A couple of friends shared these articles, and I enjoyed reading them.
Considering my own imperfect parenting of my imperfect kids, I’ve thought about what my don’t-do list should look like, what I want to prioritize, and what I naturally prioritize. I wondered what qualities my good days all have in common. I came up with these lists:
Things I Do
1. Enjoy my children. Toddlers are pagans in diapers. No one could enjoy every minute with them. But I’ve found that a well-placed tickle fight or a giggle over a silly joke (usually involving the words “monkey boogers”) goes a long way toward reminding me what a blessing Emmeline and Gareth are.
2. Have a conversation with Josh free of interruptions from children or electronics. A few minutes of listening and eye contact goes a long way toward filling my love tank. This sounds like something for Josh’s to-do list, but it’s as much my responsibility to put my phone away, turn the TV off, and create an environment that’s conducive to nice conversations.
3. Read my Bible. A beloved mentor and former pastor has been blogging daily through Scripture. It’s provided the accountability I need to read my Bible every day, and doing so has blessed me so much this year. I’ve read books I always got slogged down in before (shout out to Leviticus!). Pastor Carroll’s wisdom has given me insight into passages that would leave me feeling discouraged if I was left to my own devices. I’ve made it to Nehemiah, and by the grace of God, I’m still going strong. If you want to read his blog, check out thistledewfarm.us.
4. Complete these daily 7 chores. I try to get to all of these each day, and usually end up finishing about 5 of them. But it’s the simplest, least overwhelming way I’ve found to maintain a semblance of order in our house without devoting my entire day to cleaning. Emmeline is old enough now that’s she’s able to help with some of them, and that’s very encouraging. Maybe she will grow up to be an independent, responsible adult after all!
5. Spend some time outside. This is a struggle right now because allergy season is going strong, but a few minutes of sunshine each day is good for my soul.
Things I Don’t Do
1. Expect perfection. My new motto is “Low expectations.” If I don’t expect things to be perfect, then I don’t get stressed out when they’re not. I’m working on taking deep breaths and telling myself to let things go.
2. Worry about how much TV the kids are watching. I’ve found that this tends to balance itself out (i.e. they won’t spend every day watching 5+ hours of television). Also, because Josh works long hours and we don’t have a car most days, it’s hard for us to stay busy and active. When we could drive to the YMCA every morning, the kids’ TV time dropped off to 30 minutes a day. But I can’t entertain two toddlers by myself every day for 14+ hours a day (maybe some moms can, but I just end up yelling at my kids).
3. Yell at the kids. This really is more of a “Something I shouldn’t do; something I do way too much; something I ask forgiveness for daily.” I want to get better. Emmeline gets hyper-defensive every time she is yelled at. It’s more beneficial for me to keep my patience because she’s much more likely to obey. It’s also hard to teach my kids not to scream and yell if I’m screaming and yelling at them. While I want to treasure their tender little hearts, I’m thankful for God’s grace as well, so I don’t think my yelling at them will ruin them for the rest of their lives and land them in prison day.
4. Keep a spotless house. I don’t dust, I don’t clean the baseboards, and I don’t move our stove and fridge to mop behind them. I don’t expect my house to be perfectly clean, and I’m OK with that. I’m content with a basic lack of clutter, a bathroom that doesn’t look like it belongs in a bachelor pad, and a kitchen that doesn’t scream “Free Buffet” to all the local rodents.
5. Subscribe to any particular diet. I don’t mean just counting calories, I mean clean eating, paleo, low-carb, low-fat, gluten-free–any of it. Some weeks we will order takeout. Sometimes I will buy snacks that come in a cardboard box. We try to be basically healthy, but we may need to make allowances when we’re sick/stressed/tired/low on funds. I don’t want to set us up for failure by saying we will always eat a certain way. Now, that being said, we don’t eat red meat (and when we do we sincerely regret it), because it makes Josh sick. If we were living with food-allergies or something like Celiac, then it would be a different issue.
Those are my lists! What would yours look like?