Thursday, June 9, 2011

Things I Don't Do

I spend an awful lot of time on this blog writing about things I do in my home with my family. It occurred to me the other day that some people might get the impression that we do an awful lot. I think though that a stranger spending time in my house might be more struck by the things we don't do than with all our activities. the interest of honesty and openness, I decided to make a list of some of the surprising activities that don't go on in our home. Some of them are things I'm heartily ashamed of and hope to do better as time goes on, but there are other things in the list that I am content with. Their absence reflects our family values and I'm willing to risk criticism from others for the sake of the time, focus, and energy it buys me. There are also some items that lie somewhere in the middle

I've decided not to tell you which are which. You might be able to guess my feelings on a few, but something inside me makes me feel it is better not to tell. I think partly because it will give me the courage to be more open, but also because the purpose of this post is not to make you feel judged for what you decide is or is not important for your family. I would rather this post serve as a reminder that you don't HAVE to do everything the magazines and parenting books recommend. Also, I think it's nice to hear, just every once in a while, another voice admit they don't have it all together.

Some of the Things We Don't Do at our House:

1. Cook every night. We eat a lot of leftovers.

2. Spend time on holiday traditions that are not personally meaningful to us. It shocks a lot of people that we don't even put up a Christmas tree or set out Easter baskets.

3. Put away laundry right away. It often sits until it is a thoroughly wrinkled, schmushed blob.

4. Baby sign language.

5. Keep a well manicured lawn. In fact right now, because we are experiencing a drought our grass is crispy brown.

6. Bathe my children every day.

7. Keep up with the news.

8. Do many child enrichment activities outside the home. (Baby swim lessons, Kindermusic, library story times, etc)

9. Take great pains to avoid exposure to germs. We don't use a grocery cart seat cover, and I generally only disinfect very dirty things.

10. Keep up with all the latest child health studies.

11. Bake from scratch very frequently- Despite having a great bread machine and a mother who has taught me time and time again her secrets for wonderful pie crusts.

12. Sweep under my toddler's high chair after every meal - despite her less-than-neat habits.

13. Fold my children's dresser clothes. seriously. I hang up all of their dresses in the closet, but everything else ends up in the drawers exactly how I throw them.

14. Take my children to the doctor unless they are due for a check-up or are very, very sick.

Well, those are the things that come to mind...I know there are more. :-)

This post is part of Works for Me Wednesday.
If you have the inclination, I think I would be really interested to hear some of the things you don't do in your home (whether deliberately or not). Please share them in the comments section to give us all comfort and food for thought!


Janet Warmath Klos said...

Oh my goodness! This is SO my "don't do list"!

Helen said...

I don't sweep under the high chair either.
Or fold laundry quickly.
I don't clean when I could be playing with my daughter.
We don't childproof the house.
Unless she can hurt herself or really break something, we don't tell her no so that she can learn and explore.

maryanne @ mama smiles said...

Sounds a lot like my "things we don't do" list!

Christine Gould said...

Yep, a lot of those are mine, too (though not all).  Right now I'm struggling with the fact that my kids don't sleep at their grandparents' houses (other than our one experiment last weekend, which won't be repeated any time soon).  I don't care that they don't, but I feel like I should care!  I also think I should play more music for the boys during the day . . . but I don't.  (You didn't ask us to say how we felt about it, but that's what comes to mind!)

Sandi said...

My four-month-old has had exactly 4 baths.  And I just shove their clothes in the dresser too--they're almost too small to really wrinkle.

Heather Hanson said...

Many of ours are the same, too. I might add to our list that we don't watch tv--our girls might watch a short children's DVD once or twice a month. And we don't go to Wednesday night services at church--there's only so much running around you can do before it takes away from your family time.

This post is a fun one to see! I think we often have unrealistic ideas of how perfect other homemakers & moms are, when we're really all so similar and have our own faults (and strengths too).   :)

Stephenie Pyles said...

Great list! :-) We have many of the same things on our list. It drives my mother-in-law crazy that I let the clean laundry pile up on the couch! LOL Our children don't get baths everyday, either. With 6 children, we probably wouldn't be able to afford the water bill that would create! I admire you for your honesty and openness. Kudos to you. :-)

Karen said...

Hey, did you copy my list?! Well, except for #7. I'm kind of a news junkie.

My mother-in-law is still horrified that we don't bathe our girls every day. However, one of my daughters has eczema and her dermatologist told me NOT to bathe her unless she gets filthy playing outside. So it's nice to have a medical professional on my side on that issue. ;)

My deep dark confession: I will not read a children's book aloud more than once a day and I do not care how cute it is. If a little one wants the book read again, she can try an older sister or her daddy. This Mom has a "once and done" policy. I'll read a different book but not the same one.

Aimee said...

We have a lot of the same. One thing that we don't do that often gets us puzzled looks from others is we don't put much (if any) emphasis on our kids making friends with children outside of our family. Our kids are each others best friends and we love it that way.

Brandi Kilburn said...

I just found your blog today, and I'm glad I did. I'm enjoying it greatly!

Erin Adams said...

I don't do a lot of these things, either.  Like #3, 5-10, 12& 13, also there are toys on the floor & dishes on the counter almost all the time.  I rarely clean my (very dirty) stove.  I don't shower every day.  We don't make the beds.  And I am sure so much more...

Havingfunathome said...

haha! I definitely identify with that sanity saver!

ajpassey said...

My daughter has eczema, too! And we don't bathe everyday for that reason. 

ajpassey said...

I think it's interesting to see how our own interests play into what we choose to do. I adore the library and love to take my kids there. I also love to bake and most things are from scratch. But that's how I choose to spend time with my kids. I don't like playing outside. I also rarely clean, sweep or vacuum. I practically never mop or wash windows. And as for children's dresser drawers, the clothes are "folded" and tossed in by my kids, even the two year old.

ajpassey said...

Oh yeah, I don't childproof either. And I love for kids to explore every day things and learn how to function in an unchildproofed environment so they can be safe anywhere we visit.

mama said...

Oh Thank You! I feel so much better about myself as a parent. I do some of these things but not others. But overall, it is so refreshing to see a list of things that I want very much to do and should 12...but...parenting just gets in the way.  Sigh...

Callie said...

Glad to know I'm not the only one who's kids don't get bathed every day.  That has been one of my deep dark secrets.

Lauriec99 said...

Aside from the cooking, you and I are traveling the same path here!  Glad to see I am not alone...

Patmagill116 said...

speaking as Katey's "mother-in-law",  I am NOT concerned of these issues because I know that she is the best Mom to my granddaughters giving them her love of learning through fun activities and interesting experiences.  These are things that children will remember - not what the mess looked like.

Havingfunathome said...

awww, thanks mom! That's nice!

Elaine Ng Friis said...

Thanks so much for your honest and transparent sharing. Makes me feel so much better, knowing that I am not alone. Here are the things I could add to your list that I don't get to do:

1. Balancing the family accounts at month end - always late.
2. Do, hang and fold laundry.
3. Take the rubbish out.
4. Wash the toilet.
5. Vacuum, sweep and wash the floor.
6. Go shopping for clothes.
7. Bathe Joshua or change his diapers.
8. Cut Joshua's nails.
9. Clean Joshua's nose and ears.
10. Cut Joshua's hair.
11. Buy shoes for Joshua.
12. Go for building management meeting.
13. Get up-to-date about our insurance.
14. Wash our car.
15. Water the plant and caring for them.
16. Washing the floor of our balcony.
17. Cleaning our windows.
18. Watching TV.
19. Making regular trips to the Dentist.
20. Planning vacation, researching places to visit and checking flight ticket cost - I have lost this skill, since Joshua was born.
21. Going out to chill-out with friends.
22. Wash and change the bed linens. 

Tiera68 said...

I'm so glad to hear that you don't run to the doctor for every little thing.  We are pretty shocked at the amount of running to the ER for every little thing in the town we live in.  My DD who is 18 now has probably only been to the doctor 2 or 3 times in the last 5 years.  When she really needed to go.

Michelle Annette Adams said...

I don't even bathe ME every day. . . 

Julie Hall Weber said...

Seriously?  I just fell in love with your blog because of this list! 

*Note:  First time here, but really, really think this is the best thing I've read in forever!!

Having Fun at Home said...

Haha!  I just noticed this, and it made me laugh!

markham641 said...

This CRACKED me up!!  Thank you for not letting me be the only one who lets laundry stay where it is... all smooshed up. 

Julia MacMillan said...

Oh wow!  I wish more momma bloggers would do one of these posts!  The post was healing as were the comments!   I stay up late to get my internetting done and I feel like I end my days feeling terribly guilty.  How do other moms not only keep immaculate houses, but enrich their children's lives AND find time to blog it?!  I wind up going to bed feeling like an awful wife & mother.  Hearing other parents fess up has been great!