When You Wish Upon a Star... Chart

You know star charts. Those nifty little charts that you hang in the bathroom when you’re potty training your kids. Every time they have a success, you put a little gold star on the chart, and then they get a reward for learning to put everything in the potty? Yes, that’s the kind of chart I’m talking about… and I made a chart for myself, and going potty is not one of the goals (thankfully I got that all squared away when I was little. Thanks, Mom!). The progress chart I made is either the greatest thing in the world, or the most embarrassing thing ever. Either way, here’s where it began…

I was having one of those days. You know the days that usually start with a moment where you look at everything around you and say, “Wait a second, how did I get here again?” Like it’s been a dream. Like just yesterday you were 40 lbs smaller, wearing fashionable, clean, new clothes, oh yeah – and you had showered. And then suddenly you woke up and here you have kids, and a house, and a pair of yoga pants that you’ve been wearing for three (okay, maybe five) days, and your hair no longer needs a rubber band to stay in a ponytail because you don’t remember your last shower. Am I the only one that has those days? In any case, I was at a breaking point where maybe I’d had one too many of them.

All this because last spring, I had a beautiful idea. I thought that the kids and I should spend lots of quality time TOGETHER. While all three kids go to a childcare program on Fridays for four hours, the rest of the week would be all about the quality, enriching time we’d all spend together in a blissful kumbaya. (If you’re not laughing right now, you should be). Perhaps I was riding some bizarre post-birth/nursing high? Or maybe I was still feeling the effects of the prescribed Percocet following my C-Section. Whatever. All I know is that I was craaaaaaaaazy.

Here’s the straight poop, you know the verse in Kumbaya that goes, “someone’s crying, Lord…?” Well, that’s the verse I’m living. Twin A, hungry and crying. Twin B, poopy and crying. Big Brother, needs attention… and… crying. Oh Lord, Kumbaya. I’m like a waitress with three perpetually unsatisfied customers. When one or two are happy (or sleeping), the other one (or two) needs something five minutes ago, and let me tell you, what they need is not for me to be showered and clean.

Disclaimer: To be fair to my beautiful children, most moments are so fun and amazing around here. HOWEVER, when you are having one of THOSE aforementioned days, it feels much more what has been described in the preceding.

It occurred to me that what I needed was a daily task list to keep me on the ball so that I could do the minimum to make me happy (this, in addition to the family task list - which shall be blogged about on a later date). Because, (say it with me), “if Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” Easy enough, right? People do these all the time to meet goals. So, I sat down and wrote my list of things that I wasn’t doing, that I needed to do.

Here’s the list: EXERCISE (20 minutes a day – minimum. And no, carrying the carseats out to the car does NOT count – even though I do break a sweat), FOLLOW FOOD PLAN (so far, the plan is to eat food. Preferably healthy food, but in a pinch, anything will do), TAKE MEDS (for my sisters with a thyroid problem, you know what life is like if you don’t keep on top of that business), and TAKE A SHOWER (I cannot expand upon this – it’s simply too embarrassing). Seriously. I once had a friend who told me that she thought people who were getting ready for a vacation that put “pack” on their to-do list were pretty ridiculous. She said that was obvious. Making a list of what TO pack however, made perfect sense. I kind of feel like this about my list. Really? Aren’t these the things that I should be doing anyway? These are sort of the bare essentials. While that may be true, the fact is, I wasn’t consistently doing them. Maybe someday I can add things like “read for 30 minutes”, or “get a massage” to my list (hey, a girl can dream), but for now, I just need to get the bare essentials done regularly.

So here’s a picture of my chart:

What’s that at the bottom? Oh, is that a picture of a glass of wine? How could I forget about that? That’s my reward for checking off all of my tasks. In fact, just 10 minutes before I sat down to write this blog, I made a run to the liquor store. While I was checking out, I told the clerk about my chart. She took a look at the six bottles of wine I was buying and said, “well, it looks like you’re planning to be very successful.” Why, yes. Yes, I am.


  1. I love your chart! I'm not a mommy of 3 young children, but I still need something to help me do the important stuff. There is a list on my fridge of 15 things that in theory should happen every day. As I do them, I write them down in my journal. (Writing in the journal is one of the things on the list too, so if I take my meds and write down that I did it, it counts for two items.) When I started, my goal was to do at least 3 things on the list everyday even if that was all I accomplished for the day. I've gradually worked my way up to 8. Yeah for me! And once I've hit my goal number, my reward is that there is no guilt allowed for the rest of the day.

  2. Thank you Colleen! That is a great idea that I think I will borrow and give it a try. I need a motivator to get back on track. Love it!

  3. After you master the things on your list, you must add another. Work on writing your book!! You have a gift, and I would love to see you write one. You could be the modern day Erma Bombeck.


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