I've known for awhile that I wanted to post on this topic sometime, but I was rudely reminded when I stumbled across my planner from 2005 this last weekend just how badly I needed to remember the lesson I've learned about being wise with my time these days. I'm not sure how to even start... but somewhere between making the transition to motherhood and finding myself knee deep in child rearing and wifery (is that a word, it is now!) I have tumbled across various moments when I found that my daily life is hugely impacting those around me. (AKA: husband & kids)
"Busy" is a word that our culture has made to look as the average American these days. Before Dave and I had kids we fell into the category as "busy people". I think most of us probably do! We both had full time jobs, I was working an extra weekend job, we volunteered on various teams, committees, and groups with our church... soccer, Big House, led small groups, adult small group, Homebuilders, Great Adventure, Onefest, Children's ministry team, mission trip planning & leading, Soul Food, and then the time we had to spend with friends, attend games, see family, and couple time. Whew, I'm almost ashamed just writing all that. We were busy people through and through. I used to think I functioned best when busy, but now I believe I functioned best out of survival to juggle it all.
As I became a new mom I knew there were some obvious things I would say goodbye to... both my jobs so I could be home, high school small groups, mission trips, and Sunday morning Great Adventure. At the time I remember thinking there were some things I couldn't let go of because I was so passionate about them or they were "just who I was". So, I denied the obvious... that as a young parent with a young child you just have to make priorities and stick to them. I wish someone would have put a stamp on my head that said "when you are too busy for your family, you are too busy!!!". I struggled with wanting so bad to fill the shoes of a very devoted full time mother, yet have my hand in things that were important to me too. I LOVED being home with my baby, yet I truly enjoyed being involved with different things too.
As I walked through this lifestyle for about 2 years I started to feel like I was in a fog. I had this constant guilt of not fulfilling any of my roles 100% and knew something had to change. I went through the study by Elizabeth George "A Woman After God's Own Heart" and started to gain knowledge from another woman who had walked this path before. Oh, how I love the older and wiser!!! I think I mistakenly started to let go of obligations in my life that I was probably made to do, so that I could be a part of things that I thought I should be doing. Part of this transition was stepping away from many of my "outside the home" responsabilities This was sad and hard, but also felt very right. I knew we needed more time as a family at home. Weeknights were filled with meetings, get togethers, and events. Our goal for our family was to have nothing going on and just being home. I wanted my kids to feel like home was our base... the place they spent a majority of their time with both parents. Because I wanted my kids to associate home as their safe zone, their comfort, their favorite place to be, then I knew I had to make my home this way for myself too. And that meant spending as much time here as I could. Proverbs 14:1 "every wise woman builds her house...".
Needless to say, in the last few years I have discovered that there will always be really great things to be a part of, to help with, to spend my time doing. My weakness is my desire to be a part of some of these great things. They are not bad things, but this season of life they are a distraction to me and my goals I have as a mom and wife. Some days I feel like I'm doing "nothing" these days... isn't that ironic? Especially since I'm doing exactly what God made me to do for this time of my life. My days are hardly filled with "nothing". Just the opposite I must say. Busyness is still a daily occurrence but it looks very different. Instead of being busy running 3 different places in 1 day, catching a meeting here and there, phone calls, and whatever else I filled my plate with back in the early mom years I now have busyness in small forms around the house, in my home, and with my family. This is one of my favorite quotes that I keep up in my laundry room! "Do not give away, what you have not given at home first".
So... back to my 2005 planner. I about flipped when I read what I had going on 4 years ago this week... and this is no exaggeration! The comparison is unbelievable!! I'm embarrassed!
2005 ---------------------- 2009
Sun- help in coffee-house at church/ nothing! (just church w/ fam)
Mon- Dinner at mom's/ nothing :-)
Tues- dinner with friend for 30th bday/ me-nothing, Dave-Young Life
wed- Homebuilders group/ church dinner night
Thur- Dinner w/ 2 girlfriends/ nothing!
Friday- Brody fam dinner/ meal to family, home with mine
Saturday- soccer, Onfest meeting/ Halloween (friends over)
All of the things in the left column are great things!! As I skimmed through my 2005 planner most of my weeks I or all of us were away from our home at least 3 nights a week! I remember Dave and I making it a goal to be home at least 5 nights a week. I must say I am more content these days then I was 4 years ago and know God is blessing my decision to limit myself to my family first and then only take on something outside the home if I'm led to after prayer and much conversation with my husband :) Busyness is not all a bad thing. I think it must be filled though with the things that matter most during this time period in my life. Even those things that seem like "nothing"... family meals each night, play time in the yard after work with the kids, even watching a favorite family TV show together... this is the busyness that belongs in my "to-do" list. The rest can wait for my next season in life. I'm sure I will still be passionate about things, want to be involved, and find projects to do!
I'm just warming up to this parenting thing. I hope my children will see me as a mom who is available, properly engaged, and has a healthy balance between home and outside involvements. This is a busy culture I am raising my kids in and we better figure it out at home before we send them off to juggle their own balls of life!!