Real Chat: The Noble Art of leaving things undone

June 2, 2012

So thankful to Madeline for being a guest here today, and sharing her take on balancing life and motherhood. She blogs at Uber Chic for Cheap (head over if you aren’t familiar!) and also is a writer for Babble. Thrilled to have her here today on IHOD…

I am so excited to be contributing to this series! As I was reading Anna’s Real Chat post from last week, I found myself nodding along with everything she said and am honored to be included. 

Before I had my son, Tate, I naively thought that my life would be so much easier. All I would have to worry about was making dinner and taking care of a baby. Ha! I’ve never been busier (and I’ve never been more fulfilled!) I write for two blogs, do architectural work from home and head up the women’s organization at my church. And of course, I take care of Tate, the house, and all the other incidentals that fall to the homemakes. I do a lot. But I don’t do it all.

We have frozen pizza for dinner at least once a week. I only do laundry on a “crap, I’m out of underwear again” basis. The shower is covered with soap scum and my garage is full of unpacked boxes and unfinished projects. And that is just fine by me.

In my early married life, I went through some pretty pressing problems with my health that made it impossible for me to do much of anything. During that incredibly trying time in my life I read this mantra. “Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is a nobler art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of nonessentials.” I clung to this idea with everything I had. If I let myself get bogged down in doing things that are not fulfilling or important, I found myself a grumpy mess. 

By letting myself not feel guilty for having messy closets and sticky floors, I leave more of myself for my husband and son:)

Leave a Comment

  • Very wise. LOVE the quote. So true and we should all take notice so that we can enjoy our lives and the people in it a bit more!! xo

  • I love Madeline’s outlook. I’ll definitely be checking out her blog. Thank you for the introduction.

  • This prety much sums it up… I love this series so much….


  • YES!! Thanks for the outlook Madeline! Sometimes my husband has to ask me when we’re hanging out at night “where are you going?” because I have the habit of getting up to – change the laundry – fill the dishwasher, put something away – etc…the true art is to leave it undone and not stress! Guess I will have to practice my new art form!

  • This is an art I am still learning. Having my house cleaned and organized brings me clarity, room to breathe, and more creativity. Having a husband and a son who are totally carefree and easy going about the messes has stretched me and made me work to be OK with leaving things undone. But we’ve also come to a compromise. Part of playtime, is clean up time! ๐Ÿ™‚ And my hubby is on the ball with helping me get done what he knows will make our living atmosphere happier and not bogged down. Now things don’t have to be spotless, but in the course of the day, there is tidiness.

    As for projects and lists, they will always be there – and I’ve let go of the deadlines in my head. The time allowance and prioritizing has definitely changed with being married and having a Little One. We set realistic timelines for the goals//dreams we have!

    Great Real Chat!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Wow, did I need to hear this today or what? So wonderful, thank you!!

  • What a great post. I love Madeline!

  • What a fabulous quote, love it!

  • Great post! Thanks for sharing ๐Ÿ™‚


  • I love your blog so much, just found it through Modern Buttercup. Hopefully you’d like to check out mine and maybe we can follow each other, I just followed you via GFC. xx

  • Loved your thoughts Madeline! I’m still learning to leave things undone. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • I love the quote! And I can relate to the self imposed guilt when not finishing everything I assign myself to do. It’s hard but I’m learning not to feel guilty when I can’t do it all or need to ask for help. -JB.

  • I love that quote! In fact, I think I’m going to make it into my life motto ๐Ÿ™‚


  • such a great perspective. my mom gave me similar advice when my son was first born and it helped me immensely! thank you for sharing!

  • That’s wonderful! I’m posting it on my bulletin board above my desk where I can see it.

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