Monday, January 2, 2017

The Things I DON'T Do

With Christmas over and the decorations put away, I often take time in January to think about my goals for the coming months.  I don't like the word "resolution." There is a lot of pressure with resolutions.  If I make one wrong move, I feel like I've failed and might as well give up.  

Instead, I like to make goals.  Goals imply something I am working toward-- a series of baby steps in the direction of an end result.  Mistakes may set me back, but I can still pick up and try again.

Brian and I talked over the weekend about things we want to do this year and things we want to change both individually and together, but I don't want to talk about that now.  I love getting a peek into someone else's thought and plans, but sometimes it can inspire a bit of discouragement or comparison, too.  

I often have people say to me, "I don't know how you have six kids and manage to homeschool," or, "keep your house clean," or, "read."  The reality is, there are so many things I don't do.  I thought it would be fun to share a few of those things here instead:

1) I don't write daily...or even weekly... lesson plans.

Maybe this surprises the people who know my love of a list and a calendar, but I have never written a detailed lesson plan...or many lesson plans at all.  My method of school planning is big-picture.  I know what I want to accomplish in a year and we chip away in small chunks.  For example, in history, I know we need to cover post-Civil War through the present this year so in August we studied the Reconstruction Era.  In September, we read about the early 1900s.  In October, we focused on World War I.   I do not write out what needs to be done each day.

Each child also refers to their own weekly schedule, but that simply reminds them what subjects they need to cover each day, not the specifics of what they need to do. 

2) I don't wash my hair every day.

I used to have very oily hair that looked gross and limp if I didn't wash it, but as I got older, my hair started to dry out. After my pregnancy with Macie, my dry hair also became more wavy.  I have a lot of hair-- "massive amounts," in the words of the girl who cut my hair-- and I suddenly realized that I could save a lot of time by not washing and styling it every day. 

I have never used dry shampoo, but I spray on  homemade sea salt spray after I wash my hair, and I spray on a bit more on in-between days.  The salt helps dry out any stray moisture or yuck. 

3) I don't garden or raise chickens.

I have a very black thumb.  I can barely keep a hanging basket alive in the summer.  As much as I would like to feed my family fresh vegetables from our own garden, it is just not my thing.  Even if I could do it, there is a huge time commitment and I would rather devote my time to other things.  Instead, I gladly make good use of every gift of vegetables from my gardening friends or family.

The same goes for chickens.  We know at least four families who raise their own chickens and Maddie is dying to join them.  As much as I love fresh eggs and understand their health benefits, I am saying no for now.

4) I don't exercise.

For three years I was a regular runner. I ran 2 half-marathons and many more shorter races.  I ran through my pregnancy, up until the day my water broke.  I know other moms who find time to run with a baby, but it's not working for me.  Macie turns one this month and I don't see running in my near future either.  

My favorite time to run is early morning, but that's when she wakes to nurse.  Once my morning gets going, the rest of the day is full to the brim.  Over the summer and fall, I took a daily mile-and-a-half walk with Macie and either Brian or one of the kids, but now it is too dark and cold. Maybe I could find time to exercise another way, but I'm choosing not to make it a priority right now.  I will take the occasional run when I'm able, but  I won't put it on my regular to-do list for many more months. 

5) I don't use coupons.

I am frugal and like to save money, but I rarely use coupons.  I buy generic and watch for sales. We also love the effortlessness of Walmart Savings Catcher.  I say "we" because I am not even the one who uses the app.  Brian is. 

6) I don't take my kids to dance or sports practice.

We have made the decision for monetary and time purposes to forego weekly individual activities with our five older kids.  They all take a gym class.  They all go to church activities one evening a week.  They all sing in the local homeschool choir.  Maddie does attend a monthly book club and the others will occasionally go to a class or camp, but we are choosing to not have multiple outside commitments. 

7) I don't put my kids to bed at night.

I feel the most guilt about this one!  Our nightly routine involves the kids listening to audio books in their rooms before bed.  Everyone gets ready (teeth, pjs, etc.) and then go into the bedrooms to listen. Sometimes it's boys/girls, sometimes older/younger, sometimes all together. When a disc is over (usually after an hour-ish), they come back out to the living room to tell me goodnight and then they take themselves to bed.  I rarely tuck anyone in or turn out lights. 


There is one more thing I am going to take off my plate.  Blogging.  After almost nine years of writing here, I have decided to spend time on other pursuits.  When I began, I was still in my twenties and we lived in a small townhouse. We had no pets, Gavin was five, and three of my kids were not even born!  What a journey.

My blog is staying right here. I plan to leave all  posts, links, and photos up for browsing.  I won't disappear either. I'm keeping my blog's Facebook page open, and I plan to continue posting a few thoughts and photos there.  

"The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you." 2 Corinthians 13:13

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