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Thursday, September 27, 2012

"put on your sunday clothes," or the one thing a day

When I was a kid, one of the family-friendly musicals that was in our semi-regular movie rotation was "Hello, Dolly!"  There's a song in that musical that begins with the line,

"Put on your Sunday clothes when you feel down and out..."

Isn't it true that wearing something you like can make the difference between a good day and a bad day?  Between a productive day and a day that feels wasted?

{Or maybe you reach the end of a day and haven't accomplished everything on your to-do list... but at least you felt good about the way you looked while being un-productive, right?}

Last week was really crazy for me... I had the usual teaching of lessons, plus gigs Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings that meant I didn't get home until 10:30 or later.  

This week, I'm loving having more restful days at home with Nell.  Knowing that the evenings will be restful makes the mornings more restful, too, because I'm not flying around making sure I have bottles pumped, diapers laid out in the right places, notes and lists for babysitters, and of course, the house tidied so it's not an embarrassment.  

I'm so lucky that I don't work full time, and I can enjoy laid-back mornings with Nell most of the time.  But sometimes I feel like all I really accomplish is keeping her alive, and while that is a noble thing in itself, I also want to get other things done.  So I started this week off with a new resolution to put on something I like every morning, first thing.  Not at 10:00 am before my 10:30 violin student comes, not at 1:00 pm before my 1:30 violin student comes, but first thing.  And not just presentable clothes, but an outfit that I really like wearing.

{I'm also trying to break myself of a silly habit I have of getting dressed a little bit at a time, meaning occasionally I spend half my morning in jeans and a bathrobe.  So ridiculous.}  

Once I'm dressed, with my hair done and makeup on, I'm ready to take on the day. 

And that's where my other new resolution comes in: to try to get one thing done a day.

Just one thing.  Maybe it's a sewing project or a craft project, maybe a homemaking project or a furniture-paining project, maybe it's organizing Nell's clothes or my closet, catching up on paperwork, working in the yard, doing an errand, or even blogging.  Of course I might do more than one thing, but telling myself it just needs to be one out-of-the-ordinary thing each day (i.e. doing dishes or laundry doesn't count!) makes it seem so manageable.  Anyone can do one thing!

I'm even thinking about starting a one thing blog series.  (Although, since I just said blogging counts as my one thing, that could get a little cyclical, hah.)

On Monday, I hung two framed prints in Nell's room.  

{I've had these prints for months now, finally bought frames for them a month or so ago, but still hadn't hung them up...!}

We also went for a 'leaf walk' to enjoy the beginning of Autumn and look at the changing leaves.

{leaving on our walk}

On Tuesday I finally sewed the third of four curtain panels for Nell's room.  I also spent some time trying to decide what storage bins would best fit in the Expedit shelving unit from IKEA that's in her room, but haven't reached a conclusion yet.  I might even try my hand at making these fabric storage bins from Make It and Love It.  (If I'm feeling particularly ambitious.)

And on Wednesday morning, I finished the last of the curtain panels!

I say "finished" loosely, because I still need to hang two of them (once Nathan installs the curtain rod) and then do the final hems on all four of them.

Here's what the two that have already been (temporarily) hung look like:

Once I get a little more progress made in Nell's room, I'll do a post with pictures of the whole space.  It's a very imperfect tiny room in a very imperfect old house, but I love the grey stripes I painted, and the yellow damask fabric I chose for her curtains, and the sailboat mobile her grandparents made her.

So, next time you're having an unproductive day, try it: put on your proverbial 'Sunday clothes' and see what happens.


  1. Erin Cacace1:03 PM

    I needed to read this today. I'm the queen of making unrealistic to-do lists, which are even harder to accomplish now that Henry is here. I'm still in my pajamas as I write this, and about to go get dressed. I like the idea of getting dresses first thing; the earliest is usually during the morning nap for me. Nell is such a cutie!

    1. I know what you mean about making unrealistic to-do lists! I have been finding that I'll wake up thinking, "oh, I need to get out today and buy some new shirts for Nathan, but also the floors really need to be mopped, and I wanted to do that sewing project, and I should go out and get some exercise, and..." and then I overwhelm myself into a state of paralysis I suppose, and don't accomplish any of it. So one thing at day keeps things manageable!

      I have been so happy with my choice to get dressed first thing. It's the kind of thing that's obvious for people with 'normal' jobs, but for those of us home with our kids part-time or full-time, it's easy to overlook! It helps me be more productive, and also, when I do need to leave for work, I'm not rushing to get myself ready at the last minute, so I can tend to Nell's last-minute needs instead.

  2. There's a blog I've been reading for awhile called Steady Mom - - and over the summer I finally noticed her tagline. It is "on the journey toward intentional, professional motherhood" and the idea of professional motherhood stuck with me. The idea of professional motherhood resonated, and it made me think about how I approach a lot of different things I need to do in my life. It also made me think that perhaps I needed to dress the part - and it really does make a difference if I wake up each morning and immediately put on a skirt, a decent shirt, and decent shoes. I feel much brisker and more awake (which is saying something, considering Justin is still up 2-4 times a night (ugh!)) and less likely to get distracted by things I don't need to be doing at that particular point in time. I need to figure out what to do when it starts to get cold... I really like wearing skirts all the time and I don't want to go back to pants, but I don't want to freeze either! I have never worn tights or leggings, but perhaps I need to start. So, since I now know you are a tights aficionado, where do you find good tights? :-)

    1. Oh dear, how are you managing everything you do with Justin still waking up so much?! Nell has her night feedings, of course, but I have the luxury of Nell being my first baby, and sometimes I take advantage of that. Like this morning - when she took her morning nap, I napped beside her. :)

      It is amazing what getting dressed first thing does for my day! I have heard people who work from home say that they find that dressing for work improves productivity... so why wouldn't it be the same if your work is raising kids and making a home? Makes sense to me!

      Tights... I kind of pick them up here, there, and everywhere. :) TJMaxx, Marshall's, and other discount stores, Target, GAP (only on sale), etc. Mine sometimes last years without getting runs if I treat them nicely. I have a few favorites I've had for a long time. I like to have a few pairs with subtle patterns (tiny polka dots etc), a couple of lightweight cable knit pairs, and a few regular solid pairs. Blacks, browns, and greys mostly... although I do have a purple pair! :)

  3. Oh, and yes, doing one non-caretaking thing a day just seems IMPOSSIBLE!!!! so often, but yet it seems so reasonable when talking and thinking about it. Why is that? I have been struggling with that for YEARS!!

    (can you tell I'm a little frustrated about it??)

  4. Weird, my browser isn't letting me comment under your comment. Oh well, whatever.

    I am not sure how I am managing to do all the stuff I do - other than a lot of the stuff I do has gotten a lot easier as I've had a lot of practice at this point! I also have limitations - like I know I can't think as well as I used to, and my short-term memory is about shot. There are nap times when I would so like to curl up next to Justin and nap... and every once in awhile, I do!

    Thanks for the tips on the tights - I realized that why I felt so clueless is because I haven't actually ventured into any store to look at clothes for myself in, well, years. Kids' clothes, oh yes, lots and lots! But myself? I've bought a few things online here and there, but that's it. I guess we know where I stand in my order of priorities!