Imperfection.

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About Tsh

Tsh is the founder of this blog and lives in Bend, Oregon with her husband and 3 kids. Her latest book is Notes From a Blue Bike, and believes a passport is one of the world's greatest textbooks.

I‘ve loved the series on Simple Homeschool lately, where Jamie and the contributors (sounds like a band name) have shared their biggest homeschooling mistakes. One post at a time, they’ve saddled up to the plate to confess one thing they’ve wished were different about their teaching experience.

I’m also reading Grace for the Good Girl, a newly-released book by my dear friend Emily Freeman. In it, she confesses to myriad masks she’s donned her entire life in desperate effort to keep her accolades as a good girl. She admits her imperfection.

At Relevant this past weekend, I sensed a repeated murmur of conversation wrapped up in the theme, It’sOkayToBeImperfectBecauseWhoIsn’t?. Be it in your writing style, an embarrassment over your Twitter following, or your desire to be more “influential,” the conference room became a breathing space for women to feel okay about who they are and the platform they’ve been given.

In short… People are fessing up to not having their act together.

I’ve told Emily that one of my favorite paragraphs in the early part of her book is when she admits to leaving a food-encrusted fork in the dishwasher because it’s easier to just leave it there than to hand-wash it. I love that part because I do that, too.

And with the homeschool series, I nod as I read because I, too, am not Charlotte Mason. I don’t create elaborate art projects or history reenactments, and I don’t have a homeschool room. It’s the dining room table and a quiet shelf of books for us.

I like reading these things because in their words I find my tribe. What’s that C.S. Lewis said, “We read to know we’re not alone”?

In large part because of the Internet, women are slowly chipping away at the lie that we need to be perfect. We more or less believe we don’t have to work full-time and have a spotless house and have children that never argue and don a cookie-filled plate in a moment’s notice.

But do we believe this is true amidst the little, everyday bits of life? Do we feel guilt when we open the steaming dishwasher and witness, once again, that food-encrusted fork? I know I sometimes do.

It’s been awhile since we’ve done this at Simple Mom, but I thought it’d be a fun exercise to revisit. I’m going to list the things I don’t do, and I’d love for you to join me in the comments.

Not out of obligation, of course, or even out of a weird, reversed sense of comparison (“You think you don’t do much? Well, check me out…”). But if you’d like to join me, share a simple list of how you don’t have your act together.

What I don’t do

  • I don’t garden very well. Our tomato plant this year was my husband’s doing.
  • I don’t exercise more than once per week. Kat‘s helping me with that.
  • I’m already behind on my second book that was supposed to begin in September.
  • I don’t change Finn’s diaper as quickly as I should.
  • My Craigslist couch I bought in July still needs reupholstering. I haven’t even started.
  • I don’t knit.
  • The quilt I started early this year? Not finished. It’s on our bed, safety pinned.

These things above, I’m okay with. With some of them I shake my head (seriously, now, I just need to spend a weekend finishing that quilt); with others I’m at complete peace (I’m really okay not knowing how to knit). And I don’t feel guilty about this not-yet-done list, because what I do is not who I am.

Let this be a freeing exercise, if you choose to participate. Do it for fun and for encouragement, and not to feel guiltier. Share simply out of a desire to encourage other women, and perhaps to lessen a bit of your burden today. You already know what’s on your list. You can simply choose to etch it out with your fingers.

What don’t you do?

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Comments

  1. I don’t clean the floor until it’s been noticeably “crunchy” for at least a day.
    I don’t show up to mid-day school events
    I don’t exercise (that God for my metabolism!)

    You’ll see my latest blog post was “Want to Write a Book? Don’t Do Laundry” I love admitting my “don’ts”
    Calee´s latest post: Want to Write a Book? Don’t Do Laundry

  2. I don’t wash my kitchen floor. All the time and energy I have for cleaning is used up in dishwashing and laundry. I hope this is just a season of my life and I will be able to do better when my kids are older, but for now, “clean enough” is gong to be my motto.
    Jodi´s latest post: Becoming a Beginner again

    • I don’t either. I think I’m doing ok if the dishwasher and washing machine are working their business, theres food to eat, and if the toys on the living room floor aren’t fighting for space with dirty dishes/clothes/discarded apple cores.

      • Amen to that! I feel super spectacular when I run the vacuum cleaner around the kitchen floor. But we all know that in the kitchen it just isn’t really that effective. But I tell myself, “I cleaned the kitchen floor!” But I can’t remember the last time it was mopped.

        • I don’t do the kitchen floor either! I’m working on my husband to take ownership, since I do laundry and dishes :)

  3. I don’t bath my kids every day. Our modern obsession with soap is bad for littlies skin (or so I believe) and I limit full washing to about 4 times a week. Often a quick rinse with a bit of aqueous cream is all they need and can I tell you, their eczema is much improved for it.

    • my eldest is autistic and has a real phobia of baths. we limit baths to once a week with face and privates washing a few times in between. both my kids have perfect skin and we always get compliments on their soft hair. My eldest only has his hair washed about twice a month, or when he has tipped sand/dirt all over his head, whichever is sooner.

      • I don’t wash my kids’ hair until it is crunchy :)
        I don’t think my son’s hair has been washed since we came back from camping in August! My daughter’s gets washed more often (maybe twice since then) since it is longer and shows more! Even then, the wash is with baking soda, no shampoo round here!

    • Umm. I don’t bathe myself everyday (unless I’ve done something like running or gotten really dirty somehow), and I never wash my hair more than three – four times a week. :) It really can be helpful to NOT do that. Washing your hair every day takes all the natural oil out, so your hair replenshises oil every day, so people get oily hair. If you get your hair into an “every other” routine, it doesn’t make as much oil. I can probably go 4 days before it even starts to look oily at all. And in a dry climate, it’s nice to not strip all the moisture out of my skin every day. …. so… maybe I’ll be a ‘not as good mom’ in the eyes of some, but I think I’ll follow your example when I have my child. :)
      Beth´s latest post: 30 Thankful Days – Day 3

  4. Wow…this is awesome! So freeing!
    - I dont bathe my kids everyday for the same reasons above.
    - I dont worry about what the neighbors think.
    - I dont put laundry away soon enough.
    - I dont homeschool.
    - I am never caught up on my scrapbooking.
    - I dont grow my own food or buy organic.
    - I dont go to PTO meetings.

    What I do (or dont do) does nit define wgo

    What I a

  5. I don’t dust (almost ever).
    On most days, I don’t pick up my kids’ toys or clothes because they’ll be on the floor again by the end of tomorrow’s breakfast. (I sure hope this will change some time soon!)
    I don’t iron. Ever.
    I let the dog clean up the floor under and around the dining table.
    I don’t always wash my hands when I should.
    I don’t make my children wash their hands nearly as often as they should.
    I never get up before my kids.

    There’s lots more I don’t do, but that’s quite a list already!
    Stephanie´s latest post: repurpose, reuse

    • that’s one of the main reasons to have a dog :)
      and my two year old gets me up every day by pulling open my eyes. I’m thinking about getting a sleeping mask to try and thwart her.

      • I hate the dog hair my dog creates but the other day he was at the vet all day and when my 14 mo. old was done eating I had to get the dustpan and broom out because the dog wasn’t there!! My 3yr. old said, “What are you doing?” That should be a clue as to how often my dust pan and broom come out!

        • Rachel, that made me laugh! My kids would probably ask the same question. But I think I probably would have left the mess for the dog to pick up when he got home. Is that gross? I guess there are just parts of the house that *need* to be clean (kitchen counter where food is prepared), and other parts where I just think, “oh well, I have more important things to do.”
          Stephanie´s latest post: repurpose, reuse

      • I use a sleep mask sometimes, especially when I have a migraine. I’ll tell you though, the kids loooooove to take it off my eyes, put it back on, take it off, put it on, etc. It’s adorable, but I have my doubts as to whether it’ll let you get any more sleep! Good luck, nevertheless!
        Stephanie´s latest post: repurpose, reuse

  6. I don’t keep my home super clean.
    I don’t bake my own bread or pizza.
    I don’t exercise regularly.
    I don’t try to “keep up” with my friends.
    I don’t smile enough.
    I often don’t have enough patience.

  7. I don’t reach out to family as often as I want to, or should. I hate the phone. But I need to pick it up more and call the people I love.
    Michele´s latest post: 31 Days of Library Living {Day 31}: Do Not Fear Drawing

  8. I don’t meal plan and I love not meal planning! ;)

    Thanks for the nod to the series on Simple Homeschool – we’ve had fun over there!

    Jamie
    steadymom´s latest post: what just happened here?

    • avatar
      Katie Fox says:

      I would love to hear what you DO do instead, or how you do it. :) I am so not a planner but I meal plan because if I don’t, I don’t know what else to do.

  9. avatar
    World_Runner says:

    Wow. The first thing that popped into my mind was, “I don’t read or subscribe to hardly any blogs.”

    You wrote “In large part because of the Internet, women are slowly chipping away at the lie that we need to be perfect. We more or less believe we don’t have to work full-time and have a spotless house and have children that never argue and don a cookie-filled plate in a moment’s notice.”

    I have to respectfully disagree. I have found that the more “mom” blogs I read the worse I feel about the job I am doing (I am not vegan, I do not make all of my kids’ snacks homemade, I do not soak my grains or my nuts, I do not scrapbook, I do not meal plan). For me, I limit my blog reading only to those blogs that encourage and uplift me without making me feel like I need to be doing more or better.

    • I agree!

      • I think it goes both ways….I wrote about “Being like HER” in a post. We do judge ourselves by what others “appear” to have/do/promote.
        All in all, you have to choose which blogs to follow :)
        I have a friend who wants to start a blog purely about “how to fail as a homeschooling mom.” It would be hilarious…as she is!
        Selena´s latest post: {October = Pumpkin} Better Than Pie!

    • Oh, I do agree with you there in some ways, and that’s one of the reasons I don’t read many blogs anymore (the main reason is time). What I mean, however, is that I’ve noticed a trend of people writing about how they don’t have their act together, or encouraging women they don’t need to be perfect, etc. I feel like I’ve read a lot of posts on that lately…

    • I agree with World_Runner! I think blogs makes it worse as everybody seems to have it all together.

      Perfect houses, etc.

      I have a confession – I featured someone’s closet on my organising blog recently and while one or two people said it was lovely, some commented that it seemed like a celebrity’s closet and some emailed me and said it’s not “real organising”. True… I must say the girl whose blog it is does seem to have it all together and they’re not used to the “perfection” on my blog LOL

      Things I don’t do?

      I don’t make my bed
      I don’t peel vegetables – I buy them all cut and sliced
      I also don’t cut meats – my hubby does or I buy sliced :)
      many more…
      Marcia (123 blog)´s latest post: Seven on Sunday, and a little snag

    • As a mom-to-be, it can be overwhelming to read all the blogs from amazing moms. Especially because so many bloggie moms seem to be able to stay at home and raise their kids, and I’m not going to have that opportunity financially. Sometimes I have to click away from a blog because I know I can’t do things the way stay at home moms do, and I start to feel inferior. But often I can find something of worth, a little nugget of truth, to store away. And my favorite blogs are always the ones where people tell what they’re learning, not how they’re perfect. And there do seem to be lots of women out there leaning in the direction of showing the journey, which is nice.
      Beth´s latest post: 30 Thankful Days – Day 3

  10. - I hardly clean anymore. I put my energy into staying on top of the laundry, mail, paying bills and clearing clutter.
    – I haven’t made any photo albums since my kids are born.
    - I do the least amount of errands possible – it’s amazing how much you can get away with!
    - I still feed my toddler mostly mushy baby food.
    - I still let her drink out of a bottle.
    - I have a babysitter once a week for 3 hours – I always feel I should be shopping around Target and the big box stores for things we supposedly “need”, instead I go for a walk and get a cup of coffee (uninterrupted, aahhh).
    - I bribe my son with a donut everytime I go food shopping (I know that’s not a don’t but I always feel guilty about it).
    - I don’t socialize enough with my old friends, I tend to stick lately to my local “mom” friends.
    - I don’t cook homemade dinners like I used to, I tend to be outside with the kids in the afternoon and some days I’m not as organized in the morning.

    When I just had my son I tried to do everything perfectly and follow what I though I should be doing and I realized most of all I was sacrificing having patience with my son. After my daughter was born I knew I needed to let go and I’ve been a happier, calmer, more patient mother ever since (most days that is, hey we’re not perfect, right?).

    Thanks for this exercise, Tsh. I really enjoy your blog!

    • I love the babysitter idea. I have a serious coffee habit when my toddler takes naps when we are out, I can’t resist taking in some of that quiet time. I’m all ready to get myself a babysitter when my hubby deploys to afghan next year. mamma needs some ME time, and there is nothing wrong in that at all!

    • Beth, you’re my hero. Why? Because you take a walk and have coffee when you have a babysitter instead of doing the next “important” thing on your list. I love that! Someday, maybe I’ll be brave enough to do the same! So stop feeling like you should be doing something else, ok? And take your walk and come back smiling!

      Let’s see…
      I don’t make a to-do list. I’m not saying this is good, it’s just reality. If I made a list, I’d lose it, anyway, so why bother?
      I don’t plan meals — I figure that’s one thing that’s working relatively well, so my ‘planning’ time is better used other ways.
      I don’t clean…much.
      I don’t bother matching socks until somebody complains they have no socks in their drawers…and then we have a “sock party.”
      I could keep going…almost forever…but you’d all get bored.

      Blessings to you all!

      • Esther,
        When I had a houseful of kids (all grown now) we kept a sock basket. I did not sort or match socks, they all went into the basket. Eventually my girls thought it was fashionable to wear mismatched socks (they are now sold that way!). I was never more happy to see sandal and flip flop weather get here each year!
        Bernice
        Living the Balanced Life´s latest post: 85 nuggets of wisdom from Relevant

      • Esther – thank you for the encouragement. . .I know it’s hard, we have a never ending mental list of everything we should do. One thing I find is I start my walk with my head in a jumble and by the end my mind is clear and I have much more perspective about what I really should be doing and what I can let go. I find a morning of errands leaves me drained and cranky with my kids who always are extra clingy when I get home!

    • From one Beth to another, I am going to try to make sure that I do your “babysitter” activity in the future. Our first child is due in March, and I know I’m going to want to do all the “to do things,” especially when it is time to go back to work. Instead, I’m going to try to follow your lead and do something just for me – and a coffee and walk sounds lovely.

      Thanks. :)
      Beth´s latest post: 30 Thankful Days – Day 3

      • Good luck with your baby and definitely don’t feel guilty about taking time for yourself. I’m so much better off even when I have only 30 minutes of uninterrupted time to myself. My husband leaves at 6am and gets home at 8pm so that 3 hours I give to myself every week makes mama happy and when mama’s happy, so is everybody else!
        Good luck, feel good.

  11. I don’t always get all the dishes done after dinner, sometimes they sit in the sink until the next day.
    I don’t wash my jeans every week because I like the way they fit after I wear them.
    I don’t go to PTO meetings.
    I don’t make plans with friends before noon.
    I don’t check my kids homework anymore.
    I don’t always finish a book.
    I don’t send birthday cards because sometimes a personal phone call is better than a card.

  12. The list is too long…
    I don’t cloth diaper
    I don’t mop the floor (but once a quarter or so)
    I don’t (intentionally) exercise
    I don’t use the phone much
    I don’t meal plan

    The list could go on forever. Every day, though, I ask for grace to read Scripture, pray, love my husband and kids well, and hopefully blog about life lived full in Christ…and that ‘to do’ list is long enough! Love this post and agree with world_runner above-I have to limit blog reading so that I don’t compare too much.

  13. I don’t do paperwork well. If it involves paper (that includes Christmas Cards) it’s late or it doesn’t happen.

    I don’t make my bed most days.
    I don’t keep my car as clean as I should. It’s a mess all the time. Toys and my daughter’s school papers and Heaven knows what else.

  14. avatar
    Katherine says:

    - I only vacuum when I notice the baby has more than usual fuzz on him after crawling around.
    - I bribe my toddler with a Cars video so I can cut his fingernails without him flailing too much.
    - I use baking mixes a lot, and only rarely make a cake or brownies from scratch.
    - I take advantage of free dinners so I don’t have to cook. Our church campus ministry hosts a dinner once a week that we go to. It’s mostly college kids, but we bring our babies anyways.

  15. I hardly comment on blogs anymore (but look, I am now!)

    I don’t sew.

    I don’t clean the bottom of my oven until it’s a major fire hazard.

    I haven’t sent a gift yet to my 2 month old new nephew (such a bad auntie).

    Whew. That feels better!
    Aimee @ Simple Bites´s latest post: A Healthier Autumn Cookie (Recipe: Pumpkin Spice Snaps)

    • Comment on blogs? I’m impressed that you still have time to read them. ;)

    • Aimee,
      I have had my new oven for 3 years now. My husband was complaining about something burning and stinking on the bottom of the oven. And then he said, “You know this is a self-cleaning oven, right? All you have to do is seal the door and push the button!” That makes cleaning the oven so much easier! Now I just have to remember to run the cycle once or twice a year, but only when something starts stinking again!
      Bernice
      Living the Balanced Life´s latest post: 85 nuggets of wisdom from Relevant

    • Aimee,
      I have had my new oven for 3 years now. My husband was complaining about something burning and stinking on the bottom of the oven. And then he said, “You know this is a self-cleaning oven, right? All you have to do is seal the door and push the button!” Lol! That makes cleaning the oven so much easier! Now I just have to remember to run the cycle once or twice a year, usually when something starts stinking again!
      Bernice
      Living the Balanced Life´s latest post: 85 nuggets of wisdom from Relevant

  16. I love this!!!

    Thank you for showing yourself to be real.

    I don’t…
    bathe my children every day
    eat organically
    garden…at all
    dust nearly enough

    I am learning to embrace my own imperfection every day.
    Monica´s latest post: Counting on Halloween

  17. I don’t sew.
    I don’t put away the laundry in a very timely manner.
    I don’t read to my kids every night before bed.
    I don’t clean the stove top regularly.
    I don’t exercise (do need to change this one!)
    I don’t have a quiet time with God every morning.
    (I DO work full time outside the home, & it’s a daily struggle!)

  18. I don’t clean as often as I should.
    I don’t exercise as much as I’d like.
    I don’t grow my own food.
    I don’t like to talk on the phone.
    I haven’t done anything with my pictures…they sit in bins.
    I haven’t finished painting my living room which I started almost a year ago…what?
    I procrastinate and wait til the last minute far more often than I’d like.
    I don’t always pursue things on my heart because of fear.
    {deep breath…grace}
    Maureen´s latest post: 31 Days {Day 31} Take A Risk

  19. This is such a freeing post.

    I don’t:
    - brush my 15 month-old’s teeth because I forget and only realize after I’ve put him to bed.
    - I don’t spend enough time playing with my 15 month old because I’ve been so sick with this next pregnancy that all I do is lay on the sofa and watch him play.
    - I don’t vacuum unless there is a friend/guest coming to visit.
    - I don’t have quiet times in the morning since I got so sick with this current pregnancy. But once I’m feeling better – I will start again.
    - I don’t buy birthday presents anymore for friends and instead just call them on their birthday. The same goes for family except for our parents.
    - I don’t use diaper rash cream as often as I should because it stinks and is messy.
    Laura Gail´s latest post: 10 item wardrobe

    • Laura, I have been there with the 15 month-old and super morning sickness (and in fact am there again!)! You are doing exactly what you ought to be doing – growing a baby and investing time in your toddler. I know the frustration of not doing what used to be your “minimum”, but what a blessing to lay at your child’s eye level and be with him without distractions all day long. Nothing means more to him. Hang in there – it will pass!

  20. This is wonderfully freeing to read what everyone “doesn’t do”. There is plenty I don’t do:

    -I do not iron.
    -I do not bathe my girl every day.
    -I do not run around town made up and perfect. (Stacey & Clinton too bad)
    -I do not wash my floors – they are clean because my 80 year old mother likes
    to do this for me and I don’t feel guilty letting her
    -I do not feel guilty saying “no” to anyone
    -I do not praise my family enough
    -I do not remember to have the oil changed in the van often enough
    -I do not clean the inside of the fridge or oven
    -I do not find enough activities to keep my girlie busy each day
    Tina´s latest post: Friday flashbook to "single hood"

  21. -I don’t iron except for weddings and funerals.
    -I don’t dust until my DH starts making comments (about twice a year)
    -I wait until my kitchen floor is beyond dirty before mopping it
    -I bathe my kids when their hair is gross or they stink–about 3 times a week (in my defense, my girls have long thick hair so bathing can’t happen too close to bed time or their hair won’t be dry. They go to school all day so it makes it tricky trying to fit a bath in before dinner)
    -I don’t knit. I have tried, I’ve been taught, I get a few rows in and throw it down because it just takes too darn long! Crocheting is easier and faster.
    -I have a brown thumb. I can grow a few things, but my plants always look sickly and get diseased. Yet I plant a garden every year thinking this will be the year I figure it out. It’s been 8 years and that hasn’t happened yet.

    • How freeing this is reading all these posts! Somehow as moms we think we need to do it all. And today I have been listening to CD course with this particular chapter on gardening……..UGGG. I spend SO much money on groceries and I am so tired of feeling guilty about it……..
      I have felt guilty for so long about not having a garden. I found myself zeroing in on the postings that said they do not garden….but Lisa, yours is my favorite! haha! That is so me! I try every year and every year I feel like a failure!
      Thanks for sharing!

    • I love the “except weddings and funerals” part!

    • I am so relieved to know I am not the only one who year after year plants a garden only to wonder why it’s not producing/growing/ or whatever. I did have success with radishes and spinach this year. Although it was too much of a success that we couldn’t eat it all. We tried giving it away but a lot of neighbors were hesitant to take it. Guess they saw my flowers and wondered what I did to the food!

  22. I so needed this post today!!

    - I don’t do home decorating. My house is uncluttered and clean, but I don’t spend my time trying to pretty it up with HomeGoods excursions or “easy” DIY projects. I love what other people do, but I just simply lack the decorating gene and would drive myself insane trying play with the big dogs.

    - I don’t pack homemade lunches most days. I don’t love what’s being served at school, but with two working parents this is one chore I was willing to “outsource” knowing the kids get healthy breakfasts and dinners at home.

  23. ~I don’t put up the dishes from the dishwasher until we’ve used almost all of them, as my sink piles up with dirty ones.

    ~I yell instead of getting up off my butt and going upstairs to see what the heck my kids are doing.

    ~I expect things out of my husband but never tell him what those things are and get mad when he doesn’t do them.

    ~I started reading my bible in 90 days plan and didn’t finish.

    ~I always do for others when I should sometimes focus on myself, but that makes me feel selfish.

    ~I don’t ask for help or things because I fear I will get into trouble.

    ~I homeschool my kids because our schools are terrible, but I secretly wish they were going to school.

    ~I have an addiction to my TV, if I am awake it has to be on even if I’m not watching it, as if 3 kids isn’t enough background noise.

    ~I don’t cook very often, we don’t eat organic Ever.

    ~I am a very organized person in my head, that lives in chaos mess because we don’t have enough space.

    ~I say I forget things when sometimes I haven’t because I want my husband to have to take some of the responsibilities too! (ie snack for the soccer game that he signed us up for)

    And I will stop there….Thanks for this space to VENT~
    Tifaine Hash (@ThroughMyLense_)´s latest post: Speechless Monday

  24. LOVE this post! I am the mom of Dineanddish and I relish this conversation! I was told one time that “dust is a protective covering for furniture” and I follow that belief. I no longer feel guilty for putting people ahead of stuff. I do not iron, although in the past have spent many hours doing that. I try not to “gag” when listening to people tell about how often they clean. I sometimes buy “store bought” baked goods. I do not know how to crochet or knit, consequently my friends are not obligated to accept my hand-crafted stuff. I love reading blogs, and give myself permission to do so whenever I feel like it. I have no small children at home so I am free to be me and sleep until I wake up. I have paid my dues to be able to live my life like I am living it now!

    • Good for you Pat! You sound like you live the life of my Un-retired mother of 62. She is a business owner but doesn’t need to be at work for her work to get done. So she sleeps until she wants, travels when the mood hits here, (that includes visiting us kids and grandkids), goes out dancing and almost NEVER cleans her house unless she just gets tired of the mess.
      I love you guy’s lives and hope to be like you some day! lol

  25. avatar
    libby hunt says:

    Our neighbors mow our lawn for us. It’s so embarrassing. We are even usually home! I hide every time…

  26. I don’t exercise (unless you count walking to the grocery store)
    I am so, so messy. Have to get the husband to invite guests over regularly so that our apartment doesn’t end up looking like an episode of hoarders.
    I procrastinate (guess what I’m doing now?!)
    I constantly feel guilty for not giving my son enough of my undivided attention.
    I’m overly critical.
    I’m easily distracted.
    I haven’t read a single book so far this year (this is a huge crime considering how much I love to read!)
    I want to do so many things that I never get around to.
    I simply cannot bake, as much as I may try.
    Satakieli´s latest post: Weekend Reading

  27. Oh, so many I don’ts…

    I don’t wash my kids bedding ‘regularly’
    I don’t do windows regularly
    My kids don’t shower daily (until they are old enough to need to, but then it’s not my responsibility, it’s theirs…)
    I don’t clean my oven….I’ve been married 19 years, and have done it once (3 different ovens…one was in a rental, where they told me I’d lose $10 of my security refund if I didn’t clean it before we moved…I told them to keep the $10, it was worth it to me.)
    I don’t coupon

    Oh, I could go on and on…

    And I agree…I also am feeling more ‘normal’ all the time because of women getting more ‘real’ in their blogging…and I truly appreciate it every time I read such a post!
    Jessi´s latest post: a list-lovers dream…

  28. I don’t keep my house clean. My house is often filled with remnants of various cooking or art projects. And dirty socks show up in the strangest places. I try to keep the kitchen clean, but it often gets away from me.
    I don’t weed (very much) and I refuse to spray my lawn and garden with nasty chemicals.
    I often let my lawn go waaay too long between mowings.
    I don’t make my kids eat what I eat. I let them have their own food eccentricities. This drives me nuts sometimes because I wish they would be more adventurous, but they are in their own way, I guess.
    I don’t share my recipe failures and sometimes I will shoot a dish three times before I will post it, but I do blog about my imperfections and insecurities. I wonder why I let it bother me so much that another blogger has cuter cookies than mine.
    I am not as strict with my son as I should be.
    But I do get my kids to all their activities, I give them a loving home, and I would do anything for them (and they sometimes take advantage of that!). I do exercise. I do cook. I try to live as green as I can because I love nature and I want my kids to inherit a healthy, vibrant world.
    Ann from Sumptuous Spoonfuls´s latest post: Red Robin Seasoning (Copycat recipe)

  29. This is such a great topic! With my inlaws coming for Thanksgiving I have to keep reminding myself that I don’t have to clean the house to the same level of perfection they do. Im going to leave the corners not vacuumed and cobwebs in the light fixtures because I do have better things to do with my time!
    Some other things Im NOT doing?
    Im not the homeschool mom who is running her kids all over town all day to all kinds of fabulous learning experiences – I really enjoy being at home and they find ways to entertain themselves.
    I don’t clean the master bathroom often – I wait until it drives me nuts and then I clean it.
    I tell the kids to let me read blogs in the morning and to wait for breakfast – :-)

  30. My kids (middle schoolers) often leave the house without having brushed their teeth or made their bed. There are only so many battles you can choose. They are on time and well rested and fed, though.

    I don’t exercise as much as I should.

    I spend too much idle time on the internet (like now, I guess)
    Ellie´s latest post: I Love Ravelry!

  31. I stopped working out when I married my husband.
    I bathe my kids once a week unless they happen to get really and truly dirty in between there from sports or playing outside. (I totally judge everyone who bathes their kids once a day, as I’m fairly certain my parents did 1/week, as were my husband’s until about 8 years old.)
    I can be judgmental.
    My house is cluttered now that I’m writing a book, and my Type-A self often melts down about it. Work has taken over these days and something had to give…except it’s only the clutter that gave, not my expectations for managing it.
    I write a menu plan on my blog every week. I rarely stick to it, but it gives me a shopping list and ensures I have good food in the house to create with, which is usually more than half the battle.
    Shaina´s latest post: Trick or Treats: Post-Halloween Menu and a Zojirushi Treat!

  32. I don’t change the sheets every week…I don’t even change them every 2 weeks.
    I don’t dust until I see a thick layer of it on my furniture, and even then, I only dust when company is coming.
    I don’t vacuum or mop more than once a month.
    I don’t finish a book before starting another one…unless it’s a novel. Then I don’t do anything until I finish it.
    I don’t put the laundry away the same day I wash, dry and fold it.
    I don’t iron unless I’m going somewhere fancy, which isn’t very often.
    I don’t bathe my children or myself everyday.
    I don’t stick to my budget as well as I should.
    I don’t feel shame about the above don’ts. :)

  33. Oh great post!

    I don’t do anything until the last minute. It leaves me very stressed, but I do usually get “it” done.

    I don’t sew. I would love to, but i don’t have time – so I take comfort in the fact that, I don’t sew.

    I don’t take dishes out of the family room with me when I leave, that leaves a lot of coffee mugs, plates on the coffee table during the day that I have to clean up…last minute!

    I don’t read really long blog posts. I can’t commit to the time. Short, sweet, pack a punch.

    I don’t take my laundry out of the dryer fast enough. Always have to refluff!
    Nikki @ Christian Mommy Blogger´s latest post: Comment on Cloth Diapering: The How (Part 1) by Nikki

  34. avatar
    Brooke wagen says:

    I don’t knit, crochet, or do any hand crafts.
    I don’t blog.
    I don’t journal.
    I don’t garden well.
    I don’t plan well for gifts or shop well.
    I don’t look up recipes or cook new things. My husband helps there…. He explores food ideas and I try them after the first go.
    I don’t have a bedtime routine with my 3 kids. They just go to bed.

  35. I love this post I have a lot of things I don’t do an wish I did but I don’t put laundry away all the time it seems to sit on the washer and dryer for a day or 2 some times more I always feel guilty but my husband always sweet about it and says “we have clean clothing right” so then I don’t feel so bad. Thanks for this post I really needed to know I am not alone

  36. I don’t…
    …have my kids in any extracurricular activities because in the evenings, I want to be winding down, not heading to the soccer fields.
    …care that my kid is eating off the floor. Again.
    …homeschool my kids.
    …respond to emails or phone calls in a timely manner because I just plain forget.
    …follow my grocery budget.
    …finish the produce I buy. I know…starving kids in Africa and all that.
    …always enjoy being a stay-at-home mom.
    …always use a gentle voice with my kids, especially when I’m tired.
    …let myself feel guilt over the things I don’t do. If something is becoming a problem, I find something else to let go for a time so I can focus on it. My goal is always good enough.

  37. I’m so often reminded of my imperfection because of what I do incorrectly- I’m not always patient with my kids, and I take my husband for granted.
    Audrey @ Mom Drop Box´s latest post: Minimalism- For Families?

  38. I don’t wash our windows. Or window sills. Or baseboards.
    I don’t drink as much water as I think I should.
    I don’t control my coffee intake as much as I think I should.
    I don’t read as many ‘edifying’ books as I think I should, and I do read more novels than I think I should because I, like Cheyenne above, don’t do anything else once I’ve started a good novel.
    I don’t buy used as much as I think I should. Sometimes I just buy new to save the time of searching.
    I don’t always give my Type-A self as much slack as I want to.
    And so forth…
    Hillary´s latest post: Our House is not Childproof

  39. Love this post and all the sharing going on. I’ll just start my comment by saying it’s 10:30 a.m., I’m still in my jammies and I just opened the bag of Halloween candy (not one of my better moments). So what don’t I do?

    I don’t always say “no” to requests and end up with too much on my plate
    I don’t say no to my sweet tooth enough (evidenced by the 3 wrappers on the counter right now:)
    I don’t always have a to-do list when I know I need one
    I don’t take my books through to completion before I start writing another one

  40. I don’t balance our checkbook. 
    I don’t shower everyday. 
    I don’t like gardening. 
    I don’t write on my blog everyday {well, except for the 31 Days posts}
    I don’t wax floors or facial hair. 
    I don’t own riding boots. 
    I don’t expect perfection from anyone or myself anymore {except my surgeon, like Emily said at Relevant!}
    Caroline´s latest post: 31 Days of Our Lives :: Day 30 ~ My Parents

  41. I don’t cook (much), I don’t sew. I don’t discipline very consistently. I don’t clean much at all – only the once-a-week (if that!) rush to hide everything when someone’s coming over. I don’t play with my kids as much as I should, and I don’t exercise unless there is literally nothing else in the entire world to do. And I don’t remember, don’t organize, don’t set anything up for the next day, which means lots of forgotten school lunches, missed appointments, and mad-dash runs all over the city to fix what I messed up before 8am. Not sure I feel much freer…
    karen´s latest post: 31 days of LIVING in transition :: resources {day 30}

  42. I don’t do anything until I’ve had my WHOLE (extra-large) cup of coffee.
    I don’t make coffee at home anymore, because getting through that Dunkin’ Donuts drivethru line is my reward for getting kids to school on time (but I am in my pj’s still).
    I still haven’t swapped out my summer clothes for the winter, so I’m digging in totes quite often (maybe I’ll do that today… maybe not!)
    I am not a perfect time manager, even though I’m now home full time (I thought that would make me a much better – read: perfect – housekeeper)
    I don’t always have the patience I wish I had.
    I don’t sing.
    I don’t enjoy the dog. (He just sheds and barks.)
    I don’t always feel comfortable entertaining, but I am working on doing it anyway.
    I have a pile of trousers I never have worn because I never have hemmed them.
    (This list is so freeing! You girls are a blessing!)
    Shannon Wheeler´s latest post: How to Cling to Fleeting Seasons

  43. I don’t bathe my daughter every day, even in the summer. Sponge baths work…
    I don’t take a shower every day..Sponge baths work…( Last summer when we had no hot water for a week I hardly noticed)
    I don’t home school
    We don’t have a dishwasher so sometimes I don’t wash any dishes until evening.
    I don’t keep the TV off, but I don’t watch adult TV in front of my daughter.
    I don’t read Tolstoy or Jane Austen anymore…
    I don’t use my free time (daughter’s naptime) in a very constructive manner.
    I don’t think I do a great job sometimes because I don’t have much energy…
    I don’t brush her teeth twice a day because I keep forgetting to brush them in the morning…but I forget to brush mine, too.
    I don’t have an iPhone or an iPad
    I don’t exercise–I keep forgetting.

    How about the next blog being about what we DO do? Just to kind of provide a more uplifting experience? It would be nice to compare.

  44. avatar
    Kristy in Canada says:

    Oh, the things I could confess! I think the one thing that I will confess is that, despite the image a lot of my student friends have in their minds when they think of me (mature, confident, on top of it all) the truth is, I’m not any of those things. The truth is, I’m pretty much scared of failing all the time. The truth is, I’m not working so hard in school just for the sake of good grades; I’m working so hard because my mother was always telling me I was lazy when I was a child and something inside me is driving me to prove her wrong. The truth is, a lot of people were fond of telling me when I was young that I had “all kinds of potential” but none of them would help me figure out how to realize that potential. I felt like a huge disappointment to everyone around me because I couldn’t pull it all together by myself and went into a years-long downward spiral until I finally gained the confidence and found the support to pursue the things that were important to me. I love learning, and the direction my life has taken is a wonderful thing that I treasure every day, but I struggle every day with my imperfection.

  45. i don’t know how to sew. i don’t know how to knit. i’m horrible at ironing.

  46. This is terrific and exactly what I need right now. Reading the other posts makes me (1) realize that I’m not alone in the things I don’t do and (2) realize that there are some things that I actually do and I should feel good about those!

    Now for mine:

    I don’t bathe my daughter daily (3x/week).

    I don’t ever enforce brushing her teeth. We’re working on potty training – between that and how long getting out the door and into bed take, I can’t add something else to my plate.

    I don’t stay home with my daughter. She goes to daycare 5 days/week.

    I don’t have any energy left at the end of the day for my husband. He sees me at my worst most of the time (before work when I’m still waking up and rushing to get our daughter and I out the door and at the end of the day when I’m rushing to get dinner on the table).

    I don’t garden, sew, knit or grind my own flour. I’m even starting to cook from scratch less so that I’m not so stressed and exhausted all of the time.

  47. One more thing–
    I don’t have a long dragged-out sleep routine. My daughter won’t go to sleep before 9:00 so I don’t try anymore to get her to go to sleep earlier. I wait until 8:30 and then start to get her ready for bed. Is that a bad thing?

  48. Love this!
    I don’t let my kid see me sneaking a cookie when I don’t want him to have one.
    I don’t fold the clothes right away, sometimes they get left in a huge heaping mess of wrinkles and I am OK with that!
    I don’t go to sleep when I should
    And I don’t sew, anything! Not even buttons..
    Kortni´s latest post: I wish

  49. I am definitely loving this today. My church is going through a series in Galatians, about freedom and grace, and I’m beginning to understand the heavy burden of legalism in the realm of SAHMs and being a woman. Thank you for sharing this today. I wrote a blog just now about it!
    Marybeth´s latest post: Perfectly Imperfect

  50. I love it! I was talking to a mom at baseball practice yesterday while trying to make a grocery list and update my calendar. She said something about how she’d bet my house was perfect, too. I just laughed. If only she knew the truth….

    I don’t exercise. Even though I desperately need to.
    I don’t dust. Until it’s so thick you swipe something and dust still remains. And then, I’ll only dust the one thing I just swiped.
    I don’t vacuum or clean floors on a regular enough basis.
    I don’t put dishes in the dishwasher right away – they stay in the sink all day.
    I don’t make my bed.

    And that’s just a few things…
    Rachel Salazar´s latest post: Fair Weather Fans

  51. avatar
    Laura Kinman says:

    I don’t cook dinner 4 nights a week.
    I don’t spend as much time with my kids as my husband does (I work different hours)
    I don’t put away my kids clothes except if company is coming over, then maybe.
    I don’t teach them as much as should/could and sometimes I give them abbreviated answers to questions.
    I don’t make my kids eat everything on their plate. It is a battle I choose not to fight.
    I don’t budget the way I ought to.

    feel free to judge me – I do it myself quite often. ;)

  52. I actually saw your original post on what you don’t do recently. I credited you with my inspiration and posted my list on my blog. The response was pretty cool and unexpected. Since then many of my blog readers have posted their own Don’t Do lists. As a group of fellow blog friends it was freeing and encouraging to share our little quirks. :)

    Like I said in my blog, what we DON’T do defines us as much as what we DO do. :)
    Michelle´s latest post: A Very Happy Birthday

  53. I don’t garden.
    I don’t sing.
    I don’t homeschool {anymore}.
    I don’t pair socks (we have a family sock basket and, well, something had to give with housework and laundry, and it turned out it was socks).
    I’m not room mom or soccer mom or president of the PTA.

    I also don’t say hi to Tsh and tell her how much her messages blessed me this weekend at Relevant when I see her at three different airports and sit right near her on two different flights because I’m sorta intimidated by her awesomeness and figure she may just want to be left alone. ;) You gave me lots to think about this weekend, and your words impacted me in a major way. Thanks for that.
    Cara @ WhimsySmitten´s latest post: Becoming Relevant

  54. So….I don’t clean the car, the showe or the fridge Nearly as much as they need it. I hate all of those jobs! :)

  55. I don’t wash my floors unless they are horrible, and even then, I tend to spot treat.
    I don’t change towels or sheets very often.
    I don’t clean my oven.

    I love this conversation! Thank you!

  56. This post could not have come at a better time!

    -I don’t scrapbook, even tough I love owning all the pretty paper.
    -I don’t walk my dog every day.
    -I don’t always put my clothes away.
    -I don’t clean the lint trap in the dryer often enough.
    -I don’t wear dress pants to work every day. Any day I think I can get away with wearing black jeans is just a more productive day in my head.

  57. Right now, I don’t sleep. Maybe I gave it up for Lent? Lent comes right before Halloween, right? Between racing thoughts some nights and a screaming baby other nights, I haven’t had a good night of sleep in…weeks? A month? I don’t even remember anymore.

    Fortunately, I _do_ still ask for help. Dr.’s appointment this afternoon to see what’s up with this baby who _was_ my GOOD sleeper.
    Melissa Jones´s latest post: MommyBee Designs

  58. My items aren’t necessarily things I don’t do at all but those I don’t do nearly as often as I think I “should”. They are:

    knit regularly
    read more than a book or two a month, if I’m lucky
    exercise more than twice a week
    do my physical therapy stretches/exercise every day
    read to my 5 y/o often (He’s in school a full day and is really into playing with Legos when at home)

  59. And by the way… I found it incredibly freeing to read through these comments. I don’t think I would ever have felt okay about admitting how often I forget to brush my toddler’s teeth or that my kids (and me) sometimes go several days between baths/showers, but others’ comments let me feel like these things don’t make me a totally inept mother.
    Cara @ WhimsySmitten´s latest post: Becoming Relevant

  60. I love this post!! Here’s my list:

    I leave dishes in the sink overnight.
    The children bathe maybe three times a week.
    I homeschool but keep it simple with a Bible as the main curriculum.
    I don’t sweep the kitchen floor until I actually see the dirt.
    I did my first container garden this year but my hubby and kids took over the project.
    Laundry does not get put away. Everyone pulls what they need from the clean basket.
    I don’t iron so, we are always wrinkled.
    I don’t read out loud to my children everyday.
    I don’t go to the gym for exercise although I pay to be there.
    I don’t dust until I have company and even then only noticeable areas.
    I don’t shower everyday.
    I only do groceries on line that gets delivered. Sometimes it costs more but it’s worth the convenience of not schlepping to the store with 4 kids in tow.
    I don’t always do a nutritious breakfast. Sometimes I will let the kids have left over brownies.
    This is so freeing!!!!
    Sheri´s latest post: The Hard Financial Decisions

  61. I don’t call my family or friends like I should.
    I don’t exercise.
    I don’t dust or wash my floors unless its an emergency:)
    I don’t iron.
    I don’t make my kids wash their hands very often.
    I don’t bathe my kids every day (or even every week sometimes).
    I don’t make my husband’s lunch.
    I do not make my kids pick up their toys.

    These are my imperfections (at least some of them) and I will not make excuses any more. I do not need to be like every one around me (or what I think they are like).

    Wow, I love this exercise!

  62. I don’t:
    Meal plan
    Shop organic on most things
    Floss my teeth
    Wash my windows
    Hem pants
    Thanks Tish!
    Brooke

  63. hmmm…what don’t I do?

    *I don’t rewash/reuse my ziploc baggies like me mom taught me (haha)
    *I don’t dust until I can write my name across the surface
    *I don’t iron or sew – ever
    *I don’t wash windows or clean out the vans more than 1 or 2x a year!
    *I don’t use coupons
    *I don’t follow a meal plan – even when I make one
    *I don’t print pictures like I want to (they sit on my hard drive)
    *the list could go on and on:)

  64. I *love* this post! I truly had been feeling like I was the only person “guilty” of many of the things you are all listing. A complete listing of all of my “don’ts” would probably be book length, as the title of my blog indicates. I’ll try to pick the top five or so …

    - I don’t dust until the bunnies are too big to ignore (say the size of a small actual bunny). I always mean to after the “basic” cleaning is finished, which never happens.
    - I don’t do crafts or craft projects with my kids unless forced. I have decided that I will just have to be the mom who takes them to the library or museum or on interesting field trips, rather than the mom who helps them make things. I am completely useless when it comes to art and/or craft projects. Under this subheading you can, of course, add that I don’t knit, sew, paint, decoupage, etc.
    - My garden is still in the pre-planning stages (going on two years)
    - I don’t have enough patience with my kids, my husband, or myself.
    - I don’t have people over to our house because I am embarrassed at the disarray (even after we clean) and our stained sofa, scattered toys, etc.

    ETA: I want to hear more about the upholstery, though, if you get around to it Tsh. (No pressure!) See above the stained sofa issue. Can’t afford a new one, can’t afford to pay to have it reupholstered, can’t afford to keep having it steam cleaned. Two kids and two cats (and a poor decision to purchase a cream-colored couch and loveseat!) have left their mark.
    Cat´s latest post: Hitting the wall

  65. 1. I don’t wash the sheets once a week, not even once ever two weeks
    2. I do not organize well.
    3. I do not finish projects in a timely manner.
    4. I do not follow up with friends in a timely manner.
    5. I do not do anything in a timely manner.
    6. I do not clean my car.

  66. I don’t live the life I often want to live because I’m trying to do it all perfectly and I am so tired.
    Stacy´s latest post: Homemade Dish Detergent (For Your Dishwasher)

  67. I don’t get encouraged by “I don’t” lists.

    I don’t feel guilty when another mom sweeps her floor, and I don’t.

    I don’t care if another mom doesn’t sweep her floor, and I do.

    I don’t feel encouraged by other peoples imperfections. (Am I to rejoice in the imperfection of others just so I can feel better about myself?)

    I don’t like excuses.

    I don’t like writing a list of my “I don’ts” because it will make me feel very discouraged about all that I don’t do.

    I don’t want to feel alone as a Christian striving for holiness, thinking on what is true, noble, right, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy (Phil. 4:8).

    I don’t want to be discouraged from thinking on those things.
    Heather´s latest post: Bronwynisms

    • Oh, my sister, I think you are missing the point! This is not a list of excuses for sloppy living. This is moms/wives/women being real with each other! Women are prone to comparing and judging ourselves and it can be a very negative influcence on our thinking. When we realize that nobody has it all together, we can be encouraged to keep doing our best. OUR best, not someone else’s best. I understand what you are saying, but there is a difference between talking about something and dwelling on it. Talk about it, receive the grace, and keeping moving forward!

      • I’m surrounded by people “being real” and I’ve not been encouraged by it. I’m surrounded by very few who exhort me to godliness. I feel like that combination sucks me dry and empty.

        I’ve always known that nobody has it all together, I’ve never been one to compare myself to others, so I guess I don’t see the point, or maybe the point isn’t intended for me. ;)

        The only time I have experienced guilt as a housewife is when I know, with certainty, that I’ve failed my husband’s needs and expectations in the household, or when I am convicted I could have done better, and I didn’t. Both those times I know the guilt is justified and more conviction from the Holy Spirit than something I impose on myself and wallow in.

        Occasionally the Lord will convict me of an area I need to work on, and then my husband will point out the same area, and I feel a bit hopeless with myself and have a moment of “why even try??” I had such a moment this morning… and then I read all these responses and felt even less encouraged. But I got away and out of the house with my hubby and children away from the PC, and I was reminded that with God all things are possible. I can put on my big girl panties, dust myself off, and soldier on, but I was reminded that I need to look to the Lord to do that, and not at the failures of others.

        • What we do or don’t do is not a failure. Most of the things I have read others say doesn’t even pertain to me. I have no husband, and my children are grown with their own children. I read the comments and laugh because I have been there and because I have my own insecurities about the things I don’t do, although different from others. Reading everyone’s list makes me realize that I am way too hard on myself for what I deem as in my own life as inadequances. God doesn’t expect perfection from us……He just wants us to give Him all we are. Unfortunately, I didn’t learn that until late in my life. Today I am more comfortable with my don’ts. I don’t have to get it right every day. All I have to do is give God myself and my day and learn and grow from the experiences that I go through each moment. Does that mean I can’t get better at some of my don’ts? No, there would be things on my “don’t list” that I need to work on, but there are also things on the list that I have to give myself permission to be ok with. Take, for instance, I’m not an organizer or a planner. I would love to be, but I have found that when I try I am obsessive about it…..planning every moment of the time with something. I set myself up for what other’s deem as failure by scheduling every moment. It becomes impossible for me to keep, so I get discouraged. I now realize that being organized and planning isn’t in my personality, so I give myself permission to not be those things. Because of that I can live my life serving instead of planning to serve. That’s just my personality. There are things that I don’t do like dieting that God has laid on my heart to do, so I am working on that.

          I don’t believe in failure. I believe that everything we go through in our lives is a moment of learning and growing for us. If we learn and grow from something, how can it have failed. When we come to the end of our days and look back, how many of us will be able to say we lived the life that we planned when we were young and growing as kids? Very few I would think. If everything in our lives happened as we planned them to happen, then there would probably be no learning and growing moments. Today, at the age of 54, I look at everything in my life, good or bad, as a moment to learn and grow. Will I get mad at myself because I didn’t take a bath yesterday or wash my hair? No, because I might have used that time answering that door bell, or that phone call. Then when I look back I realize that the door bell from the kids next door, and that phone call from my grandsons, were much more important to me and to them than washing my hair was.

          This is a great exercise and I have had a great time reading all the responses. I have even learned a whole lot through the reading, and been reminded that God’s love and grace is not about what we do or don’t do. He loves us just because we are!

          • I think you completely missed my point. I don’t think we should glorify in our “don’ts”, I think we should glorify Him in our “dos.”

            When I fail to have my husband’s clothes ready because I spent an hour too long on the internet reading blogs or looking at things on Pinterest, though.. I *have* failed. I have made the wrong choice. I have chosen to love myself above loving others. Yes, I can learn from it and move on, but it doesn’t negate that it was a wrong choice and a failure to do my duty in the ministry God has given me to do. Good things can come from sin, but that doesn’t validate the sin. Just because God used Joseph greatly in Egypt, does not mean his brothers were right in faking his death and causing grief to their father.

            God does not expect perfection? Jesus said in Matthew 5: “You have heard that it was said, ‘you shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. ”

            Leviticus 19:2 “You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy. ”

            Deuteronomy 18:13 “You shall be blameless before the LORD your God.”

            1 Corinthians 7:1 “Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. ”

            Philippians 3 “Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you; however, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained. ”

            God does not expect us to BE perfect. He does not expect us to attain perfection. But He does expect us to aim for it.

            My rule for perfection is “love”. If I love my family, I will prepare their food in a timely manner. I will prepare that food in a clean (healthy!) kitchen. If I love my children, I will care for them properly. If I love my husband, I will make time for his needs. No, that doesn’t necessarily mean the kids get a bath every day or that I have a perfect daily schedule lined up to follow. I go too long without washing my hair because I choose others first (no small issue for me, as I am literally allergic to humans and my own dander will give me severe asthma). But I will stay up late at night to wash my hair so that I can breathe enough to get a good night’s rest, so I can rise early and feed my household.

            If we seek to love God first with all our hearts, souls and minds (and to love Him is to obey His will) then all the “perfection” falls into place and we really don’t need to be so focused on it. These “don’t” lists would require me to spend far too much time looking at myself. Self-imposed guilt and poor self-esteem is selfishness. It all boils down to “I”. “I’m not as good as the prairie muffin next door”, etc…. well, it’s just plain time to get over ourselves. If we are Christ focused we’re not comparing ourselves to others… we’re looking at others asking ourselves “how can I serve them? How can I love them for Jesus?” “I” shouldn’t even be on my radar.
            Heather´s latest post: Nature Studies

          • I guess the bottom line is… I just don’t have time to sit down and focus on all the “don’ts” that I don’t do. I’m sure there are a million things in this world that I don’t do. I guess I don’t get how this exercise will encourage me in all the dos I need to do. I feel like it will rob me of energy. I guess I shouldn’t have even read the post, LOL
            Heather´s latest post: Nature Studies

          • Actually, I understood exactly what you meant. I just don’t agree with everything you said. And that’s ok. We aren’t the same. God made each of us unique….made for His purpose, not for ours.

            Reading this blog didn’t put my focus on me……it actually took it off of me, by reminding me that even though I strive for perfection….it isn’t going to happen this side of Heaven. For me to get down on myself because of what someone else perceives as “failure” is wrong. You believe a person can fail because of the wrong choices they make….I don’t. Not all wrong choices are intentional. Not all wrong choices are perceived at the time to be wrong. Sin is sin, we sin every day of our lives. Some intentional and some not, but it is still sin. But God holds all sin the same. My sin today of not studying before I go to class is the same sin in God’s eyes as the extra piece of pie I ate yesterday. God loves me the same as He loves Ted Bundy, the same as He loves Judas, the same as He loves everyone. His grace is for all, not just for me, or you, or who we, as humans, deem the worst of all sinners. If God’s grace is meant for me, then it is meant for you and everyone else, so therefore I have to extend that same love and grace to everyone God brings me into contact with, including myself!

            Don’t think for a minute that because I don’t believe in failure that I am letting myself off the hook for the choices I make in life. That is not the case, especially if I don’t learn and grow from them. But each sin that I have made or will make has been paid for with the blood of Jesus on the Cross, and if I have confessed those sins, and will confess those sins in the future, then it would be a sin for me to hold myself hostage for my past mistakes. I have been forgiven, so who am I not to forgive myself or others!

            Look at it this way, is not washing your hair daily a sin? And in who’s determination would the answer come from? As someone else said, I think we get too caught up on what we, personally, and sometimes what others tell us, is failure.
            BethMcKamy´s latest post: The Proverbs 31 Woman!

  68. Please don’t hate me for saying this: I’ve loved and read your blog for some time, but I’ve never related to you until today. Your abilities to speak with authority on so many subjects and to pull off working from home in such a streamlined way are out of the range of what I do around here. This really spoke to me. Thank you.
    caroline starr rose´s latest post: Why We Read

  69. I flipping love this post and all of the comments. We don’t have kids yet, so there are plenty of mom-things that I don’t do, though I’m pretty sure I will continue to not do them when the time comes.

    But for now, I don’t do the laundry until we are completely out of something necessary; lately it’s been black socks.

    I don’t cook unless I’m too lazy to go out.

    I don’t mop.

    I don’t volunteer to do anything at church unless I feel like doing it.

    I don’t hang up my clothes; they stay in a pile on my shoe bench until I wear them again or put them all away at once.

    Honestly, I think these lists are less about what we don’t do, and more about what we expect ourselves to do and get after ourselves about when we don’t. For example, shopping organic is something on a lot of people’s lists; I don’t shop organic but that doesn’t bother me in the slightest so it isn’t on my list. There is no objective standard of what we “should” do, only what we perceive and then guilt ourselves for later. If we stop guilting so much, maybe the perceived standards would subside. Thanks for the eye-opener, Tsh!
    Jennie´s latest post: Cozy is the Watchword

  70. I love reading these lists.

    I don’t clean my floors on a regular basis, only if company is coming and it really shows.
    I don’t clean my house regularly either.
    I don’t fold the laundry right away and leave it in clean piles heaped on the couch or in my room in a laundry basket.
    I don’t know how to use bleach. I really ought to learn to do this.
    I don’t iron. Except very rarely if I have to wear something right away and it’s wrinkled– and that happens rarely.
    I forget birthdays of extended family members.
    I didn’t finish my 31 days post series because my parents came to visit from out of town. And then they got sick after leaving, and I went to go visit them in their town. I’m not sure yet if I’ll finish it.
    There’s more. But I’ll stop here.

    It feels good to confess. :)
    Anna @ path of treasure´s latest post: Open {Day 22}

  71. - I don’t have Quiet Time every day.
    - I don’t change sheets as often as necessary (I haven’t changed one son’s sheets in months…MONTHS. His is the top of a triple bunk. I’m too lazy to go up there.)
    - I don’t do homeschooling every day (and then I tell myself that we are unschooling, at least for that day).

    (This is awesome, Tsh.)
    Amy Lynn Andrews´s latest post: How to Access and Use Facebook Insights

  72. and I felt bad because in my two (or three!) most recent posts (from this weekend) I whined and whined about being overwhelmed by my mother/housewife responsabilities…IT’S SO TOTALLY VALID TO BE REAL, BUT THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IS TO ACCEPT OURSELVES AS WE ARE AND NOT CARRY AROUND THAT GUILTY CONSCIENCE brought on by how our mother’s did it all or the images we see everywhere…
    ALEXANDRA´s latest post: REACT…THANKS GOOGLE for your HALLOWEEN DOODLE!!!

  73. - I don’t clean (my husband does…)
    - I don’t like reading bedtime stories (my husband does…)
    - I don’t clean (my husband does…)
    - I don’t return phone calls
    - I don’t always include a side of vegetables when I make dinner
    - I don’t finish projects I start (at least not until it is urgent, i.e. guests are coming, then I work on it and am stressed out and pissed off)
    - I don’t talk nicely to myself (I’m ALWAYS pissed at myself for some shortcoming/failure)
    - I do tell my kids cold pizza is an acceptable breakfast
    Amanda´s latest post: Pumpkin Carving

  74. I wrote a similar post years ago and direct readers back to it often.

    http://fimby.tougas.net/stuff-I-dont-do

    A few points from that list:

    I don’t cook gourmet meals, do a lot of playdates and get togethers, send Christmas cards, quilt, etc….
    It’s interesting because I think the opposite can also be said about reality and perfection on the Internet. Because many of us bloggers blog about the best parts of our lives (who wouldn’t) we give the impression of perfection, knowingly or not.

    Our web presence is slick, especially if we have income generating blog businesses (not there yet) and graphic design skills to boot (um… sadly lacking in my skill set).

    Many of us are photographers and take beautiful photos. And almost all of us have some unique skill or talent we highlight, only natural to do so. Many readers never see the messy kitchen counters, the laundry piles, and in my case, how stressed I am coming home from an afternoon of errands.

    That’s a real tension between perfection and authenticity I see in the blogging community and I’m every bit as much a part of that as anyone else is. It’s something I ponder quite a bit…
    renee @ FIMBY´s latest post: Darkening Days

  75. Tsh, thank you for this post. i too have noticed (at least the blogs that i still follow) opening up about imperfections.

    i don’t:

    - pump (breastmilk) at work anymore even though my baby isn’t a year old yet
    - clean any part of my house as often as i would like
    - do laundry as often or efficiently as i should
    - try very hard in the kitchen
    - follow/read blogs that make me feel bad
    - bathe my baby every day
    - pay enough attention to my husband

    sometimes i wonder what it is that i’m doing with all of my time if i’m not taking care of my home or my family… the guilt is intense. glad i’m not alone.

  76. I don’t cook from scratch very often.
    I don’t make a point to use the Your Baby Can Read materials Grandma bought for us.
    I don’t vacuum very often.
    I haven’t removed the nail polish from my toes since I painted them before my vacation in early August.

  77. I don’t drink nearly enough water.
    I don’t run.
    I don’t know how to cook – at all. (thank god for my husband).
    Though I try to have a high-fructose corn syrup free home, I sometimes keep candy like gummi worms and laffy taffy at the office.
    I don’t take my own lunch to work as often as I should.
    I meditate – sometimes – but not nearly as often as I let people think.
    Angie (TheActorsWife)´s latest post: am i ready to take "bein’ crunchy" to the next level?

  78. I need this so much. It seems like so many of my friends have it together, and I think sometimes they think I have it all together. I feel too often like I am trying to live up to other people’s unspoken expectations. Maybe I should tell them occasionally some of the things that I don’t do, what a relief that would be!

    I don’t always change the sheets after our son’s diaper leaked in the night. They dry out, and I will wash them on Friday anyway.
    I don’t mop the floors unless we are having guests.
    I don’t vacuum or sweep the floors until our son is eating off of them.
    I don’t clean the inside of the oven.
    I don’t call people unless it is the absolute last resort.
    I don’t finish projects in a timely manner.
    I only work out if my husband reminds me.
    I don’t wash the curtains unless we have guests coming over AND they are allergic to cats.
    There is so much more. I often feel guilty about so many of these, but I am learning to give myself grace. God gives me grace, my husband does, my son does. Why can’t extend a little grace?
    Thank you for this post!

  79. I don’t iron.

    I don’t buy organic anything.

    I don’t care if my kids watch tv or play on the computer.

    I don’t wash the sheets as often as I should.

    Shew! It feels great to get all of that off my chest!

  80. Are stay at home dads allowed to chirp in here too? ;)

    I don’t fold clothes
    I don’t sweep the floor in the dining room or kitchen everyday
    I don’t make the bed (since 2008 or so)
    I don’t always have it all together… though by looking at me, you couldn’t tell.
    I don’t blog nearly as much as I should.

    Thanks for posting this… feels a lot better knowing that you aren’t the only parent that gets everything done like they somehow can do on television.
    Marc´s latest post: Sharing Food With Those In Need

  81. I don’t do so many of the don’ts too – so glad to see floor cleaning and daily bathing for kids is not a priority for as many of you as it for me. However, I think all these ‘don’ts’ say something really important about us as mothers and wives/partners – most of the don’ts are things we aren’t doing for other people.

    Why aren’t some of the don’ts listed things we don’t do for ourselves? So, I want to add some different ones:

    - I don’t sit down with a coffee and read a book for an hour without feeling guilty about not doing all the don’ts, and guilty about how much time I’m ‘wasting’!

    - I don’t make the time to get another pedicure until the polish is almost grown off my toes! Like right now in fact.
    Claire – Knappy Knickers´s latest post: The consumer review

  82. I don’t fold laundry until I have to clear the guest bed for a visitor.
    I don’t make my kids brush their teeth before school if it means missing the school bus.
    I don’t iron. Anything. Ever.
    I don’t double check my kids’ homework.
    I’m sure there are MANY more things I don’t do…
    Thanks for letting me share:-)

  83. I haven’t washed dishes in weeks (my husband has tried to keep up)
    I don’t ‘clean’ the house — picking stuff up and doing laundry keeps me busy enough, and even then, you wouldn’t know it by looking it.
    I don’t hang clothes outside to dry.
    I don’t get outside!
    I don’t make cute/clever holiday decorations, though I want to.
    I don’t get exercise.
    I feel like I don’t play enough with the kids.
    I don’t show that I appreciate people very well.
    I still haven’t started that rag quilt I wanted to get done by Christmas.
    I haven’t downloaded photos of the kids since last winter…….!!!!!!!!

  84. I don’t clean my house every week.
    I clean toilets once every two weeks unless they get really gross.
    I am not very good at reaching out to friends and inviting them to my place.
    I don’t ask for help from my spouse enough and feel overwhelmed sometimes.
    I still haven’t weeded the front garden or put the veggie garden to bed for the winter and it snowed last Saturday.

  85. - I don’t iron or sew.
    - I don’t change or wash sheets with any semblance of regularity.
    - I don’t cook side dishes.
    - I don’t cloth diaper anymore (though I still encourage other people to give it a try because, “It’s do easy.”)
    - I don’t pre-treat stains on my kids clothes.

    I do prioritize what’s important and focus on the thing that help us thrive as a family.
    Alissa´s latest post: Terrible or Terrific

  86. I love this, Tsh! It is wonderful that the internet is helping women realize that no one is perfect. We just prepped a podcast on The Power of Moms (for Saturday) called “The Gift of an Imperfect Mom.”

    http://powerofmoms.com/?p=11793&preview=true&preview_id=11793&public=1&nonce=f3427bb3e5

    Thanks for keeping it real!

  87. Sigh. There are *so* many things I don’t do. I don’t do the laundry until after it needs to be done … nor do I fold it promptly to avoid wrinkles. I don’t stick to a menu plan all the time, even though I make it up. And I don’t exercise like I plan on doing. Ever.
    Lisa Grace´s latest post: Cutting Out the Excess

  88. I don’t clean as often as I could {1-2 times a month}
    I don’t eat at the right times of the day {ie: breakfast in the morning/no snacks after 8 pm}
    I don’t read books like I used to.
    I don’t read my Bible every day.
    I procrastinate almost everything.
    Lindsey van Niekerk´s latest post: {RE}discovering Him :: Day 30 – The Disappointing

  89. I don’t vacuum nearly enough.
    I braid my daughters hair every two weeks so I don’t have to do it every morning
    I don’t wear make up unless I’m going on a date

  90. I don’t mop.
    I don’t scrub my bathtub.
    I don’t do kids art projects with glitter.
    I don’t play dolls with my daughter.

    And I’m ok with it. Most of the time.
    Stephanie’s Mommy Brain´s latest post: Thanksgiving Children’s Books Recommendation

  91. TOTALLY love this! I vote you should link ImperfectPeople.net just sayin :)
    I don’t do a lot of the typical holiday stuff:
    Send christmas cards, bake for everyone I know, and this will be the first year we are doing a tree since the kids were born because toddler + christmas tree = disaster.

  92. Bring on the rotten tomatoes, but these comments make me sad. If you have time to write a blog and be on FB, you have time to change your babies’ diapers and sheets, etc. A lot of these things are 10 minute projects, like folding laundry and mopping. There are a lot of things I don’t do, but they are extra things, not basic hygiene, keeping a reasonably clean house and cooking supper. You make time for what you want to make time for. Progress not perfection, but I hope we can reflect back on our lives and see progress in these areas.
    Colossians 3:23-24
    Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.
    Ephesians 5:15-16
    Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.

  93. I don’t blog & I don’t have a website. I just don’t have time. In the last three years, I’ve been the primary caregiver for my father-in-law as he suffered from the dementia that took his life last month. I’ve also had a daughter marry, graduated a son from our homeschool and helped him get into the college of his choice, and continued homeschooling our two youngers. That really does leave less time than caring for a newborn, or even two. Believe me, I know this because I had two olders and then delivered twins. I had a LOT of time then; I just didn’t know it. So, right now I only have time to live life, not to write about it :). There. I said it. Now when I get to these blog comments and it asks for a website, I just refuse to feel guilty or somehow lacking.

  94. I don’t fix the beds everyday…
    Dishes don’t always get washed and put away before we go to bed…
    Laundry gets washed and dried, but often sits in baskets for days…
    I don’t cook as frequently as I’d like…

    But the things that matter and are most precious to me seem to be thriving and growing, and there are frequent moments of joy and satisfaction–even in the midst of this [unpreferred] domestic chaos. Thank you, Jesus.

  95. boy, i can already tell i’m gonna love coming to see you. :)

    i don’t clean very well.
    i don’t organize my time (OR MY CLOSETS) very efficiently.
    i don’t meal plan consistently.
    i don’t put things away until people are coming over. (thus the disorganized closets)

    love ya, girl…had so much fun with you this weekend!

  96. oh, you have no idea how timely this post is for me! thank you Tsh!

    here’s my list, I don’t:
    …always stick to my budget
    …bake
    …like chocolate
    …change the sheets every week, or every other week
    …fold & put away laundry very often
    …pair up socks at all
    …iron. ever.
    …bathe my kids everyday.
    …decorate for holidays (other than our Christmas tree).
    …organize my photos, or even put them in frames. I have a million empty frames around here.
    …make my bed.
    …make sure every meal is gluten/dairy free, as we are supposed to be
    …always pay full attention to my kids when they are talking to me (this one makes me feel bad, but I’m working on it!)

    and yes, sometimes I do feel guilty that I don’t do these things…and I’m working on that too. I’ve spent too many precious moments in my life beating myself up when I could have been doing far more enjoyable things!

  97. Hello all you wonderful women out there.
    I don’t stop my 13 year old from watching too much tv and playing x box games.
    I don’t put veggies on his plate any more because he’s never eaten them ,except corn.
    I don’t dust until it’s thick with the stuff.
    I don’t vacuum until the floor’s filthy.
    However, I do keep up with the laundry, I do keep the place tidy, I do hug my kids and my husband, and they eat.
    Yay, the world is full of us lovely imperfectionists, aka human beings. x Well done us!

  98. Oh, these are all so wonderfully liberating to read!

    –I don’t finish projects until the absolutely last minute (or past it, in many cases).
    –Projects without a deadline are never finished. I’ve had primed baseboards for 8 years now.
    –I don’t “clean as I go” in the kitchen.
    –I don’t homeschool (but I’d like to) and secretly think my kids are doing great in public school. Yes, I realize that doesn’t make sense.
    –I don’t dust unless company is coming.
    –I don’t take pictures. I’m horrible at it. There will be no scrapbooks. Ever. And I’m good with that.
    –I don’t bathe my kids every day and I’m almost never clean the bathtub. I’m fine with not bathing the kids, but I really should clean the tub. It’s gross.

    Thank you for letting me put it out there! (Since I don’t blog.)

  99. -Sometimes I hand wash dishes because I don’t want to empty the dish washer.
    -I, a food blogger, resort to cereal for dinner (for the whole family) at times.
    -I am never on top of laundry and I will never be.
    -I’m guilty of buying new socks because I don’t feel like matching up the ones I have.
    -I am terrible at ironing.
    -I just let all of my vegetables die this past month because I was too lazy to walk outside to water them.
    -My car is another closet. It’s FILLED with sweaters & scarves.

    AHHH LIBERATION.

  100. This morning in the shower I thought of all the journals I didn’t get signed at Relevant and I thought of you. It seemed like such a missed opportunity to tell someone I care about them, but then I thought, “Duh, just leave it in the comment box!”

    So here it is in the comment box: thank you for keeping it real and admitting that you can’t do it all. Me, either.
    —I rarely iron. Photoshop removes wrinkles, too.
    —I mop only when absolutely necessary, and sometimes not even then.
    —I love to cook, but go through spells, like now, when I’m so busy that we don’t get much home-cookin’.
    —My two oldest boys had baths every night when they were young, but now Saturday is the only guaranteed night that everyone is bathed. At least they’re clean on Sunday morning, right?

    Loved spending the last few days with you!
    Dawn Camp´s latest post: 31 Days of Real Life: What is the Source of Your Joy?

    • Dawn,
      I love that, Photoshop removes wrinkles too!
      I cooked for the family for years, and now that it is just me and hubby, I am trying to cook very healthy for the 2 of us. Now I remembered why we didn’t eat lots of fresh veggies when the kids were here. It takes forever to cut up all that stuff! Still, I am “trying” to be good and cook, for the sake of the middle-age spread!
      It was good to see you again last week at BBCATL!
      Bernice
      Living the Balanced Life´s latest post: 85 nuggets of wisdom from Relevant

Trackbacks

  1. [...] love this link about “Imperfection” over at Simple Mom: http://theartofsimple.net/imperfection/#more-15872  The blogosphere is so odd; folks assume you must be perfect if you have a blog that talks [...]

  2. [...] and the Mask of Perfection. Tuesday November 1st, 2011 in all about me, internet Yesterday’s post over at Simple Mom was just what I needed to read. It was all about how the internet has helped [...]

  3. [...] gist is that there was a Simple Mom article (here) about how the internet is a place where people can ‘fess up about their mistakes and [...]

  4. [...] yesterday, I visit dear Tsh, and find her refreshing post: Imperfection. She shared the things she doesn’t do. A little transparency in a website-world where [...]

  5. [...] Imperfection – by Tsh at SimpleMom.net [...]

  6. [...] look at someone else’s messy life (and permission to be joyful in the middle of your own) go [here]. A beautiful reminder of how God sees us. [...]

  7. [...] the Try-Hard Life by Emily P. Freeman — I’ve heard good things about this book – from Simple Mom, and elsewhere, and it sounds just like the kind of book I need to [...]

  8. [...] P.S. The inspiration for this post are all the great “what I don’t do” posts I’ve read over the years. Thank you to these bloggers for being honest and encouraging me with their to-don’t lists! Musings of a Housewife, The Tiny Twig, Simple Mom, The Diaper Diaries, The Tiny Twig (again), Simple Homeschool, and Simple Mom (again). [...]

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