23 Dec
Posted in: parenting
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5 Things I Don’t Worry About (Anymore)

When our youngest was born four years ago, I felt like I was treading water and never getting anywhere. My to-do list encompassed far too much and little things in the house drove me nuts. Now there are things I don’t worry about anymore that I used to try and control. These are my top five tasks I used to waste my time and energy dealing with or worrying about when really they don’t have anything to do with me.

Using her bedroom space to read to the babies

  1. Making beds — I think a bedroom looks better when the beds are made. Everything just seems like it’s all organized and in order if the sheets are nicely tucked and pillows fluffed. Just because I like the feeling of crawling into a made bed at night doesn’t mean my kids do. Everyone needs their own space. My kids deserve space just like I do. Their bedrooms are their space in the house. Yes, they have to be cleaned and picked up, but whether or not they make their beds each morning no longer bothers me. There are times when I know someone will be in their rooms, and I ask them to at least pull the sheets from the foot of the bed to the head. Most of the time though, sheets and blankets are a crumpled mess.
  2. Clothes — I don’t want people telling me what I should wear, so I rarely tell my kids what they should wear. Their clothes do have to be weather- and occasion-appropriate. Occasionally, I’ll tell them exactly what to wear for photos, concerts, etc., but for the most part, I let them be. I won’t sport bright blue athletic pants with a red shirt, but at least one of my boys has been known to. The way they choose to dress is an expression of their own personalities. Our 11-year-old used to mix patterns and colors like he dressed himself in the dark. Eventually, he found his own style, and I no longer shake my head at what he walks out of the house sporting.
  3. Dressers — This one has taken more time for me to shake. I wash and fold laundry, and each child is expected to put away their own clothes. Something happens between the time when nice piles of folded laundry are handed to them and when they are placed in the dresser drawers. Shirts and pants get balled up and shoved into drawers in a heap. I would fume when I opened drawers, and rant about taking care of their things while I re-folded clothing. Slowly, I realized no one was having trouble finding clothes in the mess that was their drawers. The clothes are clean. That’s what’s important to me. If the wrinkles don’t bother them, then they don’t bother me (most of the time).
  4. Books — Years ago when I first became a mother, I had high expectations of the books my children would love to read, the classics I would expose them to. While they do enjoy some of the books I longed for them to love, they also adore books I would not have willingly opened the door to. Our third grader is a fan of scarier books like the Goosebumps series by R.L. Stine. He discovered those on his own. I thought they would be too scary, but I was wrong. Our fifth grader reads voraciously and across the board, but always comes back to his fantasy novels. Our daughter adores the Pinkalicious books even though I do not. We have a stack of comic books the boys enjoy, which is something I wouldn’t have thought to purchase. I’m happy to have children who love books, and as long as they’re age appropriate, I let them choose their own titles. The exception to that rule are books based on LEGO Bionicle characters. We’ve banned them from the house if mom or dad is expected to read them out loud. It feels like all the words are made up and linked by a, an, the, and said. I just can’t do it anymore. Some books are just not good.
  5. Chore charts — My parenting past has included chore charts, marble behavior jars and to-do lists. All those attempts were short-lived. My heart wasn’t in it. Every mom I knew seemed to have some sort of system for chores, behavior, screen time, etc. I thought I should too. Really we don’t need it. Those things don’t give us problems. I was just adding one more thing to keep track of. The kids are asked to help around the house as it’s needed…dishes, gathering garbage, vacuuming, dusting, cleaning bathrooms, etc. No one is attached to any sort of screen. Well, maybe me. I give permission as I see fit. If something starts to be a problem, then I’ll re-assess. I can barely remember to do the advent calendar EVERYDAY in December. Keeping track of charts for four kids on a daily basis seems impossible without me becoming overwhelmed by it all.

Are there things you’ve let go of to alleviate that “drowning in life” feeling?


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