Friday, August 19, 2011

What I Don't Do

These are all just random pictures having nothing to do with the subject of the post

I think a lot people get the impression that I am some kind of farm girl Martha Stewart.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Just to prove it, here are some things that I do not do:

1.  Keep my house super picked up.
If you stop by without calling, you can expect to see toys scattered all over, clean laundry on my kitchen couch waiting to be folded, and a trail of graham crackers on my kitchen floor.  (Heck, even if I do know you're coming...)  I'm not (usually) too embarrassed about it.  I would rather have a house people feel comfortable dropping by than a perfect house with a stressed mama that you need to call weeks in advance to visit.

2.  Deep Clean
Seriously, never.  As I mentioned, I have a sweet lady who cleans my house twice a month.  Unless I'm having overnight company, I don't scrub my showers in between.  Ever.  Shes does my baseboards and fans once every two months.  That is fine with me.

3.  Coupon
When we lived in the city and the suburbs, I used to spend a lot of time couponing and getting deals, but here, the stores are so far away, and their coupon policies are so restrictive, that it's not worth my time anymore.  I still keep my price book in my head, and only buy things at the lowest price, but I just don't bother with the coupons now, unless I can get something for free.

4.  Iron
Never never never.  Well, once, for family pictures.

5.  Spend a ton of time on my kids' appearance.
I don't blow dry their hair.  I don't make them put it up.  I don't force them into matching outfits, even for church.  I rarely scrub their little shoes.  I try to make sure they look neat and clean (-ish) before we leave the house.  Don't take that to mean that we don't arrive somewhere and realize that one of them has managed to get a dirty face on the trip over.  It happens....all.the.time.

Despite the fact that they actually do match in this picture, I had nothing to do with it.
6.  Sign the kids up for lots of outside activities
This is a whole long-winded post that I have been working on in my head for at least a year, and that I will finish eventually, but our family is intentional about not signing up for a lot of sports, classes, and other activities.  Sometimes this means that we don't participate even in things that we think have a lot of value.  That doesn't mean our kids don't do any extra-curriculars, just very few.

7.  Participate in everything ourselves
Along those same lines, Seth and I don't say "yes" to everything we are invited to do, even some things that we really would like.  There are many times when I wish I could be at someone's party or birthday lunch or baby shower, but the day just doesn't work for our family.  Even smaller events, like a quick lunch at church, may not work with our routine, and so we might decide not to go.

The same thing goes for joining community groups, bible studies, planning committees, etc.  It's not that we don't think it is important.  It's just not what we think is best for our family right now.

I don't write as much as I'd like.  I don't spend as much time on learning photography as I'd like.  We don't play video or computer games.  We don't consistently watch many TV shows as a couple.  We don't play team sports.  I mostly only return emails and Facebook at certain times a day.

In the end, with so many little ones, it is best to keep our lives simple.  This is so hard sometimes, but Seth and I genuinely dislike running from place to place all week long.  We are fiercely protective of our peaceful family time.

Of course, one of the benefits of saying no to these things is that it frees up my time to do some of the things that I do get done around here!

8.  Change linens on a schedule
Seriously.  I know people do this.  I'm pretty sure my own mother did this.  But no.  I change the sheets and towels whenever I think they need to be changed.  I have no idea if it is more or less than other people, but we are happy with it.

9.  Exercise as much as I would like
Ideally, I would like to hit four days a week.  But finding time to exercise during this season of life means giving up sleep.  If I don't exercise before the kids wake up for the day, it's just not going to happen.  Since I haven't slept through the night in almost seven years, I am usually very tired.  Sometimes I get on a good kick of getting up super early and exercising before my quiet time.  That's about when I get pregnant again.  Just kidding.  Kinda.

In reality, I'm running once-twice a week right now.  I hope I can keep adding workouts to my schedule.  But if I can't, that has to be enough for now.  It isn't perfect.  But it is real life.

10.  Work
So many of the people who ask me how I do it all work full time jobs.  I don't.  I certainly didn't do all this stuff when I did.  You guys are way too hard on yourselves.  You simply cannot do everything at home and everything at work.  It's just not possible.  Find what is most important to your family, and prioritize that.  Say no more often.  Refuse to run all over creation everyday.  Pick and choose only the best things!  You are doing plenty already.  Maybe stop sewing all your own baby clothes, from scratch, with cotton that you cut from your own sheep, that you raise organically in your own backyard, between the hours of midnight and 2 am (unless you truly love it.  Then keep on).  Stop the insanity.  Take a nap now and then.

You already know what is most important.  And it has nothing to do with the kitchen.


  1. I have always enjoyed your blog articles but I am beginning to notice just how awesome your photos are as well.  Very nice.  God bless

  2. You Rock, Just The Way You Are!

  3. Shannon@ChickensinMyKitchenAugust 19, 2011 at 6:59 PM

    Thank you!  I love taking pictures of the kids.  I know that when they are all grown, it will be hard to remember these days.  Hopefully all these pictures and the blog will help me remember how it felt to have our little family.

  4. Shannon@ChickensinMyKitchenAugust 19, 2011 at 7:00 PM

    Thank you!  I just want to remind people that NO ONE really does everything.  I sure don't.

  5. heeehemmm, cotton from sheep?!  Clearly you're majorly slacking.  Ha ha, I'm totally teasing.  I don't even know you, but you know how blogging is, sometimes you just feel like you're reading stuff from friends because you have so much in common.  I don't even know how I stumbled upon your lovely blog, but here I am late at night when I should be sleeping.  Thanks for the encouraging post, it was great.  Happy blogging:-)

  6. Shannon@ChickensinMyKitchenAugust 29, 2011 at 10:04 AM

    I AM too lazy to shear my own sheep.  Unless I wanted to.  In which case I would probably make my Hubs do it while I took pictures.