My ‘Don’t-Do List’

posted by Andrea | 07/8/2013

don't do list

A few months ago, I wrote about post about “having it all”. In that post, I mentioned that I think it IS possible to “have it all” — depending how we define “having it all”.

For me, I define “having it all” as:

A happy family, a healthy baby, a growing business, the ability to support Dave as a teacher and coach, a relatively clean & organized home, a smart financial plan, and a little time left over for fun.

If I can achieve all of those things (even if I have to make many sacrifices in other areas of my life) I feel like I’m doing OK.

There was lots of good debate in the comments of that post — some who agreed with me, others who did not — but I think the most important message I wanted share is that we all need to figure out what our priorities are and then how to make the time for those priorities.

We’re all busy and we all have only 24 hours a day. Because of this, we all need to make choices as to how we will AND WILL NOT spend those 24 hours. I’ve personally struggled with this over the years — especially after becoming a mom — but I’ve made my choices, and I feel pretty good about them.

You know how much I love lists… right? Well, I don’t literally have a “don’t-do list”, but I do have a mental list of things that I’ve specifically chosen NOT to spend my time on — and I think everyone would benefit from making some sort of don’t-do list.

Obviously your list will be different than mine, but if you’re wondering what activities I DON’T make time for… keep reading.

Crafts.

I know this might be a surprise, but I really do not like crafts. I don’t like all the little parts and pieces, I don’t like storing craft items or finished craft projects, and I find the act of doing any sort of craft extremely frustrating.

I do enjoy working on larger house/yard projects, I do enjoy painting furniture, and I do enjoy sewing from time to time… but other than that, I’m not crafty.  Sometimes I wish I was more crafty, but then I remind myself how much space, time, money, and frustration I save by being “craft challenged”!

I have found that I enjoy making digital photo albums — but I think that’s mainly because it requires no parts or pieces and I can do it all from my computer!

Extensive grooming.

I wasn’t sure what I wanted to call this category — I even enlisted Dave’s help — and “extensive grooming” is the best we could come up with :)

I come from a family of all girls, and while we were all college athletes and not afraid to get dirty, we were all quite girly too. So while I always try to look put-together, and I do enjoy getting dressed up every now and then, I’ve never been one to enjoy spending mass amounts of time or energy painting my nails, doing my hair or make-up, wearing cutesy clothing and accessories, or shopping for these items.

I take 5-minute showers, let my hair air-dry (which only takes about 10 minutes because it’s short), apply my favorite facial cream, lip gloss, and mascara, and wear one of my 7 identical t-shirts almost every day (seriously, I even wore one of those t-shirts for my website photo-shoot!)

I get my hair cut by my cousin every 6-8 weeks, and once-in-a-while I’ll get it highlighted. I’ve never had a manicure or pedicure, I’ve never had a facial, I’ve never had a massage, I’m way too claustrophobic for tanning booths, my make-up drawer is almost empty, I wear the same 2-3 pairs of earrings all the time, I hate shopping, and I don’t wear something unless it’s really comfortable (or unless it’s a really special occasion).

I’m most definitely NOT a “tom-boy”; I just don’t enjoy spending my time in this way — at least not on a daily basis (and remember, I work from home so that makes a difference too.)

Date nights.

OK, so before you start thinking I’m the most horrible wife, just let me remind you that Dave is a teacher and I work from home — so we are together ALL day ALL summer long, ALL Christmas break, ALL spring break, ALL weekend, etc. etc. We see a lot of each other and we do a lot of fun things together, but we honestly don’t go on many dates.

Besides a very rare mom-and-dad-only trip to Olive Garden, Culver’s, or the Home Depot, we don’t do dates. This is partially because Nora can be a huge pain for babysitters, but also because we don’t really like doing “date things”. We don’t like going to movies, we don’t like expensive restaurants, we’re not big fans of plays or shows or “downtown”.

We like doing house projects, soaking in the peace and quiet, having adult conversations, and sipping smoothies after Nora finally goes to bed at night, and we like doing things with our family and friends (most of which have kids the same age as Nora).

I know we don’t have a picture-perfect marriage, but I also don’t think we’re in shambles over here either. There are times when a couple hours away from Nora (or even an hour totally alone) does a world of good, but for the most part, we don’t need a “date night” to achieve that.

Cooking 100% from scratch.

If you’ve ever made any of my recipes, I hope you were pleasantly surprised by how good the foods taste, how easy they were to prepare, and how little time you had to spend in the kitchen to prepare them.

I honestly do enjoy cooking and baking, but for me, it’s more about making yummy foods in less time than it is about meticulously crafting complicated meals or cooking 100% from scratch.

cooking

Yes, I sometimes make my own bread, but I’m also not opposed to baking brownies from a box — or at least starting with a boxed mix and adding some of my own ingredients.  Yes, I preserve much of my own foods (because I enjoy doing this) but I don’t make my own ketchup, or taco seasoning, or marshmallows, or salad dressing. Yes, I make many of our meals partially from scratch, but I also serve hotdogs, chicken nuggets, and macaroni on a semi-regular basis.

On a side note, I just realized that I’m wearing the exact same black t-shirt in this picture of me cooking and in the head shot above :)

Vacations and other planned activities.

I’m honestly not sure how to word this one without sounding like we are super boring! I promise that we still make time for fun, just not in the ways we did before Nora was born…

Nora has some pretty intense “sensory issues” so going to strange places, busy places, loud places, smelly places, etc. is basically an invitation for massive toddler melt-downs and screaming fits. So lucky for Nora, Dave and I really enjoy being home (see the “Date Nights” section above).

Life with Nora is A LOT easier if we are home, and since I personally don’t like spending a ton of time, energy, or money planning extensive vacations or activities, we make our own fun at home. Nora loves walks and we’re fortunate to live walking distance to so many things. We all love spending time outside, participating in school/church functions where Nora is more “at ease”, and having people over to our house instead.

sandbox fun

Formal exercise.

Despite the fact that I played 3 sports in high school and 2 sports in college, I have a strong hatred of exercise. I don’t mind getting sweaty, or dirty, or working hard — if I’m trying to win a game… I just can’t get the hang of exercising just to exercise.

I go for walks, I do yard work and house work, but I’ve never been a member of a gym, I’ve never owned any exercise equipment, and the last time I ran was when I decided to enter a 25K race back in college. I’ve never been a runner but decided I wanted to run a race at some point, so I entered, trained, ran, finished, and then never ran again.

I’ve tried doing yoga or other video-related activities in my house, I’ve tried swimming, I’ve tried lifting weights, but the only thing that I actually do on a semi-regular basis is walk (and that’s only because Nora LOVES walks).

Dave is big into exercising and enjoys running, biking, basketball, etc, so I’m hoping his enthusiasm wears off on me before my metabolism poops out :)

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I know that if I really wanted to, I could most definitely choose to make more time for any of the activities I listed above. However, that would then require me to spend less time working on house projects, growing my business, keeping our lives relatively organized, or spending time with family and friends. And at this point in my life, I’m not willing to make that trade off.

As I mentioned above, I think we can “have it all” if we prioritize and set clear boundaries as to what is (and is not) important to us. Obviously, we can’t literally “have it all” and we certainly can’t have it all ALL the time… but I do think we can have all of what is important to us MOST of the time.

If that makes any sense :)

I suppose that until someone figures out a way to add hours to the day or clone me, I will continue to make choices and sacrifices on a daily basis. 

What would be on your don’t-do lists?

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47 comments

  1. Luc

    08/30/2013

    Oh your post rang a big bell with me! I have a lot of the same things that I don’t spend time on. Honestly, I’d rather be reading, going for a walk with my family, or something “constructive” than doing formal exercise or extensive grooming. I’m a crafting wannabe because I love paper/stationery and sewing so if I find time to fit in “crafting” it’s usually trying to construct the perfect planner or home management binder. And all the niggly bits, much like the kids Lego, are neatly stored in simple organising boxes so I can pack away out of sight in a jiffy.

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