I can’t take credit for this idea myself, I saw it on a homeschooling message board and really liked it. The idea is that we all have a never ending “to do” list. Most of us Moms waste way too much time and energy feeling guilty for not completing the things on that list. We feel stressed out, behind, like we’ll never catch up. We feel like somehow all the other Moms out there manage to do it all, but we alone are failures.
The reality is that often the things on the “to do” list that don’t get done are the things that aren’t really that important to me. There are things I have to do (work, feed the children). There are things I have to do because of choices I’ve made (all the work of homeschooling). There are things I want to do (reading, writing).
Then there is everything else.
This is where the “to don’t” list” comes in. It’s a list of all the things you just DON’T do. This might be a way to prioritize what’s really important. Time for some things to move from the “to-do” list to the “to-don’t” list. Or it might just be a mental trick where acknowledging what your priorities already are will help you feel less guilty about all the thing you “mean to do” but just haven’t gotten around to.
So here’s my “to don’t” list. I should say that none of these are things I think are morally wrong. They just are not priorities for me now. Some are things I want very much to do one day (quilting) but have just had to accept that for right now they are not going to happen. Some are things I wish I did but I’ve just learned that I really don’t care that much about and so won’t do well (gardening).
1) I don’t scrapbook.
2) I don’t clip coupons.
3) I don’t quilt. Or sew.
4) I don’t garden.
5) I don’t mop the kitchen floor except for very rarely.
6) Ditto scrubbing the shower, or cleaning out the fridge, or other deep cleaning tasks.
7) I don’t iron.
8 ) I don’t shop unless I need something specific.
9) I don’t call people on the phone just to chat.
10) I don’t decorate my house for holidays other than Christmas.
11) I don’t change the decorations in our house.
12) I don’t watch TV (much).
13) I don’t get manicures. Or pedicures. Or facials.
14) I don’t have a hairstyle that requires any maintenance.
15) I don’t color my hair.
16) I don’t do Facebook or Twitter.
17) I don’t do frugal menu planning or freezer cooking.
18) I don’t monitor very carefully or worry about the ingredients in our food.
19) I don’t keep babybooks for the kids.
20) I don’t have any houseplants that require watering.
21) I don’t bake regularly.
22) I don’t do nature study (as a homeschooler this is a big deal, for anyone else you’re probably puzzled as to why I would even include this).
23) I don’t try to do things to increase traffic on this blog or do anything with this blog other than write.
24) I don’t sell stuff.
25) I don’t change our home school curriculum.