Why You Should Stop Doing Things You Don’t Like To Do


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I stink at crafty things.

One day, my (then) 5 year old saw a drawing on our chalkboard and in her usual, knowing, motherly tone, she said, “Oh mama! Look at that cute drawing Bubba (her two year old brother) made!”

Hesitantly, I offered, “Um, Bubba didn’t draw that…I did…”

Earlier that day, I’d conceded to his incessant requests that I draw Lightning McQueen.

Acknowledging the blow to my creative ego, she replied, “Oh…welll ….it’s …..good….mama….”

Yet true to the brutal honesty that inhabits all 5 year olds she added, “…..but what *IS* it?”

Like I said I stink at crafty things.

Know Your Strengths

I have come to learn what I’m good at and what I’m not good at. And I have decided that instead of wearing myself out trying to be good at everything, I will choose to focus on my strengths and do my best to be excellent at a few things.

What I Do With My Kids
So I write with my kids. I run with them. I teach them to play tennis and songs on the guitar. We geocache and hike and go on spontaneous day trips.

All the things I naturally like to do, I teach them and do with them.

What I Don’t Do With My Kids
I only occasionally cook or craft WITH them (I’m good at neither and tend to micromanage). Instead, I give them supplies, direction when asked and watch while they create on their own.

When I was a new mom, I forced myself to cook and do crafts with them because I thought that’s what “good moms” do, but it rarely went well. My task oriented-ness was a liability.

So, now I teach them the basics and then guide them to books and lessons so that others who excel in those areas can teach them what I cannot.

What Are You Good At?

It is vital that we as moms know what we are good at and enjoy. Don’t feel pressured to be good at something just because other moms are or because someone says you “should.”

Pursue excellence in the things God has gifted you in or called you to.

2 Minute Challenge

I have a challenge for you. I don’t want this to be one of those blog posts you read and then forget about. This is a really important concept to help free us from comparison and the misconception that we need to be SuperMom.

I challenge you to take 2 minutes right now and consider these two questions. Share your 3 likes and dislikes in the comments and any ideas you have on how to incorporate your kids or outsource your dislikes.

Answer These Questions
1. What are 3 things you LOVE to do?
Brainstorm ways you can incorporate them into those activities.

2. What are 3 things you do NOT enjoy?
Outsource it. Delegate it. Minimize it. Or just stop it.

Note: Because this concept could easily be taken the wrong way, I’ve posted in the comments a few clarifications, qualifications and explanations why this is not your “get our of jail free card” to never mop your house.

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Comments

40 Comments

  • Avatar Kat says:

    Captain Qualifier Here!!

    If your kids enjoy something you don’t and they want you to do it with them – you still need to do it.
    If it’s just something that needs to be done – you still need to do it.
    If it’s something that your children need to learn to do – you still need to do it.

    But you knew all that right?

    And this isn’t to say we need to ignore all our weaknesses. There are some that need to be improved upon. Until I have the finances to hire a full time personal chef, which is in approximately 5 million year, I am trying to refine my cooking skills. However, it’s not a priority and I don’t feel the need to be an Iron Chef just because cool-mom-down-the-street is a great cook.

    Likewise, I recommend you truly examine what you LOVE to do and NEED to do and focus on those rather than on what you only “want” to do or “should” do. Wants and shoulds crowd out the loves and needs.

    Thoughts? Questions?

    • Avatar Katie says:

      I think you’re absolutely right. This is one of those things that I’ve believed for years, but never really knew how to put into words.

      It wasn’t until I saw Marcus Buckingham give a presentation on that topic that it all clicked for me. He also has a book called Find Your Strongest Life – What the Happiest and Most Successful Women do Differently. If you haven’t read it, I strongly recommend it.

      Before I read this book I let people make me feel selfish or uncompromising for not giving in and spending time on those things that make me unhappy. Like you, I started off trying to do the things that good moms, sisters, girlfriends, etc do.

      It wasn’t until I stopped doing that and started focusing on developing my strengths that I truly became a happy person. Now, I focus on my strengths and I share them with those around me, rather than focusing on my weaknesses and trying to be something I’m not.

      It was great to see your post and know that other women out there share this view! I really believe it makes us better moms and better people in general.

  • Darn it! You and your qualifying means I can’t just STOP cleaning, doesn’t it? πŸ™‚

  • Avatar Katie Orr says:

    I love this! There is SUCH freedom in knowing what we are good at, and what we are not, and not expecting ourselves to be super-mom.

    I will be thinking through the questions of the 3 things I am good at with my kids, and three I am not. Thanks.

  • Avatar Damsel says:

    What an inspiring post. I love to read, so I read to my children (and now I invite my six year old to get a book and read *next* to me)….

    The things I don’t like to do? Roll on the floor and wrestle – but my husband does, so I’d call that delegation….

    Hmmm… I smell a blog post in response. Thank you for the inspiration. πŸ™‚

  • Avatar Mindy says:

    Love!
    1) Baking
    2) Running
    3) Reading (books, magazines, blogs)

    Not so much……
    1) Playing pretend (princesses, etc.)
    2) Highly messy crafts
    3) Dress-up

    Things the kids and I both agree on and BOTH have fun doing….baking cookies together and tasting the dough and the just-from-the-oven cookies, going outside to the park or for a walk or bike-ride, getting out the play-doh (sometimes!) or coloring or reading together, either a chapter book or library books aloud.

    • Avatar Kimberly says:

      Wow… I feel like I can “copy and paste” on all 6 of yours!
      (Although, after peeking at your blog… you are certainly a more qualified baker! I mostly like to eat… πŸ˜‰ But, I am also an exercise nut… )

  • Avatar Laura says:

    I like to read, cook, and work in the yard. I hate house work, video games, and going to the grocery store! I know, I am not exempt from the first and last one! I keep trying to play some video games with my sons. I am just not good. I think they love playing with me because I’m an easy target!

  • How wonderful!! I feel so guilty so much of the time because Im not doing such and such. Here are a few of my listed loves:

    Reading
    Journaling
    COoking

    Not so much:

    Math (yes my husband teaches my kids math).
    Gardening (I kill everything I touch–plant wise).
    Baking (I dont like to measure and that doesn’t work when baking).

  • Avatar Alicia says:

    Love this post! πŸ™‚
    Good at- Reading, Crafting, Games

    Not good at- Sports/dancing, gardening, Cleaning

    I think long as I can encourage my kids to do what I can’t and help them do what I can we will all be happy!

  • Avatar Kayla says:

    Agreed that I appreciate the perspective. I love cooking and reading and just sitting quietly and being with my kids to touch and cuddle. I am not a real fan of playing pretend and watching them run around outside (ie their need for me to watch them ride bikes, swing, etc.). While I will do those things that I don’t enjoy because my kids need me to do them, I need to remind myself that I don’t have to feel guilty about not enjoying them as much as I enjoy other things. Now off to make banana muffins with my kids because that is something I really WANT to do!

  • Avatar Sami says:

    You are sooo right, Kat!!! I have found that if I do what I like, we all have more fun!!! πŸ™‚

    Love: Gardening, cooking, reading.
    Not good at: Crafts, pretend (neverending tea parties!), shopping.

  • Avatar Kathleen says:

    Wow! Great blog. This is my mantra lately. God gifted me in particular to do great things for Him. If I don’t focus in on those strengths, I miss out on doing those things. I call it, Freedom to Fly. It’s so hard to not compare ourselves to the mom next door, especially if you are a homeschooler. I’m so glad to see another mom inspiring other moms to be what they were meant to be.
    Love: Reading, gardening, public speaking (I know, weird, right?)
    Not so much: playing pretend, board games, writing poetry

    Kathleen’s similar blog… http://kathleen.peterro.com/?p=829

  • Avatar Margaret says:

    Whenever one of my kids complained that I didn’t do enough {doll play, truck play, whatever} I told them that I am a Reading Mom, a Sewing Mom, a Cooking Mom, and a Walking Mom. We talked about other moms that did things I didn’t do but also didn’t do some of the desirable things I did. Kids get that if someone points it out to them.

    Though I like crafts, I am bad at them and also hovered over my kids, trying to make everything perfect. Then I finally got a clue and became a facilitator. Everyone was much happier! And my crafty girl continues to grow in her creativity and skill, even with a craft-impaired mommy.

  • Avatar Karin says:

    Cool article!!
    My likes: reading, outdoor walks in nature, crafts.
    Dislikes: (oh man! I’m sitting here thinking!…) I’m not a great cook; I don’t mind it, don’t love it but my kids LOVE to help so I let them whenever it lends itself, and only stress out occasionally. I have a hard time sticking to my exercise routine; my now 4 year old is familiar with Pilates because she has joined me on the occasions that I did work out. It looks hilarious when she does it. πŸ™‚

  • LOVE:
    Spending time out doors
    Reading
    Creating (not quite the same as crafting) πŸ™‚
    listening to music
    watching theatrical performances

    not-so-much:
    imaginative games with toys (though i would get completely lost in this as a child as my 5 yr old now does)
    wrestling (thankfully hubby is GREAT with that!)
    cooking/meal planning – I don’t *mind* preparing the meals – i just wouldn’t say I ‘enjoy’ it.

  • Avatar erika says:

    Great, great post!

    Let’s see. My three likes:
    1. Reading – in our homeschooling, we make lots of trips to the library and learn primarily through good books that we read together. I’ve got language arts pretty well covered. And you can find a good book to cover just about every other subject.
    2. Music – I’m not at all gifted musically, but we love singing and dancing around together allllll day.
    3. Cooking / baking – I have to say. . . I involve my kids in the baking often, but it is much more theraputic when I do it alone πŸ™‚

    My three dislikes:
    1. Decorating – this is more because of a lacke of time and money than anything. And I’ve found that the solution is actually to decorate with the things my kids make for me πŸ™‚
    2. Grocery shopping – when it’s possible to go it alone, I do. Makes a stressful situation a little more tolerable.
    3. Money and finances – delegated to my more numbers-oriented husband.

  • I love gardening, reading, and writing.
    I hate reading the same children’s book a thousand times so I have outsourced that one to the Daddy who after four years on the job has learned the meaning of “inflection”.
    I hate driving in bad weather so I give that stress to y husband since he doesn’t mind it.
    Those are my top two that come to mind!

  • Avatar erika says:

    One more thing. . .

    I’m also not great at organization. That’s not to say I should let my house go to chaos, but I’ve realized I need to stop hoping to turn my home into a Martha Stewart magazine column. My solution to this problem is getting rid of stuff and having lots of baskets – my kids don’t need a whole lot of toys anyway.

  • Avatar Carrie K says:

    Love teaching/reading/learning with them and getting outside to play. I even try to play sports with the boys when their desperate πŸ™‚ But I don’t like crafts, or decorating things and cooking with them only if I’m not in a rush and have extra God-given patience that day.

  • Avatar Amy says:

    Things I love AND love doing with my kids include reading, playing board games, and laser tag (–but how often to we really get to do that?)

    I love scrapbooking but consider that “my time” so I provide my daughter with supplies and help when she requests it, but don’t try to do my own pages when we’re together.

    Hardest things for me to enjoy doing with the kids are video games, sports, and gardening, which I often feel guilty about because those are THEIR favorite things.

  • Mom of a singleton here, I love:
    Reading, Writing, Baking, Crochet, Sewing (small projects for the last two)

    I’m not good at
    Math (but getting better as I teach it!), Freehand drawing (she’s a natural, and Daddy’s great), Sports, Music, Decision making (It takes me a long time, usually and she’s sitting there urging me to decide for whatever it is she wants! She’s amazingly good at decision making, ironically!)

    Can I also say I’m not good at getting everything done but I like checking things off? So I don’t get it all done in the day, but I still have goals, like I should stop and vacuum now before Daddy gets home from work. Amazing today how much did get done. I often call on God in prayer at the start of a day to make the important things happen and to be in charge of my day, weird prayer but I think he likes it and usually he helps me somehow. I also, daily but not consistently, ask him to fill my heart with his love so I can give it away; love his people that he’s given me with his holy love.

    Thanks Kat! (I sat with these questions all day, and finally have time to write. Now to get vacuuming!)

    • Avatar lindaj says:

      Beth,

      I just wanted to let you know that I LOVE your prayer to God to make the important things happen that day! That really hit me when I read it. I think I will incorporate it into my “planning” for the day!

  • Before I got to the end of the post: I had written down: “be excellent at a few things” and “Pursue excellence in the things God has gifted you or called you to.”

    Love to read aloud, go on nature walks and play games with them

    I dislike cooking WITH others — I really like cooking FOR them and have felt the supermom guilt that I should have them work with me. As they have gotten old enough I have delegated it to them in different ways. Much, much better in the kitchen. But I still feel supermom guilt when I just really want to make food for them all by myself! I needed your post today for just this aspect.

    Also: I’m not big on pets or gardening (my in-laws help with this! and are even helping my oldest plant a garden). Pets. I let them play with other friend’s pets when we go there. Now that the youngest is 5 it may become more of a possibility to consider.

  • Avatar Courtney says:

    Love this. I never thought to include my kids in some of the things I’m good at or enjoy, like writing – but now I will!
    Good at: writing, reading, cleaning
    Not so good at: crafting, playing pretend, drawing

    I can now imagine writing stories with my kids and encouraging them to help me clean. They always want to do help clean and can you believe I didn’t want to bother them? What was I thinking?! Thanks for this really helpful post.

  • Avatar Chris says:

    My little one is only 5 months old…. I am really looking forward to the joy of having her help in the kitchen (husband and I both love cooking). I also love sewing and look forward to sharing that with her. And I love reading, which we already do together every day.
    I don’t love singing, but she completely responds when I do so I’d better get used to it. I am also not great at sports/physical fitness but I want so much to get better so she will see me as an example to emulate in getting out and moving. I also don’t enjoy cleaning much. Once we’re done remodeling the house, we can delegate some of that to outside sources (husband’s idea, not mine) but I can also do what needs to be done cheerfully and teach my daughter by example.

  • Avatar Angela says:

    For me it’s not so much what I feel I “should” do, as it is what I “can” do. There are many, many things I can do, and there are aspects of eachof them that I enjoy. But just b/c I CAN do something does not mean it’s best for me to do it. So then what? I guess it comes down to measuring how much I enjoy each thing to determine my strengths?
    I’d say three of my likes- organization, music and drama, health & nutrition
    Dislikes- being around little kids (seriously, this is a problem when you’re the mom to, well, little kids), chit-chat (let’s get to the heart, people!), and relaxing (I’m always on the go.)

  • Avatar Messy Wife says:

    Thanks for another great post.

    Your 2 minute challenge took me a lot more than 2 minutes though… I just realize that I don’t do that much *with* the kids any more but to try to find things for them to do so that I could do the things I needed to do!

    I actually do enjoy
    1. drawing or doing craft
    2. playing hide and seek or other silly things
    3. cooking (I enjoy doing it with them in the few times I did but I don’t do it often because of lack of planning ahead)

    I do not enjoy
    1. reading to them ( I fell asleep quite a few times doing this. DH is a much more dynamic storyteller)
    2. grocery shopping with them ( I always try to align it with snack time, so I would feel more like shopping by myself)
    3. helping them with bigger projects ( I am not good at planning at all )

    Writing this reminds me that I also really enjoy teaching them to do things. Like putting a bead into a string for toddler or folding clothes for my older ones. I really like watching them try and their final “I did it!” expression. I did not do them much because, again, lack of planning ahead. I really should reread your MYM ebook and try again!

  • Avatar Barb says:

    This is good information and something to figure out even for us who have grown children. There are still things I enjoy doing and those I really do not enjoy doing. And those things have changed since I was a young mom with little kids, to teens, to young adults to now the grandma stage. Thanks to my dear daughter-in-love for sharing a link to this article.

  • Avatar Kristiana says:

    Practical and freeing post!
    Love you sweet, awesome friend!

  • Avatar Sarah says:

    hmm…

    Love to…
    1) be silly and inventive with my kids
    2) build lego homes
    3) go on explorations and adventures outdoors
    4) color

    Hate to….
    1) decorate anything with them … including cookies and easter eggs. maybe bc they are so young – its always more frustration than fun for me
    2) host birthday parties (I like to plan them though!)
    3) volunteer at school … as much as I think I should like it.

    Those last two hates are really because I am an introverted person but feel the need to be extroverted for my kids.

  • Avatar Becky says:

    Loves…reading, horseback riding, music, writing

    Not so much…crafts (esp. those involving play-do and/or glitter), cleaning, elaborate cooking/baking, busy-ness (this is why we’re not involved in many extra-curricular activities…because mom would rather be at home reading a book!)

    Thank you for encouraging me in my decision to never allow play-dough or glitter in my home again.

  • Avatar Prerna says:

    Love this post and the thought behind it, Kat! Thank you!
    Here we are:
    Love
    1) Baking
    2) Reading
    3) Pretend Playing. I love being her “patient”, “student”, “lion”,”monkey”
    4) Shopping. I love it. Strange, I know but I just find it so much fun now that she;s a toddler and has an opinion on everything!

    Not Love
    1) Sporty activities. Am not great at them and don’t really enjoy them. Good for her, DH does.
    2) Complicated Craft. No can-do. Simple paper, paint and glue stuff, anyday though.
    3) I don’t have a 3rd item. πŸ™

  • […]  Why You Should Stop Doing Things You DonÒ€ℒt Like to Do {Inspired to Action} The ever-inspiring Kat gave me a reality check (akin to Cara above) and will surely encourage you to go a little easy on yourself as well. Moms, please check this one out! […]

  • Avatar Jackie says:

    Love:
    Baking & Cooking
    Taking pictures (I take a LOT of pictures, and I get really excited when I find “the perfect shot”)
    Journaling
    Reading
    Grocery Shopping (I really like math and finding a good deal on food we enjoy)
    Planning the monthly budget
    singing & dancing
    hiking/nature walks

    Things I don’t mind:
    Stickers & Drawing
    cleaning
    gardening
    cake decorating

    Not so much:
    Make-believe/Dress up
    Board games/card games
    sports
    Messy crafts (painting, play doh, anything with glitter)

  • Like: creating, gathering, fashion and decorating, Bible reading, communicating, time alone with husband, time alone with each child one-on-one, time alone with God, time alone with self, family fun, teaching university students

    Dislike: cooking, cleaning, moving every two minutes from one game of pretend to the next, making decisions with husband while children are fussy, pets, outdoors or sports, hosting parties, grading term papers

    Hmm, so many of the dislikes have to be done anyway.

    Love your blog!

  • Avatar Destiny says:

    Love to organize anything, bake/cook healthy creations for my family and travel the globe showing my children God’s creations all there is to discover.
    I find that there is little I dislike doing with my kids. They always inspire me and motivate me. The only things I really dislike are the mundane and boring… like morning routines, math curriculum, meal planning, bath and brushing teeth, laundry…
    This is where God has really been helping me see the benefit of having oodles of children. The more kids, the more helping hands. I think I would be bored with one or two kids. These mundane activities would seem endless. With an ongoing cycles of different ages, I’m able to easily delegate the older to the younger. Having lots of kids maximizes everything but I bored easily. [Hence the mundane dislikes.] I have often struggled with am I going down the right path by allowing God to choose my family size and not me. But when I thought about the dislikes I may have had with my kids- nothing came to mind πŸ™‚ More hands and smiling face make everything doable and adventurous… except laundry. >:o( Raising daughters to help their sisters brush teeth; practicing good Mommy skills & Raising sons to help their little brothers take the trash to the curb; practicing good Daddy skills is what it’s all about!

  • Avatar Sarah says:

    I needed to hear this ‘be yourself’ for I know that I compare and try to do things other people do or I think expect and have lost myself in the process.

    I love to:
    organize
    go out for coffee/food
    browse antique stores
    read (to myself and out loud)
    have time to myself

    I don’t like to:
    play pretend with Barbies
    clean up all day
    cook and do dishes
    do bedtime routine (I think because I“m already tired too and want a break)

  • Avatar Bekah says:

    Thanks for this!! Likes:
    1) Reading & writing
    2) Guitar, writing songs, music, drama (but don’t do this very often with them!)
    3) Health & nutrition, cooking (some things)

    Dislikes:
    1) crafts (I like the idea of setting them loose with some supplies)
    2) imaginative play/pretend (And I used to be so good at this as a kid! What’s happened to me?)
    3) cleaning (I do like it better when the kids help me)

  • Avatar Joanna says:

    Likes:
    1. cooking
    2. cleaning/organizing
    3. reading

    Dislikes:
    1. saying yes to invites at night or on weekends when I have to leave my husband at home
    2. pretend/storytelling
    3. acting