Three years and two children ago, I wrote about a Shauna Niequist essay that has stayed with me for years now. In it, she writes,
“And this is what Denise told me: she said it’s not hard to decide what you want your life to be about. What’s hard, she said, is figuring out what you’re willing to give up in order to do the things you really care about.”
The idea, from an essay excerpted here, and found in her book Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace and Learning the Hard Way, continues to challenge me. So, first, to get it out of the way, what I do, in fact, do: I keep house, not beautifully but sufficiently. I fix meals, sometimes nourishing, sometimes indulgent, for my family. I read to my children, and put in the quantity time they require. These things listed below, the things I don’t do, allow me to do these things, to read more than your average bear, to write here, to pray, to homeschool(ish), to find the energy to choose kindness more often than not. Certainly there are probably many people in the world who do all this and more, effortlessly. I try to be OK with not being one of those people. So here goes:
Things I Don’t Do in 2018:
I don’t make yogurt or hummus or all our sandwich bread or any of a number of other things I could make. We’ve discussed this.
I don’t do my makeup or hair or eyebrows or nails with any kind of regularity. Some of it I don’t know how to do at all.
In addition to not making baby food (which I don’t have to, yet, but also don’t plan to), I also don’t cloth diaper or do any of the more hip baby carriers.
I do not care for the car, inside or out, although I keep a trash bag in there and occasionally make Pippin fill a reusable shopping bag with clutter. Embarrassingly, these are both improvements.
Most obviously, I don’t work outside the home. I’d love a tiny job, but it doesn’t make sense financially or logistically right now. Teaching at co op satisfies some of the same longing for a project of my own, as does this blog, but I’ve had to shelve even my modest career ambitions for now in order to have the kind of home life I want.
And I still don’t clean the shower if it can be helped.
What don’t you do? (And feel free to argue about a thing I’m not doing but really should — just don’t argue them all or you’ll find me disheveled and catatonic on the couch.)