Aug 062014
 

It seems like whenever I write a post about making something from scratch, or doing some creative project perhaps, I receive an email asking me how I “do it all.” Though this is, of course, not the intention, these emails make me feel somewhat guilty because I never want my blog to give anyone the impression that I’m some kind of superwoman. I certainly never want to make anyone feel inadequate. It’s important to me that all of my readers understand that while I have days when I get a lot done and feel pretty awesome, I also have days when I accomplish practically nothing and am still in my pajamas at 2:00 P.M.  I started writing this blog to share the stuff that works for me, in the hope that it might be a help to others, but those of you who’ve been reading for a long time know that there’s also a lot of stuff that doesn’t work….I just don’t write about that as often!

Each of us has areas where we excel, and those where we struggle. I am no different. I have always said that domestic life suits me because I am, by nature, a person who enjoys being at home. Frugality also comes naturally to me – I was thrifty even as a kid. However, there are some things about domestic life that do NOT suit me, and that do not come easily, in spite of years and years of working at them. I have been at home full-time with my children for 11 years, and yet I still have not managed to overcome some of my shortcomings as homemaker.

Reading this blog should not be like looking at a glossy magazine. I have never wanted that, because when I read home and garden magazines I often find myself thinking, “Oh, that’s pretty….but I’ll never do it,” and “Yeah, right. What universe do these people live in?” I want my blog to inspire thoughts of, “This is reasonable, I can do this,” or “I’m so glad I’m not the only one!” It’s intended to be encouraging, to be something that the average tired but well-intentioned woman can relate to. I want it to be a glimpse into real family life, with all its joys, triumphs, and imperfections.

To that end, I would like to share with you a list of what I do, and what I don’t do in my daily life as a wife, parent, and homemaker:

What I Do

-I do cook most of our meals from scratch. I believe this is very important for both health and financial reasons.
-I do manage our family finances with great attention to detail. I itemize all of our receipts (even cash ones) into categories, follow a budget, and balance our checkbooks to the penny every month.
-I do save money every single month. If money is tight, I keep track of what I “owe” to savings so that I can catch up the next month.
-I do clean my house every week.
-I do get creative in the use of leftovers because I hate to waste food.
-I do believe strongly in Biblical equality and the concept of mutual submission, and that men and women are equal partners in marriage. Fortunately my husband believes this as well, and would have it no other way.
-I do bake most of our breads, but when I’m tired or busy I still buy bread from the store.
-I do try to maintain a reasonable level of organization because this is necessary for my sanity.
-I do yell at my kids.
-I do get angry.
-I do give my children chores because I want them to have a good work ethic and make a contribution. My girls now work as a team to do their own laundry, and they don’t mind at all. They actually seem to enjoy it.
-I do try to keep an open mind, and treat people as I would like to be treated.
-I do argue with my husband, though not often. We are remarkably compatible most of the time.
-I do declutter and get rid of stuff at least twice a year.
-I do insist that my children take care of their belongings and keep their rooms in order.
-I do bake and decorate my kids’ birthday cakes.
-I do clean and organize closets, cabinets, and other storage spaces regularly (I am a weirdo who actually enjoys this).
-I do shop at garage sales and thrift stores.
-I do go to church every week, and my children go to Sunday school.
-I do hug my children and tell them I love them every day.
-I do take naps, if not every day, then at least a couple times a week.
-I do try to educate myself about nutrition so I can feed my family a healthy diet.
-I do accept that I’m not perfect, and I’m not always right. I make plenty of mistakes, but I try to learn from them, and not repeat them.
-I do have a sense of humor, and I can be quite sarcastic.
-I do love Jesus.
-I do pray daily.
-I do consider my relationship with my husband to be my top priority after my relationship with God. Fortunately, my husband makes this easy because he’s wonderful to me.
-I do like to try new things to see if I can do them.
-I do make lists and schedules because I am a person who needs structure.
-I do make most, though not all of my own cleaning products.
-I do pitch broken toys in the trash without consulting my children. Also, if they leave stuff laying around after I have repeatedly asked them to pick it up, I take it away and do not give it back.
-I do volunteer for church/school activities occasionally, but I’m extremely selective.
-I do make my children play outside every day if the weather is nice. They are not allowed to sit around on their butts and stare at a screen all day.
-I do live within my means.
-I do enjoy projects that encourage creativity and ingenuity, though I’m not always particularly good at them.
-I do get tired.
-I do enjoy reading, and I consider it to be my main hobby, but I don’t seem to have the time for it anymore. However, there was a time when I read, on average, 100 books a year!
-I do take control of my own time, and I do not allow others to dictate how I spend it (of course, I understand that this would be much more difficult if I worked outside the home).
-I do think carefully before I purchase anything. If I don’t have a place or a purpose for it, I don’t buy it.

What I DON’T Do

(I think this says more about me than what I actually do).
-I don’t sew. Ever.
-I don’t enjoy cleaning, but it’s a necessary evil. I especially hate cleaning the kitchen and bathrooms.
-I don’t care about weeds in my yard. I ask my husband to spray once a year if I remember, but that’s the extent of my efforts.
-I don’t do crafts, except for scrapbooking (and I rarely even manage to do that).
-I don’t watch much television. There are a few beloved shows that I watch over and over, but in general TV holds little appeal for me. This is why I’m unwilling to pay for cable or a satellite dish – I don’t think it’s worth the expense.
-I don’t watch the news more than once a week because I want to be happy. Frankly, I know all I need to know, and even that is too much.
-I don’t let my kids own or play video games. They can play educational games on certain web sites, but that’s it. We do not, nor will we ever own a gaming system of any kind. My children accept this without complaint.
-I don’t allow my kids to have televisions or computers in their rooms because I want them to get adequate sleep, and I also like to see them occasionally, you know.
-I don’t allow my kids to have social media accounts. I may reconsider this when they’re older.
-I don’t let my kids participate in more than two extra-curricular activities at a time.
-I don’t use coupons unless they’re easy to come by. If I can print them online, (or they otherwise fall in my lap), and they’re for something I was going to buy anyway, then great. Otherwise, I don’t bother.
-I don’t spend a lot of time running around in search of bargains.
-I don’t shop for recreation. I only go to the store if we need something.
-I don’t iron. Ever.
-I don’t have Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, or Google+. I also do not have a personal Facebook account, though I do have a page for the blog. The advantage of this is that I can still share things with readers, but the account I use has no friends, apps, games, groups, or likes. Nothing. It simply exists, and with an empty newsfeed it’s quite difficult to waste much time on Facebook.
-I don’t clean my house every day. I try to keep up with dishes and laundry, but there are often baskets of clean clothes sitting around, waiting to be folded, and my counters are always cluttered.
-I don’t read to my kids every day. I have never enjoyed reading aloud.
-I don’t exercise every day, or even every week.
-I don’t read my Bible every day, though I would like to.
-I don’t follow trends. I like for my house to be clean and look nice, but I decorate it to please myself.
-I don’t read newspapers or subscribe to magazines.
-I don’t like a lot of stuff sitting around. I’m actually quite minimalistic.
-I don’t like gardening. I used to like it more, but that was before I had 3 kids. Now we plant pumpkins, and sometimes herbs, and call it good.
-I don’t buy everything organic. Right now I buy the “dirty dozen” fruits and vegetables organic, and I also buy organic rice. That’s it.
-I don’t buy my children toys unless it’s their birthday, Christmas, or another gift-giving holiday. I refuse to live in a house that looks like a Toys-R-Us exploded.
-I don’t wear makeup daily, and I almost never do anything with my hair except brush it.
-I don’t obsess over food. I think some people take diets to almost fanatical extremes these days, and it’s disturbing.
-I don’t hire people to do things that I’m capable of doing myself just as well.
-I don’t belong to any wholesale buying clubs, such as Sam’s Club or Costco. I don’t think the prices are remarkable enough to justify the membership fee.
-I don’t read blogs, with the exception of a couple that I’ve read for years.
-I don’t go to “parties” where anyone is trying to sell me something.
-I don’t talk on the phone. I hate it.
-I don’t like or use voice mail. I tried to get rid of it entirely, but according to our wireless carrier I have to keep it (why, I’m not sure). So, my outgoing message says, “I do not check voice mail. If you need a response from me, please text me instead.”
-I don’t try to be someone I’m not, and I only spend time with people who care about me and accept me just as God made me.
-I don’t entertain my children all day. They’re expected to amuse themselves most of the time.
-I don’t grind my own flour, can my own produce, grind my own meat, make my own pasta, etc.
-I don’t try to “keep up” with friends or neighbors. I choose to live my life according to my own convictions and priorities.

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  20 Responses to “What I Do…and What I DON’T Do”

  1. Awesome post!!!

  2. Great post! Such a helpful reminder to be who God made us to be—not who Pinterest, Instagram, etc. says!! Thanks for being authentic, Heather!

  3. WHAT I DO is always enjoy reading your blog. It is well written, entertaining, informative and inspiring. I DO always enjoy reading about your day to day adventures with your family and seeing photos and I DO hope you continue to blog more often then not. Three days, three posts, what a treat!

  4. Love this post!

  5. Love this!!!

  6. What a great post! Love everything about it.

  7. We are alike Heather on many of these! This was such a great post…shows us how real and down to earth you are! Are you planning on doing your “Annual 3-Day Kid Room Clean Up” before school starts?

  8. Love this, thanks!

  9. Love this! I strive to live my life more for myself and not everyone else everyday! This post show just how possible that is!

  10. I think you do an excellent job of modeling the choices you described above. Some things you do and some things aren’t worth your time. Everyone needs to sit down and make a list like that. You have to make conscious choices, otherwise the time is frittered away.

    I think TIME is the biggest thing. I’m guilty of it myself, not being able to focus on the mundane tasks that are required to keep a household up. People find all sorts of things to do except the not-so-fun things. Setting limits and boundaries on things like computer time, social media (I don’t do that at all), smart phones, Pinterest (I saw that time suck coming!)….helps take back control of the hours in the day.

    So many folks, too, get caught up in what others do and what they perceive others think they should do.

    Homemaking has to be tackled like you would paid employment. (looking around my house — I am soooo fired!)

    I do many of the things you don’t choose to do….sewing, some ironing, knitting, canning etc…..doesn’t make me better….just means I don’t have three kids!

    (And I’ll add that you have a husband who is in there turning a wrench when needed! Running a household like a partnership is soo important!)

    • Amen! My husband is wonderful and I’m very fortunate to have him. We’re a good team.

      And looking around my house right now, at this moment….well, if I had a boss, I’d be fired too!

  11. Heather, you are awesome. I love this list. Your blog consistently makes me feel inspired and encouraged, and even though I sometimes think “wow, she’s way more together than I’ll ever be” I have honestly never come away from one of your posts feeling worse or inadequate about myself/my home/my decisions, etc. That is a real gift, and I want you to know how much I appreciate it.

    My favorites from your list – that you DO believe in marriage equality and mutual submission – so refreshing! And that you don’t enjoy reading to your kids. I thought I was the only one, I don’t know why but I just cringe when they ask me to read. Seems like everyone else just LOVES to read to their kids, I thought I was being a bad mom but maybe it’s just personal preference after all! (I do read to my three year old but my eight year old is on her own.)

    Anyway, keep up the good work. I wish you posted more often, but I completely understand and respect why you’ve chosen to limit your online presence.

  12. I’m a long time reader, but rarely comment. I absolutely loved this post! You remind me a lot of my husband (frugality, not allowing others to control your time, knowing what you want and going after it, etc.). Thank you for writing this and for your honesty. I particularly liked that you don’t allow your children to become consumed with screen time. Please know that even though thousands of miles separate us, I’m so thankful for speaking life into my day!

  13. This was so great, Heather. I REALLY needed to read this! I have 5 kids ages 7 months to almost 7 years and I struggle with finding healthy expectations for myself (and then fulfilling them!) I don’t want the house to be a wreck, but I know I can’t keep it perfectly tidy always either, and certainly I need time for me, too! How do I fit it all in, and what things should I focus on/let slide? My husband sort of looks at me funny when I ask, but sometimes I just NEED to know how other women manage their homes, their children, their laundry, etc. Any how, that is what I find when I come here. Inspiration. Encouragement. Justification. Laughs. Acceptance. Thank you, Heather. (For keepin’ it real, lol!)

    • I know how hard it is to find a balance. I’ve worked at it for years and years! Glad I could help, at least a little.

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