The Overflow:  Ridiculous Things That Don’t Even Make It onto My ‘To Do’ List


It started with the ‘H’ key. Years ago, it somehow broke off the computer keyboard and went missing. After that, in order to make an ‘H’ appear on the screen, I had to forcibly press on the uneven metal parts that became exposed in its absence.  It irritated my fingers and slowed my typing.

My husband said it wasn’t a big deal.  Sure.  No problem at all.  After all it’s only in those minor words like ‘the’ or my name.  Barely used at all!

Of course, I did little to fix this problem.  Every day on my way home from work I passed a sign that boldly proclaimed WE FIX COMPUTERS – CHEAP! I never wrote down the number. Months passed and the ‘H’ key remained missing.

This was the start of what I like to call my “Overflow List.”  These are the things in my household that are just left hanging. These aren’t just items that I didn’t get to check off the “To Do” list. These poor things never even make it onto the “To Do” list.

See that pile of papers on my dresser? Yes, that was previously the pile of papers from the kitchen counter. It just gets moved around when we have visitors.

Hear that random beeping noise coming from somewhere near my bedroom?  Or maybe it’s in the attic?  It sounds like a truck, or maybe the Little People school bus. It usually startles me awake right as I’m drifting off to sleep. I have made some lame attempts to find this toy, but have been unsuccessful. Instead, my husband and I lie in bed at night and talk about finding it. It has been at least a month. It must stop at some point, right?

Oh, don’t mind the vacuum in the corner of the room.  Ever since we did a bit of a house renovation (oh, two years ago!) and got rid of one of our closets, my vacuum has not had a permanent place to be stored.  I usually just leave it in the last room I vacuum. When company comes over, I roll it into the room I think that will be visited least.

Impressed that I run on an incline on the treadmill?  Don’t be. I’m only doing it because ever since we moved the treadmill into the corner of the playroom it shakes terribly if not on an incline. I keep saying I’ll try to fix it, but it is usually after my workout when I don’t want to do anything but plop down on the floor and let my kids climb all over me since they are outraged that they have not been the center of my attention for thirty minutes. So, I run on … with an incline. I suppose this will create a healthier me, but it is really annoying to have to work out harder than I want to!

Oh, you like the handmade Easter egg decoration hanging off of our closet door? It’s so cute. My daughter made it in preschool – eight months ago! You know, when it was actually Easter.

Of course, you are completely correct, I should definitely just do these things instead of writing about them!  I will admit that part of the reason there are so many neglected items in my house is laziness. I see that Easter egg every time I sit down to watch television after the kids go to bed. I could easily get up and put it away, but I really just want to watch a show that is not a cartoon.

And, where would I put it anyway? All of the other Easter decorations are safely stored in the attic, and I can’t just throw it away. If I took it off the door, it would likely just be placed on the kitchen counter, where all other miscellaneous items seem to find their way.

So, I let it hang there.

There are quite a few things left hanging around here – literally and figuratively.  I am constantly battling the feeling of being overwhelmed with the mundane tasks of parenthood. To combat this, I make lists and lists of things I think I should do:  Organize closets. Clean under bed. Weed garden.

However, I often lose these lists before I can even finish making them – never mind actually completing the tasks on the lists. Sometimes, my daughter will find a list and practice  drawing purple cats on it, or my son will unearth a list and use it to wrap up a dinosaur toy. He presents this gift to me as if saying, Isn’t this a far better use of your time? Dinosaurs. Playing. Imagination.

So, I abandon list after list. I never add those things like Fix treadmill.   Instead, after completing the necessities – grocery shopping, cooking, laundry – I play Candyland with my daughter (again!), and I read a dinosaur book to my son that I can recite line by line.keyboardFor months, I used the missing ‘H’ key as an excuse not to write.  However, at some point I started to realize that not only was the ‘H’ important to my typed name, but it was also important to my Happiness. It certainly was NOT an item to forget about like the pile of papers on my counter.

So, we eventually replaced the keyboard, and I could no longer use the missing key as an excuse not to write.  With full access to all letters of the alphabet, anything is possible. So, now, instead of adding unnecessary items to my “To Do” list, I will write about them instead.

 Of course, I’m curious. What is on your “overflow” list?

Life As a Mom on the Playground

We go to playgrounds A LOT.  When my daughter was only months old and my son was I-don’t-listen-to-anyone-and-throw-mulch-at-everyone- years-old, it was not always easy. Sometimes I would leave the playground close to tears, so exhausted from chasing after my son and trying to feed or comfort my daughter at the same time.

As much as the playground was a relief from staying at home and often brought wild cries of delight from my speech delayed son, it was HARD.  It was even harder when there were other parents there – you know, the type that seem to have it all together.

One time, as I was chasing after my son to tell him to keep his hands to himself after he pushed a boy, my daughter’s pacifier dropped to the mulch. Without thinking, I picked it up, wiped it on my jeans, put it in my own mouth to get the remaining dirt off, and stuck it back in her mouth. At the exact moment that I was putting it into her mouth, a mother standing next to the slide offered, “Oh, do you need a pacifier wipe?”

There was an awkward moment as we looked at each other. Obviously, I did not need a pacifier wipe anymore as I had just stopped my daughter’s crying with the germ-infested pacifier. I smiled and said something lame like, “Oh, that’s okay. Thanks!” meanwhile thinking, What the hell is a pacifier wipe? And, Obviously I am a horrible mother for introducing all sorts of germs into my baby’s mouth.

Moments like that used to fluster me and make me realize just how much I was floundering as a parent of two kids under two. Eventually, it got easier, though, and now I can look back at laugh at that moment, and the million other moments similar to that one.


For more on my thoughts on playgrounds, please go read my article up on Her View From Home. Just click on this link:  Will I Miss The Playground Days?

Thanks so much for reading! If you liked it, please feel free to share! And, as always, I love to hear your stories.  What kind of shenanigans have your kids gotten into on the playground? Share below in the comments or head on over to my facebook page (One Mile Smile Blog) and share.

The Cabbage Patch Doll

Last week, while I was running on the treadmill and trying to avoid looking at the clock, which was ticking the seconds by ever so slowly, my daughter skipped into the room, dragging an old Cabbage Patch doll behind her. During the next twenty minutes, I watched her change the doll’s diaper (five times!), feed her three bottles of milk, take her for a stroller ride through the maze of toys left on the floor, place her in a grocery cart to go “shopping” at the play kitchen, and then tuck her into a cradle and sing her a lullaby.

(Watching all of this was actually more exhausting than running!) Continue reading

My Introduction to Being a Soccer Mom


Both of my children recently started their first season of soccer. I approached this venture with a mixture of both dread and excitement. We have dabbled in organized sports in the past, but success continues to elude us.  And by success, I don’t mean wins. I mean happiness, as in we are all happy with the experience. To me, if this doesn’t occur, sports just don’t seem worth it. Continue reading

Kindergarten Back-to-School Night

After many years of participating in Back-to-School night as a teacher, tonight I attended for the first time as a parent. While surrounded by alphabet posters, new crayons, and other anxious parents, I contemplated my new, unfamiliar role as a parent of a school-aged child. Because of my interactions with some over-zealous parents during Back-to-School nights in the past, at least I knew how not to act as a parent.

I ran through my mental checklist: Do not ask tons of questions in front of the group that really only pertain to my child. Do not interrupt every point the teacher makes to relate it back to my own child. Definitely do not corner the teacher at the end of her very long day to outline the life history of my child.  Continue reading

7 Months of Blogging: What I’ve Learned

You are reading my my 30th post! I began my blog as part of a New Year’s resolution to start writing more, and unlike many failed resolutions in the past, I’ve stuck to it!

I’ve always enjoyed writing, but in recent years had not made it a priority. I could blame work and kids, but in reality, I just wasn’t very motivated.

In the past, I’ve also been rather hesitant about sharing my work. Making my writing public and setting a self-imposed deadline to post once a week was the best thing for me to do to help kick-start my writing and my confidence.

After seven months, I am so thankful that I started this blog. It has made me write more than I have in years and taught me much about myself and my goals.  Continue reading