I am a mother of 3: a five-year old, a three-year old, and a four-month old. Sometimes, I wonder where all my time goes. I think most of it ends up in the hours of folding and putting away laundry. As I try to figure out how to manage my time with a semi-new baby in the family, I often feel like I get nothing done.
Even though I feel like I have no time, my husband and I have found some hours in our busy schedules to coordinate Financial Peace University class. In the class, participants learn about budgeting their money, making smart purchases, and saving for their futures. This may seem like a whopping subject change, but there is a point. When you make a budget, Dave Ramsey has you classify your spending to show you where you spend your money. If you have never done it, I truly encourage you to do it. It is eye-opening to see how much money you spend on food, eating out, and other frivolous expenses. Dave talks about where you spend your money shows what your values are. That is a powerful statement and so true. So I began to wonder: If where I spend my money is a powerful statement of what I value, can the same be said about my time?
Where do I spend my time? I realized that too often I find myself getting caught in the trap of saying, “I don’t have time for that.” As I thought about it more, I realized that phrase was an excuse. I have been given a set number of hours in my day. I can fill my day with doing things of value or waste them doing things that don’t matter. When I said, “I don’t have time for that” what I really meant “That is not a priority to me.” Whether it be at this point in time, today, tomorrow, or ever.
My husband and I recently came up with a Top 5 list to help us think through a tough decision of where to live. It’s the top 5 areas in our life that are the most important to us. What were those top five things? 1. Financial Freedom 2. Family 3. Church 4. Friends 5. Cost of Living (A side note: As a Christian woman, you think I should put God as number one, but part of the reason goes like this. #3 is more of indication of our role in our church home factors in our life. If we don’t have financial freedom and aren’t debt free, we will never get to enjoy our family like we want to. We will never to give to our church like we want to. We will never get to share in experiences with our friends like we want to. God definitely has a presence in all of these parts. God is not ranked as number 3.)
If these are the Top 5 things in my life that are important to me, then I shouldn’t be wasting my time on Facebook or playing Candy crush. Even though I do admit I love those things and they may have their place in my life, they shouldn’t consume me. Cleaning isn’t in my top five, although I do spend a lot of time doing it. But I find myself telling my children, “I can do that after I finish this” or “I can’t do that right now” when they want me to do something for them or play with them. I need to remember: My children are in my Top 5 not cleaning. Maybe that revelation should tell me where I should spend my time.
While my kindergartener was at school this past week, my three-year old asked me if I would help him make a helicopter show. I had three huge baskets of laundry staring me in the face with another two large hampers of dirty laundry waiting to be done. I told him, “I would love to play, but mommy needs to take a shower first.” (What was I telling him? Playing is not my priority. Mommy’s cleanliness is.) After my shower, I let the baby have some time on his play mat, and I focused all my attention on my three-year old.
This was the scene. I was told we were going to make a helicopter show. I was completely confused, as I had no clue as to what a helicopter show was or even looked like. I decided to let go and let his imagination take me away. I was given a very detailed explanation of where the blocks should go.
As the show started to take place this was the scene.
And by the end, this was our creation
What a blessing to be taken out of my rigidity of cleaning and housework to spend some time just playing. (I admit, though; I still felt guilty.) I know it is important to play with my kids, but sometimes I get carried away with all the other things bombarding me in life that I forget what is really important. I forget what means the most for me is where I should spend my time.
So my prayer for this week:
Help me to learn what is truly valuable to me.
Help to me to make time for things that are a priority to me.
Help me to find balance.
Thank you for the moments of imagination, creativity, and play.
Let me be a good steward of time so I can complete your good works.
In Jesus’ name we pray,