10 things this mom does NOT do.

I don't do that.

Since this month’s theme was “family fun”, I’ve done a lot of writing about the things my family and I do, like BBQ-ing, beach trips, and nature hikes.

I’m afraid that so many posts in a row about things I do may have given some readers the wrong idea: namely, that I’m always “doing” or that I do more than the average mom. I guess any blogger can relate.We all like to write about what interests us, and what we’re good at or learning more about, whether it’s gardening or crafting or traveling or reading. Writing about the stuff we don’t like to do or can’t seem to pull off just isn’t as fun.

But just to make sure nobody gets the mistaken impression that I “do it all,” I think it’s sometimes fun to share things that I DON’T do – both the stuff I don’t ever intend to do, and the stuff I don’t do but wish I did (and hope to someday.) Here goes:

Things I Don’t Do (And Don’t Care To)

  1. Scrapbook. Oh, I tried. At one point in my life, I was even a Creative Memories consultant (that lasted about a month.) But after countless hours wielding paper and stickers, I wound up with 10 finished pages, a box full of photos that are still waiting to be put in an album, and a serious knot in my shoulder. As it turns out, I am much more interested in getting the photos into a book, any old book, so I can actually enjoy them. The cutting and gluing skills needed to make said book look pretty do not, uh, make the best use of my particular talents.
  2. Craft. Okay, there are a few exceptions to this rule. I usually make some kind of Christmas ornament with the kids and we often come up with creative ways to dye Easter eggs. But I’ve stopped feeling bad about my lack of skills with the scissors (see #1) and have decided this is the kind of thing they can always do with somebody more talented. Someone, for example, who can cut in a straight line.
  3. Work Out. I like to think of myself as the kind of person who would get all high on sweating my way through a spinning class or pumping iron, but every gym membership I’ve ever had has been a colossal waste of money. Now, I do exercise – I like to ride my bike, and I like to walk and sometimes I even run – but generally I prefer to do those things outdoors and on my own terms. One exception: yoga class. And I love to dance, so I’ve been thinking of trying Zumba.
  4. Use Reflective Listening. I very much respect the theory behind this style of communication, which I learned about via the book How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk, by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. However, in practice, using phrases like “So what I hear you saying is that you think I’m a big poop-head” often feels foolish and forced coming out of my mouth. It’s just not “me.” I do my best to empathize with my kids, but I think they’re smart enough to know when I’m “using a method” on them. I think what I’ve come to realize is that the style of communication that works best is usually the one that feels most natural, and that sometimes your kids are going to flip out no matter what you say to them.
  5. Play Candyland. I’ll play almost any other board game, but I hate Candyland so much I’ve been known to pretend I can’t find it and suggest checkers instead.

5 Things I Don’t Do But Would Like To:

  1. Knit, crochet or needlecraft. Every fall I look longingly at the sweaters and hats and scarves it seems the entire rest of the blogosphere is creating, and mean to do it myself, and then never do. I’ve also been wanting to embroider something since I was, like, 12. Maybe now that my toddler isn’t such a TODDLER anymore and is less likely to trip over yarn or impale herself on a needle, this might be more doable.
  2. Thrift shop. I frequent consignment stores often, but I’m talking true thrifting – the skill of being able to go into a Goodwill and come out with something great instead of a dated-looking dress that doesn’t fit and a holey sweater. I’ve been loving Erin‘s series about how to thrift well. She has such a great eye, and more importantly, she stresses that it’s not just about dumb luck or talent but experience, time, and patience. I often go antiquing and am perfectly happy to buy nothing; I enjoy the thrill of the hunt more than the purchase. So I think it would be worth developing this skill – especially since I can totally see myself and Clara enjoying it together once all the boys are in school.
  3. Take good photos. I don’t really care if I ever take great, professional-quality photos; and I don’t care much about processing. But I do want to learn about basic settings, lighting, and composition.
  4. Take bike rides with the kids. I fairly regularly bike with one or two kids at a time but I have yet to figure out how to take everyone out for a full-on family bike ride without having a nervous breakdown. We did it on Mackinac Island last year, but there are no cars on the island and even then, it was quite a production. Maybe this is one of those things that will seem more doable if I wait a couple of years?
  5. Decorate birthday cakes. I do bake and decorate most of my kids’ birthday cakes. But, (see reference to my shaky artistic skills above as well as my post on the Good-Enough Birthday)  they usually look as though they were done by the kids themselves. Just once I’d love to make a cake that looks like…like it was supposed to look like something. Maybe I’ll practice for the next 15 1/2 years, create a masterpiece on Clara’s 18th birthday and then retire forever, on top of my game. On the other hand, that sounds like a lot of work. Maybe I’ll stick to spelling “happy birthday” with M&M’s and call it good.

Your turn – what things do you not do, and never intend to? What things do you not do (or not do well) but wish you did?

Image credit: DaveParker on Flickr

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