September 29, 2015

Two of the Most Encouraging Words Another Mom Ever Said to Me

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 gift to someone else, here are a few other things I don't.

I don't have it all together.
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 girls. 
I do enjoy them.
I do delight in them. 
I do cherish them.
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 so much joy and satisfaction 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 that you are not alone. I don't, either.

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Have you got a don't of your own, mama? Please...do tell!
My thanks to BlogHer for putting this up as a featured post.
For more very honest don't-do's, click over to this post at Mom Babble.
Gratefully shared at Works for Me Wednesday.


51 comments:

  1. I love it! I don't do so many things, either. And I usually feel guilty about many of them. But you just gotta let go of the things that don't work for your particular family. And it really is freeing when you find another Mom who validates you!

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  2. Aw, thank you, Jamie! I LOVE your wisdom in saying "you just gotta let go of the things that don't work for your particular family." That's exactly it: it's not a matter of right/wrong or good/bad, but what works for you and your family and your goals and needs. Thanks so much for taking time to stop by and to encourage me with your kind comment. Have a lovely day...whatever you do or don't do! :)

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  3. Can I just say that I love the name of your blog?
    And this post brought back a funny memory that if I wanted to bake something and I didn't want "help" from my first two boys, I would bake after they went to bed. Lesson learned! So I learned to say, "This is a project Mum has to do by herself. You can help another time." Glad that my kids loved to work in the kitchen, but there are times. . .

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    1. Heehee...thank you, Michele! I sometimes wonder if I made a good name choice, so I greatly appreciate your kind affirmation today! And baking after bedtime...brilliant! I will say that in spite of me, my girls did put together a fabulous dinner once I let them loose in the kitchen AND they cleaned up afterwards. So, maybe it all worked out? ;) Thanks so much for taking time to visit today!

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  4. What a beautiful and uplifting post. Love your title "Two of the Most Encouraging Words Another Mom Ever Said to Me" it caught my eye so quickly maybe because I needed those encouraging words. Pinning it to My Favorite Quotes Board. Thank you for sharing dear Elizabeth. Have a wonderful week!

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    1. Aw, thank you so much! I can't tell you how greatly your kind comment encourages me! Bless your heart...for you have truly blessed mine.

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  5. Love this! Oddly enough we sound like 2 peas in a pod except for making their own lunches. :)

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    1. Thank you, Oh, Queen! :) It's lovely to meet a kindred spirit...and who knows? Maybe I'll correct that lunch thing myself someday.;) Thanks for taking time to visit and to comment!

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  6. There are SO many ideas and over the top first birthday party ideas on Pinterest. But I decided to keep my son's party super simple. It freed up more time for me to just enjoy all the people at his party. I love your list of "do's"!

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    1. Thank you, dear Emily! It sounds like you are one wise mama who knew what mattered at your son's party. Blessings to you in all your "do's"! :)

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  7. Incredible lists you've got. Thank you for stopping over earlier I appreciate it.
    I read your funny post on "For every mom" and left a comment there too.
    God Bless

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    1. Awe, thanks, Ifeoma! I just read and replied to your kind comment on For Every Mom...you have so much to enjoy now with your little girl...AND so much to look forward to in the future. Blessings back to you!

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  8. I love the contrast between the "I don't" list and the "I do" list. There are a lot of things I don't do...but there are so many I do (and do well because--like the quote you shared--I have time to do them because I'm not trying to do everything).
    The perfectionist in me needs this reminder often! :-)

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    1. Exactly, Shannon! It's not just about the "don'ts"...it's really about the "do's"! Blessings to you as you "do"--and thanks so much for taking time to stop by today.

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  9. So good, Elizabeth. We sure DON'T have to do everything everyone around is doing - remembering that can be so freeing. We DO have to love out kids the way that works for us. I appreciate the Jill Savage Quote you shared.

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    1. Thank you, Abi! I love your wisdom in saying, "We DO have to love our kids the way that works for us." You are so right: trying to do it the way that works for someone else only makes me grumpy! Which serves no one well. ;) Thank you for taking time to stop by and to leave your insightful thoughts!

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  10. Beautiful, Elizabeth and so encouraging. This post comes just in time because I've been feeling overwhelmed lately about the stuff that I think I have to do for my daughter (, keep a clean house, organize every corner of it, plan elaborate parties, etc...). The fact that you said this out loud puts my mind at ease because you're so right. I'm one of those moms that don't do either.

    The don't list, the undone things we leave behind, is different for every mom, but I think what remains is the love for our children, and the things we would do for them. Thank you for this absolutely brilliant piece!

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    1. Aw, thank you so much, Maria! I absolutely feel the truth of what you wrote: "...feeling overwhelmed lately about the stuff that I THINK I have to do for my daughter." I tell my girls sometimes, "Just because something is good to do doesn't mean it's good to do right now." Good advice for us mom, too, maybe? As an older mom of tweens and teens, I want to tell you to go ahead and "not do" some things...because after 16 years of "I don'ts," my girls seem to be happy and to love me most of the time! ;) Thanks so much for taking time to drop by and for your sweet and generous comments. When I saw your name, I thought, "I know I've seen something from her today." Now I remember it was because your fabulous "Letter to Judgmental Parents from the Imperfect Mom" was featured (woo hoo!) on one of the blog hops I popped into earlier. From one imperfect mom to another, I say blessings to you! :)

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  11. Good thoughts:) It's hard to do everything, especially on days when you don't feel like doing ANYTHING! I can empathize. You are probably doing more than you realize though. Have a great rest of your week! #shinebloghop

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    1. Thank you, Megan! Yes, yes! ...to "days when you don't feel like doing anything." You nailed it. Thanks for your empathy and encouragement and for taking time to stop by from #shinebloghop. :)

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  12. Ooooh, thank you. You are encouraging this Dutch mama.

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    1. Thank you, sweet Ariëlla! No matter how far apart geographically, we mamas are still connected and can still build each other up! Blessings to you from this part of the mom universe!

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  13. This is really cool! Thanks for stopping by my blog- after seeing your comment I put two and two together and headed over. I'm not a Mama yet, but I think these are super important words :)

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    1. Thank you, Kelsie! It was so nice of you to stop by! And the good news is that you are still a perfect mom! When I had my girls, mom blogging wasn't a thing yet, so I just had to figure it out pretty much on my own. Now, you young mama-to-be can read all our older-mom confessions and know exactly what NOT to do! ;) Thanks again for making your way here today.

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  14. Wonderful. Finally a mom who "gets it." Don't do everything for them. That was always my number one don't.

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    1. Oh my goodness...thank you so much, Michelle! You don't know how much I needed that encouraging word today. I LOVE your don't...and need to be better about it. Will start tomorrow. ;) Thank you for taking time to stop by...may God bring back to you the blessing you have given to me today.

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  15. Elizabeth, would love for you to share this on my Tuesday Talk link up this week. Begins at 8:00 a.m.

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    1. Michelle, thank you for that kind invitation! I will be there. :) I just added your Tuesday Talk button to my party page!

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  16. This is so beautiful. And freeing! I will be sharing this on my FB page! I've never heard the quote at the end but I love it! Great post!

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    1. Kim, thank you so much! You cannot know how your words encouraged me the moment I read them. I hesitated about posting this and almost pulled it right after I did. Your kind comment and others like it reassure me that my true intent is somehow coming through. Thank you, thank you...I am off to find your page right now! :)

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  17. The most important thing is that you love your girls. Things don't have to be perfect.

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    1. I surely do love them, Heidi...and things surely aren't perfect! ;) Thanks for taking time to stop by!

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  18. Elizabeth I needed to read this today! Thank you for being transparent!

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    1. Suzie, I am grateful to know this gave you something you needed...truly one of my fondest hopes for my little blog. Thank you for taking time to visit and to encourage me with your words!

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  19. Elizabeth - WHAT an encouragement to moms everywhere!!! Thanks so much for sharing this on Coffee & Conversation last week - we'll be featuring this one on Wednesday :-) Also the usual social sharing....
    love, love, love!

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    1. Thank you, thank you, thank you! :) Blessings, Pat, to you and Candy for encouraging me today with this sweet gift. I'm so grateful for Coffee & Conversation, and I'm looking forward to this week's party as always (okay, with a little extra "looking forward" this week ;) )!

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  20. So uplifting, and so encouraging! I try to do a lot with my daughter, though she's only 2-1/2. Sometimes I *HAVE* to take a step back.... but, I really do love it! && I love seeing moms encouraging other moms <3

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    1. Thank you so much for that kind feedback...which greatly encourages me! :) As a mom of older daughters, I am excited for all you have to enjoy now with your little one--and all you have to look forward to in the future! Thanks so much for taking time out of your busy mom day to stop by!

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  21. I want to be a don't mom, but I feel all these feelings of failure. I'm working on it, though.

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    1. Oh, sweet mama, I feel your struggle! Guilt is such a constant mom-companion, isn't it? But the older my girls get (12 and 16 now), the more I have proof that directing my energy and passion toward a select number of "do's" DOES work--and it keeps "the greater thing" from getting lost in the shuffle. The fact that you obviously care about being a good mom tells me that you ARE one. Blessings to you...thank you for taking time to stop by!

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  22. Love this! We can't do it all, and there's a lot I don't do. But there's enough that I do! :)

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    1. Thank you, Julie! It sounds like you have found a good balance between don'ts and do's...smart mama! :) Thanks so much for taking time to stop by. I was just having a look around your blog...love the idea of Mom Wisdom Mondays! What we lose in sleep, we gain in wisdom? ;)

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  23. Love this! No mom has it all together and whatever you do our don't do with your girls is your choice. My daughter bakes with me, but I do most of the work because honestly I'm a control freak and neat freak and she makes such a mess! I'd much rather just do it myself.

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    1. I love your comment, Tiffany! As you probably saw in my post, I know what you mean about the baking mess! I do have to say that it's gotten better as my girls have gotten older--and now sometimes, my younger daughter bakes on her own AND cleans up the kitchen afterwards. And THAT is a proposal to which I say "I do"! ;) Thanks so much for taking time to visit and to comment!

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  24. Love this! I used to feel so guilty about all the things "Pinterest" tells me I should be doing as a mom ;) but then I remember what I'm actually good at and enjoy doing, especially with my kids and it gets put back into perspective. Thanks for sharing this week!

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    1. Thank you so much, Victoria! You are very wise to use what you're good at and enjoy doing as a way to filter your "do's" and "don'ts"! Love it. Thank you for stopping by and for hosting Intentional at Home! :)

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  25. Linda from Shaping Your Identity in Motherhood (find her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ShapingYourIdentityInMotherhood) gave me her blessing to share this fabulous list of don't: "I don't make my girls do homework right when they get home (unless they choose to get it done first) so that they can have down time, play time and be- a-kid-time in meaningful ways. I don't make them do every activity under the sun but make time for playdates so they can invest time with friends. And these two I'll probably get hate mail for: I don't make them eat what's for dinner....if they don't like it, they are welcome to make themselves a PB and jelly sandwich; and sometimes, yes, sometimes, if they are ready in the morning I let them watch a show before school. Clearly, I'm the worst kind of "doesn't do" mom. But sshh, don't tell anyone." Well, Linda, you said I could tell. ;) Thank you for that, because I love this list...you and I have a lot of "don'ts" in common! :)

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  26. I love this! I, too am so freed by this seemingly simple comment, but I've never stopped to think about it until now. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. Thank you, Miss Steph! It is rather amazing how a couple simple words can change the atmosphere, isn't it? Our words are powerful...for good or bad. Thanks for stopping by...I've just been looking around your sweet site! :)

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  27. Ahhhhhh....I love this!!! Thanks for sharing - and for linking up to WFMW. So good. I don't do SO MUCH. :)

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    1. Thank you, Mary! And one reason I don't do so much myself is because, I, too, have given up on perfect! :) Thank you for taking time to visit and for so graciously hosting WFMW!

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I'd love to hear from you! Feel free to tell me what you really think. Years ago, I explained to my then-two-year that my appointment with a counselor was "sort of like going to a doctor who will help me be a better mommy." Without blinking, she replied, "You'd better go every day." All of which is just to say I've spent some time in the school of brutal honesty!