that will most likely look identical tomorrow, and probably next week as well. Today, I’m happy that I’ve taken a shower and put on that bra.  

What about you? When do you sometimes feel like you’re having to silently compete to be a super mom or super woman? Do you also have moments where you feel like you’d rather just let go of some things and be true to who you really are? I’d love to hear from you. Leave your comments here, or  hit me up on twitter at @jessbarretttn



3 thoughts on “To-Do Lists and Letting Go

  1. This is one reason (out of many) why we are friends! Two peas in a pod. Although I must admit, I think you may have it more together than myself or at least I see it that way. On the plus side, though, I decided a long time ago that being a pinterest mom was never going to be my lot in life. Olivia may never have a mom who is going to do clever things with toilet paper rolls but I make every effort for her to have a mom she can talk to when things get tough even if she isn’t always going to like my answer or opinion. Isn’t that really what matters?

  2. I love you so much, Jess! Seriously, you are a women after my own heart. I have had these exact same thoughts, sometimes on a daily basis, over the years. The older I get, the more I long to just be me, and to find others that long for the same realness. You and I have had the conversation many times, about how nice it would be if we just started loving, and accepting, an letting go of perfection, and being genuinely real. How awesome it would be to let our guard down, let others in, and just be accepted for who we are….warts and all. All I can say is that I AM GRATEFUL that I have found you!

  3. Loved the blog! So many points hit home for me. Having a full time job, 3 children, and keeping up with at home tasks is emotionally and physically draining. It’s impossoble to do all that is needed and make everyone happy. I too have to look at the big picture which are my children and leave the material things to wait. As my oldest is entering kindergarden next week I realize time goes way to fast to be bothered by my loads of laundry, inch dust on coffee table, messed hair or yoga pants that I tend to wear everyday. My children aren’t going to remember the list of things I didn’t get done but the memories we made having fun together.

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