“Hello my name is Kate and I’m a list addict.” The room full of moms set down their wine glasses to politely applaud Kate’s courage. This was her fist List Addicts Anonymous meeting. She questioned her need for support when she read her daughter’s 5th grade homework, where the definition for “list” read, “A column of facts written in a specific order.” Facts? In specific order?
What about all the times her daily To Do lists included “exercise” but she never got around to it? So did all those years of scribbling grocery items on the back of a gas receipt not constitute an actual list because the products weren’t written in the proper order in which they appear in the store?
The women in the meeting understood what the Definition Police didn’t: Merely writing then (especially) crossing off items on a list constitutes 98% of Kate feeling productive any given day: Grocery; Errands; To Do Today; To Do By The Time The Kids Are Potty Trained; To Do for Others; Parties, Vacations, E-mails, Phone Calls; Pets-no list is off limits.
Kate even makes “Done” lists at the end of the day to confirm she’s been productive– since she can never remember what exactly it was she did all day when her husband comes home and inevitably asks that Domestic Death Wish question. The more on this list the better, so she includes activities like: Breathe in; Put empty milk jug in recycling bin; Rewash laundry that sat in washer for the last five days; Answer phone when it rings; Shower; Brush teeth and Breathe out.
Since “Buy notepaper” never gets scratched off her To Do List, Kate resorts to scribbling on the back of receipts, junk mail, her hand, margins of newspapers and fast food drive-thru napkins. Besides, if she doesn’t write down something as soon as she thinks of it, it’s gone forever. Kate’s kids tend to get nervous when they see her with a Sharpie in hand and wild look in her eyes, “Quick, hand me that roll of toilet paper!”
“Sure Mom, but could you shut the door on your way out this time?”
The deal breaker for attending LAA was a call from her child’s teacher. “Kate, your daughter presented an otherwise excellent science project, but I’m a bit confused as to what ‘dog biscuits, Midol and gin’ have to do with the ecological demise of rain forests.”
After securing a sitter for the meeting, Kate walked to the corner and met her daughter’s bus. “Sorry about that Science project incident honey.”
“That’s okay, Mom. By the way, we have a new project. I need poster board, red paint, glitter, styrofoam and–”
“Wait, give me your arm!”