The view from my rocking chair this morning includes a stack of overdue library books (that we never actually read), about 4 piles of laundry, an ever-growing “lonely sock” basket, mounds of dirty dishes (because our dishwasher sucks), and three kids that are driving me absolutely bonkers. Each time I get up from my chair I am met with a crunch under my toes – its cheez-its . . . or remnants of last night’s pizza . . . or who knows what. I vacuum at least twice a day yet our carpet is always like this.
Life feels like a constant battle to keep up. Not even to keep up, just to maintain. How did I get here?
I have a confession to make.
If you know me at all this actually won’t come as a surprise to you.
I have totally done this to myself – and my family.
I face a constant battle of adding things to my list. I like to be busy. It makes me feel valuable and needed.
I want to be the token military wife. The perfectly “chill-but-all-together” homeschool mom. And the most loving and caring wife. I want to be it all.
Even though my Sunday School answers tell me there is no way to be all things, to all people, at all times, it is still a constant struggle to live that out in everyday life. Until recently I have thought this was struggle that only affected me. But I was so wrong.
Without even realizing it I have been robbing my kids. The sad thing is they don’t even realize it. And if I am not careful, I don’t realize it either. How easily I put things over my children. Mind you, most of these are good things: working out, leading a bible study, helping someone else, volunteering at another program, etc. All these things are good and helpful things, and in different times these things would all be welcome on my list. But what I realize today is . . . my kids need me. For this short season of life they need me. They need me to sit in the floor at 7am and play building games. They need me to take 20 min for a game of checkers. They need to know and feel that they are more important to me than the next client on my list or the hours of needed house cleaning.
Now don’t misunderstand me please. I believe whole-heartedly that children can not run my life. God and my husband should always come first. And I am a firm believer in taking time and energy towards a healthy and happy mom. What I am talking about here is the million other things we put on our plate. The truth is we can’t do it all. We must choose where to best use our time and energy each day.
If I am not very intentional about this part things get off track quickly.
While there needs to be time for work, self-care, marriage, church, quiet time, ministry, and managing a household – where do we fit in those intentional times with our children? For me, it has to be in the midst of the daily grind. I have to learn to let go in some areas and invite my children to come along with me. I have to be okay with not having it all together. I have to tell myself every morning that while I have many things on my list, my children are more important than most of those items.
One of my biggest fears in parenting is that I will wake up 20 years from now and realized I missed such amazing opportunities to just love on and cherish my boys. They are wild and messy, but they are also beautiful and loving. They absorb everything around them. And I don’t want them to ever doubt for one second how much their mommy loves them.
I don’t know all the answers. And clearly I mess up – a lot. What I do know is I’m not the only momma who has been here! Learning and living one day at a time right? So today, I am carving out some intentional time to be with my boys – doing whatever they want to do. Some days are busier than others, and our days will rarely go as planned – but today I can do at least one thing to show them in their own language that mommy loves them to the moon and back!
What are some ways you keep your to-do list in check? How do you carve out intentional time with your kids?