Do Men Have Mental To Do Lists Too?

Or, Things I Ponder As I Vacuum Cat-Hair Tumbleweeds At 3 AM

Because sometimes I wonder how many of my brain cells are used up with remembering how to properly load the dishwasher so it won’t stop halfway through its cycle again, that the field trip permission slip is due tomorrow, that the electric bill should be paid if we don’t want to live in a historically accurate 17th-century theme park, that we need to get a present for that wedding on Saturday… And will I ever get those brain cells back? If my husband carried an equal share of our collective family mental to-do list, would I regain enough brain cells and mental energy to be a rocket scientist, or Beyoncé? Because, as I near as I can tell, I am the sole repository for the shared history, future plans, and current logistical and practical needs of The Family. And pretty much every mom I know is the same. It’s a never-ending ticker tape of strategic planning and mobilization, obligations, worries, speculations, and dreams. There’s a roadmap to crazy in there, and I can’t always turn it off. It just runs in a loop in the background while I go about my life, like Muzak for the (hmm, nearly, almost, can-see-it-from-here) middle-aged mom.

So basically what I’m saying is, my brain looks like this:

Mental To Do List Infographic

Now, don’t get me wrong. I know the guys worry too. They worry A LOT about money and jobs and such. It’s not really the worry I’m talking about. That’s universal, I think. It’s the ongoing playlist of who needs to be where and when and what do they need to bring and what needs to happen first to make that work and DEAR GOD HOW DO I MAKE ALL THE PIECES FIT INTO MY PUZZLE!? That really, as near as I can tell, seems to be a mom thing. Guys I know just seem to assume all those logistical details will fall into place somehow. And I guess they do. Does that make me an enabler? Ah well, I can’t be resentful, since my own dear spouse regularly works 70-hour weeks at his incredibly stressful yet also often mind-numbingly boring job, and never, ever takes a sick day, and still manages to coach basketball and T-ball and go to scout meetings and engage in epic video-game battles and get down on the floor to build Lego masterpieces with his kid.

As for me and my ticker tape of crazy, I make lists. Then more lists, and lists of lists. And because I’m old school like that, I put actual pen to actual paper. I’ve tried lots of online listy things and it just doesn’t quite scratch the itch for me.

If it so happens that you are a crazy list-maker/worrier/planner like me, here’s a free printable (blank!) version of my daily planner sheet to download. Hopefully it will help you stuff all your crazy life pieces into your own too-small puzzle.

Sewthegirl Daily Planner

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6 thoughts on “Do Men Have Mental To Do Lists Too?

  1. I’m not a mother myself so I can’t fully relate to this constant ticker in the sense of needing to keep multiple people alive, but I do constantly have a ticker of thoughts regarding keeping my own ass alive (okay, and my boyfriend and my furry people, but you get my point)and through my day. What I do know is that women cannot turn off their brains, at all, ever. We think constantly and we can’t help it. Men, on the other hand, are capable of ceasing thought for short periods of time (your mans mileage may vary :D). They can zone in ways that women biologically aren’t capable of. There aren’t many differences between the male and female brain,but that is one of them.

  2. This post resonated with me. Putting something on a physical list is so helpful to me, it increases the chances it will get done, that is for sure! Is it just me or does everyone else get a giddy feeling crossing out stuff on lists? :)

    • Yes! It is irrationally satisfying to me to scratch something off a list. It is just not the same thrill to check a box on a screen or something. Has to be paper for me. ;) Glad to hear I’m not alone as list-maker and scheduler-in-chief!

  3. We definitely have mental to do lists. In my house, my wife’s is probably longer and even more relevant, she can’t seem to turns off as easily/regularly and focus on other things.

    • Yes, you’re right. That’s so true. I often can’t turn it off. It’s that awake-at-3am reviewing everyone’s schedule, planning the next day thing that drives me crazy. My husband definitely has his to-do list, but he does seem better able to just, say, focus on work without the internal chatter going all time about who has a dentist appointment, or whatever. I need to get some of that. :) Thanks for commenting!

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