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The great myth

I get asked frequently how I do it all. Which makes me and my husband laugh. It would probably also make my children laugh, if they could understand what that meant.

I’m sure the inquirers don’t mean to imply that I literally do it all, but it’s a subtle message to me that in some way, I somehow convey on this blog that I do “it” all. It’s simply not true.

Sure, I do a lot. I choose to write frequently on this blog and others, to accept a book offer and write it, to cook from scratch, to occasionally sew, to homeschool my preschooler, to work part-time as a web designer for a non-profit organization, to take regular care of our home, and to generally do those marvelous daily things that make up the roles of wife and mom. I also enjoy being a friend, daughter, sister, and main correspondent for the family as we live overseas.

Wow. That does sound like a lot. But it’s not everything. For everything I do, I don’t do something else. Every choice we make in life is both a choice to do something and a choice to not do something.

When we make the decision to spend time, energy, and money to pursue a task, there’s something else from which we’re subtracting that time, energy, and money. We’re all given 24 hours in a day, a body that requires rest, and a finite number in our bank accounts.

So no, Virginia, I don’t do it all. I do a lot, and I bet you do, too. I bet you choose to do things I don’t do; probably things I’d like to do but just can’t in this season of my life. We all do. None of us does it all.

  • I don’t grow my own food. I’d love to one day, but for now, we just don’t have the space or the time.
  • I don’t knit. I don’t know how. I’d love to learn.
  • I don’t can. I don’t have the equipment or the space to store the canned goods. One day, maybe.
  • I don’t keep a perfectly clean house. Truly.
  • I watch almost no TV.
  • I have a huge pile of books I still haven’t read, and I don’t see any free time on the horizon to tackle them.
  • I don’t have hours of time to linger over coffee with all the women I want to do so with.
  • I don’t spend as much time playing with my kids as I want. Or need.
  • I don’t get enough sleep.
  • And I definitely don’t work out as much as I need to.

I say these things not to flagellate myself, or to squelch any semblance of a good mood. I’m simply being honest. We must pursue excellence in our work, but not perfection.

And at the end of the day, we need to trust that God gave us the energy to do those things to which He called us, and no more. Tomorrow is another day to strap on the apron and get back to work, doing what we can.

There’s no reason to feel defeated at the false notion that there’s someone out there who “does it all.” That person doesn’t exist.

What about you? What don’t you do?

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  1. Wilma Ham

    Interesting. I DO all the 3 things on the top of the list that you don’t do but . . .
    I don’t do “I have done enough at the end of the day, stop and just relax”.
    I don’t pamper myself enough .
    I don’t stop when I am no longer productive and go and do something fun.
    I don’t say ‘no’ when it would be a lot better to say it.
    I don’t say ‘yes’ either when it would be a lot better to say it.
    I don’t email my family enough.
    I don’t take time for lunch in the sun some days.
    I don’t iron.
    I don’t want to stop this list but I think this is enough.
    .-= Wilma Ham´s last blog ..Confronting the exercise monster. =-.

  2. Sarah

    I love this! Thank you thank you thank you. Every woman should make a list of things she doesn’t do. I have friends who seem like they do it all, and have a smile on their face, a perfect house, and dinner on time, etc, etc. Thank you!!!!
    I don’t get enough sleep either. I don’t have a clean craft room. I don’t do enough I think. I am definitely not someone who others would look at and think “how does she do it all?” It’s pretty obvious that I don’t. 🙂 I love your blog though. It is so perfect and simple.
    .-= Sarah´s last blog ..They ARE Cute and They Are Mine =-.

  3. lucy

    My “don’t do” list includes many more of the basics:
    I don’t cook from scratch very often.
    I don’t do anything other than the most basic of housework. (We have a cleaner every 2 weeks.)
    I don’t maintain the front garden at all. (A gardener comes twice a month.)
    I don’t necessarily bring a home-cooked dinner to a friend in need. For example, recently it’s just been glorified pizza delivery to 2 friends with a new baby.
    These are very conscious choices, and I try to be OK with them, but I do feel guilty sometimes.
    So I love this post. Thanks.

  4. Lindsey

    Thanks for this: “we need to trust that God gave us the energy to do those things to which He called us, and no more.” What a great reminder. 🙂

    I don’t can, knit, or grow my own food either.
    I don’t dust.
    I don’t use cloth diapers or home-made, earth-friendly cleaners. I really hope to be able to do those some day.
    I don’t turn off the TV when I know I should.

    I guess that’s it for now. It’s a bit of a relief to write it down and almost celebrate the fact that it’s okay that I don’t do everything.
    .-= Lindsey´s last blog ..You Spin Me Right Round =-.

  5. On the Eastern Journey

    Thank you for this post. I’d also love to garden and can, but well, that’s a challenge in our fifth floor apartment. Here’s the things I’m not doing:
    I’m not ironing. Never have. Don’t even own an iron.
    I’m not crafting which I sometimes miss, but the craft closet is about to be transformed into the homeschooling station. That’s what happens when living within 1200 square feet.
    I’m not skyping people back in the states. I really should call home more.
    Thanks for this. It’s good to think through.
    .-= On the Eastern Journey´s last blog ..10,000 maybes =-.

  6. LaDonna

    I am just learning this. I am learning that not making a decision is still making a decision. By choosing to sit at my computer I am choosing not to do laundry or mow the lawn.
    .-= LaDonna´s last blog ..Flowers, Chicken Wings and Fire Trucks =-.

  7. Shannon @ AnchorMommy

    Tsh, thank you for your honesty!

    Part of the reason I felt compelled to leave my job (there were so many factors to consider) was because I felt like my home was falling apart around me. I couldn’t stand coming home to the mess at night, because it felt like an unavoidable reminder that my life was too packed, too scheduled. I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for two months now, and I’m finding that my house is a lot better, but not perfect. And that’s fine with me. Because I’m cooking from scratch more, playing with my boy more, and having more face-to-face conversations with my husband instead of having to catch up with with him through email or the phone.

    That means my knitting needles are lonely. I am not reading all the books I want to. And the weeds are getting really big in the front yard. So my son and I hang out in the backyard, where I can’t see them!
    .-= Shannon @ AnchorMommy´s last blog ..Enzo the Great Tolerator =-.

  8. Wendy

    THANK you! Thank you for this! I get so frustrated when I hear women (and men) pointing at others and saying things like, “I don’t know where you find the time,” because the implication is that what you’re finding time for is a waste of time. People make time for the things they value most and that means other things go by the wayside.

    I take the time to cook from scratch for my family. I even grow some of what we eat. I sew when I get a chance. I play with my kids a lot.

    I don’t clean nearly enough. I hardly ever fold laundry. I don’t return the library books or the videos by their due dates. I don’t wash the cars. And I don’t get nearly enough sleep.
    .-= Wendy´s last blog ..Project 365: Weeks 29 & 30 =-.

  9. Graywolfie

    Wow..thanks for being so honest to share..I don’t cook..would love to but not this current moment..but I do & really enjoy spending lots of time with my daughter..
    .-= Graywolfie´s last blog ..Thursday Thirteen… =-.

  10. Satakieli

    I really needed to read this today, thank you.

    I DO take the time to cook from scratch, always. I keep the house very clean for my family and do pretty much everything that needs doing around the house (including fixing things).

    I don’t make enough time for my son. I don’t make enough time for myself. I’m too busy doing physical things for my family that I sometimes forget the emotional side.

  11. Micha

    a very interesting question and always a bit connected with thinking “perhaps i had to do it, but…”, so I don’t make sports (i often walk and go with my bike, but no extra sports!), I don’t drive my kids to this and that, because we have only one car and they can combine their hobbys with the schooltime and last but not least I even don’t drive with my husbands car, because I really have a problem with driving
    .-= Micha´s last blog ..Mitgebracht / magazines etc =-.

  12. steadymom

    Thank you for writing this post, Tsh! That was one of the goals I had when I started my blog, was to try and present a realistic picture of both successes and struggles, in an effort to let people know that I do not do it ALL.

    It is good to use our time wisely, of course, but it’s all about choosing to be the person we were meant to be (not someone else!).

    Yesterday I put this quote on my blog, from Anna Quindlen:

    “The thing that is really hard,
    and really amazing,
    is giving up on being perfect
    and beginning the work
    of becoming yourself.”

    .-= steadymom´s last blog ..What Do You Think? – Sleeping Babies =-.

  13. Megan

    Amen, sista! This was exactly what I wanted to say and couldn’t put into words. I get so weary of explaining how I manage to have time to do it all. It is about the choices I make, and I choose joy. Sure, there are things that I have to do….because well, you have to do them, but the rest….

    I choose to work a couple of days a week as a labor and delivery nurse, because I love it….not because I don’t want to be home with my kids.

    I choose to blog and twitter and keep up with friends on facebook…..because I’m relational in that way and I enjoy it.

    And my list of “will do one day”s…..well, it’ll still be there!
    .-= Megan´s last blog ..Dear Birmingham…. =-.

  14. The Nester

    Amen, Bravo, Hallelujah and other words that declare my love for what you wrote and total agreement with you.

    I don’t cut coupons
    I don’t have to have my house perfect in order to have people over
    I don’t take a shower every day
    I cut my own hair and do my own toes
    I don’t leave many comments on blogs
    I don’t renew my driver’s license when it expires. I really should, it’s 6 months over due!

    Heart you Tsh!
    .-= The Nester´s last blog ..She… =-.

    • Julia

      nester, i’m so glad to see that there’s someone else out there who doesn’t shower every day! 🙂 makes me feel so much better!

      love this post, tsh, something that we all need to remember every day.

      i don’t clean like crazy for company–they usually get to see how we really live.
      i don’t iron.
      i don’t go shopping, other than for groceries and household basics (the internet’s a wonderful thing).
      i don’t study my Bible as much as i should (working on that).
      i don’t spend as much time with my kids as i would like (working on that too).
      i don’t garden.
      i don’t wear make-up.
      i don’t watch tv.
      i don’t make my own bread, take enough pictures, sew, can, scrapbook–i’ll get there one day.
      .-= Julia´s last blog ..finding the sunshine =-.

  15. Cori

    facebooked your post – very important to be ourselves, not everything to everybody.
    .-= Cori´s last blog .."BUBBLES, mama!" =-.

  16. Nicki at Domestic Cents

    Hi Tsh, I feel for you on not playing with your kids enough. That’s one of mine too. In fact, I have the same response when people ask how I do it all … those poor people are so misinformed 🙂
    .-= Nicki at Domestic Cents´s last blog ..Meal Cards =-.

  17. PS~Erin

    Wonderful post. I appreciate your honesty on both sides of the do/don’t spectrum. Your last line is so well put. Thank you for that.
    .-= PS~Erin´s last blog ..End of the Week Links =-.

  18. JulieBastuk

    Thanks for this post. My problem is that I can say I do a ginormous list of things, but they all seem to stay unfinished or they don’t get done very well. Usually the end result is tat I”m exhausted and stressed because I don’t finish my list of things that it seem have to be done each day. I need to take a break…I have a two year old and 3 month old for heaven’s sake…there’s no way I’m going to be as productive as before right now.
    .-= JulieBastuk´s last blog ..Religulous =-.

  19. Gwen

    I could have written every single thing on your list … except for the first one. I actually started my very first garden this year, and it’s going well. But I do a LOT too. And there’s a lot I don’t do.

    You are so right about the choices. I’m glad one of your choices is to spend time on the blog. I recently discovered it, and it’s now one of my daily tabs in Firefox. 🙂

  20. Paula

    Thanks for being real.

    I don’t clean my bathrooms as often as needed.
    I don’t scrapbook.
    I don’t like getting up early.
    I don’t take time to exercise.
    I don’t eat enough vegetables.
    I don’t know if I’ll ever have time to finish the sewing projects I started 6 months ago.

  21. Lynne

    Hooray! Great post!!
    I don’t sew…not even repairs…
    I don’t allow “messy” crafts … no painting or glitter!
    I don’t spend as much time with my hubby as he needs
    I don’t pump my own gas
    I don’t go to bed at night unless everything is in it’s place (yeah, an OCD issue!!)
    I don’t sit and relax as much as I should (see above post!!)
    I don’t bake as much as I’d like to
    I don’t exercise
    hey we’re all human!!
    Thanks again for the great post! I love your site and always find comfort, wisdom and insite in your posts! Thanks for sharing!!
    .-= Lynne´s last blog ..Happy Second Month! =-.

  22. Amy Reads Good Books

    Lovely post! A great reminder that we can’t do everything, but we can do an awful lot when we set our mind to it.
    .-= Amy Reads Good Books´s last blog ..Booking Through Thursday =-.

  23. Lesley

    Great…and timely post. I sort of struggle sometimes with feeling guilty that I can’t get more “done”. But, lately, my goals are to keep my life just tidy enough (not clean). That means it’s tidy enough where I can find things and feel a little calm, but not so clean that I spend my energy chasing the dust bunnies (literally and figuratively). It’s working for me now. High success lately is trying to get to the park twice a day with the toddler and something uber simple for dinner. Everything else I can get done is all gravy!
    .-= Lesley´s last blog ..Find Your Money Honey! =-.

  24. Chris (Amateur Traveler)

    I had to laugh. I get this question a lot as well, and usually just say sleep is overrated. But you are right, it is all about choices.

    P.S. I am not getting to my stack of books by the bed but I have found that I can fit in audio books (and podcasts of course) while I do other things
    .-= Chris (Amateur Traveler)´s last blog ..Travel News – Plane Oops, Whale Oops, Plane Oops, Whale Hero, Hotel Shooting, Hotel Peeps, Crocs, Crying Babies, The French, Size 28 =-.

  25. FishMama

    Very well said. Thank you.

    I agree that God gives us the strength and the time to do all that we need to do. But, I think that I sometimes lack (or don’t use) the discernment to know what those things should be. My husband says it’s poor time management. I wonder if it’s laziness.
    .-= FishMama´s last blog ..Frugal Friday: Debt-Proof Your Christmas =-.

  26. Lisa@WhatFeedsMySoul

    Great post.. yes, so much we all do and so much we don’t…

    I don’t sew my own clothes, though I want to. I clothes for my kids either. I don’t travel. I don’t go for walks every single day. I don’t have romantic dates with my hubby (but we really should!). I don’t work on taking pictures as much as I want.

    Oh, there is so much more.. many things I can think of that I don’t do, that I think about and often want to, but don’t.
    .-= Lisa@WhatFeedsMySoul´s last blog ..freedom and expression =-.

  27. HobbyMommy

    What a great post! So needed for me on this exact day! I just got back from the doctor where I was given meds and orders to rest!! I know when I’m getting sick and I pushed myself right on into bronchitis instead of resting when I started to feel poor! I don’t get to take good care of myself, which I must change immediately… I don’t set myself as a priority! I get lots done, but some days I see clearly that I miss some of the joys of my kids and my husband because I’m busy getting things done. Thanks for the reminder…. I will rest and think about needed changes!
    .-= HobbyMommy´s last blog ..Here in WV! =-.

  28. Josie

    I loved this post. I find that my real life friends tend to assume I can do it all…I liken it to the great Wizard of Oz and tell them that if they would only look behind the curtain they would see that I am no different than anyone else. It is about the things we choose to do and learn about.
    I could have written this post…except I don’t do some things you do and do some things you don’t. Yep, as you said so well it’s all about the choices. As well as the season we’re in.
    Thanks so much for saying so well what we all should remember.
    .-= Josie´s last blog ..Working Together =-.

  29. Amy

    I had visited your blog a few times and then finally subscribed a week ago. This post was the divine intervention I needed. I am sitting at my laptop, tearing up. It is so valuable for me to read all of the comments from these amazing women about all that doesn’t get done. I think its so normal for women to compare ourselves to others and sometimes the blogosphere just adds to that in a bad way. I feel like there is always more to do. But here I am, I am Amy and…
    I don’t iron
    I don’t get to my laundry in a timely manner, in fact if I could hire someone to just come and fold and put laundry away, I would be a happy woman.
    I don’t spend time with friends like I want to
    I don’t make my interests a priority in my relationship with my spouse

    but I do…
    garden, blog, craft, play with my baby.

    Thanks again!
    .-= Amy´s last blog ..this weekend’s big score =-.

  30. Beth@Not a Bow in Sight

    I don’t watch that much TV (“The Office” and “Lost”)
    I don’t can my own food or grow it.
    I don’t bake my own bread (I tried for a couple months and decided it’s not my season right now)
    I don’t keep my house perfectly clean

    I do workout five days a week
    I do go see a friend once a week.
    .-= Beth@Not a Bow in Sight´s last blog ..My Last Baby =-.

  31. Mandi @ Organizing Your Way

    I have a post like this planned for next week because I’ve been getting a lot of comments and emails asking me the same thing lately, and I was basically going to say the exact same thing. For us, the big one is we don’t leave the house during the week. It takes SO long to get three little ones ready, out the door, drive “to town” and get everyone settled when we get home. Staying home (which is easy for me because I’m a homebody) is the number one reason I’m able to get so much done, I’m sure!
    .-= Mandi @ Organizing Your Way ´s last blog ..Organizing Your Feed Reader =-.

    • Kika

      I also look at my agenda before each week begins and block out two days to STAY HOME. We are definitely a busy family and this time at home makes a huge difference not only in the amount of work I get accomplished, but also in my mental well-being.

  32. Adrienne

    Tsh, I have been so utterly blessed by reading this blog (and your personal one too!). Yet, with all the inspiring blog posts you write it is easy to forget that you are human too, and a mom striving for excellence and simplicity like all the rest of us. Thank you for being honest and real with us and for the reminder that we are all on a personal journey.

    – I don’t fold socks, underwear, pajamas, or t-shirts.
    – I haven’t worked out in months, and
    – I don’t play with my kids as much as I would like either!

  33. Morgan

    This is a wonderful post. I consciously make an effort in my life to not “keep up with the Joneses”, but sometimes I can feel myself being sucked into guilt and defensiveness when other people inquire about the weeds in my front yard for instance. It’s then that I forget to remind myself WHY I make the choices that I do, and why I should be proud of it!

    I don’t sew, even though I have a place for things that need sewing.
    I don’t garden, even though I would love to and dream about it often.
    I don’t clean the house up before we go to bed, because I’d rather spend time with my husband.
    I don’t shower every day, because sometimes I just cannot drag myself out of bed early enough.
    I don’t take a walk with the family every day to the library, even though we always say we will.
    I don’t grow my own food, even though I also dream about it.
    I don’t decorate my home, because I believe in saving up before buying things.

  34. Lisa

    Excellent post. Such great truth here. These thoughts have been rattling around in my head a lot lately…that for every thing I choose to do, there is something I am choosing not to do. My “nots” are similar to yours – I keep a picked up and tidy house, but not always CLEAN. I don’t spend enough time just playing and being silly with my kids. I almost never watch TV. I don’t read much. I don’t garden. I don’t scrapbook. I don’t sew. I don’t sleep or exercise as much as I should. I’m reading a great book right now (Margin, by Richard Swenson) to help me rethink my “dos” and “don’ts” as I head into a new school year.

  35. Candice Kingston

    I liked your post and can definitely relate! I remember your husband had commented once before about priorities. It is something we discuss frequently at my house. I can’t do it all and I am fine with that. Last night, I had our old nanny come and clean the house, do the laundry and cook dinner, because I work full time and my husband has been sick and out of commission for 3 whole weeks! When my husband commented how great everything was, I kept it my little secret… finally, though, when he asked where I got the recipe for the chicken – I had to break down and say, “Do you really think I could be here making playdough with kids… having just cleaned the whole house, done the laundry, and cooked dinner?: Iam not super woman!” We both had a good laugh, and just said one word: “Lidia” She is our saving grace!

  36. Chele

    Tsh… I just love you! You are real, I feel like I just touched your arm to make sure you were real, LOL! It makes me smile when I read someones blog that is sharing the real them… That is exactly why I changed to my new blog and blog title ( My old blog’s title (proverbs31homekeeper) was definitely not me, it made me feel like you all would expect more than I can give or perceive me as someone I am not! It absolutely is impossible for any woman to be a Proverbs 31 woman we can try our best but will never be that perfect! Thanks for sharing the real you!

    I don’t clip coupons
    I don’t always remember the grocery list
    I definitely don’t spend enough time with my children
    I am not organized, oh how I wish I was!
    I do not sew
    I do not always have the right words come out of my mouth
    I do not have enough time in the day to read everyone’s blogs I want to!
    I do not like to cook!
    I do not take a shower every day either!
    But I do know I am not perfect and no one is!! That is why God loves each one of us the way we are!
    I will be sharing this post with others!!

  37. LaToya

    I often hear the same thing when people learn that I’m a single mom and full-time law student. What they don’t realize for me is that if the house is clean, laundry done and I’m spending time with the boys that means that my school work didn’t get done and the other way around too.
    .-= LaToya´s last blog ..Cooking with Kids =-.

    • Trish

      I’m a full-time student too, with an 11-yr old, and two twenty-somethings (both away at school) and a husband that spends most of his time at his business. It’s tough and everyone asks “how do you do it?”. Fact is , I don’t, WE do. Between running my little one around to soccer and scouts and commuting an hour each way to school, my house isn’t clean and the majority of my life is a day late and a dollar short. If it weren’t for my husband shopping for food, making bag lunches and doing the laundry, we wouldn’t eat or have clean clothes. I do my homework in the wee hours of the morning because that’s when I can get it done. But, WE have both decided that school is a priority right now and so that’s how it is. It is a sacrifice and the other stuff will just have to go undone for a while.

  38. Cathie

    Good post. When I was younger, and a single mom with 5 kids and no child support, I worked 2 jobs and went to school. Whenever people said to me, “I don’t know how you do it…” I would get tremendous anxiety, because I would think of all the things that weren’t getting my attention- the house mostly, and feel like I was a fraud. I think it’s important to allow yourself to not do everything and be ok with it.
    I also don’t shower every day. Most days, but not every day.

  39. Heather

    I loved this post! So refreshing. Freeing, even.

    One don’t of mine: I don’t scrapbook. Everyone around me seems to do it, but it’s just too time consuming (and expensive!). I’ll just print my family blog with Blurb. Good enough.

    And I’m learning that’s the key with some things – good enough. Like Michael J. Fox said, “Excellence I can reach for; perfection is God’s business.”
    .-= Heather´s last blog ..Take Me Away! =-.

  40. turnitupmom

    Thank you for being honest and real. I must say that whenever I visit here, I think, wow! Tsh does it all. How on earth does she do it?

    I don’t have a daily schedule and every 2-3 weeks, someone comes to clean my house. I have surrendered that task in favor of more time playing! Life is just too short to scrub toilets.
    .-= turnitupmom´s last blog ..A Different Vacation =-.

  41. Ann

    Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful post!

  42. lorchick

    i absolutely do NOT sort socks.
    i do not do all my hobbies at once. it tends to be one or another. i do almost everything in that regard, but never at the same time. there are always several talents being ignored. some of them are definitely my best talents, but I am instead doing the things that have the most instant gratification a lot. I do feel guilty about that sometimes.
    i do not visit my friends as much as i should.
    i do not come up with activities for my daughter as often as i should
    i do not leave the house as much as i should… LOL
    .-= lorchick´s last blog ..break =-.

  43. Denise C.

    Wonderful post!

    I don’t:
    – say yes enough
    -play or read to my kids enough
    -spend enough alone time with just my husband
    – iron (laundry yes, iron no!)
    -seek God out enough (something I am trying to work on.)
    – have fun (I’m a bit of a serious freak!)

    I’m sure there is a ton more that I don’t do, these
    though are at the top of my list.

  44. june

    I needed this today. We’re letting go of our nanny/housecleaner today for a number of reasons, and I am scrambling to get my office work done on my “last day of freedom”.
    My “do list” is going back to the basic SAHM list, I clean the house, I play with my kid, I do obscene amounts of laundry, I take lots of pictures of the kid, I cook my family dinner, and if I’m awake at the end of the day, I blog. I stick to my marathon training schedule, which takes away from sleep…
    I don’t…reach out to my neighbors and make new friends, keep up with organizing/filing, remember birthdays and anniversaries, ever cook anything new, garden/grow my own food, and I have a large closet full of yarn and knitting needles that will probably never ever see the light of day again.

  45. Jennie

    Fabulous post! We just had our third boy and I’m trying to decide what I do and don’t do, because if I try to pack in too much, the important things fall by the wayside. Thanks for the great reminder.

  46. Heather Allard


    I had to laugh too because I get this question all the time. You’re absolutely right about every choice being a choice to DO something and NOT do something else.

    Your post reminds me of a quote I heard some time ago & I’ve forgotten who said it…

    “Mothers CAN do it all. Just not all at once.”

    Thank you for yet another beautifully meaningful post.
    .-= Heather Allard´s last blog ..How To Get On Television Part II =-.

  47. Barbara

    My list just got a little longer since having a baby. I don’t send birthday cards on time. Sometimes not at all. I want this to be a DO.
    .-= Barbara´s last blog ..What will we write about? =-.

  48. minnesota:madre

    Great to see this post, from you the super daily docket woman who is supposed to be getting me organized!:)
    I don’t always get my three MIT things done.
    I don’t make my bed.
    I don’t “do” my hair most days.
    I’m not always prepared for dinner.
    Any many more.
    Thanks for keeping it real.
    .-= minnesota:madre´s last blog ..friends =-.

  49. Raelyn's mom

    After my beautiful daughter and I came home from the hospital:
    0 I don’t get on my hands and knees to scrub the bathroom floors
    o I can’t remember the last time I vaccuumed behind the bedroom dresser
    o I don’t cook those dishes that take all day: like homemade lasagna with made from scratch noodles and sauce – cans and boxes are my friends.
    o I no longer write just for fun
    o My boxes and bags of craft supplies lay underneath boxes of outgrown newborn clothes – and there they will stay
    o I no longer take as much work home
    o I no longer weed the garden every week

    Things I DO do:
    o I DO leave laundry in the washing machine – waiting to be transferred into the dryer (or sometimes rewashed when sleep comes between cycles)
    o I DO clean a room every night after she falls asleep so my weekends can have more play time
    o I DO read to her every night
    o I DO spend an hour with her every day responding to what ever new game or skill or face or sound her little 9 month old face wants to show me
    o I DO pray during my commute (for guidance, for strength, for a clean shirt for the next day!)
    0 I DO have new admiration for those friends who respond to the facebook notes I leave at 3:00 am…
    o I DO remember my mothers’ two favorite embroidered pillow quotes
    when the noise of my to – do list gets overpowering: “Quiet down cobwebs, dust go to sleep..I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep. ”
    “Every day, we must love something, clean something, finish something, and feed something. If we do, we are a success.”
    Wishing you all quieter dust bunnies and more successful days.

    • jj

      love your mom’s quotes. made me cry. and the one hour with your your baby – I will try that. Mine is also 9mnths and i try to drink in every moment i have with him, but i feel the time spent with him is idle (nothing gets done) – but its a moment invested into eternity.

    • Morgan

      wonderful outlook…those quotes gave me shivers…I need to borrow them!

    • Jennifer

      Those quotes are fantastic. I have new mottos to live by.

    • NiceMatters

      Thanks to your mother for her wisdom and to you for sharing it. This definition of success fits perfectly!

  50. heidi

    Great post – you know, I was actually going to send you an email asking you the SAME thing. 😉 I am such a sanquine that I get so excited about a project and don’t always finish it straight away before getting geared up for the NEXT one. Ha!
    One think that I have started DO-ing is writing down EVERYTHING. That way if an idea pops in my head, I don’t have to worry about tackling it right away, I write it down and take comfort in the fact that it will get done or I will think about it more eventually. That way I can continue in the present moment and not get so distracted.
    .-= heidi´s last blog ..Home Exterior Facelift =-.

  51. Beth Young

    I don’t recycle. And my husband works for an Environmental Firm as a Consultant. It’s horrible and it was our NY’s resolution. I hate clutter so much and we have no garage. It would have to sit on our deck and I don’t want to look at it. So selfish!

  52. 3mily

    i almost never vacuum
    don’t grow my own food
    don’t watch TV
    don’t work out enough (then again i’m 7 months pregnant and have an 18 month old)
    rarely do much with my hair or makeup
    don’t have any clever home-based or out of home businesses, literally i just raise my kids at this point
    .-= 3mily´s last blog ..don’t miss this series =-.

  53. Rachel

    Wow, this is so gooooood! Thank you so much for writing it.
    I think it’s hard when we read so many blogs, see so many people’s homes and it’s really difficult to put it all in perspective.
    I don’t can – wish I could but my dh does some things so I don’t feel so terrible about it.
    I don’t use reuseable bags at the grocery store – dh doesn’t want to and I love my marriage.
    I don’t eat enough healthy food – I’m working at it.
    I don’t put my photos in scrapbooks – I’m so disappointed in myself.
    I don’t have a decorated house – I’m trying – just hung a plate yesterday!
    I don’t have enough time in the day to make my list….

  54. Fabiola

    This post hit home. Until recently I was a mom, wife, college student, and intern at a TV station. Everyone always asked me how in the world did I do everything. However, like you mentioned it was a big overstatement: my home wasn’t always tidy, we did a lot of take-out or salad and pasta, I didn’t had time to go out with my girlfriends as much as I would’ve liked, and I didn’t sleep enough or worked out as much as I was used to when I was in the rowing team (something I had to give up).

    Now, after graduation and with a newborn at home… I am in one-day-at-a-time-mode. I do make sure that every moment I stay in the moment, by remembering that as long as we ate, got dressed and smiled everything else can wait… for now at least 🙂

  55. Tabitha

    I love this post! I have been in a season of purging (activities and “stuff”) for over a year now and I still struggle because I want to do MORE, but have to keep stepping back and saying, “But what would that take AWAY from?” I realized that DOING so much meant time away from my home and family and time from self-care. As moms, we tend to put ourselves last so the more we DO, the less time we have for US. It really is about seasons of life, too, and all of us are in different seasons. For now, with a newborn and a preschoolers and no car, I am limited. And that’s OK! I’m enjoying the slower pace!
    What I DON’T do:
    I just turned down nursery duty, a mentoring program and an outreach program at church, despite them all being things I’d like to be involved in.
    I don’t sew.
    I don’t cook fancy or elaborate meals.
    I don’t dust. OK, I rarely dust and some spots haven’t seen a duster in years!
    I don’t work any direct sales businesses.
    I don’t vacuum thoroughly (my hubby does).
    I don’t have my cards on consignment in a local shop.
    I don’t host weekly playdates.
    I don’t work on my novel.
    I don’t stay up late.
    I don’t go to every home party I’m invited to.
    I don’t watch much TV or movies.
    I don’t get manicures or pedicures (I do them at home)
    I don’t drink or smoke
    I don’t eat junk
    BUT…I also don’t go on enough dates with my husband or get together with girlfriends enough.
    So, y’know, it’s a balancing act!
    Thanks for this post–I linked to it from my Facebook account so my friends would read it! 🙂
    .-= Tabitha´s last blog ..Friday’s Fave Five #19 =-.

  56. Meghan

    Great post. I get that comment from friends sometimes, too. I think that the problem with the question/comment is that it makes you *feel* like you *need* to do everything. I have a real problem with feeling like it’s okay to do nothing sometimes 🙂

    I don’t: spend enough time with my family, keep my dog off the couch when we leave, sleep enough, exercise enough, drink enough water, keep my house very clean, remember birthdays (ever since I had my son), read enough!

  57. prerna

    Love this post.. I’m guilty of wanting to do it all and then simply burning out when I get swamped.. So here ‘s what I do now, after having my darlin’daughter.
    I keep the house reasonably tidy
    I do laundry everyday
    I do write online for pleasure and work
    I do spend all my evenings with husband and child
    I do cook andbake from scratch and love it
    I do pray for wisdom, strength and the ability to see the dust!
    I don’t go out with friends for lunches and movies that often
    I don’t take time to work out (wud be changing that)
    I do love reading such blogs that make me feel real and normal!
    .-= prerna´s last blog ..Being A Writer : Upfront Paying Opportunity At eCopywriters =-.

  58. pam shensky

    I really enjoyed the honesty you displayed. Young mothers do not need anymore pressure than already exists. I have five children, four are in their 20’s, and I remember feeling like I never could get it all done – society tries to make you feel that way. The illusion is even more pronounced now with the starburst of technology. I feel really bad for young mothers having to be exposed to all of the “untruths” out there.Anyway, thank you for being so honest. I love the idea of the “negative” list. I have one also, but it would take too much time and energy to write. LOL

  59. Stephanie @ Keeper of the Home

    So true, Tsh! I wrote on this on my blog not so long ago (, as I am often asked the same thing. I entirely agree that for all of the things that I do, there are so many more that I simply do not have the time to do. It’s very much about our priorities and the choices we make, and I don’t think there are any women out there who truly “do it all”. I know that I certainly don’t!

    Yes, I run a blog/business, I write ebooks, I homeschool my children, I study nutrition, I cook and bake from scratch (and with healthy, whole foods), I garden organically, I do lots of food preserving, I’m active in my local church, and I spend a lot of time with my husband and kids.

    However, I don’t watch tv, or very many movies. I don’t have a car during the weekdays, so we don’t go on many outings, playdates, etc. I don’t have much time to just sit and relax in the evenings- I’m usually doing things that didn’t get done during the day! I don’t spend much time out, visiting with friends, much as I would love to. Though I cook from scratch, I don’t cook fancy or particularly elegant meals. I try to keep my home tidy and relatively clean, but it is never spotless nor does it look like it belongs in a magazine (and it has it’s fair share of messy days, I assure you!). I can’t be bothered with much yard maintenance or flower gardening. I don’t take naps and can’t remember the last time I’ve taken a bath (but don’t worry- I still shower, lol!). I don’t exercise, aside from cleaning, gardening and running after little ones. 🙂

    Thanks for addressing this myth! I think this is something that really needs to be discussed, particularly in the blogosphere where the temptation to compare ourselves to other women and all that they “do” is so great, but can be so destructive!
    .-= Stephanie @ Keeper of the Home´s last blog ..How My Garden Grows: July =-.

  60. mimi

    well said. it doesn’t matter how many hours i have, i do get to choose what i do with those hours.
    i don’t exercise
    i dont’ shower even every other day.
    i don’t clean well.
    i don’t finish books (but just discovered that audio books work well coupled with laundry folding after kids are asleep)
    i don’t have a decorated home.
    i don’t get enough sleep
    i don’t spend enough time away from my children.

    but i do grow our food with my children, cook from scratch, play well with my children, take photos, knit and read with my children.

  61. Marcy

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! That was a message that I needed to hear and you said it so well. Figuring out that balance is one of the toughest things. I appreciate the reminder and knowing that others face it as well.
    .-= Marcy´s last blog ..I should have known… =-.

  62. Mama K

    love this post! there is a lot I don’t do…

    * mop my floors as often as I should
    * a structured preschool program, even though I’d like to
    * read the piles of books I have sitting around

  63. delia

    thanks. i needed that.
    .-= delia´s last blog .. =-.

  64. Dominique

    I don’t grow my own food also. It all comes from the nearby supermarket. The house is not cleaned daily but as and when I get time. I do the laundry daily though with two little kids the clothes really pile up.
    I too would like to read all the books that I bought and have yet to read.
    .-= Dominique´s last blog ..Weekend Reflection- Mother and child bond =-.

  65. Teresa

    I don’t:
    * sort laundry – everything belonging to one person just gets all tossed in together
    * dust
    * vacuum more than every other week – the baby screams – it isn’t worth it
    * weed or mulch the flower beds
    * comb my children’s hair every day
    * wear makeup or style my hair
    * scrapbook, keep a baby book, or take many photos of the kids
    Thank you – I feel much better for having said so!

  66. kari

    I don’t have a myspace, a facebook or a twitter account.

    I don’t exercise.

    I don’t sleep as much as I’d like.
    .-= kari´s last blog ..sunshine on my shoulders. =-.

  67. Ann-Marie

    Hi there Tch.
    Thanks a mil for writing this post. Brilliant insight.
    When I first had my daughter I always used to ask “How do I do it all?” Then I realised that I was asking the wrong question…
    “Do I choose this?” is a heck more useful to me in my life.

    I don’t beat myself up anymore about the things that remain on my ‘ to do’ lists
    I do acknowledge my progress as I take baby steps towards getting them done.
    There will always be incompletions so I tell myself ‘Don’t sweat the small stuff’
    .-= Ann-Marie´s last blog ..How I dare to ignore the recession. =-.

  68. Ann-Marie

    Hi there Tch.
    Thanks a mil for writing this post. Brilliant insight.
    When I first had my daughter I always used to ask “How do I do it all?” Then I realised that I was asking the wrong question…
    “Do I choose this?” is a heck more useful to me in my life.
    I don’t beat myself up anymore about the things that remain on my ‘ to do’ lists
    I do acknowledge my progress as I take baby steps towards getting them done.
    There will always be incompletions so I tell myself ‘Don’t sweat the small stuff’
    .-= Ann-Marie´s last blog ..How I dare to ignore the recession. =-.

  69. Ann-Marie

    Hi there Tch.
    Thanks a mil for writing this post. Brilliant insight.
    When I first had my daughter I always used to ask “How do I do it all?” Then I realized that I was asking the wrong question…
    “Do I choose this?” is a heck more useful to me in my life.
    I don’t beat myself up anymore about the things that remain on my ‘ to do’ lists
    I do acknowledge my progress as I take baby steps towards getting them done.
    There will always be incompletions so I tell myself ‘Don’t sweat the small stuff’
    .-= Ann-Marie´s last blog ..How I dare to ignore the recession. =-.

  70. Morgan

    I have thoroughly enjoyed reading everyone’s contributions! Mine are the same as alot of y’alls:

    Don’t exercise (that’s changing starting today tho, really!)
    Don’t keep great financial records/goals
    Don’t do hair, makeup, or even shower every day
    Don’t keep up with the dishes, dust, weeds or laundry as much as I’d like
    Don’t contribute to my community much
    Don’t scrap, keep babybooks, or have pro photos of the girls made each month
    Don’t always rinse out the paintbrush 🙂

    Keep a veggie and herb garden
    Can or otherwise preserve our produce
    Homeschool a K-er and a preK-er, with a 10 month old on my hip
    Sew most of my home decor, 3 daughters’ dresses, as well as most gifts
    Bake and Cook
    Read to the girls at least 30 mins every day
    Have regular dates with my husband
    Shop yardsales and thrift for most of our needs
    Refinish furniture for my house

  71. Brandi

    Well said! I couldn’t agree more that we need to learn to say no to some things. The dirty dishes and laundry are so patient. They’ll be waiting for us tomorrow or whenever we get to them! 🙂
    My friend started a meme that you might be interested in. It’s called Mommy Moment Monday in which we celebrate the things we’ve done right through the course of the week. Maybe you did an activity with your child that was great. maybe you have a good idea for how to motivate your kids…what ever it may be.
    Here’s a link if you want to participate:
    I’ve done a post myself for Mommy Monday…some summer classes that moms might find helpful for their children. You can click here if you are interested in reading about them:
    anyway, thanks again for the perspective!
    Have a nice day!

  72. Heather

    Wow, this was a great post. I am a new mom and am always looking to older, wiser mothers for inspiration and encouragement on how to be better at my role. Hearing you humbly admit that you don’t actually do it all helps me in my pursuit of ‘working hard with my hands’. Also, I love distinguishing a difference between excellence and perfection, one which is attainable and the latter, well…not.

  73. Kim

    Wow, there’s a lot of things I don’t do like…I don’t weed, I don’t cook as healthy as I’d like, I don’t write as much as I’d like, I don’t clean my house like I should, and I don’t read as much as I’d like to. But my do’s are much better… I do let my kids have an extra popsicles, I do give extra hugs & kisses, and I do tell my family I love them everyday – at least 10 times, and I do love my life!

  74. Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship

    It is important to realize that we can’t do it all…but I admit that sometimes I still want to try! It’s sad that so many of us (myself included) sacrifice sleep for our other pursuits. So much research says that we need our 8 hours of shuteye. It’s the one area of health that I continue to ignore, unfortunately. There’s just so much to do! 😉 Katie
    .-= Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship´s last blog ..Two Winners, Nine Days…A Celebration of 29 Happy Birthday Giveaway! =-.

  75. Sarah

    Thanks for sharing/admitting your “don’t do” list. It helps me feel normal and empowered. I do have the ability to choose where I focus my energy and attention. I get so caught up sometimes in the negative, focusing on all the stuff that I don’t do but think I should. I need to remind myself more often of the things I do do and why I’ve chosen to do them. The trade-off I struggle with the most is: I don’t want to work outside the home and would rather focus my time and energy on taking care of my family and keeping a clean, well-organized home, but I do want my family to have a house, food, clothing and health care, and need to work to provide those things. Time to go make my “do list,” which is much more uplifting than the never ending “to-do list.”

  76. Katie

    I think there is one thing we all ought to stop doing: comparing ourselves to other people! Even listing what we do and don’t do doesn’t tell much. All we can do is examine our own choices and priorities. If we’re happy with them, then what does it matter what someone else does or does not do? No one else will guard our time the way we do.

  77. renee @ FIMBY

    A whole bunch of things I don’t do. I wrote a similar post some time ago:

    You remind us of a very good point. For everything we DO do, there is something we don’t. I have to remember this each time I ohh, ahh and feel insecure looking at another homemaker/mama/homeschooler is another space.

  78. Nicole

    Thank you so much for writing this, Tsh! You’re so right, NO ONE can do it all. But we can all do the best we can and be happy with that. Despite all that you don’t do–I’m still very inspired by all you DO do! It’s still pretty amazing!
    .-= Nicole´s last blog ..Building a Container for Creativity =-.

  79. Jana (sidetrack'd)

    Thanks for sharing this post. It’s a great reminder that none of us can do it all (even though we often think that “she” is).
    .-= Jana (sidetrack’d)´s last blog ..Contemplating a new hobby =-.

  80. Susan

    I’ve never understood people who say they homeschool their preschooler? That’s called being a Mom. I don’t mean to sound snippety or anything but this just strikes me as odd. I taught my preschooler her letters, colors, how to make friends, do puzzles and how to dig up the dinosaur bones at the local museum. It would’ve never occurred to me to call that “homeschooling.”

    • Tsh

      Yes, I would never call that homeschooling, either.

      I think what I mean by that is doing actual curriculum. We’re doing Five in a Row as part of school at home. My daughter loves it, and it only takes a little time each day. We call it school because she just loves the idea of being in school.

      As of now, we plan on homeschooling for Kindergarten, so it just falls in line for us to start off slowly with what we have planned for 2010-11.

      Each family is different, for sure. This is what we’re doing, and it works well for us.

  81. Sarah

    You know something? I’ve carried around guilt for nearly 3 years, since the birth of my first daughter, for all the things I don’t do. From guilt for not doing a drug-free birth, to guilt for not always having a clean house, and beyond. Your post has relieved so much of that guilt. Because you’ve helped me to see that what I do choose to do, I do it really, really well, and with joy and enthusiasm.
    .-= Sarah´s last blog ..Decisions =-.

  82. Tyna

    When a person so rarely divulges shortcomings or problems, there’s an aura that the person can “do it all”.

  83. Stephanie

    Even with the “donts,” you sure do a lot. I’m impressed. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing your heart and being honest.

    Here are a few things I DON’T do:
    * I don’t garden.
    * I don’t cloth diaper.
    * I don’t sew.
    * I don’t tweet very often.
    * I don’t have pets.
    * I don’t watch TV.
    * I don’t get enough sleep.
    .-= Stephanie´s last blog ..How much does it cost to have a baby? =-.

  84. Ali @ Modern Shower Curtains

    They do say that the job of a full-time parent would net a six figure income if a monetary value were to be set on it! Very nice read.

  85. NiceMatters

    I need to revisit this post every day. Everything we choose to do leaves something undone. Thank you for these wise words. I’m encouraged by the choices I do make!

  86. Jodie

    I recently had major foot surgery and was bedridden for several weeks, and am only slowly being able to get around. This has MADE me slow down, and give up control in some much-needed ways:
    1. I don’t garden (never did, other than a few potted herbs)
    2. I cook from scratch a lot less than I used to (only around 3 nights a week now..)
    3. I don’t clean much, usually you can tell it.
    4. I don’t exercise at all right now, which frees up time
    5. I don’t declutter my house like I should and really want to
    6. I don’t play with my kids enough..
    7. I don’t shop much (unless you count online) because it’s too hard with crutches and not as much fun..

    Going to stop this now and go hang out with my family.. 😉

  87. Trophyme

    Tsh : are you a real woman or is that the name of a team of amazing women ?
    Just a curiosity of mine

  88. Josefa

    We’re all given 24 hours in a day, a body that requires rest, and a finite number in our bank accounts.

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