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'Last year, I felt completely burnt out. This year, I have an ‘I Don’t’ list.'

Lean Cuisine
Thanks to our brand partner, Lean Cuisine

Now that we’re already months into 2023 and new year’s resolutions have all been forgotten, I’ve decided to refocus.

I thought maybe 2023 would be the year it all came together for me and my real life might start to look as put together as my Instagram life, but no, not this year. I’m now thinking about all the things I said I’d do... and now I've decided, I am going to do the polar opposite. 

It all started when I read Holly Wainwright’s, 'I Don’t' list from 2019 and thought I’d write my own. After the burnout I experienced in 2022 and the false start to 2023, I’m cutting things out instead of adding things in. 

I’m too busy to do it all, so my latest resolution is to not do. I’m kicking the ‘shoulds’ to the curb, prioritising the ‘don’ts’ as well as the important things – like health, happiness and soul-saving convenience.  

Here are a few ‘don’ts’ off my list.

I don’t book appointments on Mondays.

Some say TGIF but since my kids became school-aged it’s TGIM for me. Once they’re out the door Monday morning I don't want to be rushing around. I keep meetings to an absolute minimum and refuse to make appointments. I’ll be rushing around the rest of the week, no doubt and I need time to recharge. 

On Mondays I wear my comfy pants and leave my hair in a bun.

I don’t eat the kids' meals.

When Lean Cuisine offers healthy frozen meals in the same supermarket aisle as the chicken nuggets there’s no need for me to be eating kid food just because it’s convenient. Lean Cuisine’s yummy meals are simple and quicker to make than the nuggets. Best bit is, award-winning nutritionist and dietitian Susie Burrell has worked with Lean Cuisine to create a variety of options, so even when the kids want nuggets four nights a week, I can mix it up with everything from Lamb and Rosemary Hot Pot to Veg’d Up Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni. Meals are full of veggies, grains and high-quality protein making them delicious and nutritious.


Image: Supplied. 

I don’t (always) clean the kitchen before bed.

I used to be fanatical about waking up to a clean kitchen. No matter the time of night I’d wipe the counters and load up the dishwasher until one day recently, I just didn’t. The dishes were there in the sink in the morning, and no one was injured. I’ve learned that what's easier than tidying the kitchen is turning off the light and walking away.


I don’t wash my bedsheets every week.

There is nothing worse than going into your bedroom absolutely exhausted after a busy day, ready to go to sleep, only to realise your bedsheets are still wet in the washing machine. 

This used to happen to me on a weekly basis as I had an arbitrary rule that sheets should be washed every week. Well, no more. Now that I have mine plus the kids bed sheets to worry about, we're on a three to four-week rotation and no one is complaining. It also makes the fresh sheets that much more appreciated.

I don’t stress about kids' lunches.

My lunch packing is far from picture perfect. I used to worry that the daycare teacher would see a not-so-homemade-not-even-organic muesli bar in my daughter’s lunch and think I was a terrible mother. Now I do not care.  

Image: Supplied.


I don’t make my son do the home reading.

I hate kid’s homework. Especially for young kids when parents have to do it with them. I couldn’t stand the dry content of the books coming home with my kindergartener each week so I stopped making him read them. We now pick our own books, from the library or home. 

I don’t feel guilty about spending money on manicures.

I love getting my nails done. I sit at a computer all day staring at my hands so when my nails look professional, bright and perfectly painted, I feel on top of my game. The confidence boost I get from waving my hands in client meetings and seeing manicured nails is enough to book a shame-free monthly manicure… and a pedicure. Feet are important too.

I don’t feel bad for leaving my husband with the kids.

When I’m heading out the door during the bedtime chaos and I see my husband’s eyes begging me to stay just another half hour, I promptly shut the door and jump in my Uber. Meeting a girlfriend for a cocktail and a catch-up is too important for my mental health to feel an ounce of guilt about the carnage I’ve left at home. Often I even do him a favour and on nights I’m heading out, I make a quick Lean Cuisine for dinner so I’m not leaving dirty pans in the sink.


I don’t remember birthdays.

I used to but ever since I’ve had kids with birthdays, and my friends have had kids with birthdays, and my kid’s friends have had birthdays, I can barely remember my own. I’m always the last on Facebook to wish a happy birthday only after I’ve seen 30 others do it first and I’m no stranger to a week late text saying, "happy belated birthday!" I make up for it when it’s time to celebrate. 

I don’t take things personally.

Can't make the playdate? No problem. Friends had to reschedule or went underground for a few weeks? Oh well. I used to take it to heart when friends bailed on plans or didn’t get back to me. I now understand we’re all as overworked and burnout as one another. Changing or cancelling plans has nothing to do with me. Cancel all you want friends, I’m usually happy for the break.

I just don’t.

Burnout is real and doing it all is impossible. Thinking about the things we don’t want to do and giving ourselves permission to live without the shame and guilt of those rules, is freeing. Not washing our hair, choosing convenient meals and skipping the homework makes us happier, functional humans. 

Out with the ‘shoulds’ and in with the ‘don’ts’ for the rest of 2023. 

Lean Cuisine offers a range of healthy and delicious frozen meals that take minimal time to prepare. Purchase now at your local supermarket. 

Feature Image: Supplied/Instagram/@jenn_wint

Lean Cuisine
At Lean Cuisine, we believe eating a healthy, balanced diet will help you look good and feel great, so you get the most out of life. This begins with eating a balance of all food groups from the healthy eating pyramid. With this philosophy in mind, our talented chefs and nutritionists have designed a range of tasty, calorie-controlled ready meals, made with veggies, grains and high-quality protein. Lean in to simple balanced nutrition.