Seven days is all it would take, I reckon. Seven child-free, work-free, meal-preparation-free days to tackle the lists. Seven days to feel less like I'm drowning under the pile of to-dos and able to enjoy things again.
Day one would be for the house. Cleaning it from top to toe, inside to out, and underneath, over and back to front. Not just gathering up the mess and shoving it into piles, not just wiping down the obvious sludge and sweeping up the blatant mounds of crumbs, but real, proper cleaning.
Day two would be for the garden. A whole day of planning the planting and then doing the planting. Pulling weeds. Turning compost. Tending to the tiny herb garden. Filling the empty pots. Talking to the tomato seeds to see if that will make them sprout, because sunshine and water doesn't seem to be doing the trick right now.
Day three we'd call ADMIN DAY. In big letters. Finally getting the last of the addresses changed after nine months in our new home. Sorting out the girls' passports. Filling out the school enrolment forms. Sending letters to tenants AND landlords. Organising for salaries to be paid into different accounts. Booking optometrist appointments. Finding a good local GP. A meal plan. Filing the great stack of papers that need filing. And perhaps doing a budget. Now, wouldn't that be novel?
Day four would be friends day. Sitting down with cups of tea and the telephone and having good chats with good friends who I've been neglecting because there never seems to be a run of enough spare minutes, or enough quiet in the background, to make a phone call possible. And then I'd gather up a pile of cards and stamps and write to all the people who I really need to say hello to, friends of my mum who would no doubt love a photo of the girls and some news. And then I'd attend to birthday gifts that have gone wanting in the great chaos of the year. There are some 18-month-olds in my life who still haven't received their first birthday present.
The sewing machine would get a workout on day five. I'd be able to finish off all the almost-finished odds and ends that need buttons or hems or elastic. I'd whizz through a stack of easy pants and skirts for the girls, the ones I refuse to buy because they're so easy to make, and yet I don't make because I don't quite get around to it. I'd get Lola's nature bag made that I've been promising her for months. And I'd at least try to make a dent in the fabric stash.
Day six would be me and the computer, tackling some writing projects that never even get a look-in these days. Perhaps I'd act all writerly and take the laptop to the local cafe so I could tap away whilst sipping lattes and feeling nostalgic about the good old days. That would be nice.
And on day seven, of course, I'd wander through my pristine house, feeling the weightlessness that comes from having checked off the last thing on a long, long list, I'd pull up a chair under a tree in my immaculate garden, and knit. Knitknitknitknitknit a whole day away. A cup of tea within reach, a magazine open in front of me, birds a-tweeting, perhaps some music drifting by and the gentle click-clack of my needles.
Just seven days. I think that's all I'd need.
I'm currently knitting tiny hats from big balls of wool (my favourite Cascade Eco), and I'm yet to choose another book having finally finished The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga. Perhaps today's Yarn Along will throw up some ideas.