'start as you mean to end'

glen's late nana used to tell me 'start as you mean to end'. I was 16 years old at the time, and i really didn't understand the meaning behind it. she would repeat it occasionally through the years, but it wasn't until i was married that it truly resonated with me.

being a mom has led me to new interpretations of it. specifically with how i start my day. now that i am home and caring for the boys all day, i find myself easily distracted and without focus. if i haven't accomplished much by lunchtime, i feel that my day is lost. and there is usually no getting it back at that point.

but if i start my day with unloading the dishwasher, clearing the kitchen counters and perhaps even a plan for dinner that night, then things are much different. if the toys are in their place (reasonably so, at least), then i think more clearly. if i manage some of this early in my day, i find myself able to spend more time with the boys reading and playing and maybe even spare some moments of quiet alone time with my coffee.

all this being said, i am not sure why those days of starting off poorly creep in. today, i had one of those days and i can just hear nana with her thick scottish accent telling me 'sandra, start as you mean to end!'

i wish she was here to see me finally get it. and also to remind me of it when i forget. because i'd rather the boys remember the days with me as being organized and calm, with as little stress as possible and with a mama who was really present. so, starting tomorrow, i will be starting the day as i mean to end it....with purpose and a clear head.


sheepish one said...

sandy. sandy, sandy, sandy...
this is the only blog post i've commented on in weeks. yours stirred in me such emotion, i just had to leave a thank you.
thank you for passing on the wisdom of nana. and do not feel badly; you are not alone on those days when you feel out of rhythm. i have those days, too, and will now remember your very wise grandmother-in-law's advice.

nola said...

:) I have to say that I struggle with the same thing that you do. But someone else once told me something that I thought was wise...

Sometimes, you just have to let them mess up the laundry. :)

This is from a mentor of mine that once told me about how she used to feel overwhelmed as a stay at home mom, especially when things didn't seem to go well, and one day as she was doing the laundry, her toddler son came and threw all the clothes in the air over and over. She was frustrated, especially when the door bell rang and it was her mother-in-law.

Of course, not wanting her to have a bad impression, she apologized profusely and tried to explain. That's when her mother-in-law told her, "It's just laundry. You have a lifetime of laundry, but only once in a lifetime to find the joy hiding in it."

I think that what your grandmother said was wise. But I would also like to encourage you to not put too many expectations on yourself. :) I know it's hard. I am staring at the explosion in our office right now from the toy closet. The very office I vacuumed this morning. And I used to, and sometimes still do, feel overwhelmed if I feel like the only thing I got done was getting out the crayons and maybe a few meals into my child. But at the end of the day, your child isn't going to remember the mess. Your child is going to remember the memories you have created with him or her.

Perhaps the only thing you get finished in a day is getting the bed made. At least then you have started as you mean to end - a fresh bed and a whole day of memories.

Jessica said...

I love those wise words- exactly what I needed to read tonight :)

a friend to knit with said...

i LOVE what nola said!!! and nana!!!
and it couldn't be more true...
and we are ALL frustrated at times.

Sandy said...

Thank you everyone, for the insightful comments.
I have learned to live with a bit of a mess and not get stressed over the smaller things. Some days I put cleaning aside altogether (and gladly!)
But being at home all day now, I have this need to gain some kind of control over the manageable tasks. It could just be that I have one load started, things a little bit prganized, etc. That kind of stuff makes ME feel better about my day and my home. And when I feel better, it seems that everyone does better.

Alisha said...

Oh my gosh what a true statement....obviously Nana was one smart cookie!

I am the same way that you described. If I start the day out good....life is good....other days...well yucky sums it up well.

My goal for the summer is starting everyday with a run before anyone wakes up....if I do that the things that follow through the rest of the day are more often then not on track and stress-free.

I end up accomplishing great things. Sleeping in till kids wake me or not getting to things pronto....like getting a shower and dressed...even if it is back into lounge pants...makes a huge difference for sure.

Great post...to remind us all to start as we mean to end!!!

Enjoy your summer days!!!

Alisha said...

I wanted to add after reading comments that one ting I do that is helpful is pick one thing to aim for.

Not a huge list of things I will never accomplish and will for certain make me feel like I did nothing.

Pick one or even two tasks to get through by the days end. For example the other day I vowed to do 20 mins. of clean up outside...sweeping the patio etc. (set a timer so you don't get side-track....this happens to me all the time) and then I had some mending to do and so that was on my list. I refrained from getting "side-track" cleaning out a closet or tackling a pile of papers.

It feels good to get those few things done. Less pressure on yourself.

Jane said...

Your nana gave you wise advice. One of the reasons I took a blogging break was because I was feeling VERY scattered through out my day. Things are calming down, finally. i find that making a list each day helps a lot!

Lisa Roberts said...

Sandy, it's really wild, I just heard this same piece of wisdom as it relates to our intentions. Glen's nana was smart. So are all these other comments. I understand how you feel about getting the chaos under control. It sounds like you're striking a balance.
Lisa xoxo