My Imaginary To-Do List

Whenever I host an event and the date approaches, I tend to work myself up into a tizzy. Birthday parties for the boys: I want the house to look welcoming and clean, as well as fun and celebratory. Having people over for a holiday or visiting: I want my clutter gone and a peace as they enter my home. I do like having people over, I just have a tendency to go overboard when I am preparing.

Because of this (known) issue, I have lessened the number of our boys birthday parties occuring in our home. The stress of getting things “perfect” (in my own opinion) and then dealing with the aftermath just isn’t worth it. I have tried telling myself, “I don’t need a ton of decorations” or “I am not making a cake or spending $100 on one because they don’t even like cake,” and “no one else cares about the clutter like you do.”

None of this works.

So for Gavin’s birthday this year, we are having the event at a local park. It’s a new playground, there is a pavilion with tables, and it’s a nice shady setting in early May so it should make for a beautiful and easy day.

The entire point of this, is 1) for Gavin to get to have a great time with his friends, and 2) not to require a second mortgage on the house, and 3) be less stressful for me because there is less to plan and prepare.

And of course, here we are, T minus 5 days and I am coming up with a million ways to complicate my life.

“His party is in a few days!!!! I should be so busy! I need to DO SOMETHING!”


My mind won’t stop trying to place things on my to do list and make me feel like I am behind.

Why do I do this?

In reality, all I need to do for this party is make the birthday boy’s requested peanut butter chocolate chip cookies, pick up some simple pre-made cupcakes for the other kids who may not like the cookies, grab some waters to put in a cooler, simple plates/napkins/forks, and remember to bring the ONE little (useable) favor I got for the kids. (Am I the only parent who despises gift favor bags???)

I purposely booked a park so that the kids could be entertained.

I chose a location other than my house so I wouldn’t have to clean it, twice.

I gave Gavin the choice of a big party or a big gift. He chose the party.

So… why am I trying to come up with party games, entertainment, elaborate snacks, giveaways, decorations and fifty million other things?

Isn’t this why I took the path I did?

Does anyone else do this?


Just rest.


You don’t need to do all this.

Enjoy this gift of time.

Remember that all Gavin really wants is time with his friends and family.

Thank you, Lord. Thank you for reminding me what is important.

Thank you for reminding me that a worked-up-weary mama is not usually a joyful one.

Thank you for telling me that my to do list is just that, mine… not Yours.

Thank you for whispering that rest isn’t a sin, but so important that You did it too.

Thank you for my sons, and the fact that I continue to celebrate birthdays with them.

Thank you.

“Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?… So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” Matthew 6:27, 31-33

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