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TADA! Magically transform those to do lists.


by Maria Walker


Tada” is the moment a magician pulls the rabbit out of a hat, with a drum role and applause (or if you are old enough, think Samantha in TV programme /film Bewitched who just had to wriggle her nose and the house was tidy!). Except we as mothers pull these proverbial rabbits out of hats every day but we often disappear our  achievements - we will have done the magic all day, then glance dismally at the “To do” list which tells us we failed.

Julie Hanks, a therapist who coined the phrase, suggests that every now and then we toss out the to do list now and then and replace it with a Tada list. Tada is a list you do at the end of the day focusing on what you actually achieved  - in these types of areas:
  • Made my child feel love and encouraged
  • Nurtured my friendships (a phonecall, a coffee)
  • Nurturing my relationship (a date)
  • Looking after myself (had a nap/bath/walk)
  • Keeping up my own signature talents, paid or unpaid

Take my day as an example. This article was the main thing in my list but its 9pm and I just got to the computer five minutes ago. So here’s my version of today’s Tada list:
  1. My four year old son Sam begs to make “cupcakes with writing”.  I feel smug that we actually have all the right ingredients. Sam remarks even more smugly: and we’ve got an oven! (obviously Sam had noticed we went for year with only a hob) , the kitchen is a mess but we discover that if you turn a cupcake upside down it looks more like a volcano especially when you squish lots of icing into it. Tada!
  2. Late to kindy and Sam still in PJs, I look for clothes, sunhat, sunblock, nutritious food to fill the six demanding compartments of the lunchbox, and triumphantly find two socks and two shoes that almost match Tada!
  3. I take Sam to Kindy on foot (eco-Tada!), except Sam’s on his “runner-bike” so-called for a reason! .. he gets up a terrific speed and I get paranoid about cars backing out of driveways and decide to ensure safety by running alongside him, and tell myself this is a great start to my plan of looking trim, taut and terrific Tada!  We get to kindy alive Tada!
  4. counselling for new mothers wellingtonAt Kindy Sam’s artwork  order of a million fundraiser calendars and cards is ready. They look good… I’m unprepared for Sam’s expression of disappointment as he asks me where his “real” picture went –  he’s not easily fooled by these mere reproductions - he wants the originals. I try to see his perspective but by the time I’ve worked out what to say he’s off to play with his kindy friends. Tada!
  5. Back home my “To do “list” of tidying is replaced by a spontaneous call to a friend who seems in such a good space I want to bottle it. We spend an hour trying to figure out how to hang on to that feeling…something about being close to family and we talk about how that’s a Tada!
  6. I call my mum, just to hear her voice. Tada!
  7. I send my dad my latest pictures of Sam. Tada!
  8. I buy an old fashioned advent calendar and decide we’re staying home for Christmas morning for the first time since I was a child. Tada!
  9. I drop plan to to take Sam swimming as have no car and decide to go to school show that my friend’s daughter is in as a fox. Sam is restless but afterwards says with utter sincerity: “I loved that concert". I may have sewn a seed for him to be ready for school, maybe even do some drama himself one day. Tada!
  10. I comfort Sam in response to his cries in the middle of the night   I remain calm even when he pees on me! As I bathe him I decide “Rango”DVD must go back to the library early (would be a first) cos too scary. I make mental note to stay with Bob the Builder (not to mention Scoop, Lock and Dizzy, Roly too, Lofty and Wendy join the crew…) I do the right thing and realise the song going round and round  in my head is a small price to pay for peaceful sleeping.  Tada!
  11. Arrange to meet my partner for lunch (remind us we’re a couple!).  Tada!
  12. I reply to an email about next week’s Mothers Network group. I’m pleased that last week’s group went so well.  Mainly because the mothers all came with some Tadas of their own. We call it homework and insist every week that we do something nice for ourselves: relaxing with a book, pride in your child, a bath, a trip away your own, going to the hairdresser, painting toenails…
 
I hope the above may spark off some of your own Tadas and  be an antedote to the  feelings I sometimes hear expressed by mums in the groups I facilitate, where  they can be hard on themselves about what they don’t achieve, perhaps because they have bossy negative self-talk that they “should be more organized”, that they "should have remembered something" and that they "can’t quite recall what they were doing all day". If that sounds familiar  you may find that a TADA list celebrates all those things that often don’t ever seem to be on the list but that really do matter. And you may be pleasantly surprised to know what you actually accomplish in a day!
So, that’s all. I finally wrote this article.  Tada!  


Article posted 30 December 2014
 
maria walker psychotherapist wellington
Maria Walker is a mother and psychotherapist with a private practice in Wellington.
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