A few weeks ago, I told a mom friend I was hosting a sleepover. I confessed to her that I rarely let my daughters have them because I always get all worked up about what the girls will do and where they’ll sleep and if, heaven help me, EVERYONE IS HAVING A GOOD TIME.
“I don’t do them, either,” she told me.
Later that same day, I told another mom my daughters were making dinner that night–something they’d never done before in spite of being a tween and teen because I’m a control-freak, neat-freak mom who never cooked with her kids.
“I don’t cook with mine, either,” she told me.
Who knew two little words could be so freeing and uplifting?
Sometimes I feel like I’m surrounded by moms who do. They do spectacular birthday parties and they do homemade hummus in Bento Boxes for school lunches and they do craft projects every day of the week and they do…everything. With their kids and for their kids. Which is great for them if they love it and if it charges up their mom spirits. I don’t begrudge them their doing.
But I just…don’t.
I don’t do and haven’t done and won’t do so many things. And the other day, my friends showed me that I’m not the only mom who doesn’t. Which felt like a gift.
In case it feels like a gift to someone else, here are a few other things I don’t.
I don’t have it all together.
I don’t always get motherhood right.
I don’t make my girls make their own lunches.
I don’t make my girls make their beds before school.
I don’t do Pinterest-inspired parties.
I don’t like everything that goes with being a mom.
I don’t know what I’m doing a lot of the time even though I’ve been at this a long time.
I don’t make my kids do enough chores.
I don’t limit desserts to “special occasions.”
I don’t switch my daughters’ schedules to “school time” while it’s still August just so they’ll be used to getting up early when September rolls around.
I don’t have this all figured out.
But, here’s what I do.
I do love, love, love my children.
I do enjoy them.
I do delight in them.
I do cherish them.
I do encourage and support their passions.
I do long for them to continue to walk with God and to grow in their love and passion for Him.
I do love spending time with them.
I do pray for them and with them.
I do talk to them.
I do listen to them.
I do treasure them.
I do want joy, peace, and hope for them.
One of my all-time favorite quotes is this one from Jill Briscoe: “There is an art of leaving things undone so that the greater thing can be done.”
What I don’t do–what I leave undone–frees up my time and energy and passion and enthusiasm for what I do do–the greater thing.
And the value of that is something I don’t have any doubts about.
If you are a mom who sometimes doesn’t do, know this: you are not alone. I don’t, either.
Elizabeth Spencer is mom to one tween and one teen daughter. She’s been married for 20 years to a very patient husband who copes nicely as the lone male in a house full of girls. She avoids working on her 100-year-old farmhouse by blogging about life as an imperfect mother at Guilty Chocoholic Mama and spending time on Facebook.