Almost every time I hear women speak on the topic of mothering, it comes with a to-do list.
- Spend more time praying (completely necessary).
- Spend more time reading the Bible (can’t do without it).
- Memorize scripture (life-giving).
- Exercise (and you’ll have more energy! Can’t say I’ve proven that one…).
- Create a cleaning schedule (tried SO. MANY. TIMES. and failed).
- Get your nails done (I love those little treats, but can’t afford them all the time).
- Coupon (or you’re wasting money)
- Balance your checkbook (you’ll feel better knowing everything is accounted for).
- Budget (so your money isn’t controlling you).
- And so on, and so forth. I’m sure you could add to the list.
These are all good, worthy things to do. But if you’re like me, a normal mom whose to-do list is already long enough, hearing that there’s one more thing I should add makes me want to give up altogether.Why? Because some of the things on that list are just plain outside of my natural, god-given abilities.
I’ve tried hard to be all the things. And not only all the things, but the best at all the things. I can’t do it. I’m giving up. Letting go of motherhood to-do lists that tell me what I need to be once and for all.
Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to be inspired by some pretty amazing ladies at the Celebrate Motherhood Retreat, where I shared about finding hope in messy motherhood. I enjoyed sharing my heart with the ladies there, but I walked away with a new piece of the hope puzzle that I hope will bless you as much as it did me.
Are you ready for it? Take a deep breath, because it’s seriously profound.
You don’t have to be good at everything, and you don’t have to be everyone. Just be you.
Here’s the thing…you and me? We serve the same God. We read the same Bible. We may even read the same books and believe mostly the same things. Our lives are much more alike than they are different, but God made us completely unique. I’ve been given gifts and talents to use for the Kingdom that are different from yours, so looking at you and thinking, “I should be more like her…” or, “I should be doing what she’s doing…” only wastes my time and prevents me from focusing fully on the work God has given me to do.
The work of the Gospel God has given me (and you) to do is too important to waste time comparing. He hasn’t called me to be you (or the other way around) (<—Tweet That!).
So with that in mind, I’d like to share with you my personal motherhood “to-don’t” list. What’s a “to-don’t” list, you ask? In short, it’s a list of things I’m not good at—things that don’t make me less of a Christian, and won’t keep me from heaven—that I’m not going to try to be good at anymore. It’s a list of what I’m no longer striving to do. (Yours may look very different from mine. I invite you to make a list of your own in the comments below and share it with everyone!)
My Motherhood “To-Don’t” List
1. Teaching children’s Sunday School or VBS.
I’m a teacher at heart, but teens and adults grab my heart. They’re who I’m called to inspire as my main ministry. I’m no good at teaching children (except my own…and them not even all the time).
Ok, yes, there are some basic things that must be cleaned each day. I do those things, and I’ll continue to do them. I’m not talking about giving up cleaning altogether, I’m just talking about giving up on an immaculate house. It isn’t going to happen. I can’t do it. I don’t have it in me, and I don’t really care. I want to live my life instead of always cleaning it up.
3. Remembering things.
I’m a wife, mom, homeschool mom (cause those aren’t always the same thing, you know?), entrepreneur running two businesses, sister-in-Christ, friend, and community volunteer. And that’s only part of the list of things that kind of defines me. I just can’t remember things. I have too many things vying for space in my crowded head, so I’m going to stop beating myself up for forgetting things (and maybe one day make enough money to hire a personal assistant!).
4. Being all things to all people.
My reality is that I have limited time to spend with people who aren’t in my inner circle. God has blessed me with an amazing husband, two beautiful boys who demand more of me than I ever thought possible, a circle of close friends I do life with, and parents who are still very involved in my life. They are my priorities. They get the most and best of me.
5. Saying yes to everything.
We had a crazy spring, and I’ve since felt the Lord calling me to slow down, listen to him, and only put my hands to what he tells me to put my hands to. So I’m saying no to things like women’s Bible study…shocking, I know. I LOVE women’s Bible study. Crave it. Devour it. But God has given me some good things to study here at home and I’m refusing to plow through this summer with an overloaded schedule.
That’s it for me, for right now, but I’m listening to the Lord and will add more to my “to-don’t” list as he directs. What about you, mom? Could you get alone with God for just a few minutes and ask him to show you what you don’t have to do to please him?
When you’re done, tell us in the comments. I’d love to see what he says 😉
Credits: Thanks Jess Connolly for inspiring this post and an entirely new way of thinking. And thanks @hopefarmco for the beautiful wall hanger in the picture above. It’s a lovely reminder of what God hasn’t called me to do! To buy one for yourself, click here.
This is great! Will definitely get me thinking of my ‘to don’t’ list….Thank you!
[…] The Mothering “To-Don’t” List […]
The one He brought to me right away is this….to be completely reconciled in all relationships. Ephesians 4:32 calls me to forgive (and seek forgiveness) but that does not mean that….1. The other party is in a place in their journey where can receive (or give) forgiveness.
2. It is God’s will to restore each relationship to a place of influence in my life moving forward.
3. His definition of “resolved” looks like mine.
I am learning. Slowly.
I love your list!!!
GIRL! I am right there with you on that and more! #2 .. the cleaning.. OMG, I have never been a great cleaner (even when at home under my parents roof!)… my house isn’t dirty, but it sure as heck isn’t immaculate, either! I work full-time, sell a product on the side, and now a single mom. Trust me.. spending time with my Little Man is way more important than all that other stuff! I am better at playing with him than anything! LOL… Even now tho, that’s getting hard because I was trying to do too much. I’m cutting back! Thanks for your honesty and all your posts! They keep me going!!!
Brooke – I am so glad I am not the only one for #1. That is so me. I have tried doing sunday school for littles and it does not work for me. I am a Bible teacher but not for littles. They have to be in at least Junior High or High School for me.
Brooke, your wise words are fruitful and inspiring. You truly have a gift from God. Amen.My
My friend just introduced an amazing book to tackle #2 on your list. I am almost finished with the book and ready to apply the KonMari method to my life (at home & in my classroom).The book is called, “The life-changing magic of tidying up” (The Japanese art of decluttering and organizing…by Marie Kondo. ..it is a quick and helpful guide to tidying up your life. Check it out.
I love this list! I really like the one about not having to remember everything.
Wow. I’m not even a mom yet, and I needed this post so badly. I am definitely making my own version of a “to-don’t” list!!
I love reading your posts. This was exactly what I need to read as I am feeling anxious about a hectic fall and taking on too much!!! Thank you… Your words and posts are so inspiring!!!