Monthly Archives: November 2014

Lists – help or hindrance?


I like writing lists. They give me a feeling of control, and of optimism – if something has made it on to a list, then I will achieve it. It’s just a question of time. I make lists for all kinds of things and on all kinds of timescales. Generally I find lists help me to juggle all the different things that make up my day-to-day life, from work to family and home and back again.
I forget less – although I’m far from perfect and sometimes forget to even add something really important to my to-do list in the first place.

However, at times my lists can be a bit over-enthusiastic. A couple of weeks ago I felt a bit overwhelmed by all the things I needed – or wanted – to get done. So I wrote a list with all the things I felt I could be getting on with, and the changes I wanted to make. This list was very ambitious, and addressed all the things which tend to get forgotten and put off each week. I broke it down into weekly lists up to Christmas, and was full of hope for the super-organised image of myself I had created (despite all previous evidence that this really isn’t me at all!).

And even though I acknowledged to myself that this list was nigh-on impossible, I still felt that hope that comes with a brand new list. I promised myself I would just do my best and not get too caught up in it. But in the first week I achieved pretty much everything for that week – including getting preparations and shopping underway ready for Christmas, tackling my business accounts and planning, developing new course materials, and all the household jobs I had planned (in addition to those which I do day in, day out every week of the year, without even making it on to a list).

So I started to believe – foolishly –  that this list (which I had started out knowing was unlikely to be possible) was going to be totally achievable. And of course, it wasn’t. After two weeks of pushing myself every day, I have done a lot of things I’m pleased with, over and above those I would have done in any case. But – in the second week – there have also been some which are only partially finished, and others which haven’t been started at all. I had a very busy weekend and couldn’t catch up with all those extra jobs. So now I have to accept that the original list was ambitious; I didn’t initially expect to manage everything on it. And the fatal flaw of all my lists is that the small but time-consuming daily jobs are not included; however, with the list, I have still done more than I realistically thought I could in addition to these.

So perhaps my lesson is to continually revise my lists in the light of my other commitments, my energy levels, and what I feel I can achieve. My lists are meant to be a help, not something which puts me under too much self-induced pressure. I need to be mindful of this, so that working through a list and towards my goals can be enjoyable, with time for all the things that matter to me. I need to accept that at times I won’t be able to do everything on my agenda; and I need to remember to take pleasure in each small thing that I do achieve, and, more than that, in each task, or part-task, whilst I am engaged in it.


Can Fetal Movements Predict a Baby’s Sex or Temperament?


Fascinating discussion on fetal movement and subsequent child temperament and activity levels.

The Science of Mom

I’m now 31 weeks pregnant. The weeks are flying by, and for the most part, I’m relishing all the physical changes in my body and the preparations for this baby. We waited a long time for this pregnancy, and it will probably be my last. I curl around my belly at night and think about the baby growing inside me. I wonder about the person that he or she will become and how our little family will adapt to welcome a second child. (We’ve chosen not to learn the sex of this baby until its birth.)

When I was pregnant with Cee and about to become a mom for the first time, I thought a lot about what kind of mother I would be and how this big life transition might alter my identity, my career path, my marriage, and my daily life. The baby-to-be was kind of a vague…

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