March 8 2022 08:00 AM

Trade-offs make my life more valuable for me and those around me.

I recently saw an article about one woman’s “I don’t” list become quite popular and prompt various spin-offs on social media. The premise was that social media posts typically depict all the things that women (in this case, mothers) do without acknowledging what is neglected or not done. Essentially, the trade-offs often go unrecognized. The author sought to shine a light on the reality of the full picture with her list.

A quick online search shows this recent article is not the first of its type, but the topic certainly still strongly resonates with many audiences. So, I thought I’d make my own list. To give a little background, I am a wife, mother of three (8-year-old, 2-year-old, 2-month-old), full-time employee, active member of my parish, and an avid tennis player and athlete.

I don’t . . .

• Cook many dinners. My husband is the master chef, and I am so grateful.

• Watch non-sports television. It just doesn’t interest me, and what little free time I have I’d rather use differently.

• Iron. Thank goodness for steamers and dry cleaners, but I’m mostly grateful for clothes that don’t require any of that.

• Floss every day. Sorry, Mom (the dental hygienist).

• Keep a spotless house. “Not gross” is a low bar, but I’m okay with it in this stage of life.

• Pack my kids’ lunches; they buy. It’s one less thing to manage, so it’s a rule in our house.

• Entertain. It’s aspirational, not currently doable.

• Have a hatred for laundry (fortunately). I keep up with it regularly, so I don’t struggle with piles from procrastination.

• Get offended easily. Ignoring bad behavior from other adults frees up a lot of mental space and energy.

• Blow dry my hair very often. Going to bed with wet hair is my norm.

• Keep up with social media. I may randomly browse on my computer, but it’s not at my fingertips (or on my cellphone).

• Know what I’m doing all the time. Winging it is my go-to parenting style (is there even an alternative?)

• Feel guilty for having a career. I’m proud to contribute to our industry and financially to my family.

In order to focus on what matters to me at this time of my life, there are a lot of things I do and don’t do. Some of them are intentional, and others are just the result of being crowded out by my priorities. I want to hear what you “don’t” do in the comments!

Erin Massey

Erin Massey is the product development manager at Prairie Farms, a farmer-owned cooperative based in Edwardsville, Illinois. She is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the development process, from concept to commercialization. Erin grew up on a Florida dairy farm and has a deep-rooted passion to invigorate the dairy industry. Erin earned a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from the University of South Florida. Her personal mantra is "Be Bold."