I love lists.
Some are mental:
- Don’t eat that third piece of cake.
- Go for a run instead.
Some are written:
- Scrub the bathtub.
- Scrub the children in the bathtub.
Some are totally unnecessary, I just write them down to make myself feel productive on blah days:
- Make a to-do list.
- Make a cup of coffee.
Many are for my husband. These involve a higher level of concentration and skill than I possess.
- Find those drywall anchors we bought two years ago and hang up that heavy map, centered between the bookshelf and the window. xoxo.
- Hook up the tv so we can watch the Olympics (men’s swimming tonight!). I’ll make brownies. Deal?
With two small monkeys tripping along in my shadow, my list of extra accomplishments is pretty short at the end of each day. And my hard-working man actually likes to sit down every once in awhile so between the two of us house projects move at tortoise speed. Steady but slow.
During a conversation with my friend Elizabeth several months ago, we were wondering out loud how to get things done around the house while not adding another item onto the lists of our husbands who were often lacking in the time and/or desire department.
Then Elizabeth came up with a brilliant plan: Project Playdates. Our friend Rebecca signed up as soon as she heard about it, and our first little Project Playdate group was born.
Here’s how it works: About once a month, one person comes up with a task at their home, coordinates a date with the rest of us, and provides the food and tools to get the job done. We show up with our kids (7 total), who disappear to raise a ruckus together while we work together to get something done.
Generally, our first hour involves coffee and conversation. We talk and laugh and solve the world’s problems around one of our dining room tables. Then we get down to business. So far, we have hung pictures, installed child safety latches, painted frames, rearranged furniture, and even processed a big batch of applesauce together. None of these jobs are huge; they are just the ones that manage to slide down on the priority list for days or weeks, even years.
Tedious or intimidating tasks that I would not choose to tackle on my own are now manageable and enjoyable when done with friends. There is something about three heads figuring out a solution and three sets of hands getting it done. It feels good to cross things off eachother’s lists, and I am already making mental notes for the next time I host at my place: Pulling weeds? Sanding that desk that’s been gathering dust in the garage? Sorting baby clothes? Painting the laundry room? Oh, the possibilities.
In the three or four hours we spend at each Project Playdate, our tasks get accomplished, our husbands get a break, our kids are happily entertained, our friendships are strengthened, and our DIY confidence gets a boost.
Now that’s my kind of list.
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