Two of the Most Encouraging Words Another Mom Ever Said To Me by guest blogger Elizabeth Spencer

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.

I. Don’t.

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.

I don’t…

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



15 thoughts on “Two of the Most Encouraging Words Another Mom Ever Said To Me by guest blogger Elizabeth Spencer

    1. Well, then, Tara, I think you will be a GREAT mom! 🙂 It sounds like you already have a smart approach in mind…if I can say that without patting myself on the back! Thank you so much for reading and responding!


    1. Aw, thank you, Leslie! If I can make a fellow mom-in-the-trenches feel “let off the hook” a little, my work for the day is done! 🙂 I know so many moms “do” so much more and do it well and cheerfully, but I know myself and have to choose carefully so the “stuff” that really matters doesn’t overwhelmed by the “stuff” that doesn’t. Blessings to you, mama!


  1. “There is an art of leaving things undone so that the greater thing can be done.” This is truly a profound quote.
    I have been challenged by the Lord this year to focus on the things that only I can do. Your quote says the same thing very well. I do not have to please everyone. I can keep my priorities straight. Great post.


    1. Oh, goodness, Karen, thank you so much! I’m so glad that quote resonated with you, too, because I find myself applying it to so many areas of life. I LOVE your perspective on focusing on what only you can do. That is so wise…can I borrow it? 🙂 Thank you for taking time to read and comment…and to share YOUR wisdom!


  2. Love that quote from Jill Briscoe! Had never heard that before – what a great way to put it. I didn’t do everything other mothers did even back in my day, and struggled, but God gave peace that He had made our personalities and situations unique and I didn’t have to do everything like everyone else.


    1. Thank you, Christina! I never thought about it, but I appreciate your encouragement about the do’s versus the don’ts.:) And the “sisterhood of motherhood” is just brilliant. Love. It.


    1. Thank you, Hopeful50! 🙂 You clearly figured out the right formula: some of both! Love it…blessings on you in the special season of life you’re in now. More and more, I’m convinced there is no real end-date on motherhood, just shifts in what it looks like–and on what we say “I do” and what we say “I don’t” to!


  3. Oh, I totally understand! There’s a lot I don’t do, too. But I’m with you on the love, love, love my daughters (21 and 23). I almost lost my relationship with them when they were tweens because I was too busy. So I stopped doing busy and started going on dates with them. What a huge difference that has made in our relationships!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awesome, Anita! So glad to meet another mom who sometimes “doesn’t,” too! And a fellow mom of daughters on top of it! What a powerful testimony you have about what you had, what you almost lost, what you did about it and what you gained. Love. It. Thank you so much for sharing your heart!


  4. Nice post, Elizabeth. I don’t do so many things. Sometimes that’s good. Sometimes that’s bad. But I love your list of all the things you DO. It’s nice to be reminded there is a lot of good in our unique ways of mothering.


    1. Thank you, my friend! I know what you mean about some of our “don’ts” being things we probably should or could do. This mothering job is HARD because it matters so much, and we want to get it right. I’m grateful, though, that “right” can look a lot of different ways, and that there is grace in the gray areas. Blessings to you, mama!


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