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Do What You Can Do…Do Your Best

by Christine@TheAums on February 7, 2013 · 34 comments

On a recent homeschooling field trip, we visited the Big Whale Museum, also known as the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History.

This isn’t about the museum, but if you’d like to know more, read my post about our family field trip here.
BigWhaleMuseum Outside the museum there is a life-size grey whale model that kids can climb. It’s slippery, rather challenging and to a three-year-old must look like a mountain. Before even trying to join the others and scale it, my daughter asked me to help her get to the top. She’s my fourth child, so by now I have my policy and my answer down pat. “I want you to do what YOU can do,” is not something new to her ears. I don’t usually help my kids climb things. I’d rather they figure out their own body’s capabilities and limits. This is why:

She set off and began at the whale’s tail. Inch by inch, I watched as she pulled and pushed with her entire body. She was focused and determined, even and maybe especially, as older kids climbed over and past her body. I could hear little grunts as she rose higher and higher, finally making it to the flatter part of the whale’s back where she could catch her breath. She sat there, straddled at the top, with a look of sheer satisfaction. I’m so glad I didn’t take that feeling away from her. When her eyes connected with my eyes she smiled big and yelled, “Take a picture of me, mama. Take a picture and send it to papa.”

DoWhatYouCanDoOver and over she climbed that whale, until it was time to go and I had to deny her “just one more time.” On our way to the car, I recounted how she asked me for help earlier. She said, “Yeah, and you told me to do my best and I did!”

“Mama said do what you can do,” I gently corrected, to which she replied, “And that means do my best, mama.”

So I’m taking my own advice and doing what I can do. Whether it’s homeschooling, freelancing multiple jobs, being there for my friends, finding a new rental for my family- actually it’s all of the above and more- I’m doing what I can do, which means I’m doing my best.

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{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

Brandi February 7, 2013 at 8:16 am

Wise one, that little gal! Yes, I have accepted this into my life as well. I’m learning to be honest about what my best is, and where I’m not willing to give my best, and proceed accordingly. You are doing what you can, and by the looks of your amazing children…what you can do is fantastic.
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Christine@TheAums February 7, 2013 at 8:26 am

Thank you, Brandi. I thought of you while writing this post. I even did a search on your blog for something I thought might be similar, but couldn’t find what I was looking for. I was searching for Do What You Can Do, Boo. Was I totally off?

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Paige February 7, 2013 at 8:16 am

I really needed to read this right now. I’ve been wrestling with alot of decisions here on our home front; am I writing enough, changes in homeschooling plans, am I doing enough, going back to school etc…. it all really can become over whelming. It’s nice to receive a nice reminder that we are all only human and must just put one foot in front of the other and do our best. Thanks for the gentle reminder. <3

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Christine@TheAums February 7, 2013 at 8:23 am

Your welcome, Paige. The kiddos really are our best teachers. Have you read “Bird by Bird” by Anne Lamott? That’s how I’ve been handling those overwhelming feelings lately…bird by bird. I highly recommend it.

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Melissa H. February 7, 2013 at 12:33 pm

That’s fantastic! You’re a good mama, instilling great values in your children at such a young age—Especially at a time were some kids are so coddled that they can’t think for themselves at times!
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Christine@TheAums February 7, 2013 at 2:39 pm

Thank you, Melissa. And I’m glad Comment Luv left the title of your post…curious about Chia and She-Ra ;)

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Lanae February 7, 2013 at 4:59 pm

Fabulous advice! Not just to do what you can before asking for help but also the message instills faith in your own skills. Love this!
Lanae recently posted..The Opposite of a New Year’s ResolutionMy Profile

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Christine@TheAums February 15, 2013 at 1:30 am

Thanks, Lanae! I’m going to follow this advice on tomorrow’s run ;)

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Lisa Dyer February 7, 2013 at 5:09 pm

Thanks for the reminder! I really have to keep this in mind when I think of all the other stuff on my to do list. I have to realize those will eventually get done, but not today. I need to breathe an just know that I have done my best, than beating myself up for it.

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Christine@TheAums February 15, 2013 at 1:32 am

You and me both, Lisa. Let’s go do what we can do at Chocolate.

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Leah Mastilock February 8, 2013 at 4:31 pm

Great reminder. Thank you! You’re such a good mama!
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Christine@TheAums February 15, 2013 at 1:32 am

Thanks, Leah!

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Corinna February 9, 2013 at 8:52 am

What great advice! Visiting from SITS.
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Christine@TheAums February 15, 2013 at 1:32 am

Thank you for visiting!

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Hope February 9, 2013 at 9:05 am

Great post. You never know what you can accomplish on your own until you try…and do your best. Great lesson. Found you from Sharefest. Happy Saturday.

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Christine@TheAums February 15, 2013 at 1:32 am

Thank you, and thanks for visiting.

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misssrobin February 9, 2013 at 12:30 pm

Do what you can do — that’s some pretty intense wisdom wrapped up in a few little words. Thanks. I needed that today.

And I love the photo of you typing at the toilet. Oh, the life of a mother.

Happy Sharefest. I hope you have a lovely weekend.
misssrobin recently posted..Any Man of MineMy Profile

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Christine@TheAums February 15, 2013 at 1:35 am

I love that picture—pretty much sums up motherhood, lol. Have a wonderful weekend!

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Rachee February 10, 2013 at 1:25 pm

Love, love, love!
As my tween navigates tweendom, I often find myself wanting to step in and do it for her instead of letting her figure it out. I have to remember “Do what you can do” and encourage her to do her best.
-r

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Christine@TheAums February 15, 2013 at 1:37 am

Thanks, Rachee. I hope this still works when my kids are tweens and beyond.

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Brandee February 10, 2013 at 11:22 pm

What a great message you have passed on to her and all of your kids. It’s something that a lot of grown ups could be reminded of too. I need to remind myself of this post for my little guy sometimes too. Thanks.
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Christine@TheAums February 15, 2013 at 1:38 am

You’re welcome, Brandee. So nice to see you here on the blog. And thanks for your support the other night on Twitter :)

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Angel themommytsunami February 11, 2013 at 12:03 am

*sigh*

I miss my lil Aumies.

Your best is pretty damn awesome, babe.

xoxox

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Christine@TheAums February 15, 2013 at 1:39 am

I need to work harder on seeing you…not doing my best there :(

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christine February 13, 2013 at 4:37 am

I love seeing parents encourage their children to try new things. My saying to our kids is “Help only comes to those who help themselves and try their best.” I like your saying better.
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Christine@TheAums February 15, 2013 at 1:39 am

Mine is a little shorter and open to interpretation, but I like yours, too.

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Runnermomjen February 14, 2013 at 3:02 pm

Oh gosh, that smile…she looks so proud!! I don’t help my kids climb stuff either.
It sounds like you’ve got a LOT on your plate right now.
xo
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Christine@TheAums February 15, 2013 at 1:41 am

That smile lasted the rest of the day… “I’m a good climber, mama.” Jen, right now my plate is stacked so high…something’s gotta give soon. Thanks for noticing :)

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Alison February 15, 2013 at 6:07 am

That’s a beautiful lesson, Christine!
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Christine@TheAums February 17, 2013 at 3:06 pm

Thank you, Alison.

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@MryJhnsn from iNeedaPlaydate February 15, 2013 at 6:32 am

I just love your post! “I want you to do what YOU can do” are the perfect words that I have been searching for to say to my kids. So much nicer than – just do it already ;)
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Christine@TheAums February 17, 2013 at 3:05 pm

Thanks, Mary. I’m glad those words will help.

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Jessica February 20, 2013 at 7:24 pm

Oh, I love this post and the message that you gave to your little girl. And that picture at the end? Priceless.
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Christine@TheAums February 22, 2013 at 8:28 am

Thanks, Jessica, writing it helped the message get across to ME.

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