The “Do” List

the do list - Sara Jones - HSLDA Blog

I bet you don’t practice “clean eating.” Or maybe you don’t exercise every day.

Well, fine. Do you maintain regular devotionals and prayers, both personally and with your family?

Do you also read aloud to your kids, follow current events, serve at church, go on a weekly date with your spouse, keep a clean house, grow your own food, spend an hour with each child individually, journal your experiences, visit the sick in the hospital, run a business out of your home, custom-design your curriculum…

I’ll stop now, because the answer is no. You don’t do all those things, and neither do I. Nobody can. But for some reason, we think we should.

I spent far too many years existing in a haze of vague guilt. Whatever I did wasn’t enough; there was so much more that I was supposed to be doing.

Eventually, God managed to ignite a small but blazing thought within me, thanks to a net weight loss of zero.

Two years ago, I changed the way I ate and walked four miles every day. I lost twenty pounds. That’s right—I went down two jean sizes. But I got tired of thinking so much about food when I had so much else clamoring for my attention. Besides, baking cookies and pies makes me happy. I stopped trying, and I gained all twenty pounds back.

Staring at my lumpy self in the mirror, I caught myself thinking, “Well, that was two years wasted.”

I was wrong, though. During the time that I was putting those pounds back on, I also:

  • Wrote a novel, to be released this fall
  • Educated and nurtured four children
  • Cooked nearly 2000 meals
  • Took my kids to the creek, the park, the pool, and friends’ houses
  • Hosted parties and dinners for our friends
  • Wrote a monthly column for a magazine
  • Made regular time for conversation and romance with my husband
  • Messaged, emailed, and wrote letters to distant family and friends

And that’s an incomplete list. Maybe these extra twenty pounds weren’t a reflection of what a failure I am. Maybe they remind me that I’m human and I can’t do it all at once.

That little flame of a thought has burned brightly ever since: “I can’t do it all—but I do a heck of a lot.”

I’m sure you can come up with a long list of things you “should” do. Before you give into that swirling guilt, think of what you do get done. Even if your list is “Kept toddler out of the toilet, changed baby regularly, taught ABCs, kept everyone happy, fed, and relatively clean,” that’s a darn good list.

All our lists can be edited. We can trim time-wasters to make room for what’s really important. The essential thing to keep in mind, though, is that we can’t do it all—but as homeschool moms, we do a lot. And that’s worth remembering.


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