I go back to work in 12 days.

I’m not going away, I’m not changing jobs, I’m not moving houses, but for some reason I feel this deadline looming. I feel this enormous pressure to get a huge laundry list of things done before I return to work.

My continuously growing list includes everything from getting my hair coloured to planting yew trees in our front yard. Making the little miss’ Halloween costume, renewing the little man’s passport, fixing the fireplace draft blocker so it stays in place… Some of the things on my list have “real” deadlines, like the newspaper article I’m writing or October 31 for that darned Halloween costume. Most of the items on my list have no deadline at all, like “put fuzzy feet on the cedar trunk” so the floors don’t get damaged. That, my friends, is a time-sensitive list item if I ever heard one.

It’s a bit ridiculous. I will still have evenings, weekends and I even have Fridays off through an arrangement with work. Plenty of time to get things done. So why, WHY is it imperative that I “return bottle steamer to Dana” when I haven’t used it since the little man was an infant three years ago and she’s not even expecting a baby?! It’s been in our closet since we moved two years ago and she hasn’t even asked about it once. Not exactly a high priority but it’s on my list of things to complete.

It’s like every single outstanding detail in our lives must get done by Monday, October 18. I’ve always worked better with a deadline, so I suppose I am using that date as a marker to get as many of these outstanding details as possible taken care of. Will the world end if I don’t get everything done? No. I am causing myself stress for absolutely no good reason.

Well, actually, I shouldn’t say NO good reason. Two good things will come from my obsessive, controlling behaviour. I will have taken care of a hell of a lot of nagging items, leaving more time on my weekends and days off for my family. Second, this list and the systematic crossing off of completed items has slowly been preparing me for the return to work. Apart from the enforced routine of preschool days and soccer or swimming lessons, the past year has been pretty free of non-housework “to dos.” I need some practice before I’m back at a desk!

Having this list gives me some direction for the next 12 days. I can make sure I’m using my time wisely, so I actually get stuff done while still making the most of my last days of leave with the munchkins.

Call it mommy guilt, call me a control freak, you’re absolutely right.