Welcome to Motherhood aka Overplanners Anonymous.

Man, I thought I was a planner before. Then I went and had a baby. 

Even on maternity leave, I create these to-do lists (all mundane stuff, ranging from "grocery store" to "water roses" to "cut Jack's nails" to "write a blog") and then I stress over getting them done. It's as if I'm hard wired to do this and, even on the longest break from work I've ever had with the best company I could ever imagine, I still find ways to make a list and impose that stress on myself.

I don't know how to turn it off. I don't know how to not plan, to not stress. But I know I need to. I know the best times are when I can do that.

I swear he liked it.
Last week it happened by accident. I had our Tuesday all planned out, and then my friend Julie suggested we get our sons together in our kiddie pool. A terrific, unplanned idea for a 93 degree day! So I threw my to-do list out the window, filled up that kiddie pool, and we sat in it with the boys all afternoon. And it was fantastic! It was exhilarating! Yes, sitting in a plastic pool full of semi-dirty water in my backyard was exhilarating. Because it was the right thing to do for that moment. I just followed the feelings of the day and it landed me there, in that lovely little pool, with a good friend and two adorable babies wearing excessive amounts of sunscreen.

But the life of a mother is one of a planner. It's not something we can just cast off because we're feeling impulsive. We plan because we care deeply about our babies. We stress because we're leaving the house for three hours, and it's quite possible the kid could go through three shirts and eight diapers during that time. We schedule out the day so that the kids (and husband, by the way) are happy and entertained while still eating and sleeping enough. We make to-do lists so we can anticipate what is needed over the next few days to keep everyone happy, entertained, fed, and sleeping.

We hold the burden of the Designated Worrier in the family, and we do not take that job lightly.

So I recognize that it is not realistic to cast off all my primal desires to organize, plan, and stress. I will always do this; it is my way of protecting my family. And in fact, it often makes me feel better - a to-do list helps me wrap my arms around the enormity of it all. At times it is quite soothing to write everything down and capture it so concretely.

But I am going to TRY HARDER to at least not over plan, to let the day take its own course, to listen to my gut instead of my iPhone's list app. Especially now, on my maternity leave, when the only item on my to-do list for today should be play with my sweet new son.

And finish the day care paperwork.
And pack for our trip next week.
And wrap Brandon's Father's Day gift.
And go to Target.
And exercise.
And clean the bathrooms before company comes over.
And maybe take a shower...

Well. All we can do is try, right? :o)
Except when it doesn't and you're just really prepared.