January 13, 2015

A Few Things I'm Good At

The thing about a new year and setting goals is that you might spend a lot of time thinking about all the things about yourself you don't really like or that you're not good at.

So, while I've been working on my goals for 2015, I've also been taking note of some of the small things that I am good at, that I don't need to make any goals about.

And sometimes, that just feels nice, especially when you're seeing so clearly some of the things you really do struggle with.

If only one of the things on this list was flossing my teeth. Here's hoping my dentist dad misses this post.

  1. Making My Bed. I cannot think of a day in the last two decades where I haven't made my bed. It's a big deal to my mom, and so all of us have always made our beds every single day. On the rare occasions that I go into one of my sisters' rooms in their homes, their beds are always made too. My college roommate started making her bed every day after just a few days of living together because she said, "I don't want to be the slob roommate!" 
  2. Sticking to My Grocery List. This doesn't make me a very fun person to do the grocery shopping (I am very very unlikely to come home with fun things tucked in among the milk and eggs and dried pasta), but I'm very good at it. 
  3. Reading Very Fast. I'm not a speed-reader, but my natural reading speed is pretty quick (Bart can't stand it when I read over his shoulder because I'm done with the email or whatever he's reading so much sooner than he is). This definitely makes it easier to plow through a lot of books. 
  4. Putting My Children to Bed on Time. I try to be a good mom, but by seven p.m., I'm pretty much ready to not parent any more. So those girls do not stay up past their bedtime almost ever. Once that clock hits seven, their doors are shut and their day is over. 
  5. Getting fees and charges removed. I cannot stand late fees and while I try to avoid them at all costs, if I do get dinged with one, you can bet I'll make the phone call and get it removed (hint: they'll basically always remove it). 
  6. Typing very quickly. My brother is on an LDS mission and writes an email to family and friends every week. Several people have commented on how long his letters are and when this message was relayed back to him, he wrote back saying, "Thank you, Mavis Beacon." We all did typing lessons on the computer starting almost immediately when we got our first desktop back in the early 90s and all of us are speedy little typists now. Which is a seriously useful skill to have. 
  7. Taking short showers. I think one of the reasons I'm able to get dressed and ready every morning is that my showers are about three minutes long (it helps that I only wash my hair about once a week). When we lived in London and only had a shower, I learned Ella did not inherit this trait - she was always in the shower for AGES and we'd have to . 
And I'd love to hear what little things you're good at. Probably flossing. 


  1. I like this idea of making a list of what we're good at. Resolutions are great, but in a way they can be discouraging because they drag out all the things about ourselves that we want to fix. Mixing in some positives is a great idea!

  2. Other than putting my children to bed on time (since I, uh, don't have children) our lists are pretty much identical. Spooky. And awesome.

  3. Hmmm . . . I'm really good at getting places on time. Even with three small children, I am never, ever late. Though no one else I know is on time, so this is probably annoying to people who invite me over for a playdate or whatever at 2 p.m., expecting I'll show up at 2:15 or something.

    And like you, I am also really good at getting my kids to bed at 7:30 p.m., because my patience done gone by then.

    I am also really good at food. I cook three meals a day for five people, always.

  4. This is such a great idea, Janssen!

    A few things I'm good at:
    1. Saying "no". I homeschool my 5yo and am trying to get a book published. No one else is allowed to add to my to-do list.
    2. Cooking dinner. We don't go out to eat much.
    3. Not yelling at my daughter. I am far from a perfect parent. But I rarely yell and I'm proud of that.

  5. As I was reading this I was like, "Hm, what am I good at...?" and then I got to your last night and said out loud, "HEY! I AM really good at flossing!" Aaron chimed in from the other room, "Good for you, I guess?"

  6. Haha! I'm only good at flossjng because my husband flosses every. single. night, and like you're roommate, I don't want to be the slob. :)

  7. Nope. Not flossing. My father-in-law is a dentist so my husband is such a good flossed + he STILL wears his retainers to bed a few nights a week. But I am really got at NOT flossing.
    I have also gotten really good at meal planning.

  8. I'm right there on getting the kids to bed! If nothing else, at least I have sleep!

  9. Not flossing, but like you, I'm very good at getting the kids to bed on time. I've hit my parenting limit by about 5:30 or 6, so they are ALWAYS in bed by 7 (if not earlier). I think I'm also good at helping my kids discover their own interests--this may have been spawned of my own laziness (I have NO interest in playing with them for more than about 2 minutes at a time), but I think it's given them the necessary space and freedom to figure out what sort of things they love and don't love to do, without me pushing them one way or another.

  10. Love this! I am so encouraged that others put their children to bed at 7 consistently! I only have one (and another coming this August), but he's always in bed by 7. Why do others look at me like I am crazy for doing this? I, too, am ready for a break by that time. I dread the day when he needs a later bedtime. He's only twenty months... any idea when that might be?

    1. My 4 1/2 year old still goes down at that time with no problems! Crossing my fingers I still have another four or five years of it :)

  11. #s 1-6 for me (just called last night to have an enormous annual fee removed before promptly canceling the card). Not 7, though (especially not with a bluetooth speaker in the shower for audiobooks), and certainly not flossing.

  12. I am really good at setting a pretty table, I am good at reading non-fiction (voraciously), I am good at costuming high school theater shows to make enormous numbers of high school students look like Trojan/Greek warriors, or Edwardian city folk, or animated Disney characters, or Shakespearean plebians, or whatever. Useful in life? Sometimes. :)


  13. I kind of not really wish my parents had been more into the bed-making thing, because now I feel guilty every time my husband makes the bed (after I just fall out of it and leave the sheets a big tangle).

  14. You may have this somewhere else on your blog, but just wondering about the hair washing thing?? I haven't been able to go more than 3 days without washing-what do you do to go a week?
    And I'm good at keeping a clean house, making my bed and teaching my girls to do it daily, and finishing sewing projects that I start.

  15. I realize again that we're long lost twins because everything on your list I said "yep, yep, got that..." especially the one about putting the kids to bed early. There are 5 from 10 years old to 17 months and if they're not all in bed by 7, I start freaking out a little because, like you, I don't parent well in the evenings. I'm done. And yes, they all sleep all night. No one is up before 630. Kids need their sleep, it's huge and you're doing them a service by allowing them that time to recharge. Sorry I'll step off of my soapbox now. ;)

  16. I'm good at recommending children's literature! Just tonight my friend was like, "ok write this down for me" and I'm like "OK but you know this is all on the blog, right?"

    I'm very excellent at names and faces. I recognized my friend from the first half of fourth grade (she moved away) when we were in a class together in college.

    I'm good at knowing what people are trying to say. Maybe I was born with it? Maybe it's that I have years of parenting babies and toddlers (who communicate without language) under my belt.

    I write in my journal every night. In fact I ships go do that right now.

    I have recommitted myself to flossing, since I got bad marks at my last dentist visit. My new flossing battle-cry is "We're flossers now!"

  17. You should add to that list that you give great book recommendations. I FINALLY read What Alice Forgot after seeing your review of it a few years ago, and I LOVED it. I started reading it a day ago and couldn't stop thinking about it until I finished reading.

    I am good at remembering things, photography, and flossing. :)

  18. I bet a lot of people flossed yesterday after reading your post :) At least I did. So your dentist dad can be proud of you :)

  19. Mavis Beacon!! Ha ha ha, that is exactly why I am so good at typing!

    I am good at staying on top of the ironing, remembering people (names and things about them), and always sending a prompt thank you note.

    Also, this is my first time commenting, and I just want to say thank you so much for your blog! Your posts are so genuine, interesting, helpful and funny. You weave your sponsored posts seamlessly into your content and seem pretty true to yourself. Thanks for making motherhood more fun for me! Also, thanks for recommending What Alice Forgot (among others)--it is a new very favorite book of mine.

  20. I am also pretty good about making my bed and sending thank you notes.

    I am pretty bad about sticking to the grocery list (excessive whining means chocolate just finds its way into the cart) and getting annoyed when I don't get a thank you note. Well, really, it's just no acknowledgement of a gift that annoys me - I'm totally fine with texts and emails.

  21. I think this is my favorite article you've ever written. I do 1,3 and 4 to the T!! And I definitely do NOT do the grocery list (but my most spontaneous purchases lead to the most colorful meals) or short showers. My shower is my escape and I just ignore the kids fighting each morning... But I have shortened them to like 10 min or less now that I am a mom.

  22. Okay, I seriously AM good at flossing my teeth! LOL. I'm an adult braces wearer and saw a video on what happens to teeth in braces when they are not cleaned and flossed properly. Now I brush and floss religiously. It's a small thing but thanks for reminding me that it still matters. :)


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