Imperfection.

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?

208 Comments

  1. Calee

    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”

    • Sarah G @ JoyontheJourney

      LOL! I’m glad I’m not the only one who let’s the “crunch” tell me when it’s time to clean the floors again : )

      • Successful Woman's Resource Center

        I think that quite a few of us let our floors go longer than we think we “should”. I don’t have little kids anymore, so the way I tell I need to do mine is seeing tufts of dog hair flying around!
        Having a less than spotless floor is good for our kid’s immune systems, lol!
        Bernice

  2. Jodi

    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.

    • rache

      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.

      • Rachel

        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.

        • Kathy M

          I don’t do the kitchen floor either! I’m working on my husband to take ownership, since I do laundry and dishes πŸ™‚

  3. Jennifer

    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.

    • rache

      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.

      • JenT

        I don’t wash my kids’ hair until it is crunchy πŸ™‚
        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!

    • Beth

      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. πŸ™‚ 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. πŸ™‚

  4. junebug69

    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

    • junebug69

      Wow this is why i should not post in the middle of the night!

      What i meant to say was:
      What i do (or dont do) does not define who i am.

      I can rest knowing my identity is in Christ!

      • Kathy M

        Love those last two lines…What I do (or don’t do) does not define who I am. I can rest knowing my identity is in Christ. Praise God for this truth!

        • Selena

          Yes, Praise God! I may have to tweet that πŸ™‚

    • ladybug

      Wow! Was I up in the wee hours of the night and wrote this myself and tagged it as junebug?

      I can add one more…I don’t write my own posts. I wait until I read one that says just what I want to say and then reply.

  5. Stephanie

    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!

    • Angie B

      that’s one of the main reasons to have a dog πŸ™‚
      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.

      • Rachel

        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!

        • Stephanie

          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

        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!

  6. bryssy

    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. Michele

    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.

  8. steadymom

    I don’t meal plan and I love not meal planning! πŸ˜‰

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

    Jamie

    • Katie Fox

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

  9. World_Runner

    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.

    • Fiona

      I agree!

      • Selena

        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 πŸ™‚
        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!

    • Tsh

      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…

      • Living the Balanced Life

        Absolutely Tsh! And I think it is so freeing when we show our imperfections as we give our sisters the freedom to be real themselves. I wrote about this as well on my blog.
        The successful woman’s guide to NOT doing it all
        I keep praying that if enough of us can get this message out, women will begin to give themselves a break, and learn to be comfortable with who they are, in Christ and as a human being.
        Thanks!
        Bernice

    • Marcia (123 blog)

      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 πŸ™‚
      many more…

      • Catherine

        Ooh, I love organising! What is your organising blog called?

        • BethMcKamy

          I don’t organize because my personality is such that I would be obsessive and it would take up all my time. I tried making a schedule one time and realized that my personality makes me schedule every minute of the day, which is a “set up for failure”. So now I mostly just make list of “what I need to accomplish today”.

    • Beth

      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.

  10. Beth

    – 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!

    • rache

      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

        Rache – Go for it! Nobody deserves it more than you.

    • Esther

      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!

      • Living the Balanced Life

        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

      • Beth

        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!

    • Beth

      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. πŸ™‚

      • Beth

        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. Shelly Miller

    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. Nicole @ Burning Bushes

    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. lynne

    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. Katherine

    – 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.

    • Catherine

      I am laughing so hard over the baby fuzz – that is exactly what I would do if my children were still babies. Oh thank you, thank you!

      • Amber

        I do the same thing! The trigger that tells me it is time to vacuum and sweep again is that my eight month old has eaten more than his fair share of cat hair for the day!

  15. Aimee @ Simple Bites

    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!

    • Tsh

      Comment on blogs? I’m impressed that you still have time to read them. πŸ˜‰

    • Living the Balanced Life

      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

      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

  16. Monica

    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.

  17. Nicole

    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. Maureen

    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}

  19. Laura Gail

    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.

    • Jenn K.

      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!

      • Laura Gail

        Jenn K. – what a sweet message. Thank you for your words!

  20. Tina

    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

    • Living the Balanced Life

      That is so sweet that your mom washes your floors for you! I remember my mother coming over and picking up little pieces of trash off my floor! Her way of helping I guess!
      Bernice

  21. Lisa

    -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.

    • Sharon

      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!

    • Michelle

      I love the “except weddings and funerals” part!

    • Nicole

      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. Jennifer

    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. Tifaine Hash (@ThroughMyLense_)

    ~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~

    • Selena

      I do the “yelling” and “husband” thing too!

  24. Pat Wogan

    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!

    • Keya

      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. libby hunt

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

    • Ruth

      This made me snort my tea!

      • Living the Balanced Life

        That is too funny!
        When my dad was alive, he lived in a nice trailer park next door to an older (but younger than him) Vietnamese family. They did not speak a bit of english. Their yards were tiny and my dad had a riding mower, but the neighbor would always cut dad’s side before he could do it! We inherited the like-new mower when my dad passed away. It had a problem which we determined was a safety switch that had been removed from the seat, so it wouldn’t stay running. I always wondered if that little vietnamese man detached that switch to keep my dad from cutting the grass! (he was suffering and died with head and neck cancer)
        Bernice

  26. Satakieli

    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.

  27. Jessi

    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!

  28. Ann from Sumptuous Spoonfuls

    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.

  29. Fran

    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 – πŸ™‚

  30. Ellie

    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)

  31. Shaina

    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.

    • Marcia (123 blog)

      Shaina, I bath my kids daily BUT it’s my secret weapon – they are out like a light after that πŸ˜‰ and I can’t stand the eternal trying to escape sleep otherwise!

      • Shaina

        Bedtime has never been a struggle for us, fortunately, but I can see how that would help as part of the routine if it is a power struggle. πŸ™‚

      • Amy

        I don’t know you, but I love you! I know that my parents did not bathe us more than once a week until we were 8 and I also totally judge the daily bathers!

  32. Cheyenne

    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. πŸ™‚

  33. Nikki @ Christian Mommy Blogger

    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!

  34. Brooke wagen

    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. tiffany

    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. Molly

    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. Audrey @ Mom Drop Box

    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.

  38. Hillary

    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…

  39. Sandy Fowler

    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. Caroline

    I don’t balance our checkbook.Β 
    I don’t shower everyday.Β 
    I don’t like gardening.Β 
    I don’t write on my blog everyday {well, except for the 31 Days posts}
    I don’t wax floors or facial hair.Β 
    I don’t own riding boots.Β 
    I don’t expect perfection from anyone or myself anymore {except my surgeon, like Emily said at Relevant!}

  41. karen

    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…

  42. Shannon Wheeler

    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!)

    • Kelsi

      I don’t like my dog either! Not since I had a baby.
      I thought I was alone…

  43. Mary

    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. Kristy in Canada

    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. Jessica

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

  46. Tracy A

    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. Mary

    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. Kortni

    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..

  49. Marybeth

    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!

  50. Rachel Salazar

    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…

  51. Laura Kinman

    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. πŸ˜‰

  52. Michelle

    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. πŸ™‚

    Like I said in my blog, what we DON’T do defines us as much as what we DO do. πŸ™‚

  53. Cara @ WhimsySmitten

    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. πŸ˜‰ You gave me lots to think about this weekend, and your words impacted me in a major way. Thanks for that.

  54. Sarah beals

    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! πŸ™‚

  55. Barbara Tako/Clutter Clearing Choices, LLC

    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. Mirna

    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. Melissa Jones

    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.

  58. Beth

    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. Cara @ WhimsySmitten

    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.

  60. Sheri

    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!!!!

  61. Alisa

    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. Brooke

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

  63. ~Suzanne

    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. Cat

    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.

  65. Seriously Sassy Mama

    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. Stacy

    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.

    • Pamela

      Amen, sister!

  67. Heather

    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.

    • Amy

      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!

      • Heather

        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. πŸ˜‰

        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.

        • BethMcKamy

          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!

          • Heather

            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, β€˜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

            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

          • BethMcKamy

            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.

  68. caroline starr rose

    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.

  69. Jennie

    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!

  70. Anna @ path of treasure

    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. πŸ™‚

  71. Amy Lynn Andrews

    – 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.)

  72. ALEXANDRA

    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…

  73. Amanda

    – 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

  74. renee @ FIMBY

    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…

  75. anne

    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. Lauren

    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. Angie (TheActorsWife)

    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.

  78. Amber

    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. Beth (A Mom's Life)

    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. Marc

    Are stay at home dads allowed to chirp in here too? πŸ˜‰

    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.

  81. Claire - Knappy Knickers

    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.

  82. Theresa Ceniccola

    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. Jaclyn

    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. Amy McA

    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. Alissa

    – 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.

  86. Lisa Grace

    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.

  87. Lindsey van Niekerk

    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.

  88. Keya

    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

  89. Stephanie's Mommy Brain

    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.

  90. Katie @ Imperfect People

    TOTALLY love this! I vote you should link ImperfectPeople.net just sayin πŸ™‚
    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.

  91. Deb

    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.

  92. Suzanne

    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.

  93. ASF

    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.

  94. melissa

    boy, i can already tell i’m gonna love coming to see you. πŸ™‚

    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!

  95. Sabrina

    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!

  96. Maudie

    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!

  97. Pamela

    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.)

  98. tracy

    -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.

  99. Dawn Camp

    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.
    β€”I rarely iron. Photoshop removes wrinkles, too.
    β€”I mop only when absolutely necessary, and sometimes not even then.
    β€”I love to cook, but go through spells, like now, when I’m so busy that we don’t get much home-cookin’.
    β€”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!

    • Living the Balanced Life

      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

  100. Kathy M

    I think it is freeing to share what we don’t do, whether by choice or default.

    I don’t iron (my husband’s dress shirts go to the dry cleaners).
    I don’t sew. My mom lives locally and I get her to hem our pants.
    I don’t do crafty stuff or knitting or scrap-booking.
    I don’t stay on top of clutter (especially paper clutter).
    I don’t get up early and I often take a nap.

    However, I’m cool with all of these, except the clutter. I’m working on that one πŸ™‚

  101. Darlene

    I don’t dust either or hardly ever
    I only wash my kitchen when I think about it which isn’t often
    I have a quilt I started 10 yrs ago I need to finish
    I don’t exercise
    I don’t iron
    I do do the dishes and laundry and my son sweeps when I remind him.

  102. Stacey in Manila

    I don’t….

    Bath my Kids daily
    Iron(ever)
    Make list….none ever….if I do…I lose them
    I don’t knit, sew, crochet , or makes crafts
    I don’t scrapbook
    I don’t mop
    I don’t make my bed everyday
    I don’t keep my kids busy with craft projects….they watch way too much tv
    The list could keep going…and really I look at all the lists above and can relate with them all!!! I am ok with the mom, wife, and friend I am and what I don’t do doesn’t define who I am!!!!

  103. Rivki

    I love this. It’s such a relief to be able to not be perfect. My Rabbi always chastised me (nicely, of course), for trying to be perfect, because it just puts too much strain on everyone.

    I try to be the best I can be, but to know myself well enough to know what is realistic. Here’s what I don’t do:

    I don’t always clean up after dinner.
    I don’t iron.
    I don’t do my laundry often enough, and I DEFINITELY don’t fold it.
    or put it away.
    I don’t pray as much as I could.

    I am working on all of these things, but I no longer have paroxysms of guilt when they inevitably happen.

  104. Brittnie (A Joy Renewed)

    This is such an awesome post… What I don’t do:
    I don’t cook a homemade meal each night
    I don’t know how to sew or knit
    I don’t scrapbook
    I don’t dust my house, like ever
    I don’t exercise as much as I should
    I don’t iron… isn’t that what the dryer is for? πŸ™‚

  105. Lisa J.

    I don’t eat as healthfully as I should.
    I don’t bake homemade bread.
    I don’t exercise regularly.
    I don’t knit.
    I don’t go to bed as early as I should.
    I don’t get out of bed very easily in the morning.

  106. Criss

    – I rarely make my bed, nor do I make my kids make their beds.
    – I hardly ever dust.
    – When my foot sticks to the kitchen floor, then it’s time to get out the mop. Hopefully it will be the same day.

  107. Dawn

    I don’t…

    Clean unless something is bothering me or someone is coming over! Thankfully, we have guests often!

    Change bedding as often as I should.

    Wash my son’s diapers as often as I should.

    Go to bed or get up as early as I would like!

    Clean my car often at all.

    But hey, I DO lots of other things!!! =)

  108. Regina S.

    Just what I needed to hear. What I don’t do well:

    Meal planning. Making a dinner plan, buying the food, and actually cooking it. And getting dinner cooked in time. I just cannot cook dinner until the house is clean, or at least the kitchen.

  109. Lisa

    I moved in my house 2 years ago and haven’t finished painting. 3 rooms are done except for the cut-in. The hallway is half done. (

  110. nikteed

    Imperfection is what makes us keep going and makes us more for doing something right. Imperfection is a drive, so don’t be discourage if things doesn’t come or happen the way we want them to be. It is a part of us to be imperfect.

  111. Rashmie

    What a fun, freeing post! Loved reading confessions from around the world and I suddenly felt as if no matter where we are from- we women/mothers all have the same inner desires, guilts, pangs..and what have you!

    While I’m going to share some of the things that I don’t do, I must also admit that there are some things that I over do and I would be better off not doing them πŸ˜‰
    Here are just some of the many things I don’t do. With some I feel I am okay. With others -I really wish I could do more often..

    1. I don’t create time to read as many books as I would like to. (I LOVE reading!)
    2. I don’t sew (I wish I could make time to learn sewing)
    3. I don’t organize my closet as often. I do only when my clothes are falling over. But, am getting better at it.. !
    4. My kitchen needs more organizing.
    5. The paintings are still to be put up on the wall sicne our last house shift – 6 months back..Worst part – they are gathering dust! phew..
    6. A big one – I haven’t updated my ‘about me’ page on my blog after some major revamp on my blog months back! Arghhh….

  112. Laura

    I love the comment, “because what I do is not who I am.” I have to remind myself of that…lots. Ok, now onto the list….what don’t I do:
    1. sometimes i don’t clean the bathroom every week
    2. i went the whole summer without cleaning the kitchen floor (i’m laughing as i type this b/c it’s so gross to admit that!)
    3.i don’t file things…well, they go in a bin & then pretty much stay there – it’s on my to do list:)!
    4.the kids sometimes go for several days w/o a bath or shower…LOL…that’s gross too!
    5.i don’t sew anything…ever….my mom is an amazing seamstress so i give her anything that needs to be sewn on…even a button b/c i don’t even have any thread – that’s embarrassing to admit!
    And I just finished Grace for the Good Girl – loved it – could have written a few of the chapters they applied so completely to how I have lived…working on that….
    5.i don’t homeschool…would love to (sort of)…i have a feeling the way i think i would like it to go in my head wouldn’t be reality
    6.i don’t clean after the kids go to bed…i sit on the couch & read & I LOVE IT!!!!!

  113. Angela

    I rarely fold clean laundry within a week.
    I don’t iron. I just hang up what I’m going to wear (usually fresh from a basket of last week’s load) and steam-shoot it with the iron.
    I still haven’t hung the door mounding on the hall side of our bathroom, that we remodeled 8 years ago.
    Whew! that was freeing!!

  114. Kim B

    I love your site but I think I’m not your typical follower:

    • Leonie

      why so?

  115. charis

    i have about 30 tabs open in my internet browser at all time – haha, my husband says it is online clutter!

    i have books stacked on top of our bookcase that need to be actually put in place on the shelves… been that way for over a year.

    many times i go places without brushing my hair, i just pull it back.

    i am super forgetful.

    my van is a substitute trash can. it is that bad.

  116. Julie

    Oh man. this is JUST what I needed. Hilarious. I was to cheap to pay $7 for organic milk. I bought (gasp) regular. I don’t clean my microwave until it’s fully coated from top to bottom with blown up food chunks. Then I ask my hubby to clean it. I don’t bathe myself more than 3 times per week and the kids only get one bath per week. I don’t comb hair unless we leave the house. I don’t do organic. We eat (gasp) pigs in blankets and mac n cheese most every week. I love the lady that talked about not soaking her nuts and grains. I laughed out loud on that one. I don’t do it. We eat our oats unsoaked. I have a kitchen full of mess but I think I will go nap. And then when I get up…maybe I’ll pray about this overwhelming thing I’m looking into called “homeschooling”. It seems like my heart is excited about it but I’m totally overwhelmed as to where to even start. So I’m going to nap.

  117. Laura M.

    I don’t:
    * read as often as I should or would like to….but when I do I realize I need it.
    * go to bed as early as I should….which means I’m usually tired.
    * often wake up before my kids do….which makes for a stressful morning.
    * vacuum as often as I should….as much as it bugs me.
    * do a very good job at scoping out grocery deals, sales, etc…..even though I would like to, I just don’t.
    * make my bed…..which drives me crazy, but I still rarely do it.
    * discipline my children in a way that I like….I just haven’t found a way that makes me feel like I am being effective and caring at the same time. This frustrates me to no end.
    * do as many “activities” with my kids as I would like to….crafts, coloring, art, games, etc.
    * feel like my house is really a “home”….I don’t care for the way it is “decorated” (I use that term loosely) and I’m not sure how to fix it. But everyday it weighs on my mind.
    * feel like the way I dress is a good reflection of me and who I am….and I desperately want to change that.

  118. Stephanie @ Keeper of the Home

    I don’t clean my bathrooms nearly as often as I should (you should have seen the master bathroom toilet when I finally got to it this morning).

    I don’t wash our sheets more than once a month.

    I don’t do DIY projects hardly ever, no matter how simple, or how much they appeal to me.

    I have a list of about 8 major projects in the house needing to be done (closets and desks in desperate need or reorganization, hooks to be screwed in for the kids coats and bags, very barren windows with broken blinds needing to be addressed, etc.) that I simply cannot get to right now.

    I don’t make desserts or treats for my family most weeks, except when I get particularly inspired.

    I love this. We all need to throw off the masks and admit that we’re real women who simply can’t do it all. Thanks for kicking it off by being real yourself, my friend. πŸ™‚

  119. Leonie

    I’m so getting that book!

    What I don’t do: Everything people think I do.

    Top 3 things I don’t do that bug me:
    1. make my bed.
    2. go to class.
    3. stay consistent (with decisions made).

  120. Courtney

    Ooooh! I couldn’t wait to join in on this one!

    – I read blogs when I should be working (although, that’s a do and not a don’t)
    -I have a constant stack of laundry on the couch to be folded. Sometimes it sits there folded.
    -I compare myself to others, no matter how hard I try not to. It’s so self-destructive!
    -When I take that little sticker off of a piece of fruit, I immediately stick it to the side of the sink. I have no idea why I do this, drives the hubs insane.
    -I don’t clean my shower, car, children, floors (fill in the blank here) as often as I should.
    -I start off the bedtime routine with my girls joyful and end it with thoughts of “will you just go to sleep already so I can have just a few moments of peace for myself before it all starts again tomorrow!?!”
    -I don’t go to church. I want to, but not with my little kids.

    Thanks! and Phew!

  121. Lisa

    I don’t mop my floors regularly. (I mopped today, though, and my four year old asked if we were having company later.)

    I don’t read books. I buy books, and I start books, but I hardly ever finish reading them.

    I don’t do a lot of things, and some of those “don’ts” bother me, but most don’t bother me at all.

  122. Olivia

    – I don’t fold my underwear! Ever. No one sees that drawer anyway!
    – I don’t put pleats in my slacks the way my mom taught me to. In fact, I rarely iron anymore.
    – I don’t force my teenagers to have spotless rooms, just picked up – ish. It’s a lost cause. They live in it, I don’t. My stress level went down 2 points when I let it go!
    – I don’t take care of my flowers very well. This is one I want to do better with because they make me smile when they’re happy and not droopy!
    – I don’t enjoy cooking or sewing!

  123. laura l rice

    Thank you for this post – it was reassuring, and I could (as most) really use a lot of that – on good and bad days!
    I don’t get up before my little girl
    I don’t cook meals very often, sometimes not even once a day
    I don’t exercise anymore (REALLY trying to change this!)
    I don’t put street clothes on most days – me or my child!
    I don’t pick-up toys/messes or have my daughter do it – everyday
    I don’t go to bed at a decent hour (so I can have some alone time)
    . . . the list could go on and on, I’m sure. I’m not happy about any of these, but I’m not disappointed or trying to change some of them. I’m living day by day – trying to make sure we enjoy our time together, encourage laughter and as much learning as my 5-year-old is open to throughout the day.
    thank you all for sharing all of your “I don’t-s” They’ll help me get through this week and the memories of them will likely help me get through several more months!
    thanks!

  124. melissa

    i don’t wash, dry, fold and put away laundry- we are usually pulling clothes from the clean laundry basket on the daily.
    i don’t clean out my refridgerator weekly…i know yuck!
    i don’t bake much.
    i only cook about 3 nights a week.
    i don’t clean my bathroom weekly- i figure no one ever sees it.
    i don’t dust my fan blades….like ever. just noticed that one…i’ll probably get right on that:))

    great post tsh. i am constantly encouraged by you and the other women i come in contact with. it’s so helpful for my type-A personality to hear that’s its okay to be imperfect:))

  125. Jennifer

    I don’t vacuum upstairs until my husband’s dust mite allergy starts to bother him. Maybe if I had a dedicated upstairs vacuum …
    I don’t limit tv like I should.
    I don’t cook, unless my husband specifically asks if that is the evening’s agenda.
    I don’t pack a lunch for my son and I when I pack one for my daughter (same lunch every day, btw) so we eat waaaay too much fast food.
    I don’t pack my husband’s lunch. He gets up extra early to do it himself.
    I don’t iron, I just use the wrinkle-release option A LOT.
    I don’t change the sheets until someone has been sick (colds count) or peed.
    I don’t harvest the garden my husband lovingly planted.
    I don’t pick up the dog poop in our backyard (the lawn mower just squishes it in).
    I don’t put my kids in the bath even though they love it. I bring them into the shower with me and do a quick soap down.
    I don’t clip nails and toenails often enough (son has a tiny red mustache from picking his nose with an extra long nail).
    I don’t love my dog.
    I don’t sleep after my daughter walks by her bathroom to come get me to take her to the bathroom in the middle of the night (like an hour ago).
    I don’t clean up vomit. Counter-acted by my husband’s aversion to poop. We are the perfect mess-cleaning team.
    I don’t like play doh.

    • Jennifer

      I thought of more, can’t help it.

      I don’t Facebook. Or twitter.
      I don’t go to weekend birthday parties.
      I don’t control my tongue.
      I don’t sleep well.
      I don’t get regular teeth cleanings.
      I don’t floss.
      I don’t call my mom enough.

  126. Alison

    I found your list laughable, Tsh. I mean, you just bought the couch in July! And the quilt? Give yourself a break. I’ve had unfinished projects sitting around for years.
    I don’t . . .
    -sew. Period.
    -participate in fund-raisers for my daughter’s preschool. (Isn’t my check every month enough participation?)
    -blog every week (but I want to start!)
    -bathe my kids more than three times a week unless there’s a dire need for it.
    -go through the mail, receipts, and other various paper nearly as often as I should.
    -scrapbook, or even put my photos in albums lately. I would like to, but I don’t!
    Geez, what DO I do with myself all day?

  127. Jeannie

    Wow this is cathartic and freeing .

    I don’t sign my kids in at the school check in spot where they attend, in spite of receiving a tsk tsk from a rule following Mom.

    I am not sure the last time I encouaged each of my children to shower, usually I do the sniff test.
    I have no garden.
    We do not get up early.
    There are these cob webs, with cob web makers πŸ™‚ in quite a few spots on my ceilings…
    I cancelled flylady subscription, could not take the pressure of multiple daily reminders of what I am not doing. God bless her.. she has taught me much.

  128. {darlene}

    tsh, it was a joy meeting you at Relevant, and I thoroughly was blessed by your presentation. I am thinking deeply about my element….
    I remember reading a quote that said something along the lines of: That thing that you were doing while you were procrastinating… maybe that is the thing you should have been doing all along.
    I thought of it as you spoke.

    Thank you also for these words. There is SO much left undone!
    I don’t decorate my own home…. when I decorate everyone else’s!
    I don’t pre-plan dinner… hardly EVER.
    I don’t always return phone calls.

    ahh. the list could go on…. but some things are made for repenting!

  129. Jessica Romaneski

    -It’s been six years since our wedding, and I have not done our wedding album (it’s been on and off my to-do list for that long).
    -I don’t make our bed every day.
    -I have dust floating around under my couches.
    -I don’t wash my hands as often as I should (here in CO, I have the extra non-motivation due to the dryness factor).
    -I have really wrinkly reusable napkins and placemats because I LOATHE ironing. Some of our clothes are also pretty wrinkly; I tell myself they’ll flatten out when I hang them up.
    -I passively kill all our houseplants.
    -I bought a cookbook with recipes designed to hide veggies in food (for my son…and maybe also for my husband). For the first two weeks, I was a veggie-hiding queen. Now the book is collecting a bit of dust. I also probably don’t dust as thoroughly as I should.
    -I constantly have overdue items on my to-do list.
    -I have cute little toddler fingerprints covering the bottom half of the sliding glass door, front door and TV. Instead of cleaning them off this week, I think they will be a reminder for me to thank God for my amazing little boy πŸ™‚

  130. Amy

    Here is my list…that sounds like fun!
    – I waste way too much time on facebook
    – I can’t sew anything…barely can sew a button on
    – I don’t make the bed everyday and my bedroom is a disaster area
    – My bedroom has wallpaper on it that looks it is from 1972 and home decor is scary to me so I have put off doing anything about it (until recently…we’ve lived in the house for five years)
    – I let my children climb all over the furniture

  131. Natalie

    I don’t:
    * Wash the sheets on my bed as often as I know I should
    * Have any photo books of my kids (well except the first 3 months of my sons life)
    * Get up early, before the kids…they wake me up!
    * Have friends over hardly ever, too much work.
    * Exercise as much or often as I should
    * Have time to do it all….

  132. Jennifer

    The dishes usually sit on the counter for a week – dish day is Saturday.
    The floors rarely get cleaned.
    There is junk everywhere (easier to find :P).
    I NEVER (ever!) make my bed .
    I eat chocolate chips out of the bag.

  133. Beth

    I don’t dust until I can see the layer and someone (usually me, ironically) has run a finger through it, making it obvious.

    I don’t exercise nearly enough as I should.

    I sometimes don’t empty the dishwasher for days.

    I rarely put the clean laundry away right away. I often don’t get around to doing it until I need the laundry basket to take the dirty laundry downstairs.

    I don’t read much on the things I’m supposed to know/do before/after our first child is born in March. I should probably start working on this, because it’s going to catch up to me, prepared or not.

    I don’t always do the grading or lesson planning I should do to be ready for class the next day, and instead watch TV or read a book.

    I don’t blog as much as I would like, and I don’t read other people’s blogs very often either, even though I really like to.

    I LOVE reading blogs that are from real women, who tell it how it is, not how it should be. I love being encouraged, although truthfully, sometimes I feel like I’m a “poser” in the world of Christian bloggie women, and that I’m on the outside looking into a community that I think would be great to be a part of…. but then I just don’t have time (or don’t make time) to do “the work” that is involved in really becoming a part of the community. Either way, when I make time, like today, I like it, and I already I feel excited about the list of things I don’t have to feel guilty for not doing, because you don’t do them, either. πŸ™‚

  134. Debbie

    I love this. I love to read blogs (and actually work with many wonderful bloggers through my job) but lately I have found myself getting discouraged by many things I read because sometimes it just seems so unattainable. So, here’s a few things I thought of:
    –I don’t sew (not even buttons–I give it to my mom)
    –I don’t do handicrafts of any kind (not my gift)
    –I don’t garden.
    –I don’t buy organic.
    –I don’t bathe my kids everyday (3 times a week)
    –I don’t respond to personal email messages very quickly.
    –I don’t freezer cook (although I’d like to learn)
    –I don’t talk on the phone much.
    –I send my oldest to public school and really, I’m okay with it.

  135. Michelle

    Great idea!
    – I don’t blog nearly enough. Though this idea might get stolen for a future one.
    – I let my kid watch way too much tv, particularly Spongebob (right now for example).
    – I have put on a shirt, noticed a stain and then played dumb at work pretending to notice it when someone else does or claim it “happened in the car” or blamed it on my son that morning.
    – My clothes are always stained and it’s almost always my fault.
    – My house smells like old dog and that probably has a lot to do with the fact that I don’t bathe my old dog often enough and he stinks.
    – We eat take out. A lot. Even when I meal plan.
    – I often refer to the food in my fridge as “questionable” because I’m not always sure it should still be eaten. We are all still alive though…
    – We don’t budget. No cash system. We go with the “hope for the best” mentality and though I’m sure that will be coming back to bite me some day, I do nothing about it.
    – My son is almost 5 and I still can’t decide if I want more kids. It’s mostly for selfish reasons.
    – I’m playing fetch with said child so that I can finish typing this πŸ™‚

    • Michelle

      Spongebob ended, hence the game of fetch.

  136. Elizabeth Anne

    I am a stay-at-home mom of a 3 1/2 year old boy and 15 month old girl.
    Here’s what I don’t do:
    – I don’t clean much.
    – I don’t bathe my kids everday.
    – I don’t make hot or homemade breakfasts or snacks.
    – I don’t do facebook or follow twitter.
    – I don’t read magazines.
    – I don’t keep up with the kardashians (oops, i mean joneses) – this embodies watching reality TV or keeping up with neighbors & friends (exception Top Chef).
    – I don’t do crafts (I’d actually like to but I did finance & accounting in my former life), maybe in a few years.

  137. Michal

    I don’t scrapbook.
    I often show up to birthday parties without a gift.
    I don’t get up before my kids (but I’m going to start!).
    I am frugal but I don’t follow a budget.
    I often look up at 5pm and wonder what we’ll eat for dinner.
    I don’t read to my children every day.

  138. Michal

    Let me add–all these confessions about bathing kids is cracking me up! I didn’t even know you were SUPPOSED to bathe your kids more…… once a week is my goal, and we often miss that mark!

  139. Kristen

    I would have to say that I do not do very many household tasks well. I rarely iron or cook. As our lives have become busier, we find it better do to more simple and easy meals. What I do try to focus on doing well is excelling at parenting and my job. I feel that both are essential for the health of our family! Enjoyed the post!

  140. Nicole

    I don’t…
    clean very much or very well, especially floors and tubs (dogs help clean the floors!)
    like from scratch pancakes, Bisquick is so good!
    make homemade bread, pasta, granola, rolls, etc.
    bathe my daughter more than twice a week (unless she’s dirty)
    fold or put away the laundry in a timely manner (it’s clean right?)
    finish books very often
    read half my school assignments (hope my professors aren’t on here!)
    get up early or go to be at a “decent” time
    exercise very much, ok hardly at all
    clean my van, except when hubby gets mad
    check all my email accounts regularly (I have 4, ugh)

    Thanks for this! I’m sure there’s a TON more, but I’ve taken up enough room! I often feel guilty about things I don’t do, but this post made me feel better about it and realize things I DO do.

  141. Cweaver

    Love this!

    I dont fret over my house.
    I dont clean my kitchen floor as often as I should either…glad for all the other moms like me.
    I stay in my pajama’s if I dont have to leave the house.
    I homeschooled when my sons were younger, but now my daughter goes to school. no guilt! We do creative projects, art, crafts in the evenings and weekends together since we got rid of cable.
    Id rather spend time with people than being obsessive over a “stuff”
    I need to clean my attic…BAD!
    Balance in all things πŸ™‚

  142. Natasha

    I don’t sweep my floors until I happen to walk through the house barefoot and the dirt bothers me. (I also don’t require people to take off their shoes when they come in the house, so it balances out.)

    I don’t iron. ever. As in, I don’t even own an iron. Nor clothes that get wrinkly very fast. (If they do, they go to the Salvation Army.)

    I don’t fold barn clothes. They go in a basket at the end of our bed. Constant rotations keeps them from piling too high and who cares about wrinkles? The cows sure don’t.

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